Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Thursday, May 6, 2021, 5:02 PM

India continues to set daily records for new coronavirus infections, with more than 400,000 new cases reported yesterday alone, reports NPR. Dr. Sumit Ray, critical care chief of the Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi, told NPR that the hospital is so overcrowded “[i]t’s nearly impossible to walk sometimes.” And Bloomberg writes that the country’s crisis could worsen still: Some research teams working to model the virus’s trajectory have projected that the death toll could more than double from its current levels. A University of Washington model forecasts 1,018,879 coronavirus-related deaths in India by the end of July.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ukraine’s president yesterday that the U.S. supports the country’s sovereignty against Russia’s aggression, according to the New York Times. Blinken also warned that the country’s “internal forces,” such as corruption in the county’s political system, also present a threat. And Blinken addressed the Kremlin’s “significant forces” on Ukraine’s border, stating that the U.S. was “watching this very, very carefully.”

Youtube has emerged as former President Trump’s best chance to return to a prominent social media platform in the near future, writes the Wall Street Journal. After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Twitter banned Trump permanently and Facebook suspended his account indefinitely. The Facebook Oversight Board kicked the Trump ban back to the company in yesterday’s ruling, meaning that Facebook now has six months to determine the former president’s fate on its platform. YouTube also suspended Trump’s channel, but the platform’s CEO has stated that YouTube would lift its ban when it determines the risk of violence associated with Trump’s channel has decreased.

The Pentagon has announced that it is tracking a 22-ton Chinese rocket that is out of control and expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere “around May 8,” reports CNN. The rocket’s entry point cannot be determined at this time, but U.S. Space Command officials are tracking its trajectory and will provide daily updates on the rocket’s location. Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard, said that the situation does not pose a large threat: “The risk that there will be some damage or that it would hit someone is pretty small—not negligible, it could happen—but the risk that it will hit you is incredibly tiny,” McDowell stated.

The Department of Justice has expressed concern about ballot security and potential voter intimidation in Arizona, according to Politico. The Arizona State Senate is holding a private recount of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County, an unprecedented initiative that the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division warned may violate federal law. The state outsourced a recount of the county’s ballots to a contractor, but federal law dictates that ballots must remain in the control of election officials for 22 months. 

A new YouGov poll shows that about two-thirds of U.S. adults support withdrawing troops from Afghanistan by September, writes the Hill. When the poll looked specifically at military members and veterans responses, the numbers were similar: 38 percent of service members said they strongly support the withdrawal and 30 percent said they somewhat support it.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Evelyn Douek discussed the Oversight Board’s decision to uphold Facebook’s suspension of Trump and examined the decision’s implications for both the company and the board moving forward.

Quinta Jurecic shared the documents for the Facebook Oversight Board’s ruling on the Trump ban case.

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode of Rational Security, the “Definitely not Indefinitely Suspended” edition.

Howell also shared yesterday’s episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Quinta Jurecic sat down with Benjamin Wittes and Jacob Schulz to discuss the federal investigation of Rudy Giuliani.

Abby Lemert and Eleanor Runde analyzed the latest in U.S.-China technology policy and national security news in this week’s edition of SinoTech.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk entitled “China’s Anti-Monopoly Moment.”

Tia Sewell posted a livestream of the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs hearing on creating a framework for rules-based order in space.

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.