Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Friday, April 30, 2021, 4:02 PM

The Biden administration is divided over a proposal before the World Trade Organization to waive drugmakers’ patents in order to enable developing countries to produce coronavirus vaccines, reports the Washington Post. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, supports the proposal. Fauci recently briefed Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, on the benefits of sharing technologies to help developing countries more rapidly vaccinate their populations. But other White House officials are opposed—warning that lifting patent protections could have consequences for U.S. trade secrets and prompt excessive demand for vaccine ingredients—and they argue that donating doses would be a more effective means of helping countries in need.

India reported another single-day record in coronavirus cases, with 386,452 new infections and 2,498 deaths reported over the last 24 hours according to France 24. The French Health Ministry today announced that it has detected three cases of the B.1.617 variant of COVID-19 that is currently widespread in India,. The World Health Organization has characterized the B.1.617 variant as a “variant of interest,” meaning that it may have mutations that could increase transmission or worsen symptoms.

The White House will restrict travel from India starting on May 4, reports Axios. The restrictions will bar most non-citizens and permanent residents from entering the United States. The State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory—the highest level—encouraging U.S. citizens in the country to leave as soon as possible and others to avoid traveling there.

In a rare interview with CNN, two al Qaeda operatives said that as Biden withdraws from Afghanistan, the organization’s “war against the U.S. will be continuing on all other fronts,” writes the Hill. The remarks come days ahead of the 10th anniversary of the U.S.’s targeted assassination of Osama bin Laden.

The Biden administration is pursuing a phased denuclearization agreement with North Korea, reports the Washington Post. The decision follows a months-long review of North Korea policy that top national security officials briefed the president on last week. One U.S. official called the planned effort a “careful, modulated diplomatic approach, prepared to offer relief for particular steps.”

Russian police have arrested Ivan Pavlov, one of Alexei Navalny’s lead lawyers, and accused him of making illegal disclosures in an investigation unrelated to Navalny, according to the New York Times.

TikTok has named a new chief executive officer, writes the Wall Street Journal. Shou Zi Chew, chief financial officer of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, will step in as the social media app’s CEO while also continuing in his role as ByteDance CFO.

During an interview with Fox News yesterday, Rudy Guiliani denied any allegations that he had lobbied on behalf of Ukrainian entities, reports Politico. Earlier this week, FBI agents executed a search warrant in Guiliani’s Manhattan apartment as part of a federal investigation that seems to focus on his dealings in Ukraine. Guiliani, who until last year functioned as former President Trump’s president’s personal lawyer, claimed that he “never, ever represented a foreign national,” and stated that his contracts contain a clause that indicates he will not lobby.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Bryce Klehm and Rohini Kurup compiled the national security-relevant portions of Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress.

Michael Kans detailed the national security threat posed by data brokerage and explained how new regulations could ameliorate the problem.

Jen Patja Howell shared this week’s edition of Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth miniseries on the online information ecosystem, featuring Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic’s conversation with Fady Khoury and Rabea Eghbariah about Israel’s “Cyber Unit.”

Lester Munson shared the latest episode of Fault Lines, “Diversity in National Security with Lenora Gant.”

Tia Sewell shared a livestream of the House Budget Committee’s hearing on reasserting Congress’s power of the purse.

Sewell also shared a livestream of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism hearing on the transnational threat of racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism.

And Sewell shared the House Appropriations hearing entitled “Violent Extremism and Domestic Terrorism in America: The Role and Response of DOJ.”

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.