The Lawfare Podcast

By The Lawfare Institute

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Brian
 Dec 3, 2018

Ben
 Nov 29, 2018
Very insightful

John
 Aug 7, 2018
This is an excellent podcast, presenting a range of learned opinions and expert testimony on a wide range of topics (diverse, but mostly touching national security and the law). No hype, no bluster, just well-informed and sincerely presented explanation. I strongly recommend it!

Description

This is Lawfare's series of audio podcasts.

Episode Date
The War in Yemen (and Congress’s Response)
01:00:38

Last week, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Gregory Johnsen, a former member of the U.N. Security Council Panel of Experts on Yemen and the author of the book "The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia," to do a deep dive on the conflict in Yemen: its origins; its current state; and the role Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States have played and are likely to play moving forward. Joining Ben and Greg was Daniel Byman, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy and Lawfare’s own Foreign Policy Editor.

After Ben and Dan’s conversation with Greg, Brookings Fellow Molly Reynolds and Lawfare's Scott R. Anderson sat down for a conversation about Yemen-related legislation that is currently churning on Capitol Hill, and what it may mean for the future of U.S. involvement in the conflict there.

Dec 12, 2018
Congressman Adam Schiff on the Future of the House Intelligence Committee
42:30

On January 3, Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives and all of its committees. Congressman Adam Schiff of California, the current ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also known as HPSCI, is expected to take control of the committee. This week, Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes sat down with Congressman Schiff at his office to discuss the agenda for HPSCI and the upcoming Congress, the challenges facing the Democratic majority as they attempt to rebuild bipartisanship on a deeply divided committee, and, of course, the Russia investigation.

Dec 08, 2018
Special Edition: Preet Bharara Discusses…Everything
58:44

Today Benjamin Wittes got on the phone with former U.S. attorney and podcast empresario Preet Bharara to discuss a recent report Preet has published along with the National Task Force on Rule of Law & Democracy, a group which Preet co-chairs along with former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman.

The conversation took a turn towards the news: They talked about a hot-of-the-presses Washington Post story naming former attorney general William Barr as President Trump’s leading candidate to be the next attorney general. And, of course, they discussed the Mueller investigation. After that, they turned back to their original purpose, the Task Force report.

Dec 06, 2018
Global Developments in Encryption and Surveillance Law
01:16:35

In August, legal and technical experts gathered in Santa Barbara for the Crypto 2018 Workshop on Encryption and Surveillance to further the ongoing debate over the impact of strong encryption and law enforcement surveillance capabilities. Over the past several days, Lawfare has published a series of reflections that capture some of the views presented at the conference. On this episode of the Lawfare Podcast, we’ve brought you one of the conversations from the event itself, in which Jim Baker of Brookings and Lawfare, Cindy Cohn of the EFF, Sven Herpig of the New Responsibilities Foundation, Adam Ingle of Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, and Ian Levy of the U.K.’s GCHQ discussed recent developments in the laws and policy governing encryption and surveillance around the world.

Dec 05, 2018
Special Edition: Michael Cohen’s Trump Tower Moscow Plea
01:08:19

Thursday saw another plea deal from Michael Cohen: this time with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress regarding how long into the 2016 campaign the Trump Organization sought to build Trump Tower in Moscow and who exactly knew about the efforts. The criminal information validates to a remarkable degree a May 2018 report from Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold of Buzzfeed news, chronicling the details of Michael Cohen and associate Felix Sater’s efforts to cement the real estate deal (you can also listen to a special edition of the Lawfare Podcast on the story here).  

Immediately after new of the plea broke, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Cormier, Susan Hennessey and Paul Rosenzweig to discuss the story, the implications of the plea for the Mueller investigation, and who just might have legal exposure and for what.

Nov 29, 2018
Alina and Scott Talk Ukraine and Russia
53:44

This week, Russia and Ukraine went at it in the Kerch Strait, which separates the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov. It's the latest salvo in Russia's (not-so-secret) war against Ukraine and its eastern provinces, and it's the latest thing that has the world talking about Vladimir Putin's lawlessness in his back yard.

