Talking Feds

By Harry Litman

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Subscribers: 323
Reviews: 6

 Jun 20, 2020

 Nov 26, 2019
well informed people sharing their expertise and entertaining, too.

 Nov 23, 2019

 Sep 30, 2019
Great pod for in-depth, insider discussion and analysis of government goings-on.

 Jul 19, 2019
one of the best political podcasts. professional recording recordings filled with real expertise and insight.


TALKING FEDS is a roundtable discussion that brings together prominent former government officials, journalists, and special guests for a dynamic and in-depth analysis of the most pressing questions in law and politics.

Episode Date
The Sisters in Law Special Edition: Lowering the Barr

In this special edition of Talking Feds, Joyce Vance hosts a conversation with Maya Wiley, Barbara McQuade, and Jill Wine-Banks. The four discuss police reform, the Barr-Berman debacle and the testimonies of Aaron Zelinsky and John Elias, two current assistant United States attorneys, who talked about politically motivated prosecutions. They close with the impact the COVID-19 pandemic may have on voting in November. New Westchester DA Mimi Rocah joins for the sidebar.

Jun 29, 2020
Pride and Prejudice and the Room Where It Happened

Peter Baker, Laura Jarrett, and Juliette Kayyem (with a sidebar from Frances McDormand) join Harry on a banner week in which the Supreme Court issued two decisions bringing joy to the DACA dreamers and LGBTQ citizens; former national security adviser John Bolton’s long-awaited book trashed the President as dedicated to obstruction as way of life; Trump took it on the chin from other quarters; and the virus continued its chokehold even as more citizens seemed to think the danger had passed.

Jun 22, 2020
Talking Feds Now: The Barr-Berman Standoff

It was an extraordinary 24 hours, even by the measure of this DOJ. AG Barr announced Friday evening that SDNY US Attorney Geoffrey Berman was resigning; but Berman responded saying he was doing nothing of the kind. That led to a feverish series of moves that ended with Berman’s agreeing to leave but his Deputy, a career prosecutor likely to protect ongoing investigations, in place—for now. Feds Barb McQuade, Matt Miller, and Andy Weissman join Harry for a rapid reaction to the crazy events.

Jun 21, 2020
Trumpocalypse Nu?

Minnesota native sons Al Franken and Norm Ornstein join David Frum and Harry on a week that saw the protests from Minneapolis consolidate into an international movement. The Feds discuss the broader circumstances that gave rise to the George Floyd killing, and turn to the national political landscape and the President’s out-of-step chest-thumping response. They analyze the systemic reasons for the election day chaos in Georgia and close with some observations about AG Barr’s bad week.

Jun 15, 2020
Pouring Tear Gas on the Fire

As worldwide demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd stretched into their tenth day, Feds Roy Austin, Barb McQuade, and Jen Rubin join Harry to discuss the state of play in the case against the 4 officers charged in the death and then take up the possibility that the stars are aligned for comprehensive national legislation to reform police practices. The Feds then turn to Trump’s disastrous photo-op and the fallout it generated before speculating about whether real change is in the air.

Jun 08, 2020
Minnesota Burning

In a week that began with turbulence and ended on the edge of anarchy, Natasha Bertrand, Matt Miller, and Senator Barbara Boxer join Harry to make sense of the unfolding dramas in Minnesota, DC, and around the country. The Feds analyze the impact of the killing of George Floyd and its interaction with the continuing ravages of COVID-19. They then turn to current events in DC, including McConnell’s insistence on immunity for companies for transmission of the virus and Pompeo’s deepening troubles.

Jun 01, 2020
Memorial Day or Groundhog Day?

Four charter feds, ex-prosecutors and government officials all -- Paul Fishman, Maya Wiley, Barbara McQuade, and Harry – convene in a classic home-for-Memorial-Day Talking Feds. The 4 explore why the virus disproportionately victimizes people of color, and turn to the new wave of lawsuits challenging state authority. They then take up the DC Circuit’s aggressive move to possibly disable Judge Sullivan in the Flynn case, and end with Trump’s aggressive resumption of bogus claims of voter fraud.

May 25, 2020
(Whistle) Blowin' in the Wind

After a week with dramatic action on multiple fronts – testimony by Fauci and Bright; Trump’s “unmasking” charge and Obamagate trope; abysmal economic news; and the specter of criminal charges against Senator Richard Burr—feds Aaron Blake, David Gura, and Asha Ragganpa join Harry to talk through the political and legal landscape but also the real-world impact, especially on more vulnerable populations, of the virus and of the Administration’s bumbling and politicized oversight efforts.

May 18, 2020
Talking Feds 1-on-1: A Conversation with Governor Gretchen Whitmer
In our continuing series of 1-on-1 interviews with political leaders who are prominently mentioned as possible running mates for Joe Biden, Harry spoke with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer has drawn fire from Trump and extremist protesters for her relatively strict shelter-in-place order; but she continues to have strong approval ratings among Michiganders generally. We focused on virus issues but also touched on her background, other goals for Michigan, and the Biden VP possibility.
May 13, 2020
In Like Flynn
Journalistic legend Andrea Mitchell joins Ron Klain, Anne Milgram, and Harry to discuss the jaw-dropping news of the Flynn dismissal, which the Feds unanimously agree can only be explained by corruption at DOJ. The group then takes on the uneven and dangerous pattern of easing of shelter-in-place orders in various states, and then discusses the whistleblower complaints, particularly the one by Dr. Rick Bright, that portray a White House making life-and-death decisions on the basis of cronyism.
May 11, 2020
Return to the Double Agent Bar and Grill: Intelligence, National Security, and the Coronavirus

Four of the nation’s premier experts in counter-intelligence and national security—Kate Brannen, Frank Figliuzzi, Juliette Kayyem, and Sam Vinograd—reconvene without Harry at the virtual Double Agent Bar & Grill, for a no-holds-barred discussion of the most troubling and important aspects of the virus. The 4 cut to the core in a rich and freewheeling conversation about the grave dangers that the virus, and Trump’s inept handling of it, pose to the US’s security and our standing in the world.

