Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Thursday, March 10, 2022, 12:52 PM

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Defense Department officials suspect that Russian forces are dropping “dumb bombs” on and around multiple cities throughout Ukraine, reports the Hill. Dumb bombs are reportedly a type of explosive that are known to be imprecise and therefore cannot accurately hit designated targets. The Pentagon reports that the Russian use of dumb bombs—in addition to other explosives and missiles—is “increasing damage to civilian infrastructure and civilian casualties.”

The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met on Thursday to discuss a potential ceasefire but could not come to an agreement, writes Reuters. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reported that he met with his Russian counterpart to negotiate a 24-hour ceasefire across the combat zone, and to also work to open a humanitarian corridor out of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol for refugees. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov refused to accept either of Ukraine’s requested provisions, and instead reminded Kuleba of Russia's demands to see what he called a “friendly, demilitarized Ukraine.” The meeting between the two foreign ministers was the highest-level contact between Russia and Ukraine since the invasion began on Feb. 24. 

Vice President Kamala Harris met with the Polish president to reinforce U.S.-Poland diplomatic cooperation in supporting Ukraine against Russia, according to CNN. After a skirmish between the two countries over how to arm Ukraine with fighter jets, Harris met with Polish President Andrzej Duda to publicly establish a joint commitment to helping Ukraine. During a news conference with the two leaders, Harris said “I want to be very clear. The United States and Poland are united in what we have done and are prepared to help Ukraine and the people of Ukraine, full stop.” 

China’s censors are reportedly blocking and silencing material posted to social media platforms in support of Ukraine in its war against Russia, reports Reuters. The Chinese censors allegedly determine what can and cannot be posted and discussed on various Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo, WeChat and Douyin. Comments on these platforms that criticize and  challenge Russia and its invasion, or even widely advocate for peace in Eastern Europe are reportedly automatically deleted from view on the sites. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved $1.4 billion in emergency funding to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, writes BBC News. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that the funds are meant to address Ukraine’s military spending needs and also lessen the economic impact of the war on the Ukrainian people. Georgieva said, “The tragic loss of life, huge refugee flows, and immense destruction of infrastructure and productive capacity is causing severe human suffering and will lead to a deep recession this year. Financing needs are large, urgent, and could rise significantly as the war continues.”

The House approved the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which expired in 2019, according to the New York Times. The renewed legislation reportedly works to protect women by helping to prevent violence, sexual assault and stalking. The bill expands protections for victims of these crimes. The measure provides additional resources and training programs for law enforcement officers, widens access to legal services for victims and provides funding for rape crisis centers. The measure to reauthorize the legislation was included in a $1.5 billion spending package approved by the House on Wednesday. 

The Republican National Committee (RNC) filed suit to block a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, reports the Wall Street Journal. The select committee subpoenaed records from Salesforce.com Inc—a marketing platform used by the Republican party to communicate with donors. The House panel reportedly believes that information held by Salesforce could provide evidence that the RNC solicited donations by promoting false claims questioning the validity of the 2020 election, which contributed to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The RNC claims that the subpoena issued by the House panel violates the committee’s constitutional rights, and “demands production of sensitive and proprietary data over more than a two-month period, which would give the Select Committee unprecedented access to the RNC’s internal political strategies and to private, personal information regarding its supporters.”

The Transportation Security Administration announced it will extend the federal public transportation mask mandate for an additional 30 days, writes CNN. The mandate—originally set to expire next week—requires that Americans wear masks in mass transportation hubs and on public transportation such as planes, trains and buses. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which David Priess sat down with Garrett Graff to discuss the Watergate scandal. They discussed the evolution of Nixon's thinking involving the tapes that he recorded of his White House conversations, the order that the Secretary of Defense gave during the height of the scandal to warn soldiers about following the commander-in-chief's orders, and more.

Mary Brooks and Paul Rosenzweig announced the White Hat Cyber Forecasting Challenge. 

Katherine Pompilio posted the criminal complaint that charged a Russian-American woman with acting illegally as a Russian agent in the U.S. for at least 10 years.

Pompilio also announced next week’s Lawfare Live in which Scott R. Anderson will answer questions about everything you wanted to know about sanctions but were afraid to ask. 

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security in which Alan Rozenshtein, Quinta Jurecic and Anderson discussed a new filing by the Jan. 6 committee and support the U.S. and its allies should provide to the Ukrainian government. 

Alvaro Marañon posted President Biden’s executive order on ensuring responsible development of digital assets. 

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