Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Katherine Pompilio
Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 2:14 PM

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Former 2016 Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman was acquitted of lying to the FBI, reports the Wall Street Journal. Sussman was charged with lying to the FBI in 2016 about his motivation behind providing the bureau with research that alleged a secret computer connection between a server connected to the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. The office of Special Counsel John Durham indicted Sussman in 2021 under the belief that he handed over the information to the FBI on behalf of his clients—including Hillary Clinton—rather than out of civic concern, as he had claimed. The jury deliberated for six hours before finding Sussman not guilty.

Former Trump aide Peter Navarro was subpoenaed to testify in front of a federal grand jury about any information he has regarding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, writes the New York Times. The subpoena reportedly seeks Navarro’s testimony about any records related to the Jan. 6 attack, as well as “any communications” with former President Trump. According to Navarro, the grand jury subpoena builds on another subpoena issued to him by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which sought information about his alleged involvement in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Navarro refused to cooperate with the initial subpoena and was consequently found in contempt of Congress. He is reportedly planning to file a lawsuit against the House panel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia in an attempt to persuade a federal judge to block the committee’s subpoena. 

In an attempt to identify the source of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court officials have asked law clerks to sign affidavits and turn over personal cell phone records to investigators, according to CNN. Law clerks at the high court are reportedly alarmed by the investigation—specifically the requests for access to private data—and have started to explore obtaining independent legal counsel. 

Twelve mass shootings occurred in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend, reports the Washington Post. According to the nonprofit group known as the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting is defined as an event in which “four or more people are shot or killed, not including the shooter.” Over the weekend, at least eight people were killed and 55 were injured in mass shootings. Since the massacre last Tuesday at Uvalde Elementary School, at least 11 people have been killed and 67 have been injured in mass shootings in the United States. 

EU leaders have agreed to ban the majority of Russian oil imports by the end of the year, reports the New York Times. While negotiations for technical details about the ban are ongoing, leaders agreed to ban Russian oil imports arriving by sea to the EU—which amount to two thirds of the bloc’s total imports—by the end of the year. Negotiations were initially complicated by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who eventually reached an agreement with other EU lawmakers to ban sea-imports with the condition that Russian imports by pipeline continue to be permitted. Hungary also received assurances from other EU members that if the pipeline—which runs through Ukraine—that is used to deliver oil becomes damaged, the country can resume sea-imports of Russian oil without violating sanctions. According to the Times, the agreement is expected to cost Russia billions of dollars in yearly revenue and further increase energy prices in Europe. 

Russia’s war in Ukraine has led food prices to skyrocket and exacerbated rates of  hunger in Africa, writes AP. According to the United Nations, African countries imported almost half of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine from 2018 to 2020. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the African Development Bank reports a 45 percent increase in wheat prices throughout the continent. According to Senegalese President Macky Sall, Africa is “totally at the mercy of the situation” as it has no control over production or logistics chains in Russia and Ukraine that impact wheat prices. As a result of an ongoing drought and increased food prices, AP reports that approximately 13 million people are facing severe hunger in the Horn of Africa region, and another 18 million are subjected to severe hunger in the Sahel region. The U.N. World Food Program projects that food shortages will continue to worsen later in the summer. 

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have signed a free-trade agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal. The agreement reportedly covers 96 percent of bilateral trade, which is equivalent to approximately $1 billion. The Israeli economy minister and the Emirati minister of state for foreign trade reported that the deal would help to bolster trade between the two countries to grow to an estimated $1o billion within five years. According to Israeli officials, the agreement is the largest of its kind between Israel and any Arab state and was the fastest trade agreement signed in Israel’s history. The trade deal cements newly established state-business and diplomatic relations, as Israel and the U.A.E. established formal diplomatic relations through the Abraham Accords less than two years ago. 

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Tricia Bacon explained why expanding U.S. counterterrorism in Somalia is necessary but insufficient to change the security landscape of Somalia.  

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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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