Today's Headlines and Commentary

Gordon Ahl
Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 1:26 PM

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

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On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not agree to call the four witnesses that Democrats requested in a Senate impeachment trial, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, according to the New York Times.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll indicates that 49% of Americans say President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, which shows little change in public opinion since the start of public House impeachment hearings.

Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, described in an interview how he provided Trump with accounts of how Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, had frustrated investigative efforts that might be politically advantageous to Trump, according to the Times.

Rick Gates, the former associate of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a key witness in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years probation for conspiracy and lying to the FBI, reports the Post.

The federal judge in charge of the sentencing of Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, issued an opinion on Monday rejecting Flynn’s argument that the FBI entrapped him to lie to investigators, according to CNN. Flynn will now be sentenced on January 28.

After a meeting on Monday between senior officials of the United States and Mexico, the two sides reached a last-minute agreement over labor rights provisions in the new USMCA trade deal, reports the Post. Robert Lightizer, the U.S. trade representative, released a letter stating that U.S. diplomats in Mexico would neither act as labor inspectors nor conduct inspections of factories.

In the D.C. District Court, the nonprofit International Rights Advocates initiated a federal class action complaint on behalf of Congolese families against major tech companies including Apple and Microsoft, reports Bloomberg. The suit accuses the companies of “aiding and abetting” dangerous cobalt mining conditions that use child labor.

The U.K. Parliament is set to vote later this week on an amended Withdrawal Agreement Bill that would disallow any extension to the post-Brexit transition period which is currently set to end in December 2020, according to the BBC.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Christopher C. Krebs explained a new proposal to help the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency obtain information from ISPs.

Steven M. Kleinman reflected on the role that “The Report” movie can have narrowing the partisan divide on the issue of torture.

Eyal Tsir Cohen and Kevin Huggard discussed the key takeaways from escalating Israeli raids in Syria.

Stewart Baker shared the latest episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast with Maury Shenk as a guest host that covers U.S.-China relations in the tech space, among other topics.

Mikhaila Fogel posted the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment report.

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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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