Today's Headlines and Commentary

Gordon Ahl
Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 12:11 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national-security news and opinions.

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Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified Tuesday morning that he spoke to an official in the intelligence community about President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, reports the Washington Post.

Lawfare is livestreaming the hearing with Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Mike Pence.

The Post reports that David Holmes testified in a closed-door session that he was shocked to overhear a phone call in which Amb. Gordon Sondland assured President Trump that Ukrainian officials would open investigations sought by the president. The full transcripts of David Holmes and David Hale were released on Monday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States will no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank as a violation of international law, reports the New York Times.

Swedish prosecutors said the investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange involving allegations of rape has been dropped, according to the Post.

Afghan and insurgent officials confirmed that a prisoner swap in Afghanistan occurred successfully, with the release of an American and Australian a few hours after the release of rebel commanders associated with the Taliban, reports the Post.

Despite a dramatic escape by some protesters, there is a growing risk of violence between protesters and police inside the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, according to Reuters.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Ben Berwick and Justin Florence argued that President Trump’s actions meet the Founding Fathers’ criteria for bribery, contrary to a piece by the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

Dan Maurer discussed the flaws in the arguments that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman should be court-martialed for obeying a congressional subpoena over executive branch objections.

Quinta Jurecic shared the transcript of Amb. David Hale’s closed-door testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry. Jurecic also posted the transcript of foreign service officer David Holmes’s closed-door deposition.

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Gordon Ahl is a senior at Georgetown University, studying international politics. He is an intern at Lawfare and the Brookings Institution.

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