The Lawfare Podcast

On Friday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort entered a plea agreement with the special counsel. To figure out what it means for Manafort, the Mueller investigation, and President Trump, Benjamin Wittes spoke to former Obama White House counsel Bob Bauer, independent counsel prosector Paul Rosenzweig, and Lawfare managing editor Quinta Jurecic. 

Direct download: Manafort_Plea_mixdown_fixed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

The challenges that President Donald Trump has posed to the rule of law are well documented, from his delegitimization of the law enforcement investigation into his campaign and conduct in office, to his attacks on federal judges who rule against the legality of his policy prerogatives. Coupled with what many call his adversarial relationship with his own intelligence community, the Trump presidency has created a role of the executive with no analogue in recent memory.

On September 4, at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law, Representative Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and former CIA Director John Brennan, both outspoken critics of the president, sat down for a conversation about what they've seen in the past 20 months under the Trump administration, including their takes on threats to the rule of law, the investigations of the president, and ongoing vulnerability of American democracy to cyber threats.

Direct download: Episode_346.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28pm EDT

Brett Kavanaugh spent Thursday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for his second day of marathon questioning about his qualifications to join the Supreme Court. But on this podcast, we cut down more than 8 hours of testimony to bring you only the national-security content Lawfare readers and Lawfare Podcast listeners need. Every question and every answer on national security, presidential power and the Mueller investigation.

Direct download: kav_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23am EDT

Judge Brett Kavanaugh faced the Senate Judiciary Committee in Day 1 of a two-day marathon Q&A session for his nomination as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. We sat through it all so you don't have to. We've cut out all the garbage and are bringing you just the questions and answers on legal matters related to national security, presidential power, and presidential investigation.

Direct download: Kavanaugh_vs_Committee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44am EDT

The New York Times reports that CIA human sources in Moscow are drying up. The newspaper speculates that this may be because of the political environment in the United States, an environment in which the president tweets about the intelligence community and the Steele dossier, and the House Intelligence Committee goes after human sources and outs them.

John Sipher knows something about human sources in Moscow. He was stationed there for the CIA in the 1990s and had to deal with sources. He joined Benjamin Wittes in the Jungle Studio to talk about the fragility of those operations, the plausibility of the New York Times story, and what we could do tamp down negative impacts on intelligence collection.

Direct download: Episode_343.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:22am EDT

This edition of The Lawfare Podcast grows out of an email exchange between David Kris and Jack Goldsmith over a draft article Jack had written about John Brennan and other intelligence community former leaders who were criticizing the president in public and from whom the president was threatening to pull their security clearances in response.

What is appropriate for intelligence community leaders to say about the president? What is going too far? What is outside their lane? And what is required by the current moment when intelligence community leaders face a rogue elephant of a president who is violating every norm we know?

Direct download: Episode_342.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:25am EDT

Bob Mueller and the president's legal team are engaged in an extended negotiation over whether the president will sit for an interview with the Mueller team. As it turns out, there are three people in the world who have interviewed a sitting president as part of a grand jury investigation. This week Benjamin Wittes sat down with one of them—Solomon Wisenberg.

Wisenberg served as deputy independent counsel under Ken Starr during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigation. On Thursday, Wisenberg discussed his experience interviewing Bill Clinton, how that can inform thinking on the next possible presidential interview, and how both prosecutors and the president's lawyers can think strategically about next steps.

Direct download: Episode_341.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:29am EDT

What a weird weekend it has been. The Manafort jury is deliberating, the White House lawyer is cooperating with the special prosecutor and giving 30 hours of interview about presidential conduct, and Michael Cohen seems poised to either be indicted or form a cooperation deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York.

Benjamin Wittes jumped on the phone to discuss all of this with former White House counsel Bob Bauer, former Justice Department official Carrie Cordero, and Lawfare contributor Paul Rosenzweig.

Direct download: Episode_340.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:34pm EDT

The President of the United States this week stripped the former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance in a dramatic White House statement by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The White House is threatening more adverse security clearance actions against presidential critics, and former senior security officials are outraged. Benjamin Wittes sat down Friday afternoon with Bradley Moss, who represents people in security clearance revocation processes, to discuss the president's move, how different it is, and what we can expect if a lawsuit develops.

Direct download: Episode_339.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm EDT

Canada and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads over the past week ever since the Canadian Foreign Minister condemned Saudi Arabia’s arrest of Samar Badawi, a human rights activist. Saudi Arabia's reactions were extreme, including expelling the Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, halting trade negotiations and the pulling of the Saudi Arabian ambassador for diplomatic consultation.

To sort this all out, Lawfare senior editor Shannon Togawa Mercer  spoke to Scott Anderson, former diplomat and international lawyer, and Canadian professors Stephanie Carvin of The Intrepid Podcast and Carleton University, Bessma Momani of the Stimpson Center, and Thomas Juneau of the University of Ottowa.

They spoke about Saudi Arabian and Canadian strategy, international legal considerations and what comes next.

Direct download: Lawfare_Podcast_Episode_338_FULL_EPISODE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:34pm EDT

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