Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Benjamin Pollard
Thursday, July 21, 2022, 3:38 PM

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President Biden has tested positive for coronavirus. Biden, who is fully vaccinated and has received both boosters, is experiencing “mild symptoms” and is taking the antiviral Paxloid. According to administration officials, he will continue to “carry out the full duties of the office while in isolation” in the White House.

The Biden administration has launched an investigation into Huawei, reports Reuters. The Commerce Department probe stems from concerns that technology from the Chinese telecoms maker, used in U.S. cell towers, could allow the company to gain access data from missile silos and military bases, according to an anonymous source cited by Reuters. The agency began its investigation early last year and subpoenaed Huawei in April 2021 for information on the organization’s data sharing policy.

Pentagon officials are advising against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s purported visit to Taiwan later this summer, according to President Biden. When asked, Biden said that the U.S. military believes Pelosi’s planned August trip is “not a good idea right now.” The visit has not been confirmed by Pelosi, her office, nor the State Department.

CIA Director William J. Burns said that 15,000 Russian soldiers have died and 45,000 others have been injured while fighting in Ukraine. Burns also added at a security conference in Aspen that U.S. intelligence indicates that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not ill, as some rumors have suggested. Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Russian forces have struggled to advance territorially in Ukraine, seizing only 10 miles in the last 90 days of fighting.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigned after his government coalition collapsed. President Sergio Mattarella dissolved the houses of parliament and asked the prime minister to stay in office until elections are held in the fall, likely on Sept. 18 or 25. Draghi’s resignation comes amid rising inflation and economic uncertainty in the country.

Russia has restarted gas transport from the Nord Stream 1 connecting Russia and Germany. The move has alleviated European fears that Putin would attempt to use his country’s gas supplies to influence Western countries amid the war in Ukraine. Despite the news, German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said Germany must be ready for a future where the country no longer relies on Russia for energy.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Jacob Schulz sat down with Ryan Scoville to discuss how subnational diplomacy has allowed China to acquire advanced U.S. technology.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security in which Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, and Alan Rozenshtein sat down to discuss the week’s big national security news.

Benjamin Wittes argued, in conversation with Jurecic and Natalie Orpett, that criticism against the Justice Department for not more aggressively investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack fails to recognize that sizable federal investigations are lengthy processes and that the department’s actions so far indicate prosecutors are seriously and methodically building their case from the bottom-up.

Jurecic and Orpett, in conversation with Wittes, argued that the Justice Department is too narrowly conceptualizing its responsibilities and, as such, is failing to do enough to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.

Rohini Kurup and Jonathan Shaub discussed a recent filing from the Justice Department which they argue offers clues about why Peter Navarro faces prosecution for contempt of Congress while Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino do not.

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