Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Katherine Pompilio, Tia Sewell
Tuesday, August 30, 2022, 1:21 PM

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

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U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called the ongoing flooding in Pakistan “a monsoon on steroids” following the submerging of a third of the country under water. Since June, over 1,000 individuals have died and over 33 million Pakistanis have been impacted. Pakistan's climate change minister Sherry Rehman called the situation a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions” on Monday. Pakistan produces less than one percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Pakistani officials. 

Proud Boy Joshua Pruitt was sentenced to 55 months in prison for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. According to a Justice Department press release, Pruitt was among the first of many rioters to infiltrate the Capitol building’s crypt. Once in the crypt, Pruitt threw a wooden sign and chairs, and then entered the Capitol’s Visitor Center where he encountered Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his security detail. During his sentencing hearing, Pruitt said, “I did believe the election was stolen. I still do. I broke the law, bottom line, regardless of whether I’m right or wrong on my feelings.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney denied Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's (R) motion to quash a subpoena demanding his testimony before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury. In his motion to quash the subpoena, Kemp argued that he should not be forced to testify before the special grand jury because he is protected by doctrine of sovereign immunity due to his status as Georgia’s current governor. In his order rejecting Kemp’s motion, McBurney argued that the sovereign immunity doctrine can only be applied to civil litigation, and that “there is nothing about this special grand jury that involves or implicates civil practice.”

According to U.S. officials, Russia has received its first shipment of Iranian-built combat drones to use in its war against Ukraine. U.S. and other spy agencies found that Russian cargo planes carrying at least two types of unmanned aerial vehicles departed Tehran on Aug. 19 in what is reportedly the first installment of a transfer of hundreds of drones from Tehran to Moscow. But an anonymous security official told the Washington Post that “the Russians are not satisfied” due to some initial malfunctions in the Iranian drones during early tests.

At least 10 people have been killed and hundreds wounded as protests have erupted into violence in Baghdad over the past several days. Following the announcement by prominent cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that he intended to retire from politics, hundreds of al-Sadr’s supporters stormed Iraq’s Republican Palace inside the country’s heavily fortified Green Zone. Iraq security forces reported today that several rockets launched from areas east of the capital had landed in the Green Zone.

Mississippi’s largest city is facing a water crisis. Due to the failure of the city’s “long-struggling” water treatment plant, residents of Jackson, Mississippi are without adequate levels of running water. According to Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R), it is unclear when Jackson residents will have access to clean and reliable running water at scale, and the state will supply residents with “alternative sources of water” for the foreseeable future. “Until it is fixed, ... it means the city cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs,” said Reeves.

In a deep-dive investigation into the culture and training of the Navy SEALs, New York Times Correspondent Dave Phillips detailed how the “elite force’s selection course is so punishing that few make it through, and many of those who do resort to illicit tactics.” Phillips told the story of Kyle Mullen, a former 6-foot-4-inch Yale football captain-turned-Navy SEAL, who died shortly after the third week of the SEALs’ selection course and was later discovered to have had performance enhancing drugs in his possession. One SEAL leader, noting that the selection course will inevitably end up rewarding “the very best cheaters,” expressed concern that future SEAL cadres may be more inclined to break rules: “What am I going to do with guys like that in a place like Afghanistan?” the leader stated. “A guy who can do 100 pull-ups but can’t make an ethical decision?”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Alvaro Marañon sat down with Max Smeets to discuss Smeets’s new book entitled “No Shortcuts: Why States Struggle to Develop a Military Cyber-Force.”

Bob Bauer argued that calls for the Justice Department to judge the political implications and consequences of a potential Trump prosecution are misplaced.

Matt Gluck, Tia Sewell, and Benjamin Wittes shared their summary and evaluation of evidence presented by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in their hearings thus far. 

Marc Galasco analyzed the Pentagon’s newly released Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan.  

Hyemin Han shared a preliminary order issued by a federal judge giving notice of the court's intent to grant former President Donald Trump's request to appoint a special master to oversee materials obtained during the FBI's search of his Mar-a-Lago residence.

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.
Tia Sewell is a former associate editor of Lawfare. She studied international relations and economics at Stanford University and is now a master’s student in international security at Sciences Po in Paris.

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