Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Matt Gluck
Thursday, July 9, 2020, 6:09 PM

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

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The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that New York prosecutors can access President Trump’s financial records, writes the New York Times. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, “no citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.” In a related decision, the Supreme Court decided the lower courts did not sufficiently consider the separation of powers issues brought into focus by congressional subpoenas for President Trump’s financial records. Experts have noted that neither ruling is likely to mean that President Trump will reveal his records to the public before the November election.

The Supreme Court also ruled Thursday that nearly half of the state of Oklahoma is still a Native American reservation, reports the Post. Justice Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion that Congress’s grant of the land to the Creek Nation remains authoritative.

Transcripts of police body camera footage released Wednesday reveal that George Floyd implored police officers not to shoot him before he died in custody, according to the Washington Post. According to the transcripts, in the moments leading up to his death, Floyd said that his neck was hurting and that the officers were going to kill him. In response, Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground, said that it “Takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say that.” Floyd’s killing has provoked nationwide protests against racial inequality and unjust law enforcement behavior.

On Thursday, the Washington D.C. police arrested a suspect in the July 4 shooting that killed 11-year-old Davon McNeal, writes the Post. McNeal was attending an anti-violence event when he was shot. The number of homicides this year in D.C. has risen by almost 20 percent from this time a year ago.

The Trump administration will likely impose regulations later this week that will prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing materials or services from any business that uses products made by five Chinese firms including tech giant Huawei, writes Reuters. Companies that use products or services from these companies will be required to obtain a waiver to continue to do business with the U.S. government. This move further escalates the rising political tensions between the U.S. and China.

Anatoly Antonov, the Russian Ambassador to the United States, claimed Wednesday that allegations of the Russian military placing bounties on coalition soldiers are completely false, reports the Post. Antonov also asserted that the reports are “poisoning the atmosphere of cooperation” between the U.S. and Russia on establishing peace in Afghanistan.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Thursday that the U.S. agrees with China that the two countries should move forward with negotiations over arms control, reports Reuters. Ortagus also said that the U.S. recommends that China discuss potential trilateral arms control agreements with Russia.

On Thursday, the U.S. placed sanctions on four Chinese officials over their treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang Province, reports the Wall Street Journal. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “The United States will not stand idly by as the [Chinese Communist Party] carries out human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other members of other minority groups in Xinjiang.”

The number of individuals detained by border patrol officers along the U.S.-Mexico border increased by 40 percent last month, writes the Post. Experts note that this sharp increase in the number of individuals arriving at the border demonstrates that the Trump administration’s pandemic-related attempts to deter migrants from entering the country are waning in their effectiveness.

The U.S. reported more than 59,000 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, marking the highest number of new infections since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Times. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House COVID-19 task force, said Wednesday that states experiencing significant outbreaks should “look at shutting down.”

New data from New York City affirms that low-income communities are being hit disproportionately hard by the coronavirus, writes the Times.

Amid mounting pressure from foreign governments, Chinese technology firm Byte Dance Ltd. is considering major changes to the management of its video-sharing app TikTok, according to the Journal. The changes, which could include moving TikTok headquarters outside of China, would aim to distance the company from the grip of the mainland government.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared a conversation on the Lawfare Podcast between Sophia Yan, the Beijing-based China correspondent for the Telegraph in London; Alvin Cheung, a non-resident affiliated scholar of NYU’s U.S. Asia Law Institute; and Jeremy Daum, a senior research scholar in law and senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. They discussed the recent developments in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and the mainland.

Richard Altieri, Vishnu Kannan and Laya Maheshwari discussed Chinese and Indian media coverage of the clash between the two countries’ forces in the Himalayas last month.

Elliot Setzer shared a House Homeland Security hearing on the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peter Margulies explained the Ninth Circuit’s ruling on the Third Country Rule, which denies asylum to individuals who cross the U.S.-Mexico border if the refugees do not attempt to obtain asylum in a country through which they passed on their way to the U.S.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast in which he discusses the EARN IT Act, TikTok and hate speech on U.S. social media platforms, among other topics with Dave Aitel, CEO of Immunity Inc.; Mark MacCarthy, a senior fellow at Georgetown Law and Business schools; and Nick Weaver, a senior staff researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California and a lecturer in the computer science department at the University of California at Berkeley.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security regarding new Trump administration immigration rules, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s retirement and “defund the police,” among other topics.

Nicholas Weaver argued that the Trump administration’s decision to prohibit international students from remaining in the United States if their schools are not offering in-person classes in the fall has harmful national security implications.

Setzer also shared a U.N. special rapporteur report concerning the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and drone strikes more broadly.

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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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