The Lawfare Podcast (general)

Yesterday, the Supreme Court, on the final day of its term, handed down the two big subpoena cases: Trump v. Vance, in which the president tried to beat back a subpoena from a New York grand jury, and Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP, in which the president tried to beat back a congressional subpoena for his financial records. He didn't entirely succeed in either case, but he made some headway in the Mazars case. To discuss it all, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare's Margaret Taylor, Scott Anderson, Quinta Jurecic and Molly Reynolds. They talked about whether the president has a path forward before the New York grand jury, and what the cryptic decision in Mazars portends, both for Trump and for the executive-legislative oversight relationship.

Direct download: The_Subpoena_Cases_Come_Down.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

In this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Brandi Collins-Dexter, the senior campaign director at the advocacy organization Color of Change and a visiting fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She recently published a report with the Shorenstein Center on “Canaries in the Coal Mine: COVID-19 Misinformation and Black Communities,” tracing how different false narratives about the pandemic surfaced among Black social media users in the United States. So what makes this misinformation unique and especially dangerous? And how should the responses of technology companies account for the ways the Black community is particularly vulnerable to this kind of misinformation? They also discussed Color of Change’s role in the #StopHateForProfit campaign, an ad boycott of Facebook in protest of the company’s handling of potentially harmful speech on its platform.

Direct download: Brandi-Collins-Dexter-Covid19-Disinfo-and-Black-Communities.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The protests in Hong Kong have grabbed international headlines, but Hong Kong is hardly the only region of China that is experiencing brutal repression from the Chinese Communist Party. The latest unrest in the city and the imposition of the new national security law in Hong Kong mirrors actions taken in Xinjiang, the province of China that is inhabited principally by Uighur Muslims. To talk about it all, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Alvin Cheung, a non-resident affiliated scholar of NYU's U.S. Asia Law Institute and an expert on Hong Kong law; Jeremy Daum of the Paul Tsai China Center at the Yale Law School and an expert on Chinese criminal procedure and the detention of Uighurs outside of it; and Sophia Yan, the Beijing-based China correspondent for The Telegraph in London. They talked about what's going on in Hong Kong, what's going on in Xinjiang, what's going on in Tibet, and what's going on in the mainland of China itself.

Direct download: Xinjiang-Hong-Kong-and-China.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

David Priess is the chief operating officer of the Lawfare Institute. He is also a former CIA briefer for the Attorney General and the FBI director, and he's the author of "The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents." The president's daily brief has been in the news of late because of the Russia bounties story and the question of whether President Trump is actually internalizing the intelligence he is given in his daily briefing. Benjamin Wittes spoke with David about the history of the president's daily brief, how different presidents have gotten intelligence information and whether President Trump's behavior in this regard is exceptional or not.

Direct download: David_Priess_on_the_History_of_the_PDB.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Christian Brose was the staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he was also John McCain's senior policy adviser. He now works as the chief strategy officer of Anduril Industries, and he is the author of "The Kill Chain: Defending America and the Future of High-Tech Warfare," a look at how far behind the United States is growing in possible conflict against its principal national security adversary: China. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Chris to talk through what would happen if China and the United States actually fought a war. How has China modernized its military so quickly without the kind of military spending the United States has engaged in? And what does the United States need to do to stay current?

Direct download: Chris_Brose_on_The_Kill_Chain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jack Goldsmith spoke with David Shimer, the author of "Rigged: America, Russia and 100 Years of Covert Electoral Interference." They discussed United States and Soviet interference in elections during the Cold War, how and why the U.S. attitude toward foreign electoral interference changed after the Cold War, and whether and to what degree the Central Intelligence Agency still covertly intervenes in foreign elections today. They also discussed how the rise of the Internet asymmetrically empowers Russia and its long term efforts to disrupt domestic U.S. politics.

Direct download: Rigged.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Darius Kazemi, an internet artist and bot-maker extraordinaire. Recently, there have been a lot of ominous headlines about bots—including an NPR article stating that nearly 50 percent of all Twitter commentary about the pandemic has been driven by bots rather than human users. That sounds bad—but Darius thinks that we shouldn’t be so worried about bots. In fact, he argues, a great deal of reporting and research on bots is often wrong and actually causes harm by drumming up needless worry and limiting online conversations. So, what is a bot, anyway? Do they unfairly take the blame for the state of things online? And if weeding out bot activity isn’t a simple way to cultivate healthier online spaces, what other options are there for building a less unpleasant internet?

Direct download: Darius_Kazemi_on_the_Great_Bot_Panic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

As the United States continues to suffer from the effects of the coronavirus, the controversy surrounding China's alleged role in the pandemic has continued to grow. In recent weeks, it has even entered the U.S. courts, as private plaintiffs have brought claims against the Chinese government and related institutions for allegedly contributing to the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, members of Congress have introduced legislation aimed at making such litigation even easier to pursue, specifically by stripping away the sovereign immunity protections that normally protect foreign states from such claims. But can these efforts really provide Americans with needed relief, or are they just a dangerous distraction from the real issues with the United States's own coronavirus response? To discuss these issues, Scott R. Anderson spoke with Chimène Keitner, the Alfred and Hanna Fromm Professor of International Law at the University of California Hastings School of Law, and Robert Williams, executive director of the Paul Tsai China Center at the Yale Law School.

Direct download: Taking_China_to_Court_Over_the_Coronavirus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The New York Times and Washington Post both report that a Russian intelligence unit is paying bounties to Taliban-affiliated militants for killing coalition, including U.S., soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan. The White House denies that the president has been briefed on the subject, although the newspapers report that the White House was alerted to it and didn't do anything about it. Congress is asking questions, and Trump's critics are certain that this is the latest example of the president bowing before Vladimir Putin.

Benjamin Wittes spoke with Scott Anderson, Susan Hennessey and David Priess of Lawfare, and Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis, about how solid the intelligence is, what we can say about the president's knowledge—or lack thereof—of the situation, and why Russia would want to do this in the first place.

Direct download: About_Those_Russian_Bounties.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jack Goldsmith sat down with Eric Posner, the Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and the author of the new book, "The Demagogue's Playbook: The Battle for American Democracy from the Founders to Trump." They discussed why demagogues are a characteristic threat in democracies, how the founders of the U.S. Constitution tried to ensure elite control and prevent a demagogue from becoming president, how these safeguards weakened over time and how Donald Trump's demagoguery helped him win election as president. They also explored how Posner's perception of Trump as a threat to American democracy fits with his writings in support of a powerful president.

Direct download: Eric_Posner_on_the_Demagogues_Playbook.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Jordan Schneider, the host of ChinaTalk, sat down with Antony Dapiran, Hong Kong-based lawyer and author of two books on protests in Hong Kong. They discussed the history and legacy of the 2019 protests on the anniversary of one of the largest protests in human history, when two million Hongkongers marched against the extradition bill. They talked about the lead-up and aftermath of that day, how protests grew increasingly violent, the new national security law, and how these protests compare and contrast to Black Lives Matter.