To understand it all, Benjamin Wittes spoke today with Alina Polyakova of the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, and Scott Anderson of Lawfare and the Governance Studies program at Brookings. They talked about what happened this week, the international law implications, and the domestic politics in both Ukraine and Russia.

Nov 27, 2018
John Carlin on "Dawn of the Code War"
55:59

John Carlin served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division from April 2014 to October 2016. In his new book with Garrett Graff, called “Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat," Carlin explains the cyber conflicts the U.S. faces and how the government fights back. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Carlin last week to talk about the book. They talked about about the FBI and Justice Department’s fight against cyber espionage, about how the Justice Department attributes cyberattacks to the responsible actors, and about Carlin’s experience as FBI director Robert Mueller’s chief of staff. 

Nov 24, 2018
What to Expect from the New Iraqi Government
49:55

Earlier this year, just as the United States was preparing to kick-off its national elections, the country of Iraq was finalizing the results of its own and finally installing a new government after months of debate. It was the fourth parliamentary election under the Iraqi Constitution that the United States helped to put in place, and the first since the Iraqi government declared victory in the conflict with ISIS that has dominated the country’s attention since 2014.

To understand what this new government may mean for Iraq and its relationship to the United States, Scott R. Anderson spoke with Jared Levy, the Director of Research Services for the Iraq Oil Report, a premier resource for Iraq-watchers everywhere; and Rasha al-Aqeedi, a native of Mosul, Iraq, and the Robert A. Fox Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Managing Editor of Raise Your Voice, a digital platform that focuses on Iraqi society post-ISIS.

They discussed the politics behind Iraq’s recent elections, what to expect of the main figures in the new Iraqi government, and how they might try and navigate the growing tensions between the United States and Iran that are increasingly evident in the region.

Nov 21, 2018
Jung Pak at #NatSecGirlSquad
43:33

Following the #NatSecGirlSquad’s first conference, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Jung Pak before a live audience at the Bier Baron in Washington, DC. Jung is a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy program and a long-time North Korea CIA analyst. They talked about North Korean missile development, what reasonable expectations the United States might have when it comes to relations with North Korea, and why we tolerate and sometimes embrace comical representations of the North Korean regime.

Nov 17, 2018
The U.K. and Europe on the Brink of Brexit
57:55

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that U.K. and EU officials have reached a provisional Brexit agreement. Though as of this recording, the text of that agreement has not been released, we at Lawfare thought it a good time for a refresher on how senior Europe experts and British officials are thinking about the U.K.’s split from the European Union. On October 23, the Brookings Center on the United States and Europe hosted a panel discussion on the endgame of the Brexit negotiations with Sir Kim Darroch, Britain’s ambassador to the United States; Amanda Sloat, senior fellow at Brookings; Douglas Alexander, former U.K. shadow foreign secretary; and Lucinda Creighton, a former Irish minister for European affairs. Edward Luce of the Financial Times moderated the discussion.


They talked about some of the thorniest issues at stake in Britain’s departure, including the unresolved trade issues between the U.K. and the EU, how Scotland—whose residents overwhelmingly opposed leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum—may react to Brexit, and the risks Brexit poses to a peaceful future in Northern Ireland.

Nov 14, 2018
Paul Rosenzweig on Investigating American Presidents
31:46

With the firing of Jeff Sessions and his replacement with former U.S. attorney Matt Whitaker, all eyes this week are focused on whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians will get to run its full course. But even before the Sessions firing, Benjamin Wittes and Paul Rosenzweig had inquiries into the presidency on their minds. On Tuesday morning, they sat down to discuss Paul’s recent 12-part lecture series on presidential investigations released through the online educational platform The Great Courses.

They talked about how Paul structured the lecture series, Paul’s own experience on Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s team investigating the Clinton White House, and the course’s relevance to the Mueller investigation. 

