Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Benjamin Pollard
Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 1:35 PM

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The House Jan. 6 committee held its fourth day of hearings, which focused on former President Trump’s efforts to pressure state officials to overturn the 2020 election, reports CBS News. The hearing detailed threats election officials, workers, and their families received following the election. The committee also presented texts between a Senate staff member and an aide to former Vice President Mike Pence discussing an attempt to provide Pence with an alternative slate of electors from Michigan and Wisconsin.

Senate Republicans and Democrats released a bipartisan gun safety bill, according to CNN. The legislation includes $750 million for crisis intervention programs, and allocates funding for school security and mental health programs. The bill also incentivizes states to conduct more extensive reviews of prospective gun buyers ages 18-21 with grants, creates new federal statutes against people buying guns for others who cannot legally purchase a firearm, and targets gun sellers who have previously evaded registering as Federally Licensed Firearm Dealers.

An earthquake in Afghanistan has killed at least 1,000 people and injured 1,500, according to recent figures from a Taliban official, writes the BBC. The 6.1 magnitude earthquake, which occurred in the country’s eastern region, is the deadliest to hit the country in two decades. The death toll is reportedly expected to rise further as communication is restored in the aftermath of the disaster.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the creation of a War Crimes Accountability Team following a meeting with Ukraine’s prosecutor general during a trip to Ukraine, reports the New York Times. Eli Rosenbaum, former director of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, will lead the team investigating Russian war crimes.

Reporters without Borders reports that a Ukrainian journalist and soldier were “coldly executed” at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, writes AP News. The organization’s investigators reportedly found the bodies of journalist Maks Levin and soldier Oleksiy Chernyshov in Russian-occupied woods in Ukraine in April. A Ukrainian team investigating the site found Russian positions nearby, bullets buried in the soil close to the bodies, and a container of gasoline near where Chernyshov’s burned body was discovered.

Kim Jong Un called a meeting with military leaders to discuss North Korea’s national defense amid recent ballistic missile testing, according to AP News. Expanding the country’s military armaments is reportedly a central task of the Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission. The military meeting follows a major political party meeting that occurred early this month in which the North Korean leader called for a continued arms buildup.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes sat down with Asfandyar Mir and Daniel Byman to discuss the current position of al-Qaeda in the world.

Steve Bunnell reviewed James E. Baker’s “The Centaur’s Dilemma: National Security Law for the Coming AI Revolution” (Brookings Institution, 2020).

Daniel Richman discussed the role that the doctrine of willful blindness might have in proving Trump’s criminal liability if a case were brought against the former president for his actions connected to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an episode of the National Security Law Podcast in which they discussed the latest Jan. 6 conspiracy indictment, the Navarro contempt of Congress charge, the lawsuits challenging the Texas and Florida social media content-moderation laws, and more.

Benjamin Pollard shared a livestream of day four of the Jan. 6 select committee hearings.

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