Direct download: Hong_Kongs_Protests_One_Year_On.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

In this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Whitney Phillips and Ryan Milner, authors of the new book, “You Are Here: A Field Guide for Navigating Polarized Speech, Conspiracy Theories, and Our Polluted Media Landscape.” Phillips is an assistant professor in Communications and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University, and Milner is an associate professor of Communication at the College of Charleston. In “You Are Here,” they look at the uniquely disorienting aspects of the current online information environment and how that is exacerbated by aspects of “internet culture” that don’t make sense from the outside. They discussed the challenges for journalists in understanding and reporting on that culture and how that can fuel information pollution, how the internet got to this point where everything is so polluted, and, of course, what QAnon has to do with it.


COVID-19 is still rampaging around the country, primaries in several states did not go as planned, and, of course, there are Russians lurking in the background. With all of this happening around us, what is going to happen with the election we are about to hold in November? Benjamin Wittes checked in with Nate Persily, the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, a guru on conducting a safe and efficacious election in the era of COVID, and Lawfare senior editor Margaret Taylor, who has been tracking what, if anything, Congress is going to do about any of this. They talked about where we are, where we need to be and how long a road we can expect over the next few months.

Direct download: Election_Meltdown_Update.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Glenn Kessler is the head of the Fact Checker staff of the Washington Post. Along with Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly, he is the author of the new book, "Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth: The President's Falsehoods, Misleading Claims and Flat-Out Lies." It is a compilation and distillation of the 19,000 false or misleading statements Donald Trump has made and the Washington Post has documented in its mammoth database of presidential untruths since the president took office. Kessler spoke with Benjamin Wittes about what makes Trump different from other presidents, the task of documenting the president's lack of candor on a daily basis and what it all means to have a president who lies this much.

Direct download: Glenn_Kessler_on_Donald_Trumps_Assault_on_Truth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton's White House memoir, titled “The Room Where it Happened,” has made a lot of waves recently. Not only has Bolton faced criticism for publishing his account of his time in the Trump administration in a book rather than testifying in the president’s impeachment trial, but the Justice Department is now suing Bolton for publishing what it claims is classified information. So what is the government arguing? And, is Bolton’s book any good? On Friday, June 19, Quinta Jurecic discussed it all with Benjamin Wittes, Jack Goldsmith and Marty Lederman.

Direct download: John_Boltons_Book_is_Out_of_the_Barn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Dr. Mira Rapp-Hooper is the Stephen A. Schwarzman senior fellow for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the new book, "Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America's Alliances." Matthew Waxman spoke with Mira about the history and strategic importance of American alliances, some of the constitutional issues alliances raise and what the United States should do to revitalize its alliances going forward.

Direct download: Mira_Rapp-Hooper_on_Shields_of_the_Republic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Laura Rosenberger, the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States. When it comes to information operations, most Americans probably think of Russia as the primary culprit. After all, the memory of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election is still fresh. But over the past year, Chinese information operations have gained prominence with the Chinese Communist Party involved in aggressive online campaigns regarding unrest in Hong Kong and the ongoing pandemic. They talked about how the Chinese government wields information online, how Chinese tactics are different from Russian tactics in the information space and how democracies should respond.

Direct download: Laura_Rosenberger_on_Chinese_Information_Operations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Molly Reynolds spoke with Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center about the Continuity of Government Commission, an effort they helped to lead beginning in 2002 to ensure that our three branches of government would be able to function after a catastrophic attack that killed or incapacitated large numbers of our legislators, executive branch officials or judges. They discussed the findings of the Commission, how they relate to the challenges facing the federal government today and how the various branches of government have or have not acted to ensure smooth operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Direct download: Norm_Ornstein_and_John_Fortier_on_the_Continuity_of_Government.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The 2020 presidential election is less than five months away. As the election inches closer and closer, concerns have grown about the possibility that President Trump, should he lose the election, would refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the result. How can we think about that risk? Do we have adequate statutory and constitutional guardrails that protect us from electoral catastrophe? Jacob Schulz sat down with Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College, and author of the new book “Will He Go? Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020.” They talked about the vulnerabilities in our electoral system, historical examples of mishaps in presidential elections and how to think about the president’s continued hostility toward elections and, in particular, mail-in voting.

Direct download: Lawrence_Douglas_on_Presidential_Election_Concessions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Patrick Skinner is a police officer in Savannah, Georgia, who brings diverse experience to that job. He served as a case officer at the Central Intelligence Agency, handling foreign intelligence sources in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Jordan. He also has previous law enforcement experience with the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service. David Priess spoke with Skinner about today's policing crisis, Pat's experiences with counterterrorism operations and what they taught him about effective law enforcement, and the hazards of the warrior mentality that is common across many police departments today.

Thanks to Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

Direct download: Patrick_Skinner_on_Warrior_Cops_and_Neighborhood_Policing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

ChinaTalk is the newest member of the Lawfare Podcast family, and its impresario, Jordan Schneider, does a wide range of interviews related to China's economy and security. In this episode, Jordan interviews Evan Osnos of The New Yorker about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the relationship between that date and the clearing of Lafayette Square. They talk about everything from the psychological similarities and differences between Donald Trump, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, to Chinese hip hop and why it is not catching on internationally.

Direct download: Evan_Osnos_on_Tiananmen_and_Lafayette.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Eileen Donahoe, the Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University. There’s no shortage of controversies roiling right now about free expression and the future of the internet—from platforms aggressively removing misinformation about the ongoing pandemic, to President Trump’s executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Eileen, Quinta and Alina take a step back and review the landscape of online speech as a whole, to get a more holistic sense of what things look like right now and where platforms and governments might be headed when it comes to regulating speech. They talked about the various debates over content moderation taking place within the United States and around the world, and Eileen made the case for why international human rights law should be used as the framework for both protecting and moderating online speech.

Direct download: Eileen_Donahoe_on_Protecting_Free_Expression_Online.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

David Frum is one of the most prominent and eloquent conservative critics of the president. The former George W. Bush speechwriter and current writer for The Atlantic has written "Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy," a book about the Trump presidency, and in this case, what comes after it. David joined Benjamin Wittes for a wide-ranging conversation of the ground he covers in the book: how you rebuild after Trump, how you satisfy elements of Trumpism without letting them descend back into authoritarian populism, what policies and approaches a new administration should take and how we should treat the "Trumpists" and their most diehard supporters.

Direct download: David_Frum_on_Trumpocalypse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

High profile congressional hearings, like the 2015 Benghazi hearings, the 2019 Mueller Report hearings and most recently, the Ukraine impeachment proceedings are often described in derogatory terms like "political theater," "spectacle" or "circus." But do these exaggerated performances on Capitol Hill actually serve a constitutional purpose? Margaret Taylor sat down with Josh Chafetz, a law professor and author of the book "Congress's Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers." They talked about his most recent article, in which he argues that congressional overspeech, like congressional oversight, is actually an important tool of constitutional politics, even if it doesn't automatically produce good outcomes.

Direct download: Congressional_Overspeech_with_Josh_Chafetz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

On May 27, the Trump administration announced that it was withdrawing sanctions waivers that had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to work with Iran on sensitive Iranian nuclear sites in support of the goals of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Margaret Taylor talked about what it really means with two experts: Peter Harrell, an attorney and adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and Richard Nephew, senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. They talked about what has happened since the Trump Administration decided to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement in 2018 and what difficulties a new presidential administration may encounter in re-joining the agreement.  

