Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Monday, February 22, 2021, 2:20 PM

The Supreme Court today rejected an attempt by former President Trump to shield his financial records from New York prosecutors, reports the New York Times. The case, Trump v. Vance, concerns a subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance which sought to obtain Trump’s tax records and financial statements dating back to 2011. Today’s Supreme Court order required Trump’s accountants to comply and turn over the requested information, marking a major setback for the Trump team. Vance issued a brief statement in response to the court’s order: “The work continues.”

As the U.S. approaches a toll of 500,000 lives lost due to the coronavirus, vaccine providers are administering an average of about 1.46 million doses within the U.S. daily, according to the Times. President Biden has promised to deliver 100 million COVID-19 vaccines by his 100th day in office. So far, about 43.6 million people have received at least one dose of a vaccine, with 18.9 million Americans fully vaccinated.

During his confirmation hearing today, Biden’s attorney general nominee Judge Merrick Garland fielded questions from senators concerning a variety of national issues, writes the Wall Street Journal. Garland promised to combat the rising threat posed by domestic terrorism, asserted that the ongoing investigation into the Capitol riot remains his top priority and affirmed his commitment to pursue strong enforcement of civil rights laws at the federal level.

In Myanmar, protesters continue to call daily for the reversal of the Feb. 1 coup and the release of democratically-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, reports Reuters. The military junta has stated that it wants security forces to use minimal force, though many fear that the army could violently crack down on protesters as it has done in the past. So far, one policeman and three demonstrators have died due to injuries sustained during protests.

According to Israeli researchers, Chinese spies used code originating from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to support their hacking operations, writes Reuters. Yaniv Balmas, head of research at Checkpoint Software Technologies, called the China-linked malware “kind of a copycat, a Chinese replica” of the NSA’s cyber attack tools that were leaked to the internet in 2017.

A new report by the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration warns that law enforcement agencies’ warrantless tracking of criminal suspects through app-sourced location data is of questionable legality, according to the Journal. The audit was initially requested by Democrat Sens. Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren. “I’m troubled agency lawyers were so cavalier about American’s privacy rights that they green-lit the warrantless purchase of location data with such minimal legal analysis. This shows again that Americans need strong new laws protecting our 4th Amendment rights to ensure government credit cards don’t replace court orders,” Wyden said in a statement.

The prominent voting-machine company Dominion Voting Systems sued Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow Inc., and his company today, alleging defamation due to Lindell’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, reports the Journal. The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks more than $1.3 billion in damages. Dominion says that allegations by Lindell and others have irreparably damaged the company’s reputation; it has also filed defamation suits against Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guliani and pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. will “seek to lengthen and strengthen” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Iran, writes Reuters. On Sunday, the International Atomic Energy Agency—the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog—announced that it will end snap inspections in Iran as part of a temporary deal to keep the “necessary degree of monitoring and verification work” going for the next three months.

Luca Attanasio, the Italian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, was killed today in an attack on a U.N. World Food Programme convoy, according to Politico. The convoy was attacked near the border with Kwanda in what is believed to have been an attempted kidnapping.

A 95-year old Tennessee resident who formerly served as a Nazi concerntration camp guard was deported to Germany on Saturday, reports the Times. The deportation of the former guard, Friedrich Karl Berger, could mark the last U.S. government prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

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