Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Matt Gluck
Monday, June 29, 2020, 4:18 PM

Lawfare's daily roundup of national security news and opinion.

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The San Jose, California Police Department placed four officers on administrative leave after a blog post alleged that the officers made racist and Islamophobic statements on Facebook, according to the New York Times. The department’s decision comes amid a nationwide crackdown on police officers who share racist or xenophobic content on social media.

A U.S. intelligence assessment found that Russian officers paid bounties to Taliban forces as a reward for killing American soldiers in Afghanistan, reported the Times on Friday. American forces’ discovery of a large sum of money at a Taliban military base and interrogations of Taliban soldiers contributed to the intelligence report, wrote the Times on Sunday. President Trump is facing pressure to respond to Russia from Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. The Times report alleged that he has been aware of the Russian bounties since March, a claim Trump denies.

Mississippi legislators voted Sunday to remove the Confederate emblem from their state’s flag, reports the Washington Post. Following the recent protests against racial injustice, prominent businesses and institutions pressured the state to make this change. In a 2001 referendum, Mississippi voters emphatically rejected replacing the flag.

The Supreme Court ruled that the president has the authority to remove the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) without cause, writes NPR. The CFPB is an agency created by Congress in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion and criticized the proposition that the CFPB head cannot be removed without cause by the President, writing that “the CFPB’s leadership by a single individual removable only for inefficiency, neglect, or malfeasance violates the separation of powers.”

The Supreme Court also said Monday it will not hear a challenge to new federal capital punishment procedures, according to the Post. This will allow the federal government to perform its planned executions in July and August, something it has not done since 2003.

Reddit banned a pro-Trump community, “The_Donald,” from its platform on Monday after the group continually fostered hate speech and harassment, writes the Times. Most of “The_Donald” community recently moved to a different platform to escape Reddit’s speech restrictions, so the group was not as active recently as it had been in the past, according to the Post. Reddit also banned approximately 2,000 other groups from the website, including a group named in honor of “Chapo Trap House,” a prominent left-leaning podcast. YouTube also removed several white supremacist channels from its platform Monday after they violated YouTube’s hate speech policies, reports The Verge. Twitch, a streaming platform, suspended President Trump’s account on its website on Monday. These moves come as debate continues about social media platforms’ hate speech content moderation rules and enforcement.

Mike Pence encouraged Americans at a Sunday event in Dallas, Texas to take precautionary measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including wearing masks and socially distancing from others, writes the Post. During the event, Pence praised Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, for his decision to lift business restrictions in May. Texas and states across the Southwest region of the country have seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Iran issued an arrest warrant for President Trump and 35 other American officials on charges relating to the United States’s January killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, according to Reuters. Iran asked the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) for assistance in executing these arrests, though experts say it is unlikely Interpol will get involved. Brian Hook, the U.S. Iran envoy, called the warrant a “propaganda stunt” at a conference on Monday in Saudi Arabia.

India announced Monday it would ban many Chinese mobile applications, including Tik Tok, from its networks, reports the Wall Street Journal. The decision follows a recent border clash with China in the Himalayas that resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers.

U.S. and Saudi officials advocated Monday for the extension of a U.N. ban on arms trade with Iran, reports Reuters. The U.N. embargo will expire in October as determined by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. China and Russia, both of which have veto power over U.N. Security Council decisions, have expressed opposition to an extension of the ban.

Four gunmen reportedly killed two security guards and one police officer Monday as they attempted an attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange building, according to the Journal. All four gunmen were allegedly killed in a shootout before entering the building. An insurgent organization from Balochistan province claimed responsibility for the attack.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Michael Poznansky argued that although the U.N. Charter has not prevented the U.S. from using force against foreign states, it has affected the nature of U.S. military intervention abroad.

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Matt Gluck is a research fellow at Lawfare. He holds a BA in government from Dartmouth College.

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