Direct download: JCPOA_with_Harrell_and_Nephew.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

We normally think of international law as constraining leaders' actions, especially aggression toward other countries. But what if one effect of an established international principle actually spurs more covert action against other countries? Michael Poznansky is an assistant professor of International Affairs and Intelligence Studies in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, with a secondary appointment in the Political Science department, at the University of Pittsburgh. In his new book, "In the Shadow of International Law: Secrecy and Regime Change in the Postwar World," Mike argues just this—that the principle of non-intervention that has come up in the past century has actually created powerful motives for leaders to engage in covert action more frequently to spur regime change. David Priess sat down with Mike to talk through his thesis and its implications.

Direct download: Covert_Action_Regime_Change_and_International_Law.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

In this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ryan Merkley, the chief of staff to the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. We’ve spent a lot of time on this podcast discussing how social media platforms have handled issues of disinformation and misinformation. But what about Wikipedia? It’s a massive online encyclopedia written and edited entirely by volunteers—so, not a platform, but still an online service grappling with a wave of untruths in an uncertain time. Ryan, Evelyn and Quinta talked about Wikipedia’s unique structure, how the site has managed to become a reliable resource on an often untrustworthy internet, and how readers, writers and editors of Wikipedia are navigating the need for information amidst both the pandemic and ongoing protests over police abuse of Black Americans.

Direct download: Ryan_Merkley_on_Why_Wikipedia_Works.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Dr. Rashawn Ray is a David M. Rubenstein fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He's also an associate professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he directs the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR). He is a scholar of, among other things, police-civilian relations and has done a lot of work on police-involved killings. He joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss the mechanisms of police violence, what causes it, what can be done to address it and reduce it, and the role of race in this problem. They talked about police unions, implicit bias, the difference between legality and morality in police shootings and what policy levers are available to bring an end to the rash of police killings.

Direct download: Rashawn_Ray_on_Police_Violence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

The president is threatening to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization. This evening, he appears to have ordered a tear gas attack on peaceful protesters near the White House in order to stage a photo op in front of a local church. And he has called out troops in Washington, DC, and threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act. To talk through the legal ins and outs of what the president has done (and not done), what he has the power to do and what he does not have the power to do, and what the federal response to the protests should be, Bobby Chesney, Steve Vladeck and Benjamin Wittes got together for this special joint episode of the National Security Law Podcast and the Lawfare Podcast.

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

Journalist Bart Gellman is the author of the new book, "Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State." Jack Goldsmith sat down with Gellman to discuss the book. They spoke about Gellman's reporting on the Snowden affair, the scope of the National Security Agency's surveillance capabilities and press freedom as it relates to national security reporting.

Direct download: Bart_Gellman_on_Dark_Mirror.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg and the author of a recent article in Commentary magazine on the case of Michael Flynn. In that article, he argues a number of things that many at Lawfare have argued against—that Michael Flynn was railroaded, that he was set up, that the FBI behaved inappropriately, and that the Justice Department pursued Michael Flynn unfairly and was thus correct under Attorney General Bill Barr to seek dismissal of the case.

To argue it out, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lake about the conduct of the FBI investigation, whether it was reasonable to interview Mike Flynn, whether the case should have been dropped and whether Mike Flynn really lied in his interview with the FBI.

Direct download: Eli_Lake_Makes_the_Case_for_Flynn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:49pm EDT

In this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Gabrielle Lim, a researcher with the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and a fellow with Citizen Lab. Lim just released a new report with Data and Society on the fascinating story of a Malaysian law ostensibly aimed at stamping out disinformation. The Anti-Fake News Act, passed in 2018, criminalized the creation and dissemination of what the Malaysian government referred to as “fake news.” After a new government came into power following the country’s 2018 elections, the law was quickly repealed. But the story of how Malaysia’s ruling party passed the act, and how Malaysian civil society pushed back against it, is a useful case study on how illiberal governments can use the language of countering disinformation to clamp down on free expression, and how the way democratic governments talk about disinformation has global effects.

Direct download: Gabrielle_Lim_on_Malaysia_and_the_Anti-Fake_News_Act.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:12pm EDT

Hong Kong protesters are out in the streets once again, as the Beijing legislature contemplates a new national security law for the city, and the Hong Kong legislature considers a bill to make it a crime to disrespect the Chinese national anthem. It's all going relatively unnoticed amidst the international focus on the coronavirus, but Hong Kong is increasingly under the thumb of the Chinese Communist Party.

To discuss the latest developments, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Sophia Yan of The Daily Telegraph, and Alvin Cheung, originally from Hong Kong and currently a non-resident affiliated scholar at NYU's U.S.-Asia Law Institute. They talked about the details of what these laws would do, the way Beijing might use them to crack down on dissent and what the protesters hope to achieve in this latest round of street violence.

Direct download: Hong_Kong_Erupts.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm EDT

On Wednesday, NASA and the SpaceX Corporation are scheduled to send astronauts back into outer space from U.S. soil for the first time since the U.S. space shuttle program ended in 2011. The launch promises to kick off a new era in space exploration, one that will see the increased use of outer space for both public and private purposes, as well as greater involvement by private corporations and other unconventional actors in space exploration. To discuss the legal and policy challenges of this new era, Scott R. Anderson spoke with three lawyers working at the bleeding edge of space law and policy: Professor Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty of Arizona State University and its Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; Brian Israel, a former public and private sector space lawyer who teaches space law at Berkeley Law; and Daniel Porras, currently a space security fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research.

Direct download: The_Future_of_Space_Law.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm EDT

Steven Teles is the author of a new book with Robert P. Saldin, "Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites." Benjamin Wittes spoke with Teles about the book, how the national security and legal communities approach Donald Trump and how these two schools of thought have informed the Never Trump movement.

Direct download: Steve_Teles_on_Never_Trump.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Deen Freelon, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Deen’s work focuses on data science and political expression on social media, and they discussed research he conducted on tweets from the Internet Research Agency troll farm and their attempts to influence U.S. politics, including around the 2016 election. In a recent article, Deen and his coauthors found that IRA tweets from accounts presenting themselves as Black Americans received particularly high engagement from other users on Twitter—which raises interesting questions about the interaction of race and disinformation. They also talked about what the data show on whether the IRA actually succeeded in changing political beliefs and just how many reporters quoted IRA trolls in their news reports without realizing it.

Direct download: Deen_Freelon_on_Why_Black_Trolls_Matter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02pm EDT

There may not be many laws governing how former presidents should interact with the current commander-in-chief, or with each other, or how the sitting president should treat his or her predecessors. But over time, we have developed a body of norms about how to do so appropriately. Donald Trump has, to put it mildly, changed expectations about the relationships that presidents past and present have with each other. David Priess recently sat down in the virtual jungle studio to chat with Kate Andersen Brower, author of "Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump," in which she describes these dynamics among the few people to know what it is actually like to be president. They talked about her interview with Donald Trump to get at his feelings toward his predecessors, the unwritten rules of the Presidents Club and about what his post-presidency might look like.

