Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Friday, May 27, 2022, 2:41 PM

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A bipartisan group of senators have agreed to talks about gun control proposals in the aftermath of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Texas, reports the Washington Post. The discussions will reportedly be led by Sens. John Cornyn and Chris Murphy and are intended to explore multiple options to potentially restrict access to guns and address acts of mass gun violence. According to Republicans, Democratic propositions to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines are off the table. Rather, Republican negotiators are reportedly leaning toward more reserved proposals of modest expansions of background checks when purchasing a firearm, as well as the implementation of “red flag laws” that would grant law enforcement officials the authority to restrict access to guns from individuals who constitute a potential threat. 

Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have created domestic terrorism offices within federal law enforcement agencies, writes the Hill. Democrats introduced the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act in response to them mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people. The legislation would have established an interagency task force within the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and FBI to assess and respond to white supremacy in the military and federal law enforcement agencies. The final vote in the Senate was 47 to 47, with no Republican senator voting in favor of the legislation. 

The White House is  planning to cancel $10,000 in student debt per borrower, according to the Washington Post. The plan to cancel student debt would apply to Americans making less than $150,000 a year, or less than $300,000 a year for married couples who file for cancellation together. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the cancellations of $10,000 per borrower would cost the U.S. government approximately $230 billion. The White House has yet to make a final decision about whether and how much debt to cancel. 

Turkish forces detained the alleged new leader of the Islamic State in a military raid in Istanbul, reports Bloomberg. Turkish officials reported that anti-terrorism police and intelligence officers in Istabul detained a man they identified as Abu al-Hassan al-Qurayshi. Al-Qurayshi has reportedly been leading the Islamic State since his alleged predecessor was killed in a U.S. military operation in Syria in February. The officials captured al-Qurayshi after conducting extensive police surveillance of a house where he was staying. 

China and Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution to increase sanctions on North Korea, writes CNN. The United States drafted the resolution to strengthen sanctions against North Korea in response to more than a dozen North Korean ballistic missile tests conducted this year in violation of previous U.N. resolutions. Because a Security Council resolution needs nine “yes” votes and no vetoes by permanent members—which include Russia and China—to pass, the resolution was blocked. According to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the recent vetoes from Russia and China mark the first time since 2006 that a U.N. security council member has “used a veto to stop the council from fulfilling its responsibility to hold [North Korea] accountable for its unlawful proliferation.” Greenfield called Russia and China’s vetoes “dangerous” and said they would likely bolster Pyongyang’s potential nuclear capabilities. 

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are being forcibly relocated to economically depressed areas in Russia, according to CNN. Western intelligence suggests that Russian forces have established a systemized program of forced removal of Ukrainians from their home country. Ukrainian civilians are reportedly processed through multiple Russian “filtration camps” in Eastern Ukraine before being forcibly transferred to Russia. While some civilians chose to enter the camps voluntarily to escape the war, others reported that they were detained by Russian forces against their will at check points and bomb shelters in Ukraine. Civilians are reportedly held in filtration camps for approximately three weeks—allegedly in inhumane conditions and subjected to interrogation and sometimes torture—before they are given new documentation and sent to Russia, sometimes thousands of miles from their homes.  

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast that featured a conversation between Evelyn Douek, Quinta Jurecic and Brian Fishman about the response of social media platforms to the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. 

Paul Rosenzweig announced an in-person symposium about cyber conflict and international law at American University Washington College of Law. 

Shayan Karbassi explained U.S. sanctions against Iran. 

David Priess shared an episode of Chatter in which he spoke with Meredith Hindley about the movie “Casablanca,” American and French resistance intelligence operations in French Morocco and more.

Scott R. Anderson and Chimène Keitner discussed the core legal issues that U.S. policymakers need to consider as they weigh whether and how to move forward with seizing any frozen Russia-related assets.

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