Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 2:46 PM

The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump opened on Tuesday, writes the New York Times. Today the senators have four hours to argue the constitutionality of holding the trial. House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin argued that there is no “January exception” for the former president. Trump’s lawyers Bruce L. Castor Jr., David Schoen and Michael T. van der Veen will maintain it is unconstitutional to permit the impeachment trial since the purpose of impeachment is to remove a president from office.

The Biden administration will ask U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Trump to resign in a routine changeover between administrations, reports CNN. An expected 56 Senate-confirmed attorneys will be asked to submit resignations. The turnover spares two U.S. attorneys: Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who is overseeing a tax probe of Hunter Biden, and John Durham, who was appointed by former Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Durham is expected to resign as the Connecticut U.S. attorney.

Huawei Technologies filed a lawsuit in the U.S. challenging its designation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a national security threat, reports the Washington Post. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and asks for a review of the FCC’s ruling made last year. Huawei’s lawsuit stated the designation was “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion, and not supported by substantial evidence.”

A World Health Organization team stated it was “extremely unlikely” that the coronavirus originated as a result of a lab accident, according to the New York Times. The scientists stated the virus likely spread to humans from an animal and called for more research into the animals sold at the Wuhan market. Chinese officials continue to suggest the virus originated outside of China, which many experts discount.

Iran’s Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi said the nation may seek nuclear weapons in reaction to persistent western pressure, writes Reuters. In the past, accusations of pursuing nuclear weapons were commonly dismissed by officials who cited them as religiously forbidden by sharia law. Alavi stated, “[A] cornered cat may behave differently when the cat is free. And if they (Western states) push Iran in that direction, then it’s no longer Iran’s fault.”

Police used water cannons and warning shots on demonstrators in Myanmar who were protesting the country’s military coup, writes the Associated Press. According to the U.N., many demonstrators have been injured.

Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza strip in an effort to encourage reconciliation between Palestinian factions, reports Reuters. Leaders of the Palestinian President’s Fatah faction, which controls the West Bank, and leaders of Hamas began Egyptian-brokered talks to address divisions before upcoming elections.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which the Lawfare team discussed expectations for the impeachment trial.

Bryce Klehm announced that Lawfare Live will host 30-minute morning briefings to discuss the impeachment trial at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week.

Rohini Kurup shared the 78-page brief filed by Trump’s legal team, which outlines the defense of the former president.

Kurup also shared a five-page memo filed by the House impeachment managers, in which they reject claims made by Trump’s lawyers.

Darrell West shared an episode of TechTank, featuring a conversation with Rep. Jim Langevin about protection from cybersecurity attacks.

David Hechler examined the use of cyber-related, nation-state indictments.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk, featuring a discussion with Richard Fontaine, CEO of the Center for New American Security, about the U.S.-China relationship.

Jean Galbraith argued the Biden administration should rejoin the Open Skies Treaty.

John Bellinger analyzed the new contents of President Biden’s National Security Memorandum 2.

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