Ike Kaveladze, an employee of Russian developers Emin and Aras Agalarov, attended as the Agalarov’s representative the June 2016 meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, The Washington Post reports. That revelation brings the known number of individuals at the meeting to eight. Scott Balber, an attorney for the Agalarovs, said that Kaveladze is a U.S. citizen and a vice president with the Agalarov’s Crocus Group. Balber said Kaveladze thought he would serve as a translator, but it was unnecessary when Veselnitskaya brought her own. Kaveladze agreed to an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in the first public indication that Mueller’s is looking into the meeting as a part of its inquiry into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) says that Mueller has “no problem” with Trump Jr. or former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who also attended the June 2016 meeting, being called to testify publicly before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The growing cast of high-profile, high-price private lawyers representing clients in Russia-investigation matters misalign their goals and interests, the AP reports. Given the interconnected nature of the investigation and attorneys’ goal to protect their client, jostling and conflict are expected that may leave lower-level aides exposed and struggling to afford growing legal fees.
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine declared the creation of a new state called Malorossiya that they say will eventually encompass all Ukrainian territory, the AP reports. The announcement, just a day before another round of peace talks was scheduled to begin, risks scuttling the negotiations. Separatists took control of territory in the eastern region of the country that borders Russia in April 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. A 2015 ceasefire agreement helped reduce violence but has yet to resolve to the broader conflict.
U.S. officials report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will close the Office of Global Criminal Justice, the division responsible for coordinating the U.S. response to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, Foreign Policy reports. The Office’s special coordinator allegedly received word that he would be reassigned to a different office. Critics have said the move would send the wrong signals to the world and would damage the U.S.’s ability to hold war criminals accountable. Beth Van Shaack atJust Security broke the story, writing that it is part of a reorganization of the Under-Secretariat for Civilian Security, Democracy & Human Rights. This development is not the first time the status of the office has been in limbo—the Obama administration also considered downgrading the office and folding it into a different division. The State Department has not confirmed the closure, and one official said that it was “pure speculation.”
Tillerson has hired consultants at Deloitte and Insigniam to help restructure the State Department, The New York Times reports. Five committees will evaluate the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development and provide recommendations for improvement. A survey of employees conducted by Insigniam found frustration with the structure of the State Department, a lack of accountability, and poor employee treatment. Improvements in the department’s information technology is also under consideration.
A leaked memo attributed to Britain’s National Cybersecurity Centre says that nation-state hackers targeted and likely compromised the U.K. energy sector, The Guardian reports. The memo implied direct connections originating at the hackers’ control centers to computers related to the energy sector. Concerns over infrastructure vulnerabilities continue to grow: Russia-backed hackers attacked Ireland’s power grid just several days ago.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the FBI can secretly issue surveillance orders to communications companies for customer data, Reuters reports. The three-judge panel said that the gag orders that accompany the FBI national security letters (NSLs) do not violate the First Amendment rights of the companies that receive the request. Two companies sued the government to be able to notify their customers of five NSLs they received between 2011 and 2013. The Ninth Circuit ruling upheld the lower court’s decision.
The Trump administration is entrenching anti-Muslim immigration policies through bureaucratic means that have largely gone under the radar, Farhana Khera and Jonathan J. Smith argue in a Times op-ed. The authors detail increasing administrative hurdles and the strengthening of restrictions that are not subject to court review. They say these barriers will firmly establish a bias against Muslims in the immigration process.
Trump threatened Venezuela with “strong and swift economic actions” if controversial president Nicolas Maduro installs his new “Constituent Assembly” that will have the power to rewrite the constitution, CNN reports. The National Assembly is the current legislative body and is controlled by Maduro’s opponents. About 7.2 million people cast their votes in a nonbinding referendum on Sunday, with 98% voting against the new Constituent Assembly, calling for new elections before Maduro’s term expires in early 2019, and voting for the armed forces to defend the current constitution. Venezuela finds itself in the midst of an economic crisis and popular protests against the Maduro administration.
ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare
Jimmy Chalk and Sarah Grant reviewed the Arbitral Tribunal ruling one year later in this week’s Water Wars.
Robert Litt argued against an expansion of the FBI Director’s independence.
John Villasenor discussed the mathematical impossibility of the Australian Parliament’s planned legislation that will require companies to break into end-to-end encrypted messages.
Rosenzweig urged members of the Intelligence Community to stop leaking.
Bob Bauer questioned which ethical standard Donald Trump was defending when he argued that most politicians would have taken the Russian attorney meeting at Trump Tower.
Matthew Kahn posted The Week That Will Be.
Wyatt Hoffman and Ariel E. Levite examined the benefits and drawbacks to corporate active cyber defense.
Benjamin Wittes predicted that a civil suit filed against the Trump campaign and Roger Stone will produce a trove of information if it reaches the discovery phase.
Stewart Baker posted the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, in which the group discusses federal IT procurement, NotPetya, the Chinese cyber crackdown, and much more.
Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck published the National Security Law Podcast, in which they did a deep dive on the 2001 AUMF.
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