Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Benjamin Pollard
Wednesday, August 3, 2022, 2:35 PM

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) left Taiwan on Wednesday after meeting with Taiwan’s president. Pelosi described her visit as part of the larger fight for the survival of democracy around the world, adding that “America’s determination to preserve democracy here in Taiwan and around the world remains ironclad.” Chinese officials announced that the country intends to conduct fire drills in six areas near Taiwan later this week, which may impact Taiwanese shipping.

The U.S. Treasury and State departments announced additional sanctions on Russian businesses and oligarchs. “The Treasury Department will use every tool at our disposal to make sure that Russian elites and the Kremlin’s enablers are held accountable for their complicity in a war that has cost countless lives,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. Alina Kabaeva, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alleged romantic partner and a member of the Russian Duma, was included on the sanctions list.

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Cipollone is the most senior official from the White House known to have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in connection with the Department of Justice’s Jan. 6 investigation. Former Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Mark Short appeared before the grand jury last month. 

The Director General of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency told the Associated Press that the nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine—the largest in Europe—is “completely out of control.” Rafael Grossi said that the plant is in need of inspection and that spare parts have not reached the facility due to disturbances in supply chains. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that the U.S. officials are worried Russian forces are using the Zaporizhzhia plant as a “nuclear shield” from which to launch attacks on surrounding Ukrainian forces.

The State Department issued a warning on Tuesday that there may be a “higher potential for anti-American violence” following the strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The department’s worldwide said that Americans abroad should “maintain a high level of vigilance” when traveling, given that “terrorist attacks, political violence (including demonstrations), criminal activities, and other security incidents often take place without any warning.” 

Ukrainian officials said the country intends to withdraw its 40 peacekeepers in Kosovo back to Ukraine to assist in its war with Russia. The news was confirmed by a NATO official who said the move would not impact the NATO-run mission in Kosovo.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Jacob Schulz sat down with Robert Gorwa and Susan Landau to discuss a proposal from the European Commission to combat online child sexual abuse and the proposal’s implications.

Raquel Leslie and Brian Liu discussed recent U.S.-China technology policy news, including a $1.2 billion fine of Didi Global by a Chinese regulator for violating cybersecurity laws, the Senate’s passage of a bipartisan bill intended to boost U.S. semiconductor chip production, and more.

Colin P. Clarke and Barak Mendelson evaluated the possibility of an al-Qaeda revival in light of the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Daniel Byman detailed the potential challenges that al-Qaeda’s next leader might face in trying to launch a comeback for the weakened organization.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.