Today's Headlines and Commentary

Gordon Ahl
Thursday, December 5, 2019, 3:51 PM

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

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that the House would move forward with drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump, according to the New York Times. The House Judiciary Committee also scheduled a new hearing for the morning of Dec. 9 to formally present the evidence in the impeachment inquiry.

The Washington Post reports that U.S. Attorney John Durham told the Department of Justice Inspector General that he could not offer evidence that the 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia was a setup by U.S. intelligence agencies. Durham had been selected by Attorney General Bill Barr to lead a review into the matter alongside an additional investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria was completed, and a stable force of 600 troops remain throughout Syria, reports Reuters.

The Trump administration is considering expanding its footprint in the Middle East to counter Iran, according to the Wall Street Journal. As many as 14,000 additional U.S. troops are reportedly being considered for deployment to the region, but the Pentagon Press Secretary denied this claim on Twitter.

The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security sent a letter to the Department of Defense Inspector General to request a review of the $400 million border wall contract awarded this week, reports the Post. The contract was given to North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel, a company President Trump had urged his military officials to support.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. will resume its exchange of ambassadors with Sudan after a 23-year gap, reports the Times.

Law enforcement officials in the United States announced charges against two Russian nationals accused of running massive global hacking schemes to steal millions of dollars from victims’ bank accounts, reports the Post.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared this week’s episode of Rational Security which featured commentary on the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report, the Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing and an update on China from special guest Sophia Yan.

Molly E. Reynolds and Margaret Taylor commented on what they anticipate seeing in the next stages of the impeachment inquiry in the House Judiciary Committee.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared the latest episode of The National Security Law Podcast that explored how Congress could have received the call records in the impeachment report, among other topics.

Masha Simonova considered how the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate in the impeachment inquiry could violate criminal statutes related to obstruction of justice.

Bob Bauer explained the limits and implications of the D.C. District Court ruling on former White House Counsel Don McGahn and his obligation to comply with a congressional subpoena.

Stewart Baker shared the latest episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast which includes a discussion on the Commerce Department’s proposed telecommunication security rules.

Peter Margulies discussed a district court injunction against Trump’s ban on uninsured migrants.

Gordon Ahl posted video coverage of Wednesday’s impeachment hearing and the opening statements from the four law scholars who appeared as witnesses.

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. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job opening on our Job Board.

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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