Direct download: Trump_and_His_Predecessors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:48pm EDT

President Trump on Friday fired the inspector general of the State Department. It was the fourth time he had fired or removed an inspector general in just the last six weeks. As he explained in a letter to Capitol Hill leadership, he had lost confidence in the inspector general, though Democrats were quick to point out that he appeared to be investigating Mike Pompeo on a number of matters, and Mike Pompeo, in turn, had requested his removal.

To discuss the Trump administration's removals of inspectors general, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Mike Bromwich, who was the inspector general of the Justice Department during the Clinton administration; Jack Goldsmith, professor at Harvard, who wrote a piece on Lawfare about the legality of removals of inspectors general; and congressional guru Margaret Taylor, who examines the congressional reaction to the moves. They talked about many aspects of the controversy: Is this unprecedented? When have prior presidents removed inspectors general? And what, if anything is Congress going to do about it?

Thanks to our sponsor, the book "Slanted," at www.slantedbook.com.

Direct download: Firing_Inspectors_General.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

The global pandemic has raised searching questions about the relationship between a public health emergency and free speech. Jack Goldsmith sat down with David Kaye, the outgoing U.N. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, to talk about Kaye’s new U.N. report on “Disease pandemics and the freedom of opinion and expression.” The pair discussed the impact the pandemic has had on hostility to speech in different parts of world, the importance of information during a pandemic and much more.

Direct download: David_Kaye_on_Free_Speech_During_a_Pandemic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

The global coronavirus pandemic has changed the way different corners of the world interact with each other, perhaps forever. Nowhere is this more true than the global economy, where a decade's long trend toward the easier exchange of trade and investment was already under increasing political pressure when the pandemic broke. It may now be facing a truly unprecedented set of challenges. To discuss how the global trade and investment systems are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Scott R. Anderson spoke to three legal experts who have a wealth of private and public sector experience between them: Julian Arato of Brooklyn Law School, Kathleen Claussen of the University of Miami School of Law and Ben Heath, currently at NYU School of Law, and soon to be of the Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Direct download: Global_Trade_and_Investment.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm EDT

On this week's episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek spoke with Craig Silverman, the media editor for Buzzfeed News and one of the leading journalists covering the disinformation beat. Craig is credited with coining the phrase “Fake News.” Evelyn spoke with him about how he feels about that, especially now that the phrase has taken on a life of its own. They also talked about a book Craig edited, the second edition of the "Verification Handbook,” available online now, that equips journalists with the tools they need to verify the things they see online. Journalism and reporting on disinformation has never been so important—but the internet has never been so chaotic and journalists are not only observers of disinformation, but also targets of it.

Direct download: Craig_Silverman_on_Real_Reporting_on_Fake_News.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

Scott R. Anderson sat down with Elizabeth Shackelford, a former foreign service officer whose late 2017 resignation became a sign of growing discontent with the Trump administration within the diplomatic corps. They talked about her new book, "The Dissent Channel," out this week, which discusses her experience as a young diplomat living through a period of crisis in South Sudan, and the lessons it taught her about diplomacy, human rights and the role of the United States in the world.

Direct download: Elizabeth_Shackelford_on_The_Dissent_Channel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:29pm EDT

The Supreme Court today held arguments in a blockbuster case. Do the Trump tax returns and associated financial documents at firms like Mazars and Deutsche Bank need to be turned over in response to congressional subpoenas and a subpoena by a New York State grand jury? Joining Benjamin Wittes to discuss it are Steve Vladeck, Quinta Jurecic and Margaret Taylor. They talked about how this confrontation developed between Congress and the executive, what the background law is and whether this should be in fact a very easy case, and where the justices seemed to be going and how they don't seem to be going in the direction of their prior precedents.

Direct download: The_Presidents_Tax_Returns_and_the_Supreme_Court.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:52pm EDT

From the moment of his inauguration, Trump has challenged our deepest expectations of the presidency. But what are those expectations? Where did they come from, and how great is the damage? "Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump's War on the World's Most Powerful Office," by Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey, which is excerpted in this episode, situates Trump era scandals and outrages in the deeper context of the presidency itself. Now, the coronavirus pandemic presents one of the greatest challenges the modern American executive has ever faced. How did we get here? And in Donald Trump's hands, where does the world's most powerful office go from here?

Direct download: Unmaking_the_Presidency.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm EDT

The Justice Department moved this week to dismiss the charges against Michael Flynn, a man who had pled guilty to lying to the FBI. It was an extraordinary move, one that provoked glee among the president's supporters and outrage among Justice Department traditionalists and critics of the president.

On Friday, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare's Quinta Jurecic and Susan Hennessey, as well as with Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. Attorney and senior FBI official who has held a number of other significant positions in the Justice Department. They talked about the Justice Department's move and the rationale for it that is spelled out in a brief to the court. What will happen now as Judge Sullivan considers the motion to dismiss? Can it be justified? And how unusual was it?

Direct download: Dropping_the_Flynn_Case.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Margaret Taylor sat down with Tony Mills, director of science policy at the R Street Institute, to talk about an article he recently wrote with Robert Cook-Deegan titled, "Where's Congress? Don't Just Blame Trump for the Coronavirus Catastrophe." They talked about the limited role of Congress in responding to the current crisis, and more broadly, its diminished institutional capacity to absorb and respond to developments in science, technology and medicine.

Direct download: Tony_Mills_on_Institutional_Limitations_of_Congress.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:45pm EDT

For this week's episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Alina Polyakova talked to Aric Toler of Bellingcat, a collective that has quickly become the gold-standard for open source and social media investigations. Aric recently published a blog post in response to a New York Times article on Russian influence campaigns—one retweeted by former President Barak Obama no less—that Aric called “How Not to Report on Disinformation.” Evelyn and Alina asked him about the article and what exactly Aric thought was wrong with it as a case study for reporters writing about disinformation operations. When are reporters helping to uncover threats to democracy, and when are they giving oxygen to fringe actors?

Direct download: How_Not_to_Report_on_Disinformation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EDT

Representative John Ratcliffe testified before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee as a part of his nomination for the position of Director of National Intelligence. Ratcliffe was asked about his views on Russian interference, about the threat posed by North Korea, about how he would handle a variety of issues posed by the coronavirus pandemic and much more. The hearing was fairly substantive but did include some meanderings and grandstanding. But we cut out all the unnecessary repetition and theatrics to leave you with just the questions and answers that you need to hear.

Direct download: Ratcliffe_Vs_Committee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:03pm EDT

Jung Pak is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a former CIA analyst and a North Korea specialist. She is the author of "Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Analyst’s Insights into North Korea’s Enigmatic Young Dictator.” She joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss Kim Jong Un, the recent questions about whether he had died or become seriously ill, his rise to power and his confrontations with Donald Trump over nuclear weapons.

Direct download: Becoming_Kim_Jong_Un.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EDT

Most of us don’t think of United States history as an imperial history, but the facts are there. The law and policy surrounding westward expansion, off-continent acquisitions, and a worldwide network of hundreds of bases reveal much about how and why the United States grew as it did.

