Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Elliot Setzer
Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 11:23 AM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion

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Despite a rising rate of infections in much of the country, President Trump said yesterday that his administration plans to wind down the coronavirus task force in the coming weeks and focus the White House on reopening the economy, reports the New York Times.

Former top government vaccine official Rick Bright alleged in a whistleblower complaint filed yesterday that he was reassigned to a less important role because he tried to “prioritize science and safety over political expediency” and raised health concerns about an anti-malarial drug repeatedly touted by President Trump as a possible coronavirus cure, writes the Washington Post.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman yesterday maintained that available evidence indicates the novel coronavirus was natural and not man-made or purposely released, according to the Hill.

The Trump administration is pushing the European Union to back an international inquiry into China’s handling of COVID-19—including a probe into the origins of the virus, reports the Wall Street Journal. Brussels, however, has largely sought to avoid taking sides in the confrontation between Washington and Beijing over responsibility for the pandemic

At his confirmation hearing yesterday for director of national intelligence, Rep. John Ratcliffe sought to move past questions about his qualifications and promised senators he would deliver the unvarnished truth even to a skeptical president, writes the New York Times. But when pressed by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Ratcliffe sidestepped questions on contentious intelligence issues such as whether Russia specifically sought to aid Trump’s 2016 campaign and whether the president should have fired the inspector general for the intelligence agencies.

President Trump yesterday denied any U.S. government involvement in a failed armed incursion in Venezuela that led to the arrest of two Americans, according to NBC.

The U.K. began testing a digital contact tracing app this week on the Isle of Wight, reports the Financial Times.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Ari Schwartz argued standards bodies are under friendly fire in the war on Huawei.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast discussing a new U.S. measure to secure its supply chain for the bulk power grid.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Jung Pak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institutions and former CIA analyst and North Korea specialist, on her new book “Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Analyst’s Insights into North Korea’s Enigmatic Young Dictator.”

William Ford summarized a Senate subcommittee roundtable discussion on the viability and constitutionality of conducting Senate votes and other proceedings remotely.

Elena Chachko discussed the Israeli Supreme Court’s recent decision checking COVID-19 electronic surveillance.

Elliot Setzer shared a livestream of the Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing to consider Rep. John Ratcliffe to serve as director of national intelligence.

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 openings on our Job Board.

Elliot Setzer is a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford Law School and a Ph.D student at Yale University. He previously worked at Lawfare and the Brookings Institution.

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