Nov 10, 2018
Special Edition: Sessions is Out!
57:16

President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday and replaced him on an interim basis with the attorney general’s own chief of staff, a man named Matt Whitaker. Whitaker has made repeated public statements expressing skepticism about the Mueller investigation, which he will now be supervising. Benjamin Wittes got on a recorded conference line with Susan Hennessey, Paul Rosenzweig, Steve Vladeck, Chuck Rosenberg and Bob Bauer to discuss the day’s events: the president’s action, how we should understand Whitaker, and what congressional pushback we can expect, both now and when the new congress comes in.

Nov 08, 2018
Cybersecurity and Financial Stability
39:49

The rate and intensity of cyber attacks on financial institutions has increased in recent years, but the risk that these attacks pose to our financial stability remains understudied in the financial industry and among regulators and policymakers. What would it look like if malicious actors took direct aim at the systemic stability of U.S. financial institutions? On October 11, Susan Hennessey spoke to three senior research scholars from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs who are taking early steps to find the answer: Katheryn Rosen, former deputy assistant treasury secretary for financial institution policy; Jason Healey, former White House cyber adviser on the Bush administration; and financial-stability expert and former Federal Reserve official Patricia Mosser. They talked about how to understand financial stability, the unique risks that cyber threats pose to it, and what gaps remain in how to mitigate those risks.

Nov 02, 2018
U.S. Policy and the Crisis in Yemen
58:51

Since 2011, Yemen has transitioned from the scene of a political crisis to one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world, but how U.S. policy affects the situation is the subject of little discussion. The United States provides intelligence and logistical support to the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition fighting against Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen, and the conflict implicates the future stability of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the U.S.’s longest standing ally in the region.

To shed light on the complicated dynamic of the conflict, on October 25, the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution hosted a panel discussion on U.S. policy in Yemen, featuring Brookings senior fellows Daniel Byman and Bruce Riedel, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dafna Rand, and Arabia Foundation senior analyst Fatima Abo Alasrar. They talked about the U.S.’s role in the conflict, the extent of the humanitarian crisis, and how the dire conditions on the ground can be alleviated.

Oct 31, 2018
The Migrant Caravan and its Dissenters
44:41

There is a caravan—you've probably heard something about it. Stephanie Leutert, director of the Mexico Security Initiative at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, has heard something about it. On Friday, Benjamin Wittes caught up with Stephanie to talk about her time on the Mexico-Guatemala border traveling with migrants who are following a trail not unlike that of the caravan. They talked about why people are joining this caravan, what the alternatives to it are, why certain migrants are shunning it, the pushes out of countries like Honduras and Guatemala, and what it's like to be a child on the long trek to the United States.

Oct 27, 2018
András Pap on Viktor Orbán and the Decline of Hungarian Democracy
47:05

Last week while traveling in the United Kingdom, Benjamin Wittes met up with András Pap, a Hungarian scholar of constitutional law. Pap is a professor with Central European University’s Nationalist Studies Program in Budapest, and the two spoke over breakfast about the decline of Hungarian democracy. They talked about the Fidesz party, Hungary's strongman ruler Viktor Orbán, to what extent Hungary is similar to and different from other European countries, and why Pap was cheerfully having breakfast with Ben talking about all these things and not fearing what would happen to him when he returns to Budapest.

Oct 24, 2018
John Mearsheimer on 'The Great Delusion'
39:01

In recent decades, both democratic and republican administrations have tried to guide other countries toward liberal democracy. But international relations theorist John Mearsheimer’s latest book, “The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realties,” says that strategy has made the U.S. a “highly militarized state fighting wars that undermine peace, harm human rights, and threaten liberal values at home.” Last week at the Hoover Institution’s Washington office, Jack Goldsmith sat down with Mearsheimer to talk about the book. They talked about why administrations try to promote democracy, how that strategy has bolstered non-democratic governments, and whether a more restrained foreign policy could better serve U.S. interests.

