Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Katherine Pompilio
Thursday, January 20, 2022, 3:04 PM

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

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The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has requested voluntary testimony from Ivanka Trump, says the Washington Post. The committee has revealed that they believe Ivanka Trump was present when former President Trump pressured Vice President Pence to reject President Biden’s victory when he presided over the electoral vote count in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Witnesses have also reported that she holds direct knowledge of her father’s actions before, during and after his supporters attempted to stop Congress from certifying the election of Biden. In a letter to Ivanka Trump, the committee wrote that it “would like to discuss any other conversations you may have witnessed or participated in regarding the President’s plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes.”

The Supreme Court rejected a request from former President Trump to block the release of White House records related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, reports  the New York Times. The court determined that the need for a full accounting of the attack and disruption of the certification of the 2020 electoral count outweighs Trump’s desire to maintain confidentiality. By refusing Trump’s request, the Supreme Court essentially rejected his claim of executive privilege. The majority in the unsigned order wrote that this ruling presented issues of “whether and in what circumstances a former president may obtain a court order preventing disclosure of privileged records from his tenure in office, in the face of a determination by the incumbent president to waive the privilege.” Within hours of the ruling, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack received hundreds of pages of previously classified White House documents from the National Archives. 

The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has subpoenaed two leaders of the right-wing extremist “America First” or “Groyper” movement, according to the Hill. The select committee believes that Nicholas Fuentes and Patrick Casey have information about the planning, coordination and funding of the events prior to the attack. According to the select committee, both men were on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. And Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said that both received large bitcoin donations that the FBI is investigating “to assess whether the money was linked to the Capitol attack or otherwise used to fund illegal acts.” The select committee has requested that the pair produce documents by Feb. 2 and appear for depositions by Feb. 9.

Senate Republicans have blocked voting rights legislation that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, writes the New York Times. Similar legislation has previously been blocked four times by a Republican filibuster. To avoid a Republican filibuster, Democrats moved to alter filibuster rules to allow the bill to advance with a simple majority, but they ultimately lacked support from two members of the party. 

President Biden has signed a national security memorandum that outlines new cybersecurity requirements for national security, Department of Defense and intelligence community systems, says the Hill. The memorandum details how Biden’s May executive order on federal government cybersecurity applies to national security systems controlled by government agencies. It requires that government agencies adopt and utilize cloud technology. The memorandum also recommends that agencies use multi-factor authentication and encryption for national security systems.

The International Committee of the Red Cross reported that hackers have broken into their servers and accessed personal, confidential data on over 515,000 vulnerable people, reports the South China Morning Post. The hack is the largest in the Red Cross’s history. Hackers were able to access the information of people in detention, missing persons and their families, and those who are currently separated from their families due to conflict, migration and disaster. The identities of those responsible for the hack is currently unknown. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken held crisis talks in which he advocated for Western unity against Russia’s increased pressure on Ukraine, according to the Washington Post. Blinken met with counterparts from Germany, Britain and France to strengthen the Biden administration’s diplomatic efforts to prevent a potential invasion of the Eastern European nation. Blinken stressed that, “We cannot choose the path for Moscow, but we can make crystal clear the stark consequences of that choice … Unity gives us strength, a strength, I might add, that Russia does not and cannot match.”

The U.S. will provide Ukraine with an additional $200 million in military aid amid tensions with Russia, writes the Hill. The aid was approved last month, but was formally confirmed on Wednesday. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Bryce Klehm sat down with Hal Brands, the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, to discuss the origins of containment, the rise of Sovietology in academia and what the Biden administration could learn from the Cold War.

Claudia Swain announced this week’s Lawfare Live, which featured a discussion between Quinta Jurecic, Jacob Schulz, Alan Z. Rozenshtein and Roger Parloff about the recent events regarding the Oathkeepers and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Parloff explored if the sentences of Jan. 6 Capitol riot defendants may reflect political bias on the part of the judges handling these cases.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security in which Anderson, Jurecic, and Rozenshtein were joined by Swain, Lawfare's new director of digital media, to discuss the week’s biggest national security news. 

Alvaro Marañon posted a national security memorandum signed by Biden to bolster the cybersecurity of the national security, Department of Defense and intelligence community systems.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of The Cyberlaw Podcast in which he discusses topics ranging from antitrust litigation in relation to Facebook and Google, to looming dangers hinted at by the recent cyberattacks on Ukrainian government computers. 

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. Check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Katherine Pompilio is an associate editor of Lawfare. She holds a B.A. with honors in political science from Skidmore College.

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