May 04, 2020
A Few Choice Words: Abortion Returns to the Supreme Court

Abortion returns to the Supreme Court with June Medical Services v Russo, which the Court heard March 4 and could decide any day. It’s the first big abortion case since Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were appointed by Trump, who promised in the 2016 campaign to select Justices who would overturn Roe v Wade. Former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, Leah (no relation) Litman, and Amy Howe join Harry to discuss the case and situate it in the 50-year sweep of the Court’s abortion jurisprudence since Roe.

Apr 27, 2020
Law in the Time of Corona: Trump’s efforts to foil law enforcement oversight

An All-Feds classic, featuring 4 former AUSA’s/MSNBC contributors: Joyce Vance, Maya Wiley, Andrew Weissmann, and Harry. The feds focus on the federal, state and local law enforcement’s responses to the virus, including the efforts to ensure (and Trump’s resistance to) effective oversight; the DOJ’s ongoing work and its political support of Trump; and the only partially successful effort to integrate law enforcement and health care, especially for vulnerable sub-populations.

Apr 20, 2020
Talking Feds 1-on-1: A Conversation with Val Demings

In this first ever Talking Feds 1-on-1, Harry speaks with congresswoman Val Demings from her Florida home where she’s sheltered in place. After discussing the challenges in Florida to ameliorate the effects of COVID-19, they discuss Demings‘s career in the Orlando Police Department, where she became the first ever female chief, and her recent experience as an impeachment manager. They end with discussion of her inclusion on lists of possible vice presidential candidates for Joe Biden.

Apr 16, 2020
COVID-19 & the November Election: A National Crisis in the Making

The National Task Force on Election Crises formed last year to try in a bipartisan effort to anticipate and stave off a series of possible catastrophes for the November 2020 election.  Now they are leading the charge to put in place measures to keep the virus from swamping the election or undermining its legitimacy.  Three of the most prominent members of the Task Force—Michael Chertoff, Vanita Gupta, and Jim Baker—join Harry to spell out the biggest risks and detail their recommendations.

Apr 13, 2020
Tequila & Quaaludes: Trump’s mismanagement of the Coronavirus

Three of the most prominent Feds – David Frum, Matt Miller, and Ashley Parker – join Harry to dissect the domestic, political, and international consequences of the President’s erratic management of the coronavirus. Does Trump own his early bungling, or will at least his base once again give him a pass?  Are his daily conferences and Biden’s isolation working strongly in his favor?  And will there be long-term consequences to the United States's previous leadership position on the world stage?

Apr 06, 2020
Focus on American Universities: Fighting for DACA Dreamers and Coping With COVID-19

A special episode bringing together the Presidents of the University of California, Princeton, and Notre Dame. The Presidents first explain how they are responding to the fears and threats in their institutions posed by COV-19. They then discuss at length their ardent support for the DACA Dreamers program and their opposition to the Trump Administration’s attempts to rescind the program, which the Universities have litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, where it is now pending.

Mar 30, 2020
Governments’ Responses to COVID-19: The Good, The Bad, and The Ridiculous

The long-predicted grim effects of COVID-19 began to hit home in earnest, with numbers of cases in the U.S. doubling every 2-3 days, the economy in free fall, supermarket shelves emptied, and whole states and communities ordered to stay at home.  Chris Lu, Barb McQuade, Anne Milgram, and Asha Rangappa –former feds with rich and varied experience in governmental responses to emergencies – join Harry to assess the governments’ work to date and to analyze the formidable difficulties that await us.

Mar 23, 2020
Corona Cataclysm: a national emergency and a political wild card

Juliette Kayyem, Matt Miller, and Natasha Bertrand join Harry and bring to bear extensive expertise on the emergency management, policy, and political aspects of the Covid-19. We run through testing, turf battles, failures of presidential leadership and more before looking ahead to capacity problems and specific needed measures, closing with an analysis of the likely effects on the presidential race. Lots of rich analysis and nitty-gritty details that will be new to listeners. 

Mar 16, 2020
Corona Clusterf**k

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) exploded into public consciousness this week, and nobody seems to know how widespread, long-lasting, and serious its impact will be. The Administration was caught flat-footed, having squandered several weeks of preparation time. Dramatic measures such as quarantines and school closings were suddenly in play.National security experts Frank Figliuzzi and Juliette Kayeem and public health law expert Wendy Mariner join Harry to explain just where we are and where we might be headed.

Mar 09, 2020
Was the Killing of Qasem Soleimani Legal?

The Trump-ordered drone killing of Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s second ranking political official, raises profound and exquisitely difficult questions of legality under international law and the federal constitution’s war power clauses.  A spectacular panel of war powers experts-- Harvard Professor Jack Goldsmith, New York Times Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter Charlie Savage, and University of Texas Professor Steve Vladeck --join Harry to grapple with these questions.

