Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Thursday, February 25, 2021, 2:22 PM

Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman denied that her department had failed to use intelligence reports before the Jan. 6 attacks, reports ABC News. During a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Pittman stated “[t]he department was not ignorant of intelligence, indicating an attack of the size and scale we encountered on the 6th,” and that there had been “no such intelligence.” Pittman said that “special assessments” made by the Capitol Police’s Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division and intelligence received from the FBI and other law enforcement partners did not include “any specific credible threat that thousands of American citizens would attack the U.S. Capitol.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office obtained copies of former President Trump’s tax records today after the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s last-ditch efforts to prevent them from being shared, writes the Washington Post. After 18 months of delay, the district attorney obtained eight years of records  as part of an investigation into the Trump Organization’s business and real estate activities.  Analysts will dissect the records to look for evidence of criminal activity at the company or by its executive employees, including Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer. 

A soon-to-be released U.S. intelligence report finds that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reports Reuters. U.S. officials assessed the crown prince approved and likely ordered the murder of Khashoggi, who had criticized the crown prince’s policies in his Washington Post column. A classified version of this report was available to Congress in 2018, but Avril Haines, the new director of national intelligence, committed to releasing a declassified version at her confirmation hearing last month. 

Facebook banned the Myanmar military from its platforms following the military coup which occurred on Feb. 1, reports the New York Times. Facebook also barred military-owned businesses from advertising, which impacts the military’s economic influence since generals own a variety of businesses.  The social media company had previously restricted some military leaders’  access, but clarified in a statement that it was banning all military-linked accounts because risks of allowing the Myanmar military to remain on its platforms were “too great.” 

Pro-military supporters in the Myanmar capital attacked anti-coup protesters with slingshots, iron rods and knives, injuring several people as police stood by, writes the Associated Press. Hundreds of people marched in support of the coup, and although pro-military gatherings have occurred since the military seized power, it is the first time that pro-military demonstrators openly used violence. 

The Indian government announced new regulations for social media platforms, requiring them to set up a “grievance redressal mechanism,” as a new way to address complaints, according to the Hill. The Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT stated “India is the world’s largest open Internet society and the Government welcomes social media companies to operate in India, do business and also earn profits. However, they will have to be accountable to the Constitution and laws of India.” These new rules come two weeks after Twitter refused to comply with the government’s order to remove content about the ongoing farmer protests.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused the Armenian military of plotting a coup to depose him, fired the military’s top commander and called for his supporters to take to the streets, reports the Wall Street Journal. The military had added its voice to calls for Pashinyan’s resignation along with street protesters, church leaders and the Armenian president. The widespread anger stems from Pashinyan’s decision to sign a ceasefire over the Nagorno-Karabakh region in November, which returned some territory to Azerbaijan. 

The Dutch parliament passed a non-binding motion declaring the treatment of Uighurs in China as amounting to genocide, but did not directly attribute responsibility to the Chinese government, according to Reuters. The Netherlands is the first European country to make a statement on the matter.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a no bull edition about Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland’s hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security, the “Confirm and Deny” edition. 

Jacob Schulz analyzed the 2012 trial of the Hutaree militia, the last seditious conspiracy case tried by the Justice Department. 

Tia Sewell shared a livestream of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on the nomination of William Burns to be the director of the CIA. 

John Costello and Mark Montgomery answered frequently asked questions about the new national cyber director position. 

Bryce Klehm announced an episode of Lawfare Live on Friday, Feb. 26 at 12:30 p.m., in which Marsin Alshamary, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Brookings Institution who researches Iraqi politics, and Lawfare’s Scott Anderson will join Benjamin Wittes to take questions about recent events in Iraq. 

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