Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Katherine Pompilio
Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 1:58 PM

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A manhunt is underway in New York City for the individual who set off smoke grenades and opened fire on passengers riding a Manhattan-bound N train at a Brooklyn subway station Tuesday morning, reports the New York Times. Investigators have reportedly identified a person of interest—Frank R. James—in connection with the mass shooting. New York Police Department (N.Y.P.D.) officers reported that they recovered items—including a Glock 9-millimeter handgun, ammunition magazines, a hatchet, fireworks and a liquid suspected to be gasoline on the subway and an abandoned van near the scene. All items are believed to be James’ belongings. N.Y.P.D. Chief James Essig said of the manhunt that “We are endeavoring to locate [James] to determine his connection to the subway shooting, if any.” At least 23 people were injured during the attack. 

Two top Trump White House lawyers will appear before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, writes Politico. The panel will informally hear from Pat Cipollone—former Trump White house council— and his deputy Patrick Philbin about alleged plans to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. According to a report released by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cipollone and Philbin were reportedly involved in a Jan.  3 White House meeting in which they warned they would resign if Trump moved forward with plans to replace former Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark. 

President Biden referred to atrocities allegedly committed by Russian forces in Ukraine as genocide—a word he had previously avoided using when discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to CNN. Biden said, “I called it genocide because it's become clearer and clearer that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian. The evidence is mounting….Literally, the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine and we're going to only learn more and more about the devastation. We'll let the lawyers decide, internationally, whether or not it qualifies but it sure seems that way to me."

The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reports Reuters. According to a spokesperson for Estonian President Alar Karis, the leaders intend to speak with Zelenskyy about ways to provide aid to civilians and the military in Ukraine. The leaders will also reportedly speak about investigations of war crimes allegedly committed by Russian forces against Ukrainians. 

Russian military officials claim that 1,026 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered in the besieged city of Mariupol, writes BBC News. Despite this claim, U.S. officials report that the battle for control of the city remains contested between Russian and Ukrainian forces. An advisor to the mayor of Mariupol refuted Moscow’s claims and dismissed them as impossible. He said that “[Russian forces] don't control our harbor, they don't control Azovstal [iron and steel works].” To assist with fighting in Mariupol and other besieged cities, the U.S. will provide Ukraine with additional 100 switchblade drones.

Texas Governor Greg Abbot sent a bus carrying migrants from Texas to Washington D.C., according to the Hill. During a press conference last week, Abbot said that the migrants would be sent to the capital so that President Biden could “immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.” The Texas governor also ordered the state to charter flights to bring migrants to Washington after they have been processed by the Department of Homeland Security. Abbot's moves–previously dismissed by the White House as a “publicity stunt”—are reportedly the result of tensions caused by the Biden administration's decision to abolish Title 42, a pandemic-era immigration policy that limited migrants’ abilities to be granted asylum. 

The Justice Department alongside other international law enforcement agencies seized control of a website domain used by hackers to advertise data stolen from U.S. consumers and corporations, reports CNN. A notice reading “This domain has been seized” was posted to the landing page of Raidforums—the English-language forum used by international cybercriminals with over 530,000 registered users. Additionally, German law enforcement seized computer servers belonging to Hydra, a dark web marketplace reportedly connected to over $5 billion in illegal transactions since 2015. Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said in a statement that “The takedown of this online market for the resale of hacked or stolen data disrupts one of the major ways cybercriminals profit from the large-scale theft of sensitive personal and financial information.”

The American midwest and south are expected to experience severe thunderstorms that could create dangerous winds, hail, flash floods and tornadoes, writes the New York Times. Meteorologists predict that several million Americans are under risk for severe weather and storms ranging from Michigan to Louisiana. Cities such as Little Rock, Arkansas; Evansville, Indiana; and Memphis, Tennessee, are reportedly designated at a risk level of four out of five. The forecast comes just one day after two dozen people were injured by tornadoes barreling throughout Texas.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Jacob Schulz spoke with Madiha Afzal about the Pakistani parliament’s recent vote of no-confidence that ousted prime minister Imran Khan. Schulz and Afzal spoke about how the situation has developed, how to think about the relative roles of opposition political parties and the military, and what comes next. 

Ido Kilovaty discussed the weaknesses of two mandatory directives intended to implement the safeguards required to repel opportunistic and financially motivated cyberattacks on U.S. pipelines. 

Katherine Pompilio announced next week’s Lawfare Live which will feature a panel discussion about Ukraine and the future of national security law. This event is co-sponsored by the National Security Law Society at the Georgetown University Law Center. 

Alvaro Marañon posted two indictments related to the seizure and shutdown of two major cybercrime forums and marketplaces: Hydra and Raidforums. 

Stewart Baker shared an episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast in which Baker, Mark MacCarthy and Nick Weaver discussed this week’s biggest cyberlaw issues such as South Korea’s effort to regulate Google's Android app store policies and how Western law enforcement also broke the Hydra dark market.

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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