Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Wednesday, July 21, 2021, 3:05 PM

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rejected two of the five representatives nominated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to a select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, reports The Hill. Pelosi, who has the final say in the membership of the committee, indicated that she is prepared to admit Reps. Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls. In a statement, she expressed concerns over the impact of Reps. Jim Banks and Jim Jordan “on the integrity of the investigation” because of “statements made and actions taken” by the two representatives. Pelosi requested that McCarthy appoint two other members in their stead. McCarthy responded by pulling all five of his nominations to the select committee, unless Pelosi reverses her decision to reject Banks and Jordan, according to the Hill. 

Floods in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou and the surrounding region have killed 25 people and displaced more than 1.2 million, according to the Washington Post. More than 17,000 firefighters were mobilized for rescue missions, and authorities breached a dam in Luoyang to release pressure from the flooded areas. President Xi Jinping issued a statement urging authorities to prioritize public safety as almost a year’s worth of rain fell in Zhengzhou in a single day. The city is a major transportation hub, and the surrounding region is part of the country’s breadbasket.

Visitors to cultural venues, including theaters, museums and sporting events, in France must verify that they are vaccinated with a health pass, reports Deutsche Welle. Though the announcement of the policy triggered protests in France, three million people registered for vaccinations within days of the new rule being announced. The health pass will be required in restaurants, cafes and malls beginning Aug. 1 and French lawmakers will vote on the expansion of the pass to other public spaces. 

A group of migrant hunger-strikers in Belgium suspended their protest upon reaching an agreement with Belgium’s coalition government, which had been divided over the issue, according to Politico. Sammy Mahdy, Belgium’s secretary of state for asylum and migration, confirmed news of the deal, but neither the hunger-strikers nor the government have clarified its exact terms. The migrants, who were protesting for formal residency status, will halt their protest to see if the Belgian government will fulfil its end of the deal. 

Canada announced it will open its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents on Aug. 9, according to the Washington Post. The decision comes after months of criticism from American lawmakers and business leaders across the political spectrum that the restrictions on the U.S.-Canada border were too cautious, separating families and communities and dealing a blow to the tourism sector. To enter Canada, American travelers must be asymptomatic and present a negative coronavirus molecular test completed within 72 hours of flight departure or arrival at a checkpoint.

President Biden nominated Jonathan Kanter, an experienced antitrust lawyer, to be the top antitrust official at the Department of Justice, writes the New York Times. Kanter is a longtime critic of Silicon Valley and has represented opponents of Google and Facebook in court. If confirmed, Kanter will lead a division of the department overseeing a lawsuit against Google and an investigation into Apple’s business practices.

The head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee, Toshiro Muto, said he has not ruled out the possibility of cancelling the games, according to the BBC. More than 70 people associated with the event have tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the opening ceremony set for July 23. Muto’s comments come after the International Olympics Committee president claimed cancellation was “never an option.” The committee already banned spectators from the games, and Muto said the group would continue to monitor infection rates and hold “discussions” accordingly.

Four people have died during protests over water shortages in the Iranian border province of Khuzestan, reports Al Jazeera. State media are reporting one police officer and three civilians dead, and officials say 14 officers have been injured. Authorities say the young men killed were not protestors and were killed by “opportunists and rioters.” The province has faced water shortages for decades, but hot temperatures and droughts made this year especially difficult. Officials acknowledged the shortages but blamed the scale of the violence on separatist groups and foreign media.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes talks to Matt Tait, chief operating officer of Corellium, and Dmitri Alperovitch, founder of the Silverado Policy Accelerator and former chief technology officer of CrowdStrike, about the latest news in cybersecurity.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast which covers President Biden’s response to the Microsoft ransomware attack, the Israel firm that collected private phone numbers and more.

Justin Sherman explained the U.S. policy toward Huawei during the Biden administration.

Christiana Wayne announced this week’s episode of Lawfare Live in which Quinta Jurecic, senior editor at Lawfare, will give a live presentation on the prospects for reform of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Bob Bauer reviewed Elie Honig’s new book, “Hatchet Man,” about former Attorney General Bill Barr.

Bryce Klehm posted the Justice Department’s indictment of Thomas Barrack, a former advisor to the 2016 Trump Campaign, on charges of acting as an agent of a foreign government.

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