Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Friday, June 11, 2021, 1:06 PM

Justice Department prosecutors subpoenaed Apple for the records of at least a dozen people with ties to the House Intelligence Committee, including Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell, reports the New York Times. The Justice Department seized Apple data in 2017 and 2018, intending to unmask media contacts for reports on communication between Trump associates and Russia. Prosecutors also placed a gag order on Apple, which expired this year, allowing the tech company to alert subjects of the investigation last month. Though the records of legislators, aides and family members first seized under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not evince leaks from the committee to the media, William  Barr sought to resuscitate and maintain the investigation during his tenure as attorney general. In response,, top Congressional Democrats called for an investigation of the Trump administration's investigation tactics, with Senate Democrats considering a subpoena of Sessions and Barr to compel them to testify if they do not do so voluntarily, writes the Washington Post. 

Six men, including four members of the Three Percenters movement, were arrested and charged with conspiracy in the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol, reports the Washington Post. These indictments add the Three Percenters to the list of right-wing extremist groups involved in the attempt to thwart Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Although only one defendant allegedly entered the Capitol building, all six were charged with felony counts of conspiracy and aiding and abetting obstruction of a joint session of Congress.

An Amnesty International report said the Chinese government is committing crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, the province that is home to the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, according to the BBC. The 160-page report based on interviews with 55 detainees accused the Chinese government of “imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; torture; and persecution.” Agnès Callamard, the secretary general of Amnesty International, called the scene "a dystopian hellscape on a staggering scale” and called on the United Nations to investigate, accusing Secretary General António Guterres of “failing to act according to his mandate.”

Moscow plans to furnish Tehran with a satellite system that would expand its spying and military reconnaissance abilities, writes the Washington Post. The Russian-made Kanopus-V satellite, which Iran could launch within months, is a high-resolution system that would refine Iran’s targeting and monitoring of military targets. Officials and experts expressed concern that the use of the satellite could make Iran’s arsenal of missiles and drones more precise and that the satellite imagery could be provided to groups with Iranian ties, such as Houthi rebels in Yemen or Hezbollah in Lebanon. With President Biden set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week, news of the sale has the potential to become a sticking point. 

The G-7 summit began on Friday with pandemic recovery and vaccinations taking center stage during the discussions among world leaders, reports the Associated Press. Of the countries present, only France has begun global vaccine distribution through the COVAX scheme, though Germany, the United Kingdom and the U.S. have each announced their own commitments to deliver vaccines to developing countries. The G-7 countries are also planning to discuss climate change and a global minimum tax on corporations. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Benjamin Wittes shared his thoughts on recent Republican attacks on Lawfare’s former executive editor, Susan Hennessey, following her appointment to a position in the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Rohini Kurup discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to hear United States v. Abu Zubaydah, a case which considers whether a Guantanamo Bay detainee can obtain information about his treatment while in CIA custody.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast’s Arbiters of Truth series in which Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic interviewed Managing Editor Jacob Schulz and Evelyn Douek about Facebook’s decision to ban former-President Trump for at least two years and what it means for the future of the Facebook Oversight Board.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk in which he interviews independent researcher Ben Reinhardt about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. research ecosystem and more.

Schulz explained what Facebook’s response to the Facebook Oversight Board’s decision regarding former-President Trump’s account means for Twitter.

Christiana Wayne shared the Interior Department’s inspector general’s report on the June 1, 2020 clearing of demonstrators from Lafayette Park by the U.S. Park Police, which found no evidence that the clearing was motivated by a photo opportunity for former President Trump at St. John’s Episcopal Church. 

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