Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Thursday, February 4, 2021, 4:20 PM

President Joe Biden delivered first presidential foreign policy speech on Thursday afternoon, in which he announced that the United States is ending support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, reports NPR. “The war has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe,” Biden said in his address at the State Department. “This war has to end.”

A report commissioned by Congress urged the United States to extend the May 1 deadline to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, writes Reuters. The bipartisan report also recommended making force reductions contingent on developments in the peace talks. The report was prepared by the Afghanistan Study Group, which is co-chaired by former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Joseph Dunford, former Senator Kelly Ayotte and former United States Institute of Peace President and CEO Nancy Lindborg. 

House impeachment managers called on former President Trump to testify in his Senate trial which begins next week, according to the New York Times. Lead House impeachment prosecutor, Rep. Jamie Raskin, wrote a letter to Trump, requesting an interview “at a mutually convenient time and place” between Monday and Thursday.  

The House will vote on a resolution to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her two committees later today, writes the Times. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, previously released a statement condemning Greene’s behavior but stated the Republican party would not punish her. This unprecedented vote comes a day after Republicans voted 145 to 61 in a secret ballot to keep Rep. Liz Cheney in her leadership role after some of her Republican colleagues criticized Cheney for voting to impeach former President Trump. 

The United States extended its nuclear accord with Russia for five more years, reports the Washington Post. The extension of the New START accord will ensure verifiable limits on Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and give transparency on Russia’s nuclear posture. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated the extension “makes the United States, U.S. allies and partners, and the world safer. An unconstrained nuclear competition would endanger us all.” 

Smartmatic, a voting technology company, filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and others, according to CNN. The company alleges the parties had worked together to wage a “disinformation campaign,” in an effort to intentionally mislead the public about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. Smartmatic also alleges that its parent company lost business as a result of the “disinformation concocted and spread by the defendants.”  

An Iranian diplomat was sentenced by a Belgian court to 20 years in prison for plotting a bomb attack in 2018, writes the Wall Street Journal. Assadollah Assadi was convicted of a foiled attack near Paris that targeted the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a group comprised of Iranian dissidents. The court convicted three other associates and concluded that the plot was organized by Iranian state intelligence. 

The Myanmar junta blocked access to Facebook after users shared material in opposition to Monday’s military coup, reports the Wall Street Journal. Images of resistance prompted a government directive ordering telecom providers to temporarily block the social media platform. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes, Quinta Jurecic and David Priess discuss next week’s impeachment trial. 

Frank O. Bowman III argued a late impeachment trial is constitutional.  

Berin Szóka and Ari Cohn analyzed the bounds of content moderation through Section 230 and the First Amendment in response to a Wall Street Journal op-ed. 

Bryce Klehm announced this week’s episode of Lawfare Live, set to take place on Friday at 12 p.m., in which Lawfare’s Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes will discuss proposals for truth commissions to address the wrongdoings of the Trump administration. 

Howell shared an episode of Rational Security, featuring discussion on the impeachment, the coup in Myanmar and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. 

Zhanna Malekos Smith assessed the goals and shortfalls of the Space Policy Directive-6. 

Patrick Hulme discussed President Biden’s view on war powers.  

Paul Rosenzweig examined important questions about the mandate for the Bureau of Cyber Statistics.  

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.