Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Victoria Gallegos
Tuesday, March 2, 2021, 2:41 PM

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing on the Jan. 6 riot and growing threat of violence from domestic terrorists, writes the Washington Post. Wray defended the FBI’s handling of intelligence sharing in advance of the Jan. 6 attack but said the bureau will review internal practices. When asked about the Capitol rioters, Wray stated he had not seen evidence of “fake Trump protesters,” or evidence of left-wing “antifa” infiltration.  Wray said domestic terrorism “has been metastasizing around the country for a long time now, and it’s not gong away anytime soon,” and he noted the number of domestic terrorism cases had doubled since he became FBI director in 2017.

U.S. prosecutors claimed for the first time that a leader of the Proud Boys had been nominated by the group to take charge of the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6, reports the Post. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James B. Nelson and Jason B.A. McCullough alleged Ethan Nordean, a leader of the Proud Boys in Washington state, was “nominated from within to have ‘war powers’” to lead the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol after the chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was arrested two days before the event. Prosecutors are using Nordean as a key link in their investigation, saying his communications before Jan. 6 indicate he and Proud Boys members were planning in advance to breach the capitol. 

Merck & Co. will help produce the Johnson & Johnson single-dose coronavirus vaccine as part of the Biden administration’s plan to make the shot available to the American public at a faster pace, writes the Wall Street Journal. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the third to receive approval in the U.S.,  and the company has made nearly four million doses for initial shipments, which began going out this week. 

The U.S. announced sanctions on senior Russian government officials and Russian entities in response to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent, according to Reuters. A senior Biden administration official stated “Russia’s attempt to kill Mr. Navalny follows an alarming pattern of chemical weapons use by Russia.” Seven senior Russian government officials and 14 entities associated with Russian biological and chemical agent production, will face sanctions.

The Treasury Department also sanctioned two military leaders of the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group in Yemen, stating the group had prolonged Yemen’s civil war and humanitarian crisis and advanced Iran's destabilizing agenda, reports the Hill. According to the department’s press release, Mansur Al-Sa’adi and Ahmas ‘Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi were “responsible for orchestrating attacks by Houthi forces impacting Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters.”  

Police in Myanmar fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters on Tuesday, as the authorities continue to escalate their crackdown on anti-coup protests, reports the Associated Press. Demonstrators have pushed back more vigorously at attempts to disperse the protests, and gathered on Tuesday wearing helmets and carrying makeshift shields while forming barricades. 

279 Nigerian schoolgirls were freed after a mass abduction by unidentified assailants from their boarding school in Zamfara state last week, reports the BBC. The girls were released after negotiations between government officials and the abductors, according to officials in Zamfara state.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Rohini Kurup and Benjamin Wittes questioned if the Jan. 6 insurrection was an intelligence failure, a police failure or both. 

Laura DeNardis and Gordon M. Goldstein argued the real lesson of the Texas power failure is the inability of infrastructure to handle major crises. 

Jon Temin argued that civil society should be at the center of foreign policy.

John Bellinger examined President Biden’s inaugural war powers report.  

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes and Scott Anderson sat down with Marsin Alshamary, a post-doctoral fellow with the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy program and expert in domestic Iraqi politics, about the current situation in Iraq. 

Elliot Setzer analyzed the Eighth Circuit's decision to strike down an Arkansas anti-BDS state law. 

Robert Chesney announced the U.S. Cyber Command’s annual legal conference on March 4, 2021; advance registration is required. 

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