The Lawfare Podcast

Saria Samakie has a story unlike those of most of his peers at Georgetown. After being kidnapped three times in Syria, Samakie managed to flee the war-ravaged country and eventually arrived in the United States. Arne Duncan, a Brookings nonresident senior fellow and former secretary of education, recently interviewed Samakie to describe growing up in Syria, the harrowing experience of being a teenager under Assad’s regime, and what he envisions for his future—and his country’s. 

Direct download: Arne_Duncan_mixdown_final_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:24pm EST

When the Department of Justice required RT, the Russian-funded news outlet, to register as a foreign agent last month, the Russian government responded in kind. Yet the Kremlin's recent crackdown on Western media is part of a longer history of stifling independent media in Russia. For this episode of the Lawfare Podcast's special Russia series, Alina Polyakova talked to Mikhail Zygar, a Russian independent journalist, filmmaker, and author of two books on the Kremlin’s elite circle. They discussed Zygar's latest book "All the Kremlin's Men," what it’s like to be an independent journalist in Russia today, why Vladimir Putin may be far from a strategic mastermind, and much more. 

Direct download: Alina_Mikhail_Final_mixdown_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, America’s longtime ally in the Middle East, faces a tumultuous future. Plummeting oil prices, an ongoing royal purge, and Yemen’s civil war across the border have thrust the kingdom into a domestic and international maelstrom. But what role does the United States play in Saudi Arabia’s changing position? To address that question, Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, recently discussed his new book “Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and America Since FDR” at a Brookings event. Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, moderated the conversation in which they discussed the state of U.S.-Saudi relations, the historical events that have precipitated Saudi Arabia’s current situation, and the future of the kingdom. 

Direct download: Bruce_Riedel__mixdown_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46pm EST

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty today and agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We put together an all-star panel to talk it through. Lawfare contributors Orin Kerr, Stewart Baker, Steve Vladeck, and Paul Rosenzweig joined Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey to go over all the angles. 

Direct download: Lawfare_Emergency_Podcast_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:42pm EST

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Carpenter v. United States, a major Fourth Amendment case asking whether a warrant is necessary before law enforcement can obtain cell site data identifying a suspect phone's location from a service provider. Lawfare contributor and Fourth Amendment expert Orin Kerr discussed the case with Benjamin Wittes shortly after the argument.

Direct download: Orin_Kerr_mixdown_final_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EST

Putin’s government is often painted as an all powerful, centralized regime. But, in reality, it’s far from that: in Russia’s Far East, Moscow is either resented or disregarded by many, and the security services are the only agents fully loyal to Moscow. This week, special guest host Alina Polyakova interviewed Arkady Ostrovsky, the author of “The Invention of Russia: The Rise of Putin and the Age of Fake News” and the Russia and Eastern Europe editor at the Economist, on life Russia’s wild Far East, the tensions between the Kremlin and its far flung provinces, and what it all means for the limits of Putin’s power and his deepest fears. 

This is the second podcast in a new series with Alina Polyakova to shed light on Russian politics and society in an effort to understand the Kremlin’s intentions toward and engagement with the West.

Direct download: Edited_Final_Alina_Arkady_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41am EST

The relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams largely shaped the course of the newly-formed United States of America. Historian Gordon Wood examined this relationship and its effect on America’s future in his new book “Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson." Last week, Benjamin Wittes interviewed Wood on his book to discuss the friendship and disagreements between Jefferson and Adams, America’s perilous position in the 1790s, and the ways in which the Founding Fathers forged the country’s national security policy.

Direct download: Gordon_Wood_final_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:43pm EST

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe's military placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest and took over state institutions in what is largely considered a military coup. Naunihal Singh, author of "Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups" and professor at the Naval War College, joined Benjamin Wittes for a lively discussion on current events in Zimbabwe and the nature of coups in general. They discussed the defining elements of a military coup and its modern history, the politics surrounding Zimbabwe's situation and much more. 

Direct download: Zimbabwe_Coup_mixdown_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30pm EST

Discussion on impeachment has intensified since Donald Trump assumed office this January, but what do we know about impeachment’s constitutional design and history? Cass Sunstein, professor at Harvard Law School, recently wrote an accessible account of impeachment to separate myth from history. Last week, Benjamin Wittes interviewed Sunstein on his new book "Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide." They discussed the Framers’ intent behind impeachment, what “high crimes and misdemeanors” actually means, the appropriate situations for which impeachment is called, and much more.

Direct download: Cass_Sunstein_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:29pm EST

Matters Russia have been prevalent in U.S. politics since news of the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 elections first surfaced. It's time to pay some serious attention to the Russian surveillance apparatus. Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and co-author of the book, “The Red Web,” brings a unique interpretation of the Kremlin’s actions as an independent reporter in the very country Americans find so confusing. Special guest host Alina Polyakova, David M. Rubenstein fellow in Brookings’s Foreign Policy Program, interviewed Soldatov last week to discuss Russia’s perspective on the 2016 election meddling, the Kremlin’s surveillance operations, Edward Snowden, and much more.  

This is the first podcast in a new project between in which Polyakova will shed light on Russian politics and society on the Lawfare Podcast in an effort to understand the Kremlin’s intentions toward and engagement with the West.

Direct download: Alina_Polykova_Andrei_Soldatov_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30pm EST