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The Russia Connection

Justice Department Submits Brief to Appeals Court in Flynn Case

The Justice Department on Monday, June 1 filed a brief urging the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to force district court judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. That move came after the Justice Department moved to drop a charge against Flynn, who previously pled guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador, and Sullivan declined to immediately abandon the case.

The Russia Connection

Judge Sullivan Submits Brief to D.C. Circuit on Flynn Case

On June 1, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia submitted a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit outlining his rationale for declining to immediately dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn after the Justice Department moved to drop their charges. A panel of judges on the D.C. Circuit had ordered Sullivan on May 21 to respond to an emergency request by Flynn that the appeals court force him to drop the case.

Election Security

House Committee Holds Hearing on Election Security During Pandemic

On Monday, June 1, at 3:00 p.m., the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a videoconference on election security and integrity during a pandemic. The committee will hear testimony from Wendy Weiser, the vice president of the Brennan Center for Justice, and LaShawn Warren, the executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

The Russia Connection

Director of National Intelligence Declassifies Flynn-Kislyak Transcripts

On Friday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified and released the transcripts of the December 2016 calls between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The calls are at the center of the ongoing criminal case again Flynn.

Social Media

Trump Signs Executive Order About Section 230 and a Panel Discusses It

President Trump on Thursday, May 28, signed an executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that protects tech companies from being held liable for third-party content shared on their sites.

Benjamin Wittes talked with Kate Klonick, Eugene Volkh, Jack Balkin and Quinta Jurecic about the executive order and what it means. You can watch that discussion here and below:

North Korea

U.S. Brings Charges Against North Korean Bank Officials

In a federal indictment unsealed Thursday, May 28, the Justice Department has charged 28 North Korean and 5 Chinese citizens with acting as agents of North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank and facilitating over $2.5 billion in illegal payments for the country’s nuclear weapons program. Working for the Foreign Trade Bank, the agents allegedly established more than 250 front companies to mask payments which transited through the U.S. financial system.

oversight

White House Counsel Responds to Inspector General Firings

Sen. Chuck Grassley on May 26 released a five-page response from White House counsel Pat Cipollone intended to explain President Trump's firing of inspectors general Michael Atkinson and Steve Linick. Cipollone’s letter states that Trump had lost confidence in the inspectors general for the intelligence community and the State Department, and that in the case of Linick he was following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recommendation to remove the inspector general from the position.

Guantanamo

D.C. Circuit Denies Petition for Habeas Corpus by Guantanamo Detainee

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today rejected arguments by Abdul Razak Ali, an Algerian national held at Guantanamo Bay, that the full breadth of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause applies to Guantanamo detainees. The court denied Ali’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

You can read the opinion and judgment below:

Congress

House Democrats Release Measure Allowing Proxy Voting

House Democrats yesterday unveiled a measure that would allow for proxy voting, in which absent lawmakers could authorize colleagues present in the House chamber to cast votes on their behalf during certain designated periods of public health emergency. The proposed rules changes are intended to allow the House to proceed with legislative business while away from the Capitol due to the coronavirus pandemic. The House is expected to vote on the changes on Friday.

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