Stories We’re Watching
Warsaw Fyre Festival Begins
A high-level US delegation including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and White House adviser Jared Kushner arrived in Warsaw earlier today to launch a Middle East security summit. Timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Revolution, the summit was supposed to bring together leaders from Europe to discuss Iran. Instead, France and Germany have sent low-level officials. Renewed US sanctions on Iran have caused tension within NATO since Iran supplies a large share of the EU’s energy demands. Although the US delegation broadened the agenda to include Yemen, the EU’s foreign-policy chief declined to attend. Turkey, Iran, and Russia are expected to meet tomorrow in Sochi.
- BBC: Warsaw summit: Why Iran is the elephant in the room
- Financial Times: Iran foreign minister plays down Warsaw summit on Mideast
- Haaretz: Warsaw Summit Will Test US Gamble on Israeli-Arab Pact Against Iran
- Voice of America: US, Poland Launch Mideast Conference Despite Uncertain Aims
Senate Votes to Advance Attorney General Nominee William Barr
The US Senate voted earlier today to break a filibuster and advance President Trump’s Attorney General nominee William Barr. Opposition lawmakers have questioned Barr’s willingness to allow the special counsel investigation to continue. Others have pointed to his past support of mass incarceration and warrantless surveillance. Human Rights Campaign has called on lawmakers to reject Barr’s confirmation, citing civil rights abuses. The Senate is expected to vote on Barr’s confirmation later this week.
- CNN: Senate votes to advance Attorney General nominee William Barr
- Reuters: Trump attorney general pick Barr advances in Senate
- WSJ: Attorney General Nominee Barr Helped Navigate CIA Through Rocky
- Human Rights Campaign: HRC to Senate: Reject the Confirmation of William Barr
US-China Trade War: Trump & Xi Expected to Meet in March, Trump Mulls Deadline Extension
Markets in the US and Asia opened stronger today amid investor optimism over the US-China trade negotiations. President Xi is expected to meet with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday. Tomorrow, the US delegation will meet with Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator. President Trump has indicated a possible extension of the March 2 deadline, and Presidents Trump and Xi are expected to meet in March. However, many firms are preparing for a worst-case scenario.
- BBC: Trade war: Trump ‘could extend’ deadline for deal with China
- CNBC: Here’s a blueprint for investors trading the different China-US trade
- WSJ: China, U.S. Seek to Narrow Gap on Trade for Trump, Xi to Close
- South China Morning Post: Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet top US delegation on Friday
House Homeland Security Committee Holds Hearing on Election Security
The House Homeland Security Committee began hearings today on election security. The Committee is set to hear testimony from leaders of the US Election Assistance Commission and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. House Democrats have proposed legislation aimed at improving election security, including possible requirements on states to secure their election systems. Security analysts point to basic security lapses on the part of the states. Last week, Virginia’s Department of Elections posted an admin’s username and password on a job posting—allowing open access to the personal information for the entire applicant pool.
- Lawfare: House Homeland Security Committee Hearing on Election Security
- Just Security: Questions for the House Homeland Security Hearing
- PBS: Election security experts testify before House committee
- Committee on Homeland Security: Defending Our Democracy: Building Partnerships to Protect America’s Elections Official
Venezuela’s Interim President Guaidó Sets Aid Deadline as Protestors Return to Streets
Venezuelan opposition supporters returned to the streets earlier today to demand that humanitarian aid be allowed to enter the country. Venezuela continues to suffer from acute political and economic crises. So far, embattled President Maduro has refused to allow humanitarian aid into the country. During a rally earlier today, Guaido announced that the aid would arrive by the end of next week, giving Maduro until February 23 to release the aid.
- CNN: Protesters flood Venezuela’s streets to call for change
- BBC: Venezuela crisis: Juan Guaidó vows to bring in aid
- RFE/RL: Russia Warns United States Against Intervening In Venezuela
- The Guardian: Hungry Venezuelans urge help but standoff looms over ‘politicised’ aid
PODCAST: What If We Were President?
What if Rosa Brooks was president? What if Kori Schake were? What about Evelyn Farkas? We live in an era of strong women candidates…what about strong women from the Deep State? Tune in and you will discover that’s the answer to all our problems…in what will probably be your favorite Deep State Radio episode effort. Featuring: Pepin the Short!
WASHINGTON FOR BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: Twitter’s Dynamic Duo: My Funny, Profanity Laced, Insightful Conversation with Rick Wilson and Molly Jong-fast EARLY ACCESS
They’re twitter’s dynamic duo: he’s the peanut butter to her jelly, the Mickey to her Minnie, the Batman to…you get the point. These two guests are hilarious and when you bring them together on this podcast, THEY ARE FIRE. You’d think that leading GOP strategist Rick Wilson and liberal writer Molly Jong-Fast would have nothing in common, but you’re wrong. They have two very important things in common; they hate Trump and they love our country. In this podcast we talked about twitter trolls (Molly LOVES them) the best nickname ever given to a shady Governor (thank you Rick) and guesses for 2020, along with a ton of other politichitchat. Tune in!
PODCAST: What Do Virginia’s Confederate Monuments Have to Do with Foreign Policy? EARLY ACCESS
Virginia’s leadership mess obscures deeper problems within the state…and the country. How do our flaws–from racism to anti-semitism to our corrupt current leadership–impact America’s standing and create opportunities for our enemies? Join Rosa Brooks, Evelyn Farkas and host, David Rothkopf for an introspective journey into our moment and what to do about it. Tune in!