The Lawfare Podcast

In this third episode of the special Culper Partners Rule of Law series, David Kris and Nate Jones speak with former Senator Saxby Chambliss, who served as a senator from Georgia from 2003–2015, and in the House of Representatives from 1995–2003.

During his tenure in the Senate, he was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as well as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where he served as Vice Chairman from 2011–2014. His previous role as Chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security made him one of the leading congressional experts on those issues.

They talked about the history of the congressional intelligence committees, the significance of election interference, and the proper penalties for lying to Congress. Chambliss also described what it was like to serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, even describing a particular situation that is apparently still classified and undisclosed, as well as revealing whom he considers to be the best legislator he ever knew.

Direct download: Episode_402.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46pm EDT

Demographic, technological, and geostrategic developments are disrupting the electoral landscape in sub-Saharan Africa. How do these shifts affect the political climate for democracy and participation across Africa? What have recent elections in Nigeria illustrated about these? And what about the clash between China and the United States in Africa?

To explore these questions, David Priess spoke with Judd Devermont, director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, host of the Into Africa podcast, and former national intelligence officer for Africa from 2015 to 2018.

Direct download: Episode_401.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:06pm EDT

It’s Robert Mueller as you’ve never heard him before.

We have something special for you on the podcast today. Something very different.

The Mueller report is coming. We all know that. We don’t know what’s going to be in it. We don't know when it's showing up. 

But Bob Mueller has already told a remarkable story. He’s told it scattered through different court filings in a variety of cases, indictments, plea agreements, stipulations of fact. We decided to distill it, to organize it, to put it all in one place, to tell the story of the Russia investigation orally, to let a remarkable group of speakers read the speaking indictments that Mueller has issued.

So here’s the story of the Russia conspiracy, distilled to a brief audiobook in seven chapters. What you’re about to hear is all taken nearly verbatim from actual Bob Mueller filings. We’ve cut a lot, moved stuff around, and changed a few words here and there to make it sound more like a narrative. We have changed the meaning not at all. 

Direct download: speaking_indictments_podcast_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:58pm EDT

Bill Browder, human rights campaigner and foe of Vladimir Putin, seems to get arrested whenever he travels abroad as a result of red notices and diffusion orders issued by Putin through the Interpol police organization. These incidents have highlighted the abuse of Interpol by authoritarian governments, and they raise a really important question: Should we be participating in an international police organization with governments that use that organization to harass and arrest their enemies?

On this episode of The Lawfare Podcast, Benjamin Wittes speaks with two people with somewhat different points of view, although a lot of common ground: Bill Browder himself, along with Jago Russell, the head of Fair Trials, which has worked to reform Interpol and make it less susceptible to abuse. Bill argues for kicking the bums out and having police cooperation only between countries that observe civilized norms of law enforcement. Jago makes the case for mending, not ending, an inclusive international police organization.

Direct download: Episode_400.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:08pm EDT

As the nation braces for the forthcoming end of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into President Trump and his associates, The Lawfare Podcast decided to take a look back at the complete history of special prosecutors.

Benjamin Wittes sat down with Andrew Coan, a professor of law at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. Coan recently published "Prosecuting the President," which traces the history of how special prosecutors and counsels work to keep the executive branch accountable for its actions. Ben and Andrew discussed the book, the Teapot Dome Scandal, the Whiskey Ring, and what all of that might mean for the future of special counsels.

Direct download: Episode_399.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm EDT

For the past year, Matt Waxman has been writing Lawfare vignettes about interesting—and usually overlooked—historical episodes of American constitutional war powers in action, and relating them to modern debates. These include the stories of St. Claire’s Defeat and the Whiskey Rebellion during the Washington administration, congressional war powers and the surprisingly late termination of World War I, the proposed Ludlow Amendment during the interwar years, and Eisenhower’s Taiwan force authorization.

Ben Wittes invited Matt on the podcast to talk about them and how they fit together into a book broader project he's embarking on. If you’re tired of hearing the usual war powers debates, listen in. And even if you think you know a lot about constitutional war powers, you’ll learn a lot.

Direct download: Episode_398.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:27pm EDT

On Tuesday, Susan Hennessey interviewed FBI Director Chris Wray at the 2019 RSA Conference. They discussed about how the Director views the cyber threat landscape 18 months into his term, his concerns about the threats posed by Russia and China, what the FBI is doing to protect the 2020 elections, and more.

Direct download: wray_short.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm EDT

Political trends in recent years have seen a rise of right-leaning nationalism and populism around the globe, including in the United States. What are the sources of nationalism, and what are its effects on modern politics?