Mar 02, 2020
Ignorance is Strength: Trump’s War on Fact

In the wake of the impeachment trial, the President has gone into overdrive seeking to root out from government anyone seen as personally disloyal, including those who provide truthful information pursuant to legal duty.  At the same time, he seems obsessed with trying to scrub away any facts that might reflect poorly on him. Feds Frank Figliuzzi, Matt Miller, and Sam Vinograd analyze the President’s mad assaults in the context of the Stone sentencing and the ouster of Joseph Maguire.

Feb 24, 2020
Stone Cold Disaster at DOJ

The Feds convene inside the LA office of Congressman Ted Lieu, a critical figure in the impeachment effort from his post on the House Judiciary Committee, at the end of a week of scandal and tumult at the DOJ. Congressman Lieu, former AUSA Prof. Laurie Levenson, and Atlantic writer Todd Purdum join Harry to discuss the cross currents of DOJ conduct, which ended the week with a Barr interview pushing back on Trump’s tweets and the announcement that Trump enemy Andy McCabe would not be prosecuted.

Feb 17, 2020
Has the Presidency Grown Too Powerful for the Constitution?

Notwithstanding serious misconduct by President Trump of the sort that impeachment and removal seemed designed to address, there never was a serious prospect that the Senate would convict him.  What went wrong?  Scholars and former government officials Bob Bauer, Rick Pildes, and Kate Shaw join Harry to discuss how Supreme Court decisions, executive branch aggrandizement, congressional acquiescence, and social and political forces have sapped impeachment of the strength the Framers intended.

Feb 10, 2020
Partial Acquittal

In this special Talking Feds Now! episode, taped hours after the Senate voted to acquit President Trump, Frank Figliuzzi, Glenn Kirshner, and Barb McQuade join Harry with initial reactions and analysis.  Is the verdict an unalloyed triumph, as Trump’s ardent defenders proclaim, or inconclusive given the failure to even present evidence?

To what extent did the defection of Senator Romney take the luster off the verdict?  And what should we now expect by way of continuing oversight in the House?

Feb 06, 2020
Can I Get A Witness?

Republican strategist Rick Wilson joins Matt Miller, Jen Rodgers, and Harry for a post-mortem on the Senate vote to deny witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial and an assessment on the political ramifications of the decision.  They consider whether and how the Senate can rationalize the vote, and the possibility that McConnell’s political calculation was errant.  Looking past the coming acquittal to the election season, they then assess how the decision will play in the election and in history.

Feb 04, 2020
We're Lost

Adam Schiff and the impeachment managers wrapped up three days of tightly focused and at times stirring argument that with few exceptions seemed to full on deaf ears of Republican senators. Paul Fishman, Anne Milgram, Asha Rangappa, and Todd S. Purdum (calling in from the hearings) join Harry to discuss the legal strategies of both sides, Adam Schiff's momentous performance, the comportment of the Senators, and the legal and political maneuvers over calling John Bolton and others as witnesses. 

Jan 27, 2020
Will All Senators Now Stand

In a week in which the impeachment trial of President Trump commenced, there were ½ dozen other blockbuster stories, including the Parnas documents and interviews.  Natasha Bertrand, Matt Miller, and Joyce Vance join Harry to analyze a series of the biggest developments, including the Parnas materials, the ongoing battle over witnesses, the appointment of Starr and Dershowitz as Trump’s lawyers, and the investigation of James Comey for a three-year old leak.

Jan 20, 2020
The Big Picture in Homeland Security: 2020 and Beyond

Three of the country’s premier experts in national security -- Frank Figliuzzi, Malcolm Nance, and Juliette Kayyem—in frank, unmediated discussion about the new threats to the nation heading into the 2020 election.  The Russian intervention in 2016 presents a sinister, existential hazard that calls for the same kind of paradigm shift in homeland security that the 2001 attacks required in intelligence.  And the Administration’s hostility to career professionals makes the threats that more keen.

Jan 13, 2020
From Russia with Blood

The Feds cast a close focus on the scourge of Russian Organized Crime, which stepped into the gap left by the fall of the Soviet Union to play an illicit and controlling role in virtually every important in the country.  At the same time, it maintains remarkable ties with Putin’s government, which ultimately controls its actions, including ordering targeted killings of people all over the world who have fallen out of Putin’s favor; and it may have played a role in some of the Trump Organization’s business dealings over the last 15 years.  A panel of Russian OC specialists – David Hickton, the US Attorney who brought the first cybercrime case against Russian OC; Martha Boersch who brought and litigated the first important case in US courts involving Russian OC; and Heidi Blake, an investigative reporter whose new book provides an authoritative account on Putin’s use of OC to make war on the West, join Harry to plumb the depths of a singular threat to Western democracies.

Jan 06, 2020
Demagoguing the Border: The Trump Administration’s Treatment of Migrant Families

In an episode taped live in Washington DC and co-sponsored by the American Constitution Society and George Washington law School, Vanita Gupta, Leon Rodriguez, Lindsay Harris, and Andrea Senteno join Harry to describe and analyze the Trump Administration’s treatment of migrant families at the Southern border. The group traces the historical development of the issue and explains that, contrary to Administration rhetoric, virtually none of the tens of thousands of asylum seekers have histories of violent criminal conduct, and upwards of 95% of claimants with counsel appear for their hearings.  The panelists end with some potential solutions to a particularly vexing problem of law, policy, and politics. 

