Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Friday, February 12, 2021, 2:02 PM

Former President Trump’s legal team began its defense of the former president in his Senate impeachment trial on Friday, writes the New York Times. Trump’s lawyers are expected to argue that Trump did not incite the Jan. 6 violence, and that his statements to supporters that dayare protected under the First Amendment. Although the defense team has 16 hours for oral arguments one of Trump’s lawyers, David Schoen, said they may only use three to four hours. 

The Biden administration announced it will conduct a formal review of the future of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, with the goal of closing it, according to Reuters. The detention camp, which once held around 800 prisoners, now holds 40.

The Biden administration also announced it would begin processing asylum seekers who have been waiting in Mexico to enter the U.S. because of a Trump administration policy that prohibited their entry while their applications were being reviewed. Migrant processing will begin on Feb. 19 and three ports will be open for entry, reports the Wall Street Journal. “This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia is prepared to sever ties with the European Union over potential new sanctions, writes BBC. The threat of new sanctions comes in response to Russia’s treatment of Alexei Navalny, the jailed opposition leader. In the past week, the EU and Russia have each expelled three of the other’s diplomats. 

The new ruling junta in Myanmar is releasing more than 23,000 prisoners in its observance of Union Day, a national public holiday celebrating the unification of the country, reports CNN. Mass prisoner releases are common on national holidays in Myanmar, and the new leader, Min Aung Hlaing, stated the prisoner amnesty was part of a larger goal to build a “democratic country with disciplines.” Protests against the military coup have now continued for seven days. 

Facebook said it would reduce the number of people who see content and profiles run by Myanmar’s military, stating they “continued to spread misinformation,” writes Reuters. Facebook also said it had suspended Myanmar government agencies from sending content removal requests to the company. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Robert J. Reinstein analyzed the relationship among expulsion, exclusion, disqualification, impeachment and pardons. 

Tia Sewell shared a livestream of the third day of the impeachment trial. 

Bryce Klehm announced Lawfare Live’s weekend morning briefings. On Feb. 13 and 14 at 11 a.m., the Lawfare team will discuss the impeachment trial and take audience questions.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of Lawfare’s “Arbiters of Truth” series, in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ben Smith, media columnist for the New York Times, about the current state and future of the media ecosystem. 

Lindsay Hundley explained how the Kremlin uses its media to influence opinion about democracy. 

Gary Corn and Jack Goldsmith discussed a recently published report entitled “Chinese Technology Platforms Operating in the United States.”

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast titled “This Podcast Is Integrity-Curious.”

John Bellinger congratulated Joan Gonoghue for being elected to serve as the chief judge of the International Court of Justice, as well as the many alumnae of the State Department Legal Adviser’s Office who now serve in the Biden administration. 

Lester Munson shared an episode of Fault Lines, featuring an analysis of President Biden’s first foreign policy speech.

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