Last month, David Priess spoke with Daniel Immerwahr, associate professor of history at Northwestern University and author of “How to Hide an Empire.” They talked about everything from what the Constitution says about lands west of the thirteen colonies, to the critical role of the Guano Islands in U.S. history, to the famous Insular Cases, to how military access agreements and long-term leases help the United States avoid a truly territorial empire.

Direct download: Law_Policy_and_Empire.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Margaret Taylor spoke with Brookings scholars Tom Wheeler and Nicol Turner Lee to discuss their new papers published as part of a two-year-long Brookings project called Global China: Assessing China’s Growing Role in the World. They talked about where the United States and China stand in the so-called “race” to deploy 5G networks, and the need for a coherent U.S. national strategy going forward. They talked about spurring American competition by liberating the crucial asset of the next wave of the digital economy—consumer-generated data—and they talked about the prospects for effective regulation and protection of individual privacy. 

Direct download: 5G_Deployment_and_Digital_Competition_with_China.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:25pm EDT

In this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth miniseries on disinformation, Quinta Jurecic and Alina Polyakova spoke with Thomas Rid about his new book, "Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare." Yesterday’s episode of the Lawfare Podcast featured a conversation between Thomas and Jack Goldsmith about the book, focusing on the early history of disinformation through the 1980s. Today, Alina and Quinta follow up with a discussion with Thomas on disinformation in the digital age, along with some questions about what it’s like to interview former KGB and Stasi officials about their influence campaigns.

Direct download: Thomas_Rid_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT

Jack Goldsmith spoke with Thomas Rid about Rid’s new book, "Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare." The book is about the history of information operations and influence campaigns, and we’re bringing you a two-part Lawfare Podcast to discuss it in detail. On this episode, Jack and Thomas discuss the history of disinformation from the beginning of the 20th century through the 1980s. Tomorrow on the Lawfare Podcast’s “Arbiters of Truth” miniseries on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic will be sharing their discussion with Thomas about his research starting at the beginning of the internet age.

Direct download: Thomas_Rid_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:27pm EDT

Sophia Yan, a correspondent in Beijing for the London Telegraph, joined Benjamin Wittes from Beijing where she is in coronavirus lockdown after traveling to Wuhan, China, to see how it was recovering from being the coronavirus epidemic center earlier in the year. They talked about what Wuhan looks like these days, what quarantine means in China, and how close the surveillance is. And they talked about the Chinese government, how it is responding to the crisis, and about how the Chinese economy is recovering and suffering.

Direct download: Sophia_Yan_on_Quarantine_in_Beijing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25pm EDT

We've covered this novel coronavirus from many angles, focusing on the disaster response issues that make up part of national security. For this episode of the Lawfare Podcast, we have something a bit different: a case study of how pandemic control measures intersect with federalism issues and supply chain continuity and security. With a focus on what's happening in Illinois, David Priess spoke with Rob Karr, the president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, representing the industry employing one out of every five people in Illinois, and with Mark Denzler, the co-chair of the state's Essential Equipment Task Force and the president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, representing companies that employ almost 600,000 Illinoisans.

Direct download: Illinois_Case_Study.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Kate Klonick and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Charlie Warzel, an opinion writer at large at the New York Times. He’s written about the internet, disinformation, privacy and platform governance—and recently he’s been focusing on how these collide with COVID-19 and the uncertainty and anxiety of living through a pandemic. They talked about what the pandemic shows us about the role of big tech companies and how the spread of a deadly disease in the midst of a polarized information environment may be a worst-case scenario for disinformation.

Direct download: Charlie_Warzel_on_the_Pandemic_Internet.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm EDT

There has been a lot of confusion during the COVID-19 crisis about what counts as legitimate clinical evidence that a treatment really works. The president is endorsing unproven drug therapies based on anecdotal accounts. And while Lawfare is not a clinical trials or medical site, the subject of treating coronavirus cases certainly has become a national security issue.

Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic just happen to know the perfect people to offer a basic explainer of the clinical research process. Mom and Dad.

To be precise, Ben's mom and Quinta's dad, both of whom are biostatisticians. Janet Wittes is the president of Statistics Collaborative, a company that designs and analyzes data from clinical trials. She used to be the chief of statistics at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Steve Buyske is a professor of statistics at Rutgers University, who works on biostatistics, statistical genetics and experimental design. The four gathered in the virtual Jungle Studio to talk about the history of clinical trials, the standards for good clinical research and to what extent those standards can slip when you're dealing with an ongoing pandemic that is killing people worldwide.

Direct download: Clinical_Trials_in_a_Pandemic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:20pm EDT

On April 16, former members of Congress participated in a "Mock Remote Hearing" via Zoom to test the viability of online congressional proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Former General David Petraeus testified, along with representatives from Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other experts; a Member of the UK Parliament testified about how the UK Parliament is innovating to meet the demands of social distancing.

Margaret Taylor talked with former Congressman Brian Baird—who chaired the mock hearing—and Daniel Schuman, a lawyer, technologist and government transparency advocate who testified. They talked about Congress’s rather timid efforts so far to innovate in the age of social distancing, and ways Congress could continue to do hearings, markups and floor votes in a live, digital, remote format. They talked about the constitutional underpinnings of remote work by Congress and the importance of robust legislative and oversight work in a representative democracy—especially in the midst of a national crisis.

Direct download: Baird_and_Schuman_on_Congress_Functioning_Remotely.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

Many people are holding out contact tracing as the way we are going to control the COVID-19 epidemic. Once we start opening up the economy again, it involves identifying people who have tested positive for the virus and notifying those with whom they have been in close contact that they are at risk and need to quarantine. It also involves surveillance—electronic surveillance of a type that we are not comfortable with as a society. Can we do it legally? Should we do it? Will it be effective? To work through the do's and don'ts and cans and can'ts of contact tracing, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Josh Sharfstein, Susan Landau, Alan Rozenshtein, Stewart Baker, and Bobby Chesney.

Direct download: Is_Contact_Tracing_a_Privacy_Threat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Lawfare founder Bobby Chesney and Lawfare contributing editor Steve Vladeck host the weekly National Security Law Podcast from the University of Texas Law School, where they discuss current developments in national security law. This week’s episode had lots of content that we thought Lawfare Podcast listeners may be interested in hearing, so we are bringing it to you in a distilled form. In this episode, the fourth edition of a Lawfare edited National Security Law Podcast, Bobby and Steve discuss the legality of President Trump’s claim that he might adjourn Congress, whether or not he has “total authority”—as he claims—over when the economy should reopen and the latest in the 9/11 case at Guantanamo.

Direct download: NSL_Podcast_4.16.20_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:47pm EDT

On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Camille François, the Chief Innovation Officer at Graphika, where she works to identify and mitigate disinformation and misinformation online. On April 15, Graphika released a report on an Iranian influence operation focused on COVID-19, an operation blaming the United States for supposedly creating the virus and praising China’s response to the pandemic. Camille discussed what Graphika found and how this campaign compares to similar operations in the past—like another campaign from Ghana that Graphika helped uncover, which was linked to Russia and posted content aimed at black Americans. And they discussed the “ABC framework” that Camille has developed to understand disinformation campaigns.

