Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 1:55 PM

The Biden administration has announced it will distribute 400 million free, nonsurgical N95 masks to community health centers and retail pharmacies across the U.S., says the New York Times. Officials say the administration’s plan will be “largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history.” The White House released a statement reporting that the government would begin shipping N95 masks to health centers and pharmacies as soon as the end of this week, and that the masks would be available by the end of next week. 

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed Rudolph Giuliani, Sidney Powell and other members of former President Trump’s legal team, reports the New York Times. A statement issued by the committee said that the four people subpoenaed “advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results or were in direct contact with the former president about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes.” The subpoena issued to Giuliani requests an interview and all documents detailing his and other Trump allies’ “pressure campaign” to local, state and federal officials to overturn the election. 

The select committee has also subpoenaed and obtained phone records associated with Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, former Trump advisor and fianceé to Donald Trump Jr., writes the Hill. These subpoenas are reportedly the first issued by the Jan. 6 committee that target members of the Trump family. The phone records obtained by the committee include incoming and outgoing calls, the dates and times they were made, and the duration of each phone call. Both Eric Trump and Guilfoyle are connected to the Trump campaign’s “Stop the Steal” efforts, and both spoke at the Trump rally that directly preceded the attack on the Capitol.

The National Archives is planning to release Trump-era White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to Politico. In a court filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department revealed that the National Archives will turn over four pages of Trump White House records to the committee. Former President Trump has requested that the Supreme Court block the handover of these records and other documents. The Supreme Court has not yet acted on Trump’s request. 

The New York attorney general’s office has found evidence that suggests former President Trump and the Trump Organization falsely valued assets to obtain loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions, says the Wall Street Journal. The evidence was revealed in court papers asking former President Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. to comply with civil subpoenas for a fraud investigation. The New York attorney general reported that, “thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.” The N.Y. attorney general’s office has not yet decided whether to take legal action but reported that the grounds for the investigation were “self evident.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukranian President Volodymr Zelensky and Ukraine’s foreign minister before a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister on Friday, according to the New York Times. Prior to the meeting, Blinken spoke at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine. Bliken warned that Russia could attack Ukraine on “very short notice” and that there would be “confrontation and consequences for Russia” if it does. The statements from Blinken come amidst the buildup of Russian military assets along the Ukrainian border. 

AT&T and Verizon have announced they are limiting C-band 5G expansion around airports following the release of a letter from air carrier CEOs pleading for the Biden administration to take action against the new generation 5G services, writes the Verge. Airlines warned that the expansion of C-Band 5G services could cause “catastrophic disruption” to travel and shipping. AT&T and Verizon both already have an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to create buffer zones around 50 U.S. airports. However, since the release of the letter, both cellular carriers have announced they are halting the rollout of additional 5G towers. Both companies are frustrated by the limited rollout and by the FAA’s apparent “inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services.” 

Houthi militants in Yemen fired advanced missiles and drones to target the United Arab Emirates, reports the Wall Street Journal. The strike is the most visible display of the military advancements made by the militia to date. The Iran-backed Houthis have targeted the U.A.E. before, however this is the first time the country has officially acknowledged an attack by the militia. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Quinta Jurecic spoke with Mike Stern, a former senior counsel to the House of Representatives, and Lawfare senior editor and Brookings Senior Fellow Molly Reynolds about questions of law and norms raised by the latest turns in the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation: What happens when Congress investigates itself?

Maggie Smith explored how vulnerabilities in public data supply chains have the potential to impact the information available to decision-makers in times of national and international crises and normal operations.

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