Oct 19, 2018
The State of Rule of Law in the U.S.: National Security and Law Enforcement
42:17

On October 3, Benjamin Wittes co-hosted an event with his Brookings colleague, Norm Eisen, on The State of Rule of Law in the U.S. Ben moderated a panel on national security and law enforcement with Lawfare contributor and long-time Department of Justice official Mary McCord; former head of the DEA Chuck Rosenberg; and Representative Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.


They spoke about the impact of today’s political environment on national security investigations in the Executive Branch; Congress’s conduct in this recent spate of such investigations; and how—under normal circumstances—these two branches are supposed to interact.

Oct 17, 2018
Through the Looking Glass with Mike Doran, An Update
58:26

Back in January, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Mike Doran—a foreign policy and Middle East specialist who served in the George W. Bush White House, State Department, and Pentagon, and is a former Brookings colleague—to discuss his support of President Trump and dismissal of the Trump-Russia allegations and the investigation of L’Affaire Russe. At the end of that conversation, Ben and Mike said they would check in again in a few months to see who was right.

Earlier this week, the two sat down over Scotch to talk through Doran’s views on—among other things—the Mueller investigation, the Steele dossier, Carter Page’s FISA warrant, and the congressional investigations into L’Affaire Russe. It’s safe to say that their views have not converged, and Doran’s view of the world differs from the standard fare on Lawfare. Hang onto your hats, folks, this one’s a wild ride.

Oct 13, 2018
Ambassador David O'Sullivan on the US-EU Relationship
59:11

It's easy to spend all our time focusing on American domestic politics these days, but the rest of the world is not going away. Take the European Union, for example—our neighbors from across the pond, and one of the US's most valuable economic and security relationships. There's a lot going on over there, and some of it even involves us. How is that relationship faring in the age of tariffs, presidential blusters, Brexit, and tensions over Iran sanctions?

To figure that out, Shannon Togawa Mercer and Benjamin Wittes spoke to David O'Sullivan, the EU Ambassador to the United States. They talked about the US-EU trade relationship, Iran and Russia sanctions, Privacy Shield, the rule of law in deconsolidating democracies in the EU, and more.

Oct 10, 2018
Mark Risher on Google Advanced Protection
33:57

Stories of grievous hacks, data breaches and their fallouts have become an almost daily addition to the news cycle. On Wednesday, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Mark Risher, Director of Product Management for Security and Privacy for Google, to talk about how his team is thinking about the current and future threats posed by malicious cyber actors.

They discussed Google Advanced Protection, how Google works with “targeted” individuals to set up secure systems, the growing sophistication of phishing emails, and how you might be able to protect yourself. By way of full disclosure, Google is a financial supporter of the Brookings institution, with whose cooperation, Lawfare is published.

Oct 06, 2018
High School SCOTUS Visits Lawfare
26:59

Anna Salvatore is the impresario behind the High School SCOTUS blog. She got in touch with Benjamin Wittes a number of months ago asking for an interview, and produced a fascinating character study of him. On Tuesday, Ben returned the favor. Anna joined Ben in the Jungle Studio for a wide-ranging discussion of the Supreme Court, high school, blogging, and building an army to produce legal journalism. They talked about how the Supreme Court is different from baseball, weird interests in high school, following a docket, and the Kavanaugh nomination hearings.

Oct 03, 2018
Robert Kagan on 'The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World'
01:00:56

On Wednesday, Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Kagan sat down with Susan Glasser of The New Yorker to discuss Kagan's new book The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World. In the book, Kagan argues that, like the jungle that keeps growing back, dangerous global actors, when left unchecked, will create chaos. Kagan and Glasser discussed whether the American public tends to support foreign policy that focuses on international withdrawal or unilateral intervention, whether the Trump foreign policy will enable faster growth of dangerous actors, and whether the America of 2018 has parallels to the U.S. in the 1920s or 1930s.

Sep 29, 2018
Jim Baker on AI and Counterintelligence
46:44

The United States has become the global leader in both defense and private-sector AI. Inevitably, this has led to an environment in which adversary and ally governments alike may seek to identify and steal AI information—in other words, AI has become intelligence, and those who work in AI have become potential sources and assets. And with intelligence, comes counterintelligence.


