Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Matt Gluck, Katherine Pompilio, Tia Sewell
Thursday, July 14, 2022, 1:46 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham filed a motion in federal court seeking to quash a grand jury subpoena compelling his testimony in the Fulton County district attorney’s probe into former President Trump’s attempt to alter the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results. Graham’s motion asserts that the district attorney cannot compel his testimony on the grounds that in the senator’s discussions with state officials, Graham was operating in his capacity as a lawmaker. Graham and his lawyers contend that the Constitution precludes compelling testimony from a member of Congress if that testimony relates to official legislative conduct. 

The Justice Department asked the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol for access to evidence about former President Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. According to House select committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Justice Department has requested that the committee share its transcripts of interviews conducted with individuals who allegedly served as fraudulent electors in Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election. Thompson also reported that the committee is working with Justice Department officials to negotiate “how that information will be viewed.”

Former President Trump attempted to contact a member of Trump White House support staff who is in communication with the House select committee about testifying. Trump reportedly tried to call the staff member shortly after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson publicly testified before the committee last month. CNN reports that the support staffer could potentially verify parts of Hutchinson’s testimony.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned on Thursday amid a civilian revolt over the country’s economic devastation. The president’s resignation ends the Rajapaksa family’s decades-long rule of Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka early Wednesday morning and is currently located in Singapore, but he did not issue his letter of resignation until today. After the official resignation, protestors withdrew from three government buildings on Thursday, following the death of one demonstrator on Wednesday as a result of violent fighting with security forces. 

A Russian rocket attack targeting an office building near the center of Vinnytsia, Ukraine, killed at least 21 people this morning. The attack did not appear to have a direct military objective, making it the latest of Russia’s strikes to be executed in apparent violation of the law of armed conflict. “Every day, Russia destroys the civilian population, kills Ukrainian children, directs rockets at civilian objects,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said. “What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?”

Russian and Ukrainian delegates joined U.N. diplomats in Turkey yesterday to discuss resuming grain exports from Ukraine’s blockaded ports along the Black Sea. The talks amounted to “a critical step forward,” according to the U.N. secretary general. The talks come amid a global food emergency, as Ukraine—which is known as Europe’s “breadbasket”—has been unable to export approximately millions of tons of grain.

Proofpoint, a cybersecurity research company, claims to have observed five separate phishing campaigns in January and February 2021 that were perpetrated by the China-backed advanced persistent threat group TA412. The attacks targeted U.S. journalists covering politics and national security. The researchers highlighted a “very abrupt shift in targeting of reconnaissance phishing” in the days preceding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol—during which the hacking group directed its attacks specifically towards Washington D.C. and White House correspondents.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Colin P. Clarke and Joseph C. Shelzi discussed the threat posed by “DIY” weapons as highlighted by the assassination of Shinzo Abe. 

Matthew Tokson and Paul Ohm argued that the emerging three-factor Carpenter test should become the primary standard for Fourth Amendment searches, rather than the Katz test. 

Elena Kagan shared an episode of Lawfare No Bull that featured audio from the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol’s seventh public hearing. 

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