On this episode, Lawfare founding editor and Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith sits down with John Judis, editor-at-large at Talking Points Memo and author of "The Nationalist Revival." They discussed Judis’s book, including the necessity of nationalism in developed democracies, why right-wing nationalist and populist movements seem to be winning out over those on the left, and how Donald Trump successfully raised the profile of nationalist politics in the United States.

Direct download: Episode_397.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:03pm EDT

It's hard to open a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about the dysfunction and partisan polarization affecting members of Congress. But what about their staffs, and what does that mean for national security?

This week, Margaret Taylor sat down with seemingly unlikely partners: Luke Murry, National Security Advisor to Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Daniel Silverberg, National Security Advisor to Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. They spoke about security issues facing this Congress, what staffers do on a day-to-day basis, and how the two of them actually work together.

Direct download: Episode_396.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:07pm EDT

On Wednesday, Michael Cohen—the former executive vice president of the Trump Organization, former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, and former personal lawyer to Donald Trump—paid a visit to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Cohen accused the president of campaign finance violations after taking office. He alleged that he was present when Roger Stone gave Trump advance notice of the WikiLeaks dump of the hacked DNC emails. And he claimed that the president's statements in a meeting with Jay Sekulow led Cohen to conclude that the president wanted Cohen to make false statements to Congress. So we cut out all of the bickering, all of the procedural obstructions, and all the rest of the frivolity, to bring you just the one hour of testimony you need to hear. 

Direct download: Cohen_Bonus_Ep.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04pm EDT

In this second episode of the special Culper Partners Rule of Law Series, David Kris and Nates Jones, the founders of the Culper Partners consulting firm, speak with Eric Holder, who served as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2015.

Holder shares his perspective on the proper functioning of the Department of Justice, the balance between independence and political accountability, and a distinction between the role of the Attorney General as the chief prosecutor on the one hand and as legal advisor to the president, and sometimes to the National Security Council, on the other. He also remembers his own experience with congressional oversight and gives a frank assessment of how oversight is functioning today. He also critiques the two OLC opinions against indicting a sitting president, and he offers predictions about the Mueller report and his own upcoming decision on whether he will run for president.

Direct download: Episode_395.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27pm EDT

Each year, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London publishes The Military Balance, an annual assessment of the military capabilities and defense economics of 171 countries around the world. Last week, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Bastian Giegerich, director of defense and military analysis for IISS, who leads the research and publication of The Military Balance, which has just come out for 2019.

They discussed Chinese military modernization, global defense spending and how it's changing around the world, Russia's violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement, NATO, and cyber.

Direct download: Episode_394.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30pm EDT

It’s looking more and more like Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation is finally reaching an end. The regulations under which he is operating require Mueller to write and submit a final, confidential report to the attorney general. Who, in turn, must then decide when and how much of the report to release to Congress and the public. No one outside of the Justice Department knows what will be in the report, which  makes this the perfect to set ground rules regarding how people should engage this material, regardless of their political affiliations or view of the L’Affaire Russe scandal. Today, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, Benjamin Wittes and I detailed what, we believe, those ground rules should be. In the latest edition of the Lawfare Podcast Shorts, you can listen to that article in-full, read by one of the authors, Susan Hennessey.

Direct download: 4_Principles_Shorts_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm EDT

The Central Intelligence Agency, by its very nature, is a secretive organization, yet it has a robust public affairs and media relations operation. How does the agency resolve this tension? How do its employees, from the director of the CIA to the officers needed to assist in this effort, deal with the difficult questions of how open to be? To find out, David Priess sat down with Bill Harlow and Marie Harf, two former CIA officers who were in the middle of it all.

Direct download: Episode_393.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:57pm EDT

Something a little different on the podcast today: the launch of a special series—the Culper Partners Rule of Law Series. David Kris and Nates Jones, the founders of the Culper Partners consulting firm, have recorded a limited-edition podcast series exploring various aspects of the rule of law, particularly as it relates to U.S. national security and criminal law enforcement. Over the course of several episodes, which we will be dropping into the Lawfare Podcast feed over the coming weeks and months, David and Nate examine topics including legislative and judicial oversight of the executive branch, the rule of law in counterterrorism, the relationship between law, economic security, and national security, foreign relations and the rule of law, and law and politics. Each episode features an interview with a current or former senior government official, or a leader in the private sector.

In this first episode, Nate and David talk with Judge John Bates, Senior Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Bates has had a long and distinguished career in government and private practice, including work at two private law firms, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in DC, and as Deputy Independent Counsel in the Whitewater investigation. Most recently, from 2013 to 2015, he was Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Judge Bates became a federal judge in 2001, and from 2006 to 2013 he served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, where he was the court’s Presiding Judge beginning in 2009.

