Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Benjamin Pollard
Tuesday, June 21, 2022, 4:16 PM

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The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol held the fourth of its series of hearings, reports CBS News. The hearing focused on former President Trump’s efforts to pressure state officials to overturn the 2020 election. The committee heard testimony from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger; Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer at the Georgia secretary of state’s office; Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers; and Georgia elections worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss.

Russian forces scale up their offensive to take a chemical plant in the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, writes the Wall Street Journal. The plant is one of the last Ukrainian military strongholds in the eastern city. According to the Ukrainian governor of the Luhansk region, all towns that aren’t occupied by Russian forces are facing heavy artillery assault by Moscow. The move comes as Kyiv asks the international community for additional aid in the form of howitzers and other heavy weapons to combat the Russian bombardment.

The Kremlin press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said that the Geneva Conventions will not apply to two Americans who were captured by Russian forces in Ukraine, according to the Washington Post. Alexander J. Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh were “involved in firing and shelling” of Russian forces, according to Peskov. The Russian government spokesman called the American citizens mercenaries, adding that they will “face the same fate” as two British men and one Moroccan man who were sentenced to death by a court in a Russia-occupied region of Ukraine earlier this month.

A militant group massacred more than 200 members of the Amhara ethnic group in Tole, Ethiopia, on Sunday, reports the New York Times. Officials and witnesses attributed the attack to the Oromo Liberation Army, a terrorist organization based in Ethiopia. The group denied its involvement in the attack, placing blame on the local militia which supports the prime minister’s government. The massacre is the deadliest act of ethnic violence in the civil war that has wracked Ethiopia since November 2020.

Militant Islamist rebels killed 132 people in central Mali on Monday, according to government officials, writes AP News. The killings, carried out by the Katiba group, occurred in villages in the Bankass region, signaling a spread of extremist violence from the country’s north to more central regions. Hundreds of civilians have died in the western African country from violent attacks since the start of the year.

At least 116 people have been killed in monsoon rains that have led to flooding and landslides in India and Bangladesh, according to the New York Times. Cellphone towers, power lines, and bridges have been damaged due to the heavy rains. According to the U.N. children’s agency, 4 million people in northeast Bangladesh have been cut off from fresh drinking water, reports AP News. In the Indian state of Assam, nearly a quarter-million people are seeking shelter, following displacement from the floods.

Gustavo Petro, a former rebel fighter, won a runoff presidential election in Colombia against real estate magnate Rodolfo Hernández, according to AP News. Petro will be the country’s first leftist president, signaling a shift in the political landscape of the South American country where the left has long faced difficulties electorally due to its perceived connection with armed rebels. The victory was narrowly won and was Petro’s third attempt at the country’s presidency.

Israeli leadership will shift under an existing deal that will have Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid switch positions as reports come that say the government’s coalition was nearing collapse, writes the BBC. A general election, which would be the fifth in four years, could take place as early as late October, according to commentators. The fracturing coalition formed in opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister and current opposition leader, who has indicated his desire to retake leadership.

ICYMI: This Weekend on Lawfare

Kyleanne Hunter discussed the potential impacts that overturning Roe v. Wade would have on women in uniform.

Stewart Baker shared an episode of The Cyberlaw Podcast in which he sat down with Amy Gajda to discuss her book, “Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy.”

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Benjamin Pollard is a student at Brown University studying history and political science. He is a former intern at Lawfare.

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