Dec 18, 2019

Judge grants government rights to proceeds from Snowden book, speeches

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the government is entitled to any proceeds from speeches and a book authored by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Snowden is currently living under asylum in Russia after the government unsealed espionage charges against him in 2013 for leaking classified information. The Justice Department has argued that its inability to prosecute Snowden justifies halting the royalties he's reaped from what may be the largest security breach in U.S. history, per the Post.

  • Snowden argues that he is not revealing new information in his public speeches, and that the government never would have reviewed his manuscript "in a good faith and timely fashion."
  • Snowden has said he would like to return to the U.S. but only if he is allowed to defend himself in a trial by arguing that he acted in the public's best interest. That defense is not permitted in U.S. courts.

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Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,302,318 — Total deaths: 376,322 — Total recoveries — 2,716,924Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,812,125 — Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response.
  4. Business: Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion — More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  5. Climate: The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus.
  6. Media: Interest in the George Floyd protests has soared past the coronavirus.

The business of tear gas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. forces yesterday used tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House gates, prior to a declared curfew, clearing a path for President Trump to visit a riot-damaged church for a photo opportunity.

The state of play: Two of the largest U.S. producers of tear gas are owned by private equity firms, but those firms have no interest in discussing their ownership.