Direct download: 392a_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:15am EDT

On March 29, in approximately six weeks, the United Kingdom is scheduled to crash out of the European Union. As of the date of this podcast, there is no deal governing how that exit will work. To understand the stakes, Benjamin Wittes sat down last week in the new Jungle Studio with Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at the Brookings Center for the United States and Europe, to talk about all things Brexit.

They talked about the thorny issue of the Northern Ireland border, Theresa May's delicate political position, and what might happen if March 29 arrives without a Brexit deal.

Direct download: Episode_391.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:43pm EDT

After the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee assured that he would be allowed to appear voluntarily, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker gave testimony on Friday before the panel on oversight of the department he has led since Jeff Sessions left office in November 2018. He answered questions for over six hours about everything from his decision not to recuse from the Mueller investigation to the department's pretrial release program. But we cut out all the unnecessary repetition and theatrics to leave you with just the questions and answers about national security law that you need to hear.

Direct download: Lawfare_Bonus_Ep_Whitaker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:49am EDT

From the increasing development of autonomous weapons systems to the expansion of the traditional battlefield to cyber and outer space, the evolution of warfare invites ethical and legal questions about what the future holds. In November 2018, Arnold & Porter's Veterans and Affiliates Leadership Organization hosted a panel discussion to explain what warfare will be like for the military veterans of the future.

Former Air Force and Army general counsel and current Arnold & Porter partner Chuck Blanchard moderated a conversation with American University law professor Ken Anderson, Emory law professor Laurie Blank, and Jamie Morin, vice president of Defense System Operations at The Aerospace Corporation and a director of the Center for Space Policy and Strategy.

Direct download: Episode_390.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:07am EDT

Many critics of Donald Trump’s foreign policy say the president has undermined the liberal international order, but some progressives question whether liberal internationalism was worthwhile to begin with. On Sunday, Jack Goldsmith had a conversation with Samuel Moyn, a professor of law and history at Yale University, who studies that subject. They talked through how to understand the successes and failures of liberal internationalism, the significance of Donald Trump’s effect on it, and what the future holds for the liberal international order.

Direct download: Episode_389.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37pm EDT

In the wake of Roger Stone’s arrest on Jan. 25, 2019, Chuck Rosenberg, a longtime U.S. federal law enforcement official, explained on Lawfare why the tactics used during the arrest were wholly appropriate. Nonetheless, some politicians, including the president and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, have raised questions about the FBI’s operational decisions—in particular regarding the allegedly excessive number of FBI officials who were present for the arrest and search of Stone’s home. In a second article for Lawfare, Rosenberg detailed why it was entirely appropriate for the FBI to send roughly 29 agents to Stone’s house. In the latest edition of the Lawfare Podcast Shorts, you can listen to that article in-full, read by the author.

Direct download: Chuck_Roseberg_Shorts_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07pm EDT

Last week, as part of the Hoover Institution’s “Security by the Book” series, Jack Goldsmith spoke with Herb Lin and Amy Zegart, co-directors of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program. Lin and Zegart edited a recently-published volume on offensive cyber operations entitled: “Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations.” In the book, leading cybersecurity scholars and practitioners dissect the technical, political, psychological, and legal ramifications of offensive cyber operations. Goldsmith, Lin, and Zegart discussed the book’s inception, its contents, and what role offensive cyber operations have played and continue to play in U.S. strategy.

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Direct download: Episode_388.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:19am EDT

While researching the Watergate Road Map, Benjamin Wittes discovered a letter written by the then-Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary Peter Rodino to the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In the letter, Rodino requested that any material relevant to the House’s impeachment inquiry be transferred to his committee. This morning, Wittes analyzed in a Lawfare article how the letter could instruct current Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler on what steps he can take to ensure his committee properly executes its constitutional obligation. In the latest edition of the Lawfare Podcast Shorts, you can listen to that article in-full, read by the author.

Direct download: Shorts_1_31_19_mixdown_3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:07pm EDT

On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee heard testimony on global threats to U.S. national security from six heads of intelligence agencies: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray, NSA Director Paul Nakasone, NGIA Director Robert Cardillo, and DIA Director Robert Ashley. In a three-hour open session, they gave testimony about North Korea, they gave testimony about Iran, and they gave some testimony that clashed with statements made by the president of the United States. But we cut out all of the bull, and left you with just the 15 minutes of the hearing that you need.

Direct download: no_bull_intel_chiefs_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52pm EDT

With the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives, the 116th Congress is expected to be one of vigorous oversight of the executive branch, complete with requests for documents and for testimony from executive branch officials. But how does this actually work, and what happens when the executive branch refuses to comply?

