Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Benjamin Pollard
Thursday, August 18, 2022, 4:37 PM

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Russia may close down the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant it currently occupies in Ukraine, amid instances of shelling. Ukraine’s state-controlled nuclear company raised concerns that shutting down the plant could heighten the likelihood of a nuclear “disaster,” according to Reuters.  Russia’s foreign ministry also rejected the proposition of forming a demilitarized zone around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The Russian government has apparently told workers at the plant to refrain from attending work on Friday.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the Zaporizhzhia plant and grain exports in Lviv, Ukraine. Zelenskyy asked Guterres for the U.N.’s assistance in gaining access to captured Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russian forces, while Erdogan said that Turkey will support Ukrainian rebuilding efforts. Zelenskyy also requested the UN’s help with demilitarizing the area near the nuclear plant.

The Taliban reported that 21 people were killed in a large explosion in Kabul. Thirty-three others were injured in the explosion. An influential cleric, Amir Mohammad Kabuli, was among those killed. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

The White House said that the U.S. government intends to start discussions about a trade deal with Taiwan amid increasing tensions between the United States and China over the island. In response to the announcement, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said that “China firmly opposes” the talks.

Allen Weisselberg, former Trump Organization CFO, pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Under his plea deal, Weisselberg must testify at the Trump Organization’s upcoming trial if asked by prosecutors. Weisselberg was sentenced to five months in jail, although he may be released earlier in the event of good behavior. According to Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, Weisselberg “directly implicat[ed] the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity” in his plea.

Hadi Matar, the man accused of attacking author Salman Rushdie, pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree attempted murder and assualt. Matar is expected to l appear in  court once again on September 22. It is unclear if Judge David Foley will grant Matar’s request for release on bail.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Quinta Jurecic sat down with Jonathan David Shaub and Mike Stern to discuss the Jan. 6 contempt of Congress cases.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security in which Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, and Alan Rozenshtein sat down with Molly Reynolds to discuss the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan a year later, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago.

Samantha Bradshaw, Renee DiResta, and Christopher Giles discussed the different propaganda strategies used by the Russian government in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ben Saul argued that the U.S. killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was unlawful under international law and signals another “body-blow to the ‘rules-based international order.’”

Jack Goldsmith replied to a response written by John Marshall criticizing aspects of Goldsmith’s Lawfare piece on how to assess Garland’s decision to authorize the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago.

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.

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

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