Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Thursday, February 10, 2022, 3:24 PM

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After the 2020 presidential election, Rudolph Giuliani and other Trump allies asked a Republican prosecutor in Michigan to take his county’s voting machines and give them to the Trump team, reports the Washington Post. Antrim County prosecutor James Rossiter reported that Giuliani and other Trump legal advisers contacted him via telephone to make the request after the county initially misreported election results. Inaccurate tallies in the strong Republican county made it appear as if Joe Biden beat Trump by 3,000 votes. The misreporting of the results reportedly placed the county at the forefront of Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen. Rossiter said in an interview that he declined the request and that, “I can’t just say: give them here. We don’t have that magical power to just demand things as prosecutors. You need probable cause.”

The National Archives and Records Administration allegedly discovered classified information in documents improperly removed from the White House by former President Trump, writes the New York Times. The discovery of classified information in the 15 boxes of documents taken by Trump prompted the National Archives to contact the Justice Department. The Justice Department then recommended that the National Archives have its inspector general investigate the issue. In addition to the classified documents, the National Archives also asked the Justice Department to examine Trump’s handling of White House records. 

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol subpoenaed Peter Navarro, according to the Hill. Navarro was a trade adviser to Trump and is suspected to have been involved in plans to delay the certification of the 2020 presidential election. The committee cited passages from Navarro’s own book in the subpoena as evidence of his involvement in plans to disrupt the election’s certification. The subpoena reads, “You, then a White House trade advisor, reportedly worked with Steve Bannon and others to develop and implement a plan to delay Congress’s certification of, and ultimately change the outcome of, the November 2020 election … In your book you reportedly described this plan as the ‘Green Bay Sweep’ and stated that it was designed as ‘the last best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit.”

The Jan. 6 select committee found gaps in White House telephone logs on the day of the attack on the Capitol, writes Reuters. Despite confirmed reports that he made multiple phone calls, investigators found only a few records of calls made by Trump during the hours of the attack. The committee has not yet found evidence to support claims that any official records were tampered with or deleted. 

A New York Times review found that in recent years an increasing number of Americans issued concrete threats of violence against members of Congress. The New York Times reviewed over 75 indictments of people charged with threatening lawmakers since 2016. The review suggested that the growing number of threats—particularly since the beginning of the Trump presidency—indicate that Americans are taking their political and ideological grievances to “a new level.” Most threats were reportedly motivated by deep partisan divisions and a media landscape that fuels resentment. Examples of threats include a phone call to Rep. Rodney Davis from a man claiming to be a sharpshooter who wanted to blow the congressman’s head off, and a racially charged voicemail filled with expletives to Rep. Maxine Waters in which the person on the phone threatened to end her life. 

The U.S. Senate passed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harrassment Act, one of the largest workplace reforms in decades, reports CNN. The bipartisan legislation was approved in the Senate by a voice vote after it was passed in the House 335-97. The legislation ends the use of forced arbitration clauses for sexual misconduct claims and now allows victims to bring up the dispute in federal, tribal or state court. 

The Russian and British foreign ministers met in Moscow on Thursday to engage in diplomatic talks about Russia’s military aggression toward Ukraine, according to the Financial Times. The two-hour meeting did not appear to go well, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described speaking with his British counterpart as “disappointing” and “a dialogue of a mute person with a deaf person.” Lavrov also reported that Russia’s buildup of troops around Ukraine posed no real threat and that Moscow’s security demands have been ignored by the West. Additionally, U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss disputed Lavrov’s claims that NATO’s more recent expansion eastward posed a threat to Russia. Truss said, “No one is undermining Russia’s security. That is simply not true.”

Uganda was ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to pay $325 million to the Democratic Republic of Congo for its role in the country’s conflict, writes BBC News. The ICJ found that Uganda violated international norms between 1998 and 2003 as an occupying force, and was responsible for the deaths of 10-15,000 individuals. Ugandan troops were also found responsible for the looting of gold, diamonds and timber. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode from the Lawfare Podcast in which Jacob Schulz and Hayley Evans discussed the phenomenon of universal jurisdiction cases. 

Evans also published an overview of recent developments involving universal jurisdiction that sheds light on certain patterns that may have begun to emerge. 

Tanner Larkin and Andrew Nell explored the authority of a congressional committee to issue a subpoena to a sitting member of Congress—and the potential to have that subpoena enforced if the recipient defies it.

Steven M. Bellovin, Adam Shostack and Tarah Wheeler discussed ten questions they hope the Cyber Safety Review board answers and three they think it should ignore.  

Katherine Pompilio announced this week’s Lawfare Live which will feature Julian Ku and Victor Cha to discuss the controversy surrounding the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and related policy questions.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security. This week, Alan Rozenshtein, Quinta Jurecic and Scott R. Anderson were joined by Stephanie Carvin and talked through this week’s national security news. They discussed the recent protests in Ottawa and the former President Trump’s habitual tearing up of official records that are supposed to be protected by federal laws. 

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