To hash it all out, Brookings Senior Fellow Molly Reynolds spoke with Stan Brand, who served as the general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1976 to 1983. They talked about the institutional role of the House general counsel, the ins and outs of congressional contempt and subpoena enforcement, and the various challenges that the House will have to confront over the next two years.

Direct download: Episode_387.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46pm EDT

On a flight recently, Benjamin Wittes read a book that knocked his socks off: "The Rhetorical Presidency" by political scientist Jeffrey Tulis. While written in 1987, the book seems to anticipate our current president.

Ben got on the phone with Jeffrey Tulis to talk about the book, how the speaking style of presidents changed from the Founding era through the 19th century and into the 20th century, and how the hyper-rhetorical style of Donald Trump, where he's talking all the time, is really an extension of developments that had been going on all through the 20th century.

Direct download: Episode_386.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18pm EDT

It's a new year with a new Congress, and the Democrats now control the House of Representatives. But how will that change affect the state of play for national security legal issues? To find out, Benjamin Wittes spoke last Friday with Brookings senior fellow and expert on all things Congress, Molly Reynolds, and Brookings fellow, Lawfare senior editor, and former Chief Democratic Counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Margaret Taylor.

They talked about the dynamics of a divided legislature, what committees Lawfare Podcast listeners should keep an eye on, and how the new chairs of certain committees will affect key issues in national security law.

Direct download: Episode_385.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51pm EDT

Ian Bassin served in the White House Counsel's office under President Obama. At the dawn of the Trump administration, he became the impresario behind the litigating organization Protect Democracy, which has become an increasingly cross-ideological mechanism for using litigation to protect democratic values. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Ian to talk about the differences between Protect Democracy and more traditional litigating organizations, what sort of projects they do take on, and what sort of projects they don't take on. And they talked about the role litigation can and cannot play in preserving the norms that make democracy vibrant.

Direct download: Episode_384.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11pm EDT

Bill Barr spent Tuesday testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to take over the reins of the Justice Department as attorney general, a role he previously held during the George H.W. Bush administration. Barr spent more than eight hours before the senators. But on this episode of the Lawfare Podcast, we cut out all the BS: No repeated questions, no repeated answers, no ums, no uhs. And we took out everything except the national security questions, leaving you just the questions and responses about Lawfare topics that you want to hear.

Direct download: barr_mixdownTHISONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:10am EDT

Benjamin Wittes talks to Carrie Cordero, Chuck Rosenberg, David Kris, Jack Goldsmith and Susan Hennessey about the New York Times's report that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump after the president fired Director James Comey in May 2017.

Direct download: NYT_CI_investigation_emergency_podcast_mixdown_levelsfixed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:02pm EDT

Last week, Jack Goldsmith got on the phone with Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Greg Miller to discuss Miller’s new book, “The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy.” Miller’s book chronicles Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the interactions among members of the Trump campaign, transition, and administration, and officials and representatives of the Russian government. Goldsmith and Miller discussed how Miller approached writing the book, the extraordinary series of apparent connections and contacts between Trump associates and the Russian government, and what Russian President Vladimir Putin might have gained from his brazen interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Direct download: Episode_381.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:06am EDT

Benjamin Wittes talks to Jaimie Nawaday, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, to discuss the indictment of Natalia Veselnitskaya over alleged obstruction of justice in a case Nawaday handled. Nawaday talks about Russian abuse of the American justice system and how Veselnitskaya colluded with the Russian chief prosecutor's office to frustrate American prosecutors.

Direct download: Nawaday_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT

The Russian government's recent arrest of American Paul Whelan and its charges against him have many politicians and pundits speculating about the possibility of an intended spy swap for Maria Butina. There's a lot going on here, but there's also a lot of misunderstanding about the history of spy swaps, what they are, and what they aren't.

Earlier this week, David Priess sat down with his former CIA colleague John Sipher to talk about it all. They discussed the history of spy swaps, the current case involving Paul Whelan, and prospects for some kind of a release.

Direct download: Episode_379.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06am EDT

The murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville in 2017 and other recent events have drawn into the public discourse the fact that domestic terrorism is not a crime in and of itself. Earlier this week, Benjamin Wittes sat down with two experts on domestic terrorism to talk about ways that it might be incorporated into our criminal statutes.

Mary McCord, a professor of practice at Georgetown Law School, a senior litigator at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law School, and the former acting assistant attorney general for national security at the U.S. Department of Justice; and Jason Blazakis, a former State Department official in charge of the office that designates foreign terrorist organizations, and a professor of practice at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, joined Ben to talk about their proposals for how domestic terrorism might become a crime.

They talked about why domestic terrorism is currently left out of the criminal code, their two proposals for how it might be incorporated and how those proposals differ, and the 1st Amendment consequences of their competing proposals.

Direct download: Episode_378.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03pm EDT

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