Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 4:11 PM

The United States will narrowly miss President Biden’s July 4 vaccination goal, reports the Washington Post. The president aimed for 70 percent of adults to be vaccinated by the holiday weekend, but the White House conceded that the slow rates of young adults between ages 18 and 26 are holding back the effort. White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients announced a new goal: 70 percent of adults ages 27 and up receiving at least one shot by July 4. Zients also said the U.S. would need “an extra few weeks” to ensure 160 million Americans are fully vaccinated, another goal President Biden had set for July 4.

Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed concern about proposed legislation that would change the way the U.S. military prosecutes sexual assault and other serious crimes, reports the Wall Street Journal. In a letter to Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the military leaders argued that prosecuting serious crimes outside of the normal chain of command would undermine military leadership and erode existing prevention efforts of those crimes. The Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, has the support of two-thirds of the Senate.

Sen. Joe Manchin will join the rest of the Senate Democrats in supporting the For the People Act, reports CNN. His support comes in advance of a vote expected later on Tuesday to open debate on the bill. Republicans, however, remain unified against the sweeping election reform legislation even with Manchin’s suggested modifications intended for bipartisan compromise, presenting the proposed measures as Democrats working to fix elections in their favor. Without any Republican support, Tuesday’s vote will most likely fail to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid a filibuster.

A federal judge granted several motions to dismiss a case related to last year’s clearing of Lafayette Square, writes the Washington Post. The overlapping suits brought before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia were filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Black Lives Matter and others. Judge Dabney Friedrich’s opinion established that federal officials, including former President Donald Trump and former Attorney General William Barr, could not be sued for damages in relation to the incident. However, the court did not reject First Amendment claims against Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia law enforcement agencies and officials that dispersed protesters in Lafayette Square last June. It also refused to dismiss claims seeking injunctive relief for restrictions on access to Lafayette Square.

United Nations special envoy Deborah Lyons told the Security Council she is concerned by Taliban gains in Afghanistan as the United States withdraws from the nation, according to the BBC. Insurgent fighters have regained control of more than 50 of 370 districts since May. Local media report that the group has also seized military equipment and killed, wounded or captured dozens of Afghan troops. U.S. and NATO forces are still aiming for complete withdrawal of troops by September 11.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast which covers the history and future of NATO with Stephen Wertheim, a historian and director of the Grand Strategy Program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and Sara Moller, an assistant professor in international security at Seton Hall University.

John Bowers and Jonathan Zittrain discussed the dangers of a centralized internet architecture.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk in which cybersecurity expert Dave Aitel talks about blindspots in the cybersecurity field, China’s cyber capabilities relative to the U.S. and more.

Mark Niles explained the Justice Department’s recent decision to continue former-President Trump’s defense in the defamation lawsuit brought against him by E. Jean Carroll.

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