Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Thursday, May 5, 2022, 2:57 PM

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Senior defense officials report that the U.S. has provided intelligence about Russian forces to Ukraine that has helped Ukrainian forces target and kill Russian generals throughout the invasion, writes the New York Times. The U.S. reportedly sent Ukrainian military officials classified intelligence about anticipated Russian troop movements on the battlefield and about the location of the Russian military’s mobile headquarters. The Ukrainian military used this information in conjunction with their own intelligence—such as intercepted communications between Russian officers—to carry out artillery strikes and other attacks that killed Russian officers. Ukrainian military officials report that they have killed approximately 12 Russian generals on the front lines. 

Heavy fighting is underway at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, according to the Washington Post. Russian troops have reportedly infiltrated the grounds of the facility and are using weapons such as tanks and bombs to attack Ukrainian forces and hundreds of civilians taking shelter in the plant. Mariupol’s mayor reported that Ukrainian military officials had lost contact with their troops inside the besieged plant, and have “no connection to understand what is happening, [and] whether or not they are safe.” 

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes allegedly attempted to speak with then-President Trump on the evening of Jan. 6, 2021, and urged an intermediary to tell Trump to utilize militia groups to halt the peaceful transfer of presidential power, reports NBC News. Oath Keepers member William Todd Wilson—who recently pleaded guilty to charges of seditious conspiracy and obstructing an official proceeding in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol—testified in federal court that he witnessed Rhodes call an unidentified Trump intermediary on the evening of Jan. 6. Rhodes was reportedly denied the opportunity to speak directly with Trump but, according to Wilson, repeatedly implored the individual on the other line to “tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose a transfer of power.” 

Newly released audio reveals that House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy spoke with Republican leadership about the 25th Amendment in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and expressed a desire to speak with then-President-Elect Biden, writes CNN. According to the phone-call audio, McCarthy reacted to efforts by House Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office by saying that it would “take too long.” In the same phone call McCarthy also said that he wanted to speak with Biden to express “hope for a smooth transition” into his administration in the days following the attack on the Capitol. 

The leader of a Haitian gang allegedly responsible for mass kidnappings was charged by U.S. authorities on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post. According to a 28-count indictment by the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, Germine Joly—leader of the 400 Mawozo gang—allegedly violated U.S. export laws by participating in a criminal conspiracy to smuggle firearms and munitions to the gang in Haiti. Joly was charged with conspiracy to violate export control laws, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and money laundering, among other charges. 

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged at least 1,100 points today, reports the Washington Post. Economists suspect that the drop in the average is likely related to the Federal Reserve’s recent announcement that it would raise interest rates by a half percentage point to counter rising rates of inflation. Risk-averse investors reportedly “backed off” of cryptocurrency stock—such as Bitcoin and Ethereum—which caused the value of each to drop more than 7 percent. Tech investors also backtracked on investments in stocks that powered many of the Dow’s indexes such as Apple, Google and Amazon—all of which dropped by multiple percentage points.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes sat down with Catarina Buchatskiy to talk about The Shadows Project, preservation of artifacts in the middle of the war in Ukraine and about what it means to be a Ukrainian nationalist as a young person in 2022.

Albert W. Alschuler argued that the House should fine Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino if it wants their testimony before the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

Andrew Hayashi argued that Congress needs to rethink tax law to avoid overreliance on tools such as financial sanctions, export controls and tariffs. 

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of Rational Security in which Alan Rozenshtein, Quinta Jurecic and Scott R. Anderson talked about the week’s big national security news including: a newly published New York Times report that documents how Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show makes unprecedented use of racist rhetoric and partisan fear-mongering and Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear war. 

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