Sat, 27 April 2019
The action has shifted to Congress, the Mueller report is filed, and a blizzard of subpoena fights between the White House and various congressional committees is already underway. The president has sued a committee chairman, there's a question about whether Don McGahn will testify or whether the White House will exert executive privilege over it, and looming over it all is the question of how congressional Democrats and Republicans are thinking about impeachment.
Molly Reynolds and Margaret Taylor joined Benjamin Wittes in the jungle studio to focus on all things Congress. They talked about subpoenas, lawsuits, impeachment, and even the much-forgotten 'inherent contempt' power of Congress.
Direct download: Episode_412.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT
Wed, 24 April 2019
On April 23, Benjamin Wittes hosted a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution unpacking what we learned from the redacted version of the Mueller report. The panel featured Susan Hennessey, Chuck Rosenberg and Margaret Taylor. They discussed the factual record Mueller established on Russian interference and collusion, whether the president's conduct constitutes obstruction of justice and how Congress and the American people might react to the report. The full audio of the event is available here.
Direct download: Brookings_Mueller_Event_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05pm EDT
Tue, 23 April 2019
Michael Anton, former Trump administration national security official and a research fellow at Hillsdale College, has published an essay in Foreign Policy explaining what he calls the 'Trump Doctrine' on foreign policy. Recently Anton sat down with Jack Goldsmith to discuss the new article and the philosophy behind Trump's foreign policy, particularly with respect to liberal internationalism and international institutions.
They discussed the administration's foreign policy successes and failures, how it's similar to and different from prior administrations in substance and in rhetoric, and whether the president's style and aversion to diplomatic norms inhibits the substance of his foreign policy.
Direct download: Episode_411.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12pm EDT
Sun, 21 April 2019
In this fifth episode of the special Culper Partners Rule of Law Series, David Kris and Nate Jones speak with former senior White House and DOJ official Ron Klain.
Ron has served his country repeatedly, including in senior positions at the highest levels of all three branches of government. He has served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Byron White, Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chief of Staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, and in that role, also served as a senior advisor to Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. He has worked on seven presidential campaigns, including the 2000 election between George W. Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore. Today, among other things, he is an adjunct professor at both Georgetown University and Harvard Law School.
Ron takes us on a trip down memory lane to discuss the hotly contested 2000 election, and in doing so, he shares his perspective on why he thinks the Supreme Court's decision departed from the rule of law. Ron also worries that our democracy is caught in a symbiotic downward spiral together with the rule of law. From active measures being deployed by foreign adversaries, to partisan political efforts to rig the system, Ron is concerned about the future.
Direct download: Episode_410.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:25am EDT
Fri, 19 April 2019
A redacted version of the 448-page Mueller report dropped yesterday, and there’s a lot to say about it. In this Special Edition of the Lawfare Podcast, Bob Bauer, Susan Hennessey, Mary McCord, Paul Rosenzweig, Charlie Savage and Benjamin Wittes discuss what the report says about obstruction and collusion, Mueller’s legal theories and what this all means for the president and the presidency.
Direct download: update_Special_Edition_Mueller_Report_20190419T174332.381451_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:43pm EDT
Thu, 18 April 2019
The Justice Department released on Thursday morning a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. The Mueller team divided the report into two volumes: one on Russian interference and potential coordination with the Trump campaign, and the other exploring the president’s conduct in relation to the investigation. Each volume features its own executive summary, chronicling the investigation’s central findings and conclusions. On this special edition episode of the Lawfare Podcast Benjamin Wittes reads those executive summaries in full. It’s a Mueller Report instant audio-book.
Direct download: Mueller_Report_Summary_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:36pm EDT
Tue, 16 April 2019
Since November, Lawfare Contributor Michelle Melton has run a series on our website about Climate Change and National Security, examining the implication of the threat as well as U.S. and international responses to climate change. Melton is a student a Harvard Law school. Prior to that she was an associate fellow in the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she focused on climate policy.
She and Benjamin Wittes sat down last week to discuss the series. They talked about why we should think about climate change as a national security threat, the challenges of viewing climate change through this paradigm, the long-standing relationship between climate change and the U.S. national security apparatus, and how climate change may affect global migration.