Jim Baker, a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former FBI General Counsel, is part-way through a series of essays for Lawfare on the links between counterintelligence and AI, two parts of which have already been published. On Monday, Jim sat down with Benjamin Wittes to discuss his work on the subject. They talked about how to understand AI as an intelligence asset, how we might protect this valuable asset against a range of threats from hostile foreign actors, and how we can protect ourselves against the threat from AI in the hands of adversaries.

Sep 25, 2018
Elsa Kania on China’s Quantum Quest
45:20

If you ask scientists what is most likely to kick off the next great wave of technological change, a good number will answer “quantum mechanics”—a field whose physics Albert Einstein once described as “spooky,” but whose potential, once tapped, could unleash exponentially faster computer processes, unbreakable cryptography, and new frontiers in surveillance technology.

No one understands this better than the People’s Republic of China, who over the last several years has built up an aggressive state-driven campaign to accelerate the development of quantum technology—a set of policies intended to put it at the very front of the pack of the next technological revolution, and all the competitive advantages it is likely to bring.

To discuss this development, what it may mean for the future, and how the United States should respond, Scott R. Anderson sat down with Elsa Kania, an adjunct fellow with the Center for a New American Security and the co-author of a new report on China’s efforts to achieve “Quantum Hegemony.”

Sep 22, 2018
Bruce Schneier on 'Click Here to Kill Everybody'
42:54

Security technologist Bruce Schneier's latest book, Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World, argues that it won't be long before everything modern society relies on will be computerized and on the internet. This drastic expansion of the so-called "internet of things," Schneier contends, vastly increases the risk of cyberattack. To help figure out just how concerned you should be, last Thursday, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Schneier. They talked about what it would mean to live in a world where everything, including Ben's shirt, was a computer, and how Schneier's latest work adds to his decades of advocacy for principled government regulation and oversight of "smart devices."

Sep 18, 2018
Special Edition: Paul Manafort “Breaks”
49:22

On Friday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort entered a plea agreement with the special counsel. To figure out what it means for Manafort, the Mueller investigation, and President Trump, Benjamin Wittes spoke to former Obama White House counsel Bob Bauer, independent counsel prosector Paul Rosenzweig, and Lawfare managing editor Quinta Jurecic. 

Sep 14, 2018
John Brennan and Jerrold Nadler on 20 Months Under Trump
47:59

The challenges that President Donald Trump has posed to the rule of law are well documented, from his delegitimization of the law enforcement investigation into his campaign and conduct in office, to his attacks on federal judges who rule against the legality of his policy prerogatives. Coupled with what many call his adversarial relationship with his own intelligence community, the Trump presidency has created a role of the executive with no analogue in recent memory.

On September 4, at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law, Representative Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and former CIA Director John Brennan, both outspoken critics of the president, sat down for a conversation about what they've seen in the past 20 months under the Trump administration, including their takes on threats to the rule of law, the investigations of the president, and ongoing vulnerability of American democracy to cyber threats.

Sep 12, 2018
Special Edition: Kavanaugh vs. the Committee with No Bull, Part II
02:43:14

Brett Kavanaugh spent Thursday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for his second day of marathon questioning about his qualifications to join the Supreme Court. But on this podcast, we cut down more than 8 hours of testimony to bring you only the national-security content Lawfare readers and Lawfare Podcast listeners need. Every question and every answer on national security, presidential power and the Mueller investigation.

Sep 07, 2018
Special Edition: Kavanaugh vs. the Committee with No Bull, Part I
02:12:34

Judge Brett Kavanaugh faced the Senate Judiciary Committee in Day 1 of a two-day marathon Q&A session for his nomination as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. We sat through it all so you don't have to. We've cut out all the garbage and are bringing you just the questions and answers on legal matters related to national security, presidential power, and presidential investigation.