Dec 30, 2019
Trump Impeached: An Act of Constitutional Fidelity

Mary Gay Scanlon, Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, joins Joyce Vance, Maya Wiley, and Harry Litman on the week in which the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump, making him only the 3rd president impeached in U.S. history.  The congresswoman adds to the group’s analysis the account of how it felt on the floor of the House as the Articles moved toward passage, and the sentiments within the Democratic Caucus.  The Feds all analyze the possibility the impeachment could backfire, the Democratic strategy of holding back on the Articles to try to force the Senate to agree to witnesses, and the prospect of additional future investigations in the House post-impeachment.

Dec 23, 2019
"The Articles Are Agreed To"

The House Judiciary Committee voted out articles of impeachment against a President for the first time in a generation and only the fourth time in history, and sent to the floor a two-count case for impeachment that seems overwhelming in both the facts and the law.  But the vote was along strict partisan lines and all indications are that the Republicans in both Houses of Congress will hold near total ranks in support of the President, embracing a series of weak or diversionary arguments.  Feds Natasha Bertrand, Ron Klain, and Matt Miller join Harry to analyze the week and assess what happens next.  What short-, medium-, and long-term implications will the presumed impeachment/acquittal course of events have for Trump, the Republican Party, and the state of the Union?

Dec 16, 2019
What Will The Trial in the Senate Look Like?

Congressional and political experts Norm Ornstein, David Frum, and Elliot Williams join Harry to analyze the probable workings – from the broad strokes to the nitty gritty – of the expected upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate.  Will Mitch McConnell control all aspects with an iron fist, and what if anything will make him part company from President Trump?  Will it all be a strictly political affair or will broader considerations of country and Constitution hold some sway? And how many votes for conviction can we expect the Republicans?

Dec 09, 2019
Impeachment Academy

The impeachment process moves to the Judiciary Committee, beginning with a panel of scholars addressing constitutional standards for impeachment and applying those standards to the set of facts that the testimony in the Intelligence Committee established beyond reasonable doubt.  We engage the historic moment with a two-part episode featuring a remarkably high-powered group of commentators exploring the political and the constitutional considerations of the prospective impeachment.  First, David Frum, Jill Wine-Banks, Liz Holtzman, and Harry analyze and appraise the Democrats’ strategy, including serious consideration of whether opening with a panel of scholars is a blunder.  Next, we reissue portions of a previous episode in which Professor Larry Tribe, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Congress (and Judiciary Committee) member Jamie Raskin, and Harry undertake a deep dive into the meaning of the pivotal constitutional term “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” 

Dec 02, 2019
The Impeachment Week That Was: If an avalanche of evidence falls in the Congress, can Republicans hear it?

It was one of the most dramatic and consequential weeks in the history of the Presidency, as the testimony of a series of witnesses before the House Intelligence Committee appeared to establish conclusively that President Trump had engaged in a corrupt and illegal course of conduct in his dealings with President Vlodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.  Yet at the end of this series of seismic hearings, it appeared that the House Republicans were prepared to continue to stand unanimously with the President.  Feds Matt Miller, Frank Figliuzzi, and Natasha Bertrand join Harry to assess where things stand and what if anything could force Congressional Republicans to acknowledge and come to grips with the President’s outrageous misconduct

Nov 25, 2019
Sondland Testifies: The Answer is Yes

Feds Jill Wine-Banks, Elie Honig, and Barb McQuade huddle for a deep dive on today’s blockbuster testimony from Gordon Sondland acknowledging that Pres Trump conditioned the White House meeting and the release of military aid on the announcement of investigations of Burisma/the Bidens and the 2016 Election. Is there room for Republicans to continue to argue there was no quid pro quo? And will there be a public drumbeat for testimony and documents that the Administration has so far managed to withhold?

Nov 21, 2019
The Impeachment Hearings Begin

 In this Special Talking Feds Now! Episode on the first day of impeachment hearings, Harry, Barb McQuade, and Glenn Kirschner assess the performances of the Members of Congress, starting with Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes; the staff counsel; and the two opening witness, William Taylor and George Kent.  Schiff plainly approached the hearings as the accomplished prosecutor he used to be, and the Feds use that vantage point to explain what the Dems strategy was and how well they executed it.  They likewise evaluate the strategy and tactics of the Republicans and consider what they can credibly hope to achieve given the hand they’ve been dealt.  The Feds close with some thoughts about what to expect as the hearings unfold.

Nov 14, 2019
Deja Vu: The Trump Impeachment Through the Prism of Past Impeachments

With Congress poised to begin public impeachment hearings, the Feds consider the coming historic juncture through the prism of the impeachment investigations of Presidents Nixon and Clinton.  Eyewitness participants in those dramas spell out key distinctions that shed light on the Trump impeachment and bring into relief some of the high hurdles facing the House Judiciary committee right now.  The episode brings together Judiciary Committee members and players from all 3 impeachment dramas—Elizabeth Holtzman, a Committee member and then the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment and a senior member today, and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, the current Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee,  and a member of the House Committee on Rules. Joining them is Lanny Breuer, former head of the Criminal Division at DOJ and special counsel to President Clinton during the 1998 impeachment trial.

