Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Ajay Sarma, Christiana Wayne
Thursday, August 5, 2021, 2:06 PM

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

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Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the claim that Karl Dresch, a defendant in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, is a “political prisoner,” according to the Washington Post. In a plea deal with prosecutors, Dresch pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of parading, picketing or demonstrating in the Capitol while prosecutors dropped four other charges, including a felony of obstructing Congressional proceedings. Jackson sentenced Dresch to six months in prison, saying at the sentencing, “We are not here today because he supported former president Trump ... He was arrested because he was an enthusiastic participant in an effort to subvert and undo the electoral process.”

President Biden is set to announce new tailpipe emissions regulations aimed at shifting American consumers toward electric vehicles, reports the New York Times. In a blend of environmental, economic and foreign policy, the president hopes to reach China’s output in the manufacturing of electric vehicles and create domestic jobs producing batteries and fuel cells. The strategy will include a restoration of Obama-era auto mileage standards and set a target that half of all vehicles sold in the U.S. be electric by 2030.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was sworn into office today, writes Reuters. With Raisi’s election, all branches of Iran’s government are led by conservative hardliners loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi, who is under U.S. sanctions for alleged human rights abuses during his time as a judge, comes to the office during stalled negotiations over the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Raisi and Khamenei both support the negotiations, but the new president is expected to take a tougher line during the talks than his predecessor. Iran and the U.S. and its allies have not announced when the negotiations will resume.

Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, said on Thursday that Israeli forces are prepared to take action against Iran, reports Al Jazeera. Tensions between Iran and Israel have been rising over a drone strike on Israeli-managed oil tanker, which Israel, the U.S. and the United Kingdom attribute to Iran. The drone strike killed two crewmembers, one British and one Romanian. Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, responded by asserting that any attack against Iran would be met with retaliation.

Domenico Paviglianiti, an alleged mafia boss and Italian fugitive, was arrested in Madrid, according to the BBC. In January, the alleged leader of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia clan was convicted in absentia and handed a sentence of 11 years for crimes including murder and criminal association. He had previously been extradited from Spain back to Italy and was serving a life sentence before being released due to a sentencing error, after which he again fled to Spain. ‘Ndrangheta, one of the wealthiest criminal groups in the world, traffics cocaine and hashish into Europe.

Hong Kongers facing deportation from the U.S. will be able to remain for at least 18 months due to what the Biden administration called China’s stifling of “basic rights and freedoms,” writes the Associated Press. The Department of Homeland Security clarified that those eligible for the deferral would be permitted to work during their time in the U.S. Protests began in Hong Kong in 2019 over a proposed law that would have permitted extraditions to mainland China, which intensified China’s crackdown on the unique freedoms Hong Kong had historically enjoyed since the United Kingdom handed it over to China in 1997. The White House said on Thursday that it will “continue to take steps in support of people in Hong Kong.”

New York state legislators informed Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday that their impeachment probe is nearing completion and set a deadline of Aug. 13 for him to provide any additional evidence, reports the Associated Press. The law firm managing the New York State Assembly’s inquiry reminded Cuomo’s team that it had subpoenaed documents and that the deadline to submit them was quickly approaching. The investigation began in March and has focused on allegations of sexual harassment, misinforming the public regarding coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes and the misuse of state resources in a $5 million book deal. Cuomo has consistently rejected calls for his resignation from New York Democrats and even President Biden.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Lawfare COO David Priess talks to Peter Bergen about his new biography, “The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden.”

Timothy Edgar explained why the Supreme Court’s decision in Van Buren is good news for U.S. cybersecurity.

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.

Ajay Sarma is a junior at Harvard College studying Social Studies. He is an intern at Lawfare.
Christiana Wayne is a junior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill studying history and English. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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