Sep 06, 2018
John Sipher on Human Sources in Moscow
36:57

The New York Times reports that CIA human sources in Moscow are drying up. The newspaper speculates that this may be because of the political environment in the United States, an environment in which the president tweets about the intelligence community and the Steele dossier, and the House Intelligence Committee goes after human sources and outs them.

John Sipher knows something about human sources in Moscow. He was stationed there for the CIA in the 1990s and had to deal with sources. He joined Benjamin Wittes in the Jungle Studio to talk about the fragility of those operations, the plausibility of the New York Times story, and what we could do tamp down negative impacts on intelligence collection.

Sep 01, 2018
What is Too Far When Former Intelligence Community Leadership Criticizes the President?
56:38

This edition of The Lawfare Podcast grows out of an email exchange between David Kris and Jack Goldsmith over a draft article Jack had written about John Brennan and other intelligence community former leaders who were criticizing the president in public and from whom the president was threatening to pull their security clearances in response.

What is appropriate for intelligence community leaders to say about the president? What is going too far? What is outside their lane? And what is required by the current moment when intelligence community leaders face a rogue elephant of a president who is violating every norm we know?

Aug 29, 2018
Solomon Wisenberg on Interviewing the President
34:31

Bob Mueller and the president's legal team are engaged in an extended negotiation over whether the president will sit for an interview with the Mueller team. As it turns out, there are three people in the world who have interviewed a sitting president as part of a grand jury investigation. This week Benjamin Wittes sat down with one of them—Solomon Wisenberg.

Wisenberg served as deputy independent counsel under Ken Starr during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigation. On Thursday, Wisenberg discussed his experience interviewing Bill Clinton, how that can inform thinking on the next possible presidential interview, and how both prosecutors and the president's lawyers can think strategically about next steps.

Aug 25, 2018
Special Edition: The Mueller Investigation's Weird Weekend
47:57

What a weird weekend it has been. The Manafort jury is deliberating, the White House lawyer is cooperating with the special prosecutor and giving 30 hours of interview about presidential conduct, and Michael Cohen seems poised to either be indicted or form a cooperation deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York.

Benjamin Wittes jumped on the phone to discuss all of this with former White House counsel Bob Bauer, former Justice Department official Carrie Cordero, and Lawfare contributor Paul Rosenzweig.

Aug 21, 2018
Brad Moss on Presidential Power and Security Clearances
30:10

The President of the United States this week stripped the former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance in a dramatic White House statement by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The White House is threatening more adverse security clearance actions against presidential critics, and former senior security officials are outraged. Benjamin Wittes sat down Friday afternoon with Bradley Moss, who represents people in security clearance revocation processes, to discuss the president's move, how different it is, and what we can expect if a lawsuit develops.

Aug 17, 2018
A Worthwhile Canadian Dust-Up
35:03

Canada and Saudi Arabia have been at loggerheads over the past week ever since the Canadian Foreign Minister condemned Saudi Arabia’s arrest of Samar Badawi, a human rights activist. Saudi Arabia's reactions were extreme, including expelling the Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, halting trade negotiations and the pulling of the Saudi Arabian ambassador for diplomatic consultation.

To sort this all out, Lawfare senior editor Shannon Togawa Mercer  spoke to Scott Anderson, former diplomat and international lawyer, and Canadian professors Stephanie Carvin of The Intrepid Podcast and Carleton University, Bessma Momani of the Stimpson Center, and Thomas Juneau of the University of Ottowa.

They spoke about Saudi Arabian and Canadian strategy, international legal considerations and what comes next.

Aug 13, 2018
Special Edition: Buzzfeed Follows Peter Smith’s Money
41:03

There’s a new twist in one of the stranger subplots of L’Affaire Russe: Buzzfeed News reports that Peter Smith, a Republican operative who reportedly sought to obtain missing Hillary Clinton emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, made several suspicious withdrawals from bank accounts during the timeframe of his quest for Clinton’s emails—suggesting that he may have paid people he believed were Russian hackers.

Benjamin Wittes is joined by Buzzfeed reporter Anthony Cormier and former Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris to make sense of it all. 