Nov 13, 2019
The Troubled State of Voting Rights Heading into the 2020 Election

The last 15 years have ushered in a series of daunting obstacles to voting rights in this county.  It turns out that the supposed principle of "one person one vote" falls short in the field to a series of impediments, beginning with three 5-4 Supreme Court opinions that have scaled back on the ability of minority voters in particular to participate on equal footing with other voters.  Returning Fed and Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Law at the University of Alabama Joyce Vance, Congress Member (and manager of his brother's presidential campaign) Joaquin Castro, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights) Vanita Gupta, and Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub join Harry to  break down the state of voting rights in the country, analyzing the Court's actions and also poll closures, bogus charges of voter fraud, and the emasculation of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  They close with some hopeful developments on the horizon, beginning with proposed HR1, which would enact a laundry list of improvements and mitigate some of the harsh effects of the Court's decisions.

Nov 04, 2019
“Is the Dam Breaking?” Part 2-- LIVE from Politicon in Nashville, Tennessee

Charter Fed Barb McQuade joins David Frum and Malcolm Nance for a deep dig of two other issues circling the impeachment crisis.  First, the Feds discuss the crazy wild card that is Rudy Giuliani, including his prospects for indictment from his old US Attorney’s office.  Is he at the end of the day a serious risk to the President, and will Trump cut him loose or try to hold him ever close?  Turning to the prospective drafting of articles of impeachment, the Feds consider whether and how to integrate into the basic charges the President’s term-long record of grave damage to national security and to the rule of law.

Oct 28, 2019
“Is the Dam Breaking?” Part 1--LIVE from Politicon in Nashville, Tennessee

Former Clinton Press Secretary Joe Lockhart (who served Clinton during his impeachment trial) joins Feds Maya Wiley Jill Wine-Vance, and Harry Litman for a discussion of a number of facets of what is suddenly an impeachment crisis for the White House.  What (if anything) is the White House doing right and what is it doing wrong?  How does its efforts compare and contrast with the Clinton White House’s strategy in 1998?  Turning to the Congress, the Feds consider whether the Republicans “no due process” argument is getting any purchase and speculate on how both the House and the Senate Republicans will approach the coming crisis.

Oct 28, 2019
The Federal Death Penalty

The Feds take up the most sober, and one of the most controversial, topics in the federal criminal justice system -- the federal death penalty.  There are currently 62 offenders on federal death row, a small fraction of the numbers in the state system, and the federal government has executed only 3 federal prisoners since 1963. So why do we have, and why do we need, a federal death penalty?  Given the different approaches to capital punishment in the states, should the federal system work to ensure uniformity among all federal capital defendants or should it reflect the variations in local communities?  As a practical matter, how does the decision whether to seek the death penalty work in the federal system? Finally, how does the Department of Justice approach the trials of capital crimes?  Feds Rod Rosenstein, Johnny Sutton, and Carmen Ortiz – 3 former U.S. Attorneys who have extensive personal involvement in federal capital cases – unpack all these questions and detail the personal experience of seeking the ultimate penalty.

Oct 25, 2019
Get over it!

After a blockbuster week in both Congress and the Southern District of New York, Feds Frank Figliuzzi, Barb McQuade, and Elie Honig join Harry to assess the damage against the President and his country lawyer Rudy Giuliani.  Several witnesses gave forceful closed-door testimony about the President’s turning over Ukraine foreign policy to Giuliani, who apparently executed a scheme designed to further Trump’s political interests to the derogation of the country’s national security interests.  None of the witnesses might have drawn as much blood, however, as Trump’s own acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who acknowledge before the camera that a quid pro quo had occurred.  The Feds consider whether removal is now on the table, and also the repercussions of a potential indictment of Giuliani by his old office.

Oct 21, 2019
Bill Barr’s Justice

Guest host Matthew Miller sits down with three reporters who cover The Department of Justice to find out what’s going on with Attorney General William Barr, the Ukraine investigation and more. Featuring Evan Perez, Katie Benner, Devlin Barrett.

Oct 11, 2019
The Whistleblowers’ Moment

The whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the intelligence community has brought the Trump Administration to the precipice, imposing a far greater threat than did the Mueller probe. Several more whistleblower complaints against the Administration are stacked up and ready to go. Whistleblowers have arrived. But who are they, and what tends to happen to them after they blow the whistle? The Feds bear down on various aspects of the life and law of whistleblowers, with two of the most prominent whistleblower lawyers in the country and the author of a just-published book that gives an encyclopedic look at this suddenly critical set of players.

Oct 07, 2019
Are we f***ed?

From Austin, Texas, it's a special bonus episode of Talking Feds. Harry Litman, Joyce Vance, Matt Miller, Asha Rangappa and Mieke Eoyang talk about the state of politics, the president and the law while producer Jennie tries to to get queso on the mic cables. It's a free-wheeling discussion in the back room at Cisco's in East Austin, so sit down and join us!

Sep 29, 2019
Trump Agonistes

After disclosure of a whistleblower complaint revealing President Trump’s efforts to strongarm the President of Ukraine into producing dirt on Joe Biden and subsequent WH efforts to conceal it, the Democrats moved quickly to initiate impeachment proceedings.  Talking Feds Ron Klain, Natasha Bertrand, and Frank Figliuzzi join Harry to analyze the depths of Trump’s troubles and the likely path of congressional investigation going forward.

Sep 29, 2019
The Whistle is Blowing

Four Charter Feds – Frank Figliuzzi, Paul Fishman, Matt Miller, and Joyce Vance—join Harry Litman to analyze the complicated questions of law, politics, and national security swirling around the bombshell revelations that 1) a whistleblower complaint from someone in the national intelligence community has been filed but is being withheld from Congress notwithstanding the plain legal command to provide it; and 2) the complaint concerns President Trump’s attempting to strongarm the President of Ukraine into gathering dirt on Joe Biden’s son.  The Feds then turn their focus on Corey Lewandowski’s testimony in the House last week, including the devastating cross-examination by committee counsel Barry Berke,  and consider the possibility that Lewandowski could be charged with contempt.

Sep 23, 2019

In the wake of unconfirmed reports that a Grand Jury in the District of Columbia refused to indict former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the feds convene in emergency TalkingFeds Now session to analyze what happened, assess how rare—and how embarrassing—a development it would have been, speculate on just what is happening now in the US Attorney’s office and Main Justice, and consider the Department’s next moves.

Full episode transcripts available at Talking Feds dot com. 


Sep 14, 2019
SDNY (2); still in the house

Following up on the last episode insiders’ account of the fabled Southern District of New Year, the Feds canvass various cases in which the SDNY is still investigating conduct by the Trump circle and Trump himself.  Trump insiders often have suggested that the greatest threat to the President and his family comes from the SDNY.  Now that the Mueller probe has run its course, what possible cases does the SDNY still have in store?  And if the SDNY does bring additional cases, will the new regime at the DOJ, led by AG Bill Barr, sign off on them?

Full episode transcripts available at

Sep 10, 2019
La Cosa SDNY: An Insider’s Guide to the Most Renowned United States Attorney’s Office

The Southern District of New York – the United States Attorney’s Office based in Manhattan – is the most renowned federal prosecutor’s office in the Department of Justice—and it knows it. It has a famous independence and swagger, which it has earned with a long string of high-profile prosecutions, particularly of organized crime figures.  Friends of President Trump have long identified the SDNY as a bigger threat to his presidency than Robert Mueller. What makes this office tick, and so consistently excellent?  Three long time assistants and supervisors in the office sit down with Talking Feds host Harry Litman to detail what life and work is really like in the SDNY.

Sep 03, 2019
Left of Boom: Violent Extremism and the Law

Guest host Frank Figliuzzi leads a discussion of fighting violent extremist crimes in the United States without compromising civil liberties. Frank is joined by Barbara McQuade, Mary McCord and Malcolm Nance. In the sidebar segment, Emmy award winning actor Bradley Whitford explains the difference between international and domestic terrorism.

Full transcript available at


Aug 27, 2019
The Republican Opposition

For many Republicans, the Trump Administration has posed a stark choice between values and outcomes, a choice that seems increasingly irreconcilable with the norms and practices of previous Republican administrations.

Host Harry Litman talks with three Republicans who made the choice early on not to support the President's policies. William Kristol, political author and commentator, Peter Keisler, former acting Attorney General of the United States, and Carrie Cordero, former senior associate general counsel at the office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Aug 19, 2019
The Pardon Power

What are the values and purposes behind the pardon power? How has President Trump used this executive power in his first term and how might he use it in the future? 

Harry talks with an expert panel including Robert Bauer, former White House counsel and professor, Margaret Love, former pardon attorney, and Rachel Barkow, professor of Law at New York University and a former member of the United States Sentencing Commission.

Aug 12, 2019
Who Fights for The People When the Government Won't?

They've sued white supremacists after Charlottesville, fought for bail reform in Missouri, and stood up in court for Welcoming Cities like Gary, Indiana.

The former Feds at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law left the Justice Department to take on cases that have Constitutional claims at their core. They discuss the impact of their litigation efforts in areas where the U.S. government would traditionally play a role.

Host Harry Litman is joined by ICAP's team of former Feds: Mary McCord, Joshua Geltzer, Amy Marshak, Annie Owens, Nicolas Riley, Seth Wayne.



Aug 05, 2019
The Witness Has Left The Room

Three familiar Feds are joined by director Rob Reiner to assess the testimony of special Counsel Robert Mueller and consider the prospects for continued congressional investigation. Mueller testified to Congress for seven hours about the contents of his report. Although his answers were brief, he nonetheless painted a clear picture of misconduct and potential crimes committed by the President and his associates.

Harry is joined by former Feds Melinda Haag, Martha Boersch and filmmaker Rob Reiner. 

Jul 26, 2019
Mooting Mueller

Feds including some of the finest and most experienced trial lawyers in the country proffer specific, word-for-word, 5-minute lines of questioning for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  They defend their own lines of questioning and critiques others in turn.  The  Feds then engage in a trial lawyers’ discussion of what goals are achievable from Mueller’s testimony, which risks are worth taking and which are not, what tone to take in the questioning, how to handle the expected obstreperousness of the Republicans, how exactly to make use of the Mueller Report, and other fine points of the trial lawyer’s art as applied to this critical hearing.

Full transcripts available at Talking Feds dot com


Jul 19, 2019
Congress's Last Stand: Mueller's Testimony

When Robert Mueller testifies on July 17th, the stakes for the House are enormous. The two committees must use the opportunity to make the American people understand the gravity of the offenses and misconduct laid out in the Report, but that is no easy task. How should they approach it in broad strokes? How do they get meaningful answers, respectfully, from Robert Mueller? 

Harry Litman is joined by Andrew McCabe, Ron Klain, Tim Lynch, and Matt Miller for a discussion in front of a live audience. You can also watch video of the live discussion at

This episode was sponsored by Georgetown Law's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and The American Constitution Society.

Jul 12, 2019
Trump’s Interference with the DOJ

Feds Jamie Gorelick, Paul Fishman, and Amy Jeffress – a group with hugely rich experience from line Assistant U.S. Attorneys to the highest reaches of Main Justice—describe and explain the norms that should govern the interactions between political employees and career prosecutors.  Those norms were firmly respected before the Trump Administration, which has routinely flouted them, infecting DOJ’s law enforcement function with crass political considerations.  The result is a series of body blows to the Department, from the morale of career employees to its reputation for impartiality before the federal courts.  The Feds close with some surmises about how likely it is that the damage will outlive the Trump Administration, and what restoring DOJ culture will require.

Full transcripts and more available at

Jul 09, 2019
“Public sentiment is everything”

Pivoting off President Abraham Lincoln’s famous maxim, the Feds consider the state of public opinion about the current President’s many serious transgressions. What explains the apparent indifference of wide swaths of the American public to the President’s assault on constitutional values and the rule of law? What are the prospects for Mueller’s upcoming testimony or other events to break through the apparent impasse? And is there a moral obligation to push back on the constitutional outrages whether or not there are reasonable prospects of changing the current calculus?

Harry is joined by Barbara McQuade, Frank Figliuzzi and Julie Zebrak.

And stay tuned after the discussion for a preview of the Talking Feds live event July 8-11 in Washington, DC.

Jul 06, 2019
Mueller Report Myths and Gerrymandered Maps

In this special Feds Now episode, The Feds break down the myths of the Mueller Report, as first elucidated in a recent Time Magazine article. Host Harry Litman is joined by the co-authors of the article, former US Attorneys and Talking Feds charter members Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance. The Feds then turn to the ramifications of the 5-4 Supreme Court on political gerrymandering with Richard Cordray, who clerked for two Supreme Court justices and was the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

Jun 28, 2019
No Hope

The Feds take up the administration’s assertion of absolute immunity for Hope Hicks, including whether absolute immunity is even a viable legal concept. They then consider a new Supreme Court decision that potentially points the way towards a legal breakthrough in the impasse between the White House and Congress. Finally, they consider the sobering possibility that the race is over even as Congress continues to run in place.

Jun 24, 2019
Ted Talks

The Feds are honored to be joined by Rep. Ted Lieu, a forceful presence on the House Judiciary Committee. We begin with a probing look at the legal, ethical, and political implications of the President’s suggestion that it’s fine for a campaign to take negative information about an opponent from a foreign country, including the seemingly untenable position that Trump has imposed on FBI Director Christopher Wray by directly contradicting him in public.  Following a sidebar from Prof Larry Tribe on the federal government’s obligation to provide information to criminal defendants, the Feds engage in a candid assessment of Congress’s attempts to date to bring the Mueller report to life before the American public, ending with Rep Lieu’s declaration that  "[w]e are going to get McGahn to testify at some point."

Jun 17, 2019
A House Divided

The Feds consider the White House’s radical and unprecedented strategy to not only rebuff all investigative demands from the House, but to deny the very legitimacy of the House’s oversight.  They unpack the voicemail from the President’s lawyer asking Michael Flynn’s lawyer for a “heads up”of Flynn’s communications with Mueller.  They then bat around a new proposal from Prof Larry Tribe that potentially could break through the drastic logjam.

Host Harry Litman is joined by former Feds Asha Rangappa, Elliot Williams, and Barbara McQuade.

Jun 10, 2019
High Crimes and Misdemeanors (feat. Professor Laurence Tribe, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, and Congressman Jamie Raskin)

An unbelievably high-powered panel-- Professor Laurence Tribe, Dean Erwin Chemerinksy, and Congressman and Judiciary Committee member Jamie Raskin--take up an incredibly important topic,  "High Crimes and Misdemeanors." The three set aside some common misconceptions and agree on important aspects of the constitutional term. They then turn to plow new ground, each opining on what potential offense by the President is the most serious and predicting how the Congress may view differently the Venn diagram of potential impeachable offenses.  Finally, they offer their thoughts on whether we are at a moment of constitutional failure, and whether the constitutional scheme is likely to prove equal to the stresses that the President has imposed on it.

Jun 03, 2019
The Day Bob Mueller Spoke

On the day when Robert Mueller broke his 2-year silence, the Feds convene in a special @talkingfeds Now! Episode to tell you what wasn’t said in the wall-to-wall coverage.  Each Fed offers up in roundtable order a detail or nuance that the coverage overlooked or underreported, filling in some critical blanks and implications in the first and perhaps only statement that Mueller will make.

Harry is joined by Barbara McQuade, Mimi Rocah and Elie Honig.

May 30, 2019
Do Overs and Cover Ups

The Feds analyze the current apparent impasse between the Administration and the House of Representatives and discuss possible inroads that the House Democrats could nevertheless execute.  They detail possible witnesses that the House still can call.  They conclude by considering the legal and political implications of the two district court victories upholding subpoenas for financial records of the President, including before 2016.

May 28, 2019
Game of Trump: A Song of Vice and Ire

The Feds discuss the implications of the revelation that some member(s) of Congress helped dangle a pardon to Michael Flynn, and the importance of the district court’s muscular intervention in ordering that the information be made public. They then consider Trump's deranged tweet about treason and the overall impact of Trump's threats now that he has an apparent ally and loyal servant in the Attorney General of the United States.

