Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Friday, June 3, 2022, 3:14 PM

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A federal grand jury has indicted former Trump adviser Peter Navarro for contempt of Congress, reports CNN. The House voted to refer Navarro to the Justice Department after he failed to cooperate with a subpoena sent in February from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Navarro was indicted on two counts of contempt: one for failure to produce documents requested by the committee, and another for failure to testify before the House panel. The former Trump White House adviser claims that he refused to comply with the select committee’s subpoena because the information he would be likely questioned about is protected by executive privilege exerted by former President Donald Trump.

Former Attorney General William Barr appeared before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, writes the Wall Street Journal. Barr reportedly testified in front of the House panel for approximately two hours about his interactions with former President Trump. The committee questioned Barr about Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to work to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Barr is one of the highest-ranking officials from the Trump administration to appear before the select committee. 

President Biden called on lawmakers to pass federal legislation to increase restrictions on guns, according to the New York Times. In an evening address to the nation, Biden urged lawmakers—specifically Republican members of Congress—to pass legislation that would ban assault-style weapons, expand background checks and institute “red flag” laws, which would grant law enforcement officials the authority to restrict access to guns from individuals who constitute a potential threat. Amid a string of mass shootings throughout the country—including the massacres in Texas, New York and Oklahoma—Biden criticized Republican lawmakers who are reluctant to tighten restrictions on access to guns, despite broad support from the American public. “The fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals, even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable. We can’t fail the American people again,” Biden said. 

Russia now controls one-fifth of Ukraine, reports the New York Times. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia has gained control of a significant portion of Ukrainian territory after repeated attacks on the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. Zelenskyy reported that the total swath of Ukrainian territory now controlled by Russian forces is greater than the size of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined. 

African Union chair and Senegalese President Macky Sall met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the spike in food prices in Africa exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine, writes Reuters. According to the United Nations, African countries imported almost half of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine from 2018 to 2020. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the African Development Bank reports a 45 percent increase in wheat prices in Africa, which consequently caused a sharp increase in hunger rates throughout the continent. After their meeting, Sall reported that Putin agreed to enable some exports of Ukrainian grain as well as exports of Russian wheat and fertilizer to lessen the effects of the food crisis. 

Employers in the United States added 390,000 jobs in May, according to the New York Times. In addition to the increase in jobs—which marks the United States’s 17th straight monthly gain in job growth—the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate remained at a low 3.6 percent for a third straight month. Additionally, average hourly earnings for employees rose by 0.3 percent on a monthly basis and increased by 5.2 percent from last year. Job growth this month was led by the leisure and hospitality sector due to a shift in consumer spending toward services such as travel, dining and entertainment and away from material goods. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Evelyn Douek spoke with Colleen Honigsberg about how tech companies conduct audits of their content moderation reporting systems. 

David Priess shared an episode Chatter in which Shane Harris sat down with Jamie Kirchick to discuss the secret history of gays and lesbians in Washington, D.C.

Paul Rosenzweig discussed a more accurate portrayal of public and private ownership critical infrastructure. 

Mitt Regan argued that an appreciation of the effects of targeted drone strikes should guide decisions about whether, when and where to conduct strikes.

Kenneth Propp discussed risks to the future of U.S.-EU negotiations about foreign access to evidence in electronic form.

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