 

Aug 11, 2018
The Challenges of Digital Evidence
43:25

Encryption usually takes center stage in debates over digital evidence, and the sensitivities around the issue often halt discussions before reaching practical solutions. But on July 25, the Center for Strategic and International Studies unveiled a new report detailing solutions to other, less-fraught challenges that digital evidence presents to federal law enforcement. The launch event featured a panel discussion moderated by Jen Daskal, with an ensemble cast of law enforcement experts, including Lawfare contributing editor David Kris, David Bitkower, Ethan Arenson, Jane Horvath, and Michael Sachs. They talked about the challenges faced by law enforcement in accessing and utilizing digital evidence, the civil liberties and privacy concerns digital evidence provokes, and the role of Internet Service Providers in any new legal or policy framework.

Aug 08, 2018
Fighting Deep Fakes
44:41

Technologies that distort representations of reality, like audio, photo, and video editing software, are nothing new, but what happens when these technologies are paired with artificial intelligence to produce hyper-realistic media of things that never happened? This new phenomenon, called "deep fakes," poses significant problems for lawyers, policymakers, and technologists. On July 19, Klon Kitchen, senior fellow for technology and national security at the Heritage Foundation, moderated a panel with Bobby Chesney of the University of Texas at Austin Law School, Danielle Citron of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, and Chris Bregler, a senior computer scientist and AI manager at Google. They talked about how deep fakes work, why they don't fit into the current legal and policy thinking, and about how policy, technology, and the law can begin to combat them.

Aug 04, 2018
Should Humans Communicate with Aliens?
54:37

For years, Shane Harris of The Washington Post has been fascinated with the search for extraterrestrial life in the universe. But that search raises a profound question: Should we try to communicate with aliens? Is there a risk to alerting a potentially hostile species to our presence? On July 12, Shane moderated a conversation hosted by Future Tense with Lucianne Walkowicz, the Chair of Astrobiology at the Library of Congress, and NASA astrophysicist Elisa Quintana, to talk about the ethics of the search for ETs and the associated risks with trying to make contact.

Aug 01, 2018
Talking Brexit
41:38

The British government is falling apart, Brexit talks are on the rocks, and into the maelstrom walks Donald Trump to walk in front of the Queen after having tea with her. It's been a bad period in the Brexit negotiations. To talk it through, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Tom Wright, the director of the Center on the United States and Europe; Amanda Sloat, the Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe; and Shannon Togawa Mercer from the Hoover Institution and Lawfare. They talked about Northern Ireland, trade, U.S. policy, what the United States' dog in the Brexit fight is, and what happens if there is no deal by the time the whole thing turns into a pumpkin.

Jul 28, 2018
Kennedy, Kavanaugh, and the Future of National Security Before the Supreme Court
56:21

Justice Kennedy's resignation and the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his replacement promises to usher in a new era of the U.S. Supreme Court, not least in the areas of foreign relations and national security law. To hash out what these changes might mean, Lawfare senior editor Scott R. Anderson spoke with Jen Mascott of the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University, Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and former Department of Justice official Bob Loeb, currently a partner at the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Jul 25, 2018
Jennifer Hillman and Clark Packard on Trade and National Security, Part Deux
57:55

The Trump administration has taken an aggressive stance on U.S. trade relations, opting for bilateral negotiations, and in many cases, eschewing the multilateral trade order. The administration is collapsing the distinction between economic security and national security, and this has been painfully apparent in our trade war with China. Tensions with China are escalating. On Tuesday, Lawfare senior editor Shannon Togawa Mercer sat down with Jennifer Hillman, former World Trade Organization Appellate Body member, commissioner on the United States international Trade Commission, and general counsel at the Office of the United States Trade Representative; and Clark Packard, trade policy counsel at the R Street Institute, to hash it all out. They talked about China, the WTO, and this administration’s incoherent trade strategy.

Jul 21, 2018
Julia Ioffe and Ian Bremmer on the Trump-Putin Summit
40:23

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki for their