Direct download: Episode_409.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38pm EDT
Sat, 13 April 2019
Julian Mortenson, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, is the author of a remarkable new article entitled "Article II Vests Executive Power, Not the Royal Prerogative," forthcoming in the Columbia Law Review, and available on SSRN.
Recently, Benjamin Wittes spoke with the professor about the article, which Mortenson has been working on for years—as long as the two have known each other. The article explores the history of exactly three words of the U.S. Constitution—the first three words of Article II, to be precise: "the executive power."
Huge claims about presidential power have rested on a conventional understanding of these three words. Julian argues that this conventional understanding is not just partially wrong, or mostly wrong, but completely wrong, as a matter of history. And, he tries to supplant it with a new understanding that he argues is actually a very old understanding of what those words mean.
Thanks to our sponsor Blinkist. Get your 7-day free trial at blinkist.com/lawfare.
Direct download: Episode_408.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT
Thu, 11 April 2019
On Thursday morning, Susan Hennessey spoke to former FBI director James Comey about encryption, China, Attorney General Bill Barr's comments to the Senate about the opening of the Russia investigation, and more.
Direct download: comey_verify_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT
Wed, 10 April 2019
Attorney General Bill Barr announced on Wednesday, April 10, that the Mueller report will be released next week. While we wait for the release, Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes have written a "Memo to the Press: How Not to Screw Up on the Mueller Report." Jurecic and Wittes argue that the press got lost in the confusion of Barr's letter to Congress announcing the special counsel's top-line conclusions, and they offer nine principles for how to "[do] better the second time." You can listen to Quinta Jurecic read that article in the latest edition of the Lawfare Podcast Shorts.
Direct download: Memo_to_the_Press_Podcast_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16pm EDT
Tue, 9 April 2019
Our friends at the National Security Institute at George Mason University came over last week to have a discussion in our podcast studio about Yemen and the U.S.-Saudi alliance. Four former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers who worked with and sometimes at odds with each other participated. The conversation was moderated by Lester Munson, former Staff Director of the Committee under Chairman Bob Corker, and it included Jodi Herman, former Staff Director of the Committee under Ranking Member Ben Cardin; Jamil Jaffer, Founder and Executive Director of the National Security Institute and former Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor with the Committee under Chairman Bob Corker; and Dana Stroul, former Democratic senior staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the Middle East.
Direct download: Episode_407.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:11pm EDT
Fri, 5 April 2019
In this fourth episode of the special Culper Partners Rule of Law series, David Kris and Nate Jones speak with former White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler.
Prior to her White House service, Kathy served as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington, DC, and on the Enron task force. Earlier in her career, Kathy was an Associate Counsel to President Bill Clinton, where she defended the White House and the Office of the President in independent counsel and congressional investigations.
Kathy spoke with David and Nate about her service as President Obama's White House Counsel and how her experience at the Department of Justice instilled in her a deep respect for the rule of law, including limits on interactions between the White House and DOJ concerning particular investigations and other matters. She has grave concerns about the inherent conflict facing President Trump's subordinates, who must remain faithful to the rule of law while trying to carry out the legitimate policy goals of the elected president. She is not optimistic that this can be done, and she raises the question of whether those who remain have compromised to the point of enabling the president's misconduct.
Direct download: Episode_406.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:31pm EDT
Tue, 2 April 2019
Back in February, we hosted Bill Harlow and Marie Harf, two former public affairs officers at the Central Intelligence Agency, to discuss how the CIA interacts with reporters on sensitive national security topics. For this episode, we thought it only fair to turn that around and also talk about how it's seen on the other side.
Mary Louise Kelly is a voice familiar to many as an anchor of All Things Considered on NPR. She previously spent a decade as national security and intelligence correspondent for NPR News after working for CNN and the BBC. Shane Harris, in addition to co-hosting the Rational Security podcast, now covers intelligence and national security for The Washington Post, after writing about the same for outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Daily Beast, and National Journal.
David Priess recently sat down with Mary Louise and Shane to discuss the challenges of covering national security, to address myths about the intelligence beat, and, unsuccessfully, to uncover their sources.
Direct download: Episode_405.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT