Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Victoria Gallegos
Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 2:20 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion

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As the jury deliberates whether Derek Chauvin will be convicted of murder for a second day, President Biden told reporters today that the evidence against Chauvin is “overwhelming,” reports the New York Times. Biden also said he was praying for the “right verdict,” and yesterday called George Floyd’s family to express his support.

In preparation for the Chauvin verdict, the city of Minneapolis has spent the last several days tightening security and bolstering barricades around government buildings, writes the Wall Street Journal. The mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis have requested greater assistance from the National Guard, which has already deployed 3,000 troops to the area.

Johnson & Johnson will resume its European vaccine rollout after European Union drug regulators said the product should have a warning about possible blood clots, according to the Times. The European Medicines Agency said the overall benefits outweigh the risk of side effects, and noted the blood clots were “very similar” to those associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert in the U.S., has said he expects a decision about whether to resume the J&J vaccine rollout in the U.S. by the end of this week.

British government officials are requesting that the U.K. Parliament ban the American neo-Nazi Atomwaffed Division as a terrorist organization, writes the BBC. British Home Secretary Priti Patel said the requested ban is to “protect young and vulnerable people from being radicalized.” If the ban is formally approved, it will become a terror offense to be a member of the group or to support it.

Negotiators in Vienna began drafting proposals for the United States and Iran to return to compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, writes the Washington Post. According to Enrique Mora, the European Union diplomat in charge of discussions, progress was made. A State Department spokesperson said that the discussions have been “thorough and thoughtful, if indirect...There have been no breakthroughs, but we did not expect this process to be easy or quick.”

The U.S. Ambassador to Russia will temporarily return to the U.S. for consultations with the Biden administration officials, reports the Hill. In a statement, Amb. John Sullivan said it was important to speak directly with the Biden administration about U.S.-Russian relations, but that he will “return to Moscow in the coming weeks before any meeting between Presidents Biden and Putin.”

Idriss Deby, the president of Chad and an important Western ally, was killed in a battle against rebels, reports Reuters. Deby’s death comes just after he was declared the winner of a presidential election which would have been his sixth term in office. His son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itmo, has been named interim president by a transitional military council. The Chad government and National Assembly have been dissolved and a nationwide curfew is now in effect.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared the second episode of Lawfare’s six-part “After Trump” series, featuring a conversation about the problem of foreign interventions in American political campaigns.

Peter Margulies examined short and long-term border issues, focusing on unaccompanied children and families.

Dominic Cruz Bustillos and Alexander Vindman argued that the U.S. must learn from its mistakes when dealing with Russia.

Alex Iftimie analyzed the significance of a recent Department of Justice law enforcement operation that removed malware in the U.S.

Nicol Turner Lee shared an episode of TechTank, featuring discussion about investment in broadband infrastructure and closing the digital divide.

Jordan Schneider shared an episode of ChinaTalk, titled “Bo Xilai and How Xi Learned from the Chongqing Model.”

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Victoria Gallegos is a senior at the University of Mississippi, studying international studies and Spanish. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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