Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Benjamin Pollard
Thursday, August 25, 2022, 4:57 PM

Subscribe to receive this newsletter directly to your inbox.

The Justice Department must release the redacted version of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit that they submitted Thursday. In his decision, Judge Bruce E. Reinhart said that he reviewed the proposed redactions which he concluded were narrowly tailored to serve the government’s legitimate interest in the integrity of the ongoing investigation.” The department has until noon Friday to submit the redacted affidavit.

The Department of Justice released a memo from 2019 which argued that President Donald Trump should not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice for his conduct during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The memo, written by then-Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel and then-Principal Associate Deputy General Edward O’Callaghan, was provided to former Attorney General William Barr the same day he had announced the Justice Department’s decision to not prosecute Trump.

A Russian rocket attack on a train station in Ukraine on Wednesday killed 25 in Chaplyne. Earlier in the day, Russian strikes killed an 11-year-old boy in the town. “All actors, without exception, must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and take constant care to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure so that they are protected, their houses preserved, and essential services remain,” Denis Brown, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said in response to the attacks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an increase of 137,000 troops as the country’s war in Ukraine continues. The presidential decree will bring the Russian military troop count to 1.15 million, although it did not say how the military intends to achieve this increase. A number of experts believe that the move will likely be focused primarily on boosting the number of volunteers. 

Eight social media networks removed an approximately half-decade operation intended to advance U.S. influence around the world, according to a report released Wednesday from the Stanford Internet Observatory and Graphika. This is the first time such an operation supporting U.S. interests has been identified on social media platforms; these kinds of campaigns are often associated with countries like China and Russia. The accounts—which appeared on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, among other platforms—pretended to be news outlets or nonexistent individuals and lauded U.S. foreign policy while taking aim at the actions of U.S. adversaries, such as Russia.

A court in Pakistan prolonged a protection that prevents the country’s former prime minister from being arrested by police and staving off violent confrontation between his supporters and authorities. Imran Khan, who was charged with threatening officials during a rally, cannot be arrested until at least Sept. 1, according to a court in Islamabad.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Tyler McBrien sat down with Elliot Ackerman to discuss Ackerman’s new book, “The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan.”

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security in which Scott R. Anderson and Alan Rozenshtein were joined by Benjamin Wittes to discuss Ukraine’s new offensive strategy in Russian-held areas such as Crimea, the recent Republican primary results, and the argument from former President Donald Trump’s lawyers seeking a special master to oversee the materials recovered by the FBI in its search of Mar-a-Lago.

Charlotte A. Tschider reviewed David Lyon’s book, “Pandemic Surveillance.”

Jack Goldsmith evaluated the role the Presidential Records Act plays in arguments about the presidential records retrieved by the FBI in their search at Mar-a-Lago.

Hyemin Han shared the Justice Department’s unredacted 2019 memo that argued against prosecuting Trump for obstruction of justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 2016 election interference investigation.

Jim Dempsey argued that the federal privacy bill in the House of Representatives marks an improvement on current cybersecurity laws but still requires additional work when it comes to preemption.

Katherine Pompilio shared an episode of #LivefromUkraine in which Benjamin Wittes sat down with Oleksandra Povoroznik to discuss language politics in Ukraine, Povoroznik’s life before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine’s defiant wartime culture and humor, and more.

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.