May 20, 2019
The Counterintelligence Investigation: What it is, why it matters

Of all the many aspects of the various Trump dramas, the counter-intelligence investigation of the President and his campaign can be the hardest to understand and follow, not least because it remains highly classified and we have no way to chart its progress with certainty.  But we can bring a depth of knowledge and experience to the topic, and that is what Feds Frank Figliuzzi and Josh Campbell, who both have extensive FBI experience, do in this episode.  The Feds provide a detailed but nuts-and-bolts explanations of how counter-intelligence investigations work, and then analyze the prospects over the next two years for the remarkable counter-intelligence investigation of the Trump campaign and the president himself.

May 14, 2019
Barr on the Rocks

A Talking Feds NOW special episode.  The Feds convene in emergency session to dissect the Attorney General’s remarkable testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to analyze the import of Barr’s apparent decision to act as an advocate for the President’s personal interests. 

Host Harry Litman is joined remotely by Robert Raben, Barbara McQuade and Matthew Miller.

May 02, 2019
Mueller in the House

As the center of investigation of Trump’s misconduct moves to the House, a group of Feds who have special in-depth knowledge of Congressional investigations predict what lies ahead. The Feds discuss the likely maneuvers of three House Committees and the likely counter maneuvers of the Department of Justice. They consider the prospects for the House to get the Mueller Report without redactions, and the possible critical roles for public opinion and the handful of moderate Republican Senators.

Harry is in Washington, D.C. with Robert Raben, Elliot Williams and Matt Miller.

Apr 26, 2019
A Deep Dive Into Murky Waters
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The Feds probe deeply into the 438-page redacted Mueller report,  training their focus in in particular on the respective roles of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General William Barr.  Was Mueller’s decision to shy away from a bottom line judgment on obstruction of justice appropriate?  Is Barr not an honest broker, and if not, why not? The Feds tell us the one thing that surprised them the most in the Mueller report. 

Host Harry Litman is in La Jolla, CA by Carol Lam, Jennifer Rodgers and from Tucson, AZ by Frank Figliuzzi.

Apr 24, 2019
The Mueller Report: And Now What?
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The Feds convene in emergency session to discuss the Mueller report and the Barr press conference.  They analyze whether Barr was a faithful expositor or an advocate for Trump, and whether Mueller’s intent was to leave the judgment on obstruction to Congress. Host Harry Litman is joined remotely by Amy Jeffress, Jennifer Rodgers and Paul Fishman.

Read the full report

Apr 18, 2019
Redaction Reaction
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The Feds analyze what to expect from the soon-to-issue Mueller report and offer educated surmises on the internal dynamics within DOJ, including the relationship between the Special counsel’s office and the Attorney General. They then take up the Assange case, again explaining the dynamics within government and evaluating whether it was a case that should have been brought.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined in the Washington D.C. studio by Amy Jeffress, Julie O'Sullivan, and Matthew Miller.

Apr 16, 2019
Report Summary: [REDACTED]
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The Feds analyze the outbreak of the war of press leaks between the Mueller camp and the Barr camp and the emerging dueling versions of Barr’s decision to give the President a pass on obstruction. They then consider the prospects that the House will be able to secure the unredacted Mueller Report and the President’s tax returns.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined remotely by Joyce Vance, Paul Fishman, and Matthew Miller.

Apr 08, 2019
The Mueller We Know
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At a time of intense curiosity about the contents of the Mueller Report, and assessment of Mueller’s key decisions over the course of the probe, this episode brings together prominent former federal officials who each worked closely and at length under Mueller when he was United States Attorney and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director. Their vantage points, generally absent from the public discussion to date, give rise to educated surmises about Mueller’s calculations over the life of the probe to the present day, when he possibly is at odds with the Attorney General about critical conclusions from his probe.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined in the San Francisco studio by Melinda Haag, Martha Boersch, and Candace Kelly.

Apr 01, 2019
Mueller Punts, Barr Intercepts
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The feds debate Special counsel Robert Mueller’s baffling decision not to reach a judgment as to the President guilt of obstruction and the Attorney General’s decision to step into the breach and clear Trump. They then discuss the many perils that remain for Trump and his circle from investigations in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined remotely by Barbara McQuade and Mimi Rocah.

Mar 28, 2019
Breaking News: The Report Is In
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The Feds convene an emergency session to discuss Bob Mueller’s long-awaited submission of his report to the Attorney General.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined remotely by Paul Fishman, Julie Zebrak, and Matthew Miller.

Mar 23, 2019
Pardon Me
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The Feds consider whether it was appropriate for the Manhattan DA to file pardon-proof charges against Paul Manafort, then describe the specific steps Congress and the DOJ would take to investigate the emails to Michael Cohen suggesting Trump and Giuliani may have dangled a pardon to keep him silent.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined in the Washington D.C. studio by Elliot Williams, Julie Zebrak, and Elie Honig.

Mar 18, 2019
Mueller Done, Manafort Undone?
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The Feds discuss what the Mueller Report might look like and what happens after it drops, then turn to consideration of Paul Manafort's prospects for ever getting out of prison.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined in the Washington D.C. studio by Joyce Vance, Paul Fishman, and Matthew Miller.

Mar 14, 2019
An Introduction
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Talking Feds is a prosecutors’ roundtable that brings together some of the most well-known former prosecutors in the country for a detailed, dynamic, and entertaining analysis of the most pressing questions in high-profile criminal cases, including the Mueller probe and related investigations.

Mar 12, 2019