Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Friday, April 23, 2021, 2:49 PM

Yesterday, the Senate approved a bipartisan bill to address the rise in violence and hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the U.S., reports NPR. The legislation provides incentives for law enforcement agencies to better track hate crimes and requires the Justice Department to initiate an official review of hate crimes reports nationally. The bill passed in a 94-1 vote, with only Republican Sen. Josh Hawley voting against it.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said today that he is ending the 24-day hunger strike he initiated in prison to demand independent medical treatment, writes France 24. On Wednesday, thousands of Russians turned out in more than 100 cities across the country to protest Navalny’s detention and demand he be transferred to a hospital amid reports that his life was in danger. Navalny’s hunger strike drew international attention, with Western leaders including President Biden warning that the Kremlin would face repercussions if Navalny died in prison.

A man on trial for allegedly calling for the “slaughter” of prominent Democrat lawmakers in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack also espoused Nazi ideology and extremist ideas, according to the Washington Post. Brendan Hunt, a 37-year-old avid supporter of former President Trump, is charged with threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official. On Jan. 8, he posted a video titled “KILL YOUR SENATORS: Slaughter them all.” Hunt’s defense team stated that his internet activity is constitutionally protected speech and argued that his rants were not intended to be taken seriously during the trial’s opening arguments on Wednesday.

The U.S. Capitol Police Department has begun arranging tours for Oath Keepers’ attorneys as the lawyers prepare defenses against the Justice Department’s charges, writes Politico. The government has charged a dozen members of the anti-government militia network with conspiracy for their role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. This morning, prosecutors filed court papers that revealed the planned tours, explaining that the Capitol Police have placed prohibitions on taking photographs in the building. "While we resolve those issues, I still encourage you to sign up for dates," assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy wrote to the defense attorneys in a letter accompanying the court filing.

Vice President Kamala Harris has presented a new Central America strategy that seeks to address in part the increase in migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Hill. “The bottom line is that this initiative, from my perspective, must be effective and relevant to the underlying issue, which is addressing the acute and the root causes of migration away from [Central America],” Harris stated.

After a policewoman was stabbed to death at a police station in the French town of Rambouillet today, French President Emmanuel Macron said France would never give in to “Islamist terrorism,” reports France 24. The attacker, a 36-year-old man originally from Tunisia, was killed after an officer opened fire on him following the stabbing. A police source stated that the suspect was unknown to French security services. The country’s chief anti-terror prosecutor confirmed that “comments made by the assailant” indicated a terror motive.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Bryce Klehm detailed the problems that were previewed during this week’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Michael P. Fischerkeller argued that in its present form, international law is not an adequate regime to govern cyberspace.

Patrick Hulme discussed Congress’s involvement and influence in decision-making during the Cuban missile crisis.

Jen Patja Howell shared this week’s edition of Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, in which Quinta Jurecic and Evelyn Douek spoke with Sean Li, the former head of Trust and Safety at Discord, about the challenges of audio content moderation.

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