Direct download: Camielle_Francios_on_Covid-19_and_the_ABCs_of_Disinformation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

Nobody has been more aggressive about using the coronavirus crisis to seize power than Hungarian strong man Viktor Orbán. Orbán declared a state of emergency and has been ruling by decree. He has also instigated criminal penalties for spreading false information about the coronavirus, and his Fidesz party has effectively dissolved Parliament. Joining Benjamin Wittes to discuss the decline of Hungarian democracy is András Pap, a Hungarian scholar of constitutional law and a professor at Central European University's nationalist studies program in Budapest, and Anne Applebaum, essayist, author, and scholar of Eastern Europe, nationalism and the former Soviet Union. They talked about whether Orbán's seizure of power is as big a deal as it initially appears, about where Orbán stands in the pantheon of right wing populists worldwide, and about what, if anything, the European Union is likely to do about it.

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

Whether it has been travel bans, family separation, or changes to asylum rules, the Trump administration has long been embroiled in controversies over its immigration and detention policy. Those controversies have come amidst surges in migrants and asylum seekers, particularly at the U.S. southern border. The Trump administration's new policies have been legally and technically complex, and that was all before COVID-19.

Mikhaila Fogel sat down with immigration reporters Hamed Aleaziz of Buzzfeed News, Dara Lind of ProPublica, and Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a lawyer at the American Immigration Council. They discussed how Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as Customs and Border Protection, are responding to COVID-19; the changing legal landscape for those agencies before the pandemic; and the challenges faced by migrants, asylum seekers and the U.S. immigration system during coronavirus and beyond.

Direct download: ICE_CBP_and_Coronavirus_Response.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35pm EDT

Margaret Taylor sat down with Stan Brand, who served as the general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1976 to 1983. They talked about key issues working their way through the courts that could redefine congressional subpoena power and congressional oversight for a generation. How will these cases move forward in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? How might they be decided, and what might that mean for the future of congressional power? And what impact are these cases having on congressional oversight right now?

Direct download: Stan_Brand_on_the_State_of_Congressional_Oversight_and_Subpoena_Power.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Jim Baker served as general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was also the counsel for the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department, where he supervised FISA applications. He joined Benjamin Wittes in the virtual Jungle Studio to discuss Inspector General Michael Horowitz's shocking report on inaccuracy in FISA applications, and the problems at the FBI that led to these errors.

Direct download: Jim_Baker_on_FISA_Errors.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Quinta Jurecic speaks with Alina Polyakova and Kate Klonick, who both have expertise that can clarify our confusing current moment. Alina has been running a great series of virtual events at the Center for European Policy Analysis on disinformation and geopolitics during COVID-19. And Kate’s research on platform governance helps shed light on the aggressive role some tech platforms have been playing in moderating content online during the pandemic.

Direct download: Pandemics_Platform_Governance_and_Geopolitics.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:44pm EDT

March 11 marked the launch of the official report of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. The commission is a bicameral, bipartisan intergovernmental body created by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, and charged with developing and articulating a comprehensive strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace. For the last month, Lawfare has published a series of commentaries on various highlights from the report, some by analysts involved with the commission. In this episode of the Lawfare Podcast, we hear a lively discussion from some of the Commission's members, including the co-chair, Representative Mike Gallagher, on a part of that project focusing on China, technology and global supply chains.

Direct download: Episode_532.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm EDT

The devastating effects of the coronavirus COVID-19 are being felt in nearly every corner of the world, with little regard for national borders or boundaries. In many ways, this makes it the exact sort of transnational threat that the United Nations is supposed to help address, yet the response across various U.N. institutions has been inconsistent at best. To understand how the United Nations is responding to the coronavirus crisis and why, Scott R. Anderson spoke with two people who know it like few others: U.N. Resident Correspondent and CBS News Analyst Pamela Falk, and U.N. Director for the International Crisis Group Richard Gowan.

Direct download: Episode_531.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:42pm EDT

Stephen Holmes is the Walter E. Mayer Professor of Law at New York University. With Ivan Krastev he is the author of "The Light that Failed: a Reckoning." Jack Goldsmith sat down with Holmes to talk about his new book and much more. The pair discussed the fate of liberalism in the decades following the fall of the Berlin wall, Holmes’ experience studying Eastern European politics, the problems with trying to export liberalism across the globe and the factors that have led to the global rise of illiberal leaders.

Direct download: Episode_530.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

On this episode of the Lawfare Podcast's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Nate Persily, the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. Persily is also a member of the Kofi Annan Commission on Democracy and Elections in the Digital Age, which recently released a report on election integrity and the internet for which Nate provided a framing paper. Alongside his work on internet governance, Nate is also an expert on election law and administration. They spoke about the commission report and the challenges the internet may pose for democracy, to what extent the pandemic has flipped that on its head, and, of course, the 2020 presidential election.

Direct download: Episode_529.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13pm EDT

Joining Benjamin Wittes in the virtual jungle studio is Daniel Drezner, professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and the author of two political science books: one on zombie apocalypses and international relations theory, and a new book on the president as a toddler. These books are serious pieces of political science, are very funny, and in different ways, are highly relevant to the situations we face today as a society. Dan and Ben talked about how zombies are similar to and different from coronavirus, whether international relations theory correctly anticipates how governments will respond to crises, and about Dan's epic Twitter thread on the toddler in chief.

Direct download: Dan_Drezner_on_Zombies_Viruses_and_Toddlers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm EDT

Saudi Arabia continues to be a mainstay of newspaper headlines, whether it be for its oil price war with Russia or for news about Turkish indictments in connection with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But making sense of Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Mohammed Bin Salman, known widely as MBS, can be a difficult proposition. He has made social reforms—lifting the ban on women driving and taking power away from Saudi Arabia’s infamous religious police—but he has no interest in political reform and has a propensity to take impulsive and remarkably violent action, both in the foreign policy space and toward perceived enemies within Saudi Arabia and beyond. Ben Hubbard, Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times, provides an account of the young prince’s rise and his early years in power in Saudi Arabia. Jacob Schulz talked with Hubbard about MBS's rise to power, his influence on domestic life in Saudi Arabia, his relationship to Jared Kushner and the Trump administration, and about the White House response to Khashoggi’s murder. 

Direct download: Episode_528.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:45pm EDT

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, it can be difficult to keep track of how the virus has spread and how different countries have responded. So, this week we are doing something a little bit different. We are bringing you dispatches about how nine different countries are handling the COVID-19 outbreak. Jacob Schulz spoke with experts about the situations in Poland, Spain, South Korea, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Iran, China, and Great Britain. You will hear from journalists, Brookings experts, a former CIA officer, and a Member of European Parliament, among others.

What are the restrictions different governments have put in place? What legal authorities have they relied on? How has COVID-19 and the corresponding government response affected life in each of the countries?

Guests this week were Amanda Sloat, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; Radek Sikorski, Member of European Parliament and former Polish Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Alex Finley, satirist and former CIA officer; Brian Kim, Lawfare contributor and law student at Yale Law School; Giovanna De Maio, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution; Joshua Yaffa, the Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker; Erin Bates, law student and freelance broadcast journalist in South Africa; Suzanne Maloney, Interim Vice President of Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution; and Sophia Yan, China correspondent for the Telegraph.

Direct download: Episode_527.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:07am EDT

On this bonus edition of the Lawfare Podcast, we have combined two conversations about about how the Department of State and the Department of Defense are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the impact on the workforce of these agencies, their efforts to assist and protect Americans abroad and domestically, and the broader national security and foreign policy consequences for the United States. Margaret Taylor sat down virtually with Robbie Gramer, the diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy magazine covering the State Department. And Scott Anderson sat down remotely with Katie Bo Williams, the senior national security correspondent for the Defense One news outlet.

Direct download: DoD_and_State_Bonus_Edition.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Baybars Örsek, the Director of the International Fact-Checking Network at the Poynter Institute. Fact-checking has become newly prominent in recent years, as fact-checkers work to counter surges of online disinformation and misinformation. And it’s more important than ever right now in the middle of a pandemic, when incorrect information circulating online has immediate consequences for people’s health. Baybars has been on the front lines of fact-checking in recent years. Quinta and Evelyn spoke with him about the IFCN’s “Fact-Checkers’ Code of Principles,” Facebook’s partnership with fact-checkers for content shared on their platforms, and why fact-checking is important right now.

Direct download: Episode_526.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:29pm EDT

Like a marriage, a healthy relationship between an intelligence officer and an asset usually features ample attention and extensive energy. And of course, a lot of time spent with one another. But how do intelligence officers have the necessary face-to face-meetings when going outside is all but forbidden? What about conducting surveillance detection or servicing dead drops on empty streets in the coronavirus era?

Three former CIA officers—Alex Finley, Jonna Mendez, and David Priess—explored this tricky topic in a recent article on Lawfare, which David reads in full for this edition of the Lawfare Podcast Shorts.

Direct download: Shorts_-_How_Do_You_Spy_When_the_World_is_Shut_Down.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:52pm EDT

Since 1974, Freedom House has compiled the “Freedom in the World” report, a comparative assessment of global rights and civil liberties that ranks each country’s level of freedom and identifies regional and global trends. And the results for 2019 do not look good.

David Priess spoke with Michael Abramowitz and Sarah Repucci of Freedom House about the threat to civil rights in India and Kashmir; the ethnic cleansing of muslims in China; the decline of democracy even in traditional strongholds like the United States; the era of peaceful, non-violent protests across the globe; and recommendations for supporting burgeoning democracies overseas.

Direct download: Episode_525.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:52pm EDT

Democracies around the world are under assault, with their norms and institutions undermined by authoritarian actors. From Hungary to India and beyond, illiberal or populist governments are weakening the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the integrity of elections.

As part of a two-episode Lawfare podcast series on the state of global democracy, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Alina Polyakova and Torrey Taussig about democracy promotion. They discussed “The Democracy Playbook,” a report by Alina and Torrey—along with Brookings experts Norman Eisen, Andrew Kenealy, and Susan Corke—outlining strategies that supporters of liberal democracy can implement to prevent and reverse democratic backsliding. They talked about Central and Eastern Europe, the drivers of democratic discontent, and how all of this compares to the situation in the United States.

Direct download: Episode_524.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

What can the president do in a national emergency? What limits what the president can do? What authorizes the president to do all those things he can do in a national emergency? Is the president abusing, misusing, using appropriately, or under-using emergency powers during the coronavirus crisis? And what are the logical end points for how far this could go? For this bonus edition of the Lawfare Podcast, Benjamin Wittes got on the phone with Steve Vladeck to work through these questions and talk about all things presidential emergency powers.

Direct download: Steve_Vladeck_on_Emergency_Powers_and_Coronavirus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:03pm EDT

Dr. Rebecca Katz is the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center. She also teaches courses on global health diplomacy, global health security, and emerging infectious disease in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown. From 2004 to 2019, she was a consultant to the Department of State, working on issues related to the biological weapons convention, pandemic influenza, and disease surveillance. On Sunday, Margaret Taylor spoke with Rebecca about the international legal architecture and institutions for pandemic preparedness response, how some Asian and European countries have approached the problem, and the United States's response.

Direct download: Episode_523.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:25pm EDT

On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Kate Starbird, an Associate Professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. She’s long done fascinating research about online disinformation and misinformation—and she's an expert in what’s called crisis informatics, or the study of how information flows during crisis events. For this conversation, they focused on one crisis in particular: Covid-19. They talked about the possibilities and dangers of social media and the internet in times of crisis, how communities make sense of disaster, and the anxiety of living in the world right now.

Direct download: Episode_522.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm EDT

Josh Sharfstein is the vice dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also served as the secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He was the principal deputy commissioner and at some point, the acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and he was the Commissioner of Health for the city of Baltimore. He is remarkably well qualified to talk about coronavirus crisis response at the federal, state, and local levels. He's even written a book about managing public health crises, and he's hosting a daily podcast of his own on the coronavirus crisis. He joined Benjamin Wittes in the virtual Jungle Studio to talk about the role of coercion in managing these crises, how the U.S. government has performed (and not performed), and what we should be doing differently to get the corona crisis under control.

Direct download: Episode_521.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week on Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Joshua R. Fattal about a fascinating law review article he’s written: “FARA on Facebook: Modernizing the Foreign Agents Registration Act to Address Propagandists on Social Media.” The Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA, is an American law that requires lobbyists for foreign entities to register with the Justice Department. It made the headlines when Special Counsel Robert Mueller claimed that Russians spreading social media disinformation around the 2016 election failed to register under the law. Josh argues that Mueller’s indictments represent an innovative new use of FARA—and he suggests that the law could offer a mechanism for the U.S. government to address disinformation campaigns.

Direct download: Episode_520.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:23pm EDT

Since we are recording remotely due to coronavirus concerns, it is a good day to discuss the congressional response to coronavirus. Benjamin Wittes spoke with Margaret Taylor, Lawfare's congressional guru, about what legislation Congress has passed, what legislation Congress and the Trump administration are considering in relation to the virus, and how Congress has responded institutionally.

Direct download: Episode_519.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05pm EDT

We ask a lot of questions about foreign policy on this podcast. Why do certain countries make certain decisions? What are the interests of the players in question? What are the consequences and, of course, the legality of foreign policy choices. In a new book, Joseph Nye, professor emeritus and former dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, asks another question about foreign policy. Do morals matter? Jack Goldsmith sat down with Nye to discuss his new book "Do Morals Matter?: Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump." They discussed the ethical and theoretical factors by which Nye judged each president before going through many of the cases he focuses on in the book.

Direct download: Episode_518.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week on Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Lisa Kaplan and Sophie Lawton of Alethea Group, an organization that works to detect and mitigate disinformation on social media. Lisa recently published a piece on Lawfare about a massive network of companies run by TheSoul Publishing—founded in Russia by a company called AdMe. The companies publish bizarre craft videos on Youtube and Facebook, along with a handful of videos about history and politics with an overtly pro-Russian slant. So what is actually going on here? They talked about what red flags Lisa and Sophie look for in hunting down disinformation, their experiences tackling disinformation while working for Senator Angus King’s reelection campaign in 2018, and how political campaigns need to tackle online influence efforts in 2020.

Direct download: Episode_517.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:27pm EDT

On Friday afternoon, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision concerning the House of Representatives' efforts to compel Don McGahn, Donald Trump's former White House counsel, to testify about his conduct with respect to the president, the Mueller investigation, presidential obstruction of justice, and other matters. At the president's direction, McGahn has refused show up, citing absolute immunity from congressional subpoenas. In a surprise ruling for a lot of people, the DC Circuit determined that it had no jurisdiction to hear the case because the House lacks standing to bring it. To discuss it all, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Jonathan David Shaub, Lawfare contributor and incoming faculty at the University of Kentucky Law School, and Lawfare senior editors Margaret Taylor and Scott R. Anderson.

Direct download: Bonus_Edition_-_The_Don_McGahn_Decision.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:24pm EDT

The population of Africa is projected to double by 2050, giving the continent one quarter of the world's people by then. Nigeria alone will have a larger population than the United States. To the extent they aren't so already, the world's problems and opportunities will be Africa's, too, and African problems and opportunities will also be the world's. David Priess spoke about developments in African politics and international engagement with two experts from the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies—its director Judd Devermont, and one of its senior associates, Emilia Columbo.

Direct download: Episode_516.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51am EDT

Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig are reporters at The Washington Post and the authors of the new book, 'A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America.' This week, Susan Hennessey sat down with Rucker and Leonnig to talk about the new book, the president's interactions with his cabinet, his attitude toward the law, and the efficacy of his public attacks.

Direct download: Episode_515.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week on Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Bridget Barrett and Daniel Kreiss of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media and UNC’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life. In all the controversy around social media platforms at the moment, perhaps nothing is taking up as much oxygen as their policies around political ads. But it’s difficult to discuss this topic without a detailed understanding of what the platforms are actually doing. That’s where Bridget and Daniel come in. They’ve worked to provide a comprehensive account of the different policies in this space, how those policies interact, and how they’re changing—or not—the way we interact with politics.

Direct download: Episode_514.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm EDT

Ben Buchanan is a professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a scholar on cybersecurity and statecraft. He has a new book out this week: “The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics." Jack Goldsmith sat down with Buchanan to talk about Ben’s new book, about the so-called name-and-shame of Justice Department indictments, and about the various reasons why states engage in offensive cyber operations.

Direct download: Bonus_Edition_with_Ben_Buchanan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:10pm EDT

Every year for a quarter of a century, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, or both, have hosted the worldwide threat briefing featuring open unclassified testimony from leaders of the intelligence community about the biggest threats facing the United States. That is, at least until this year, when it is still unclear when the worldwide threat testimony will take place, if at all. To shed some light on the history, the norms, and the value of this open intelligence testimony, we gathered an extraordinary group of intelligence leaders who have done it, in some cases many times. David Priess spoke with Jim Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and former director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; Michael Hayden, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, former principal deputy DNI, and former director of the National Security Agency; and Andrew McCabe, the former Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Direct download: Episode_513.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:50pm EDT

Lisa Monaco was Barack Obama's counterterrorism and Homeland Security advisor in the White House, and headed the Justice Department's national security division. Sophia Yan is a Beijing-based correspondent for the British newspaper The Telegraph. Lisa and Sophia may not seem to have a lot in common, but these days, they are both spending a lot of time thinking about coronavirus. Monaco managed epidemic and pandemic disease events for the Obama administration, and Yan is in the middle of covering the ongoing epidemic in China. Benjamin Wittes joined Lisa (in the Jungle Studio) and Sophia (remotely from Beijing) on Thursday to talk about how the Chinese government has responded, how the Trump administration has responded, and how much worse this is likely to get before it ebbs.

Direct download: Episode_512.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

This week on Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth University. We talk a lot about the crisis of falsehoods circulating online, but Nyhan’s work focuses on empirical research on what the effects of disinformation and misinformation actually are. And he’s found that those effects might play less of a role in political discourse than you’d think—or at least not quite in the way you might think. They talked about the fake news about fake news and the echo chamber about echo chambers.

Direct download: Episode_511.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:55pm EDT

Jessica Stern, who served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, has a remarkable skill: she interviews really bad people, and she writes about them in really interesting ways. She spent quite a bit of time interviewing Bosnian-Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic, who is serving a life sentence at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague for genocide in connection with the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s. Their conversations led to the publication of the book, "My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide," which triggered a remarkable outpouring of rage at Jessica Stern. Benjamin Wittes spoke with Jessica recently about the book, the controversy, and her general approach to talking to evil men.

Direct download: Episode_510.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

In what ways did American foreign policy fail to capitalize on victory in the Cold War? Andrew Bacevich, professor emeritus at Boston University and co-founder and president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, tackles that question and more in "The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory." Jack Goldsmith sat down with Professor Bacevich to talk about his new book. The pair discussed the establishment consensus on American foreign policy, the state of civil-military relations, and the mission of the newly founded Quincy Institute.

Direct download: Episode_509.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:26pm EDT

In 2013, Patrick Radden Keefe, a staff writer for the New Yorker, came across the obituary of a woman named Dolours Price, a former member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Keefe's interest in Price led to sprawling research about an appalling crime that took place over the course of the three-decade Troubles in Northern Ireland: The disappearance of Jean McConville, a widowed young mother of ten children. His research led to his 2019 book, “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.”

Mikhaila Fogel sat down with Keefe to discuss his book, the shocking history of McConville’s disappearance, the broader context of the terrorism and counterterrorism campaigns in Northern Ireland over the course of the Troubles, and what happened to the perpetrators and the victims of this crime.

Direct download: Episode_508.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Lawfare founder Bobby Chesney and Lawfare contributing editor Steve Vladeck host the weekly National Security Law Podcast from the University of Texas Law School, a discussion of current national security law developments. In this episode, the third edition of a Lawfare edited National Security Law Podcast, Bobby and Steve discuss a range of topics that we thought would be of interest to listeners. So we are bringing you a distilled version of their conversation. Bobby and Steve talk about the legal side of accusations that President Trump pressured the Justice Department to amend a sentencing recommendation in the case of Roger Stone and his retaliation against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. They give context about the federal quarantine law, as the coronavirus continues to spread globally. And, they go over recent war powers developments and a special listener request about the case of Omar Ameen.

 A quick logistical note: Bobby and Steve recorded this conversation on Wednesday, so news about the Flynn case and about the Senate passing War Powers legislation are not mentioned in their discussion.

Direct download: NSL202.1420intro_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm EDT

In this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Kate Klonick spoke with Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory. Prior to joining Stanford, Alex served as the chief security officer at Facebook, and before that, as the chief information security officer at Yahoo. They talked about Alex's experience at Facebook handling 2016 election interference, as well as his work on cybersecurity, disinformation, and end-to-end encryption.

Direct download: Episode_507.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm EDT

Afshon Ostovar is the associate chair for research and an assistant professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is also the author of "Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards." The IRGC has been in the news of late because of the killing of the head of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem Soleimani. Benjamin Wittes spoke with Ostovar about the fallout from the Soleimani killing, how it is all playing in Iran, and why things are so quiet. They talked about whether people made a mountain out of a molehill at the time the killing happened, or whether the blowback just hasn't happened yet.

Direct download: Episode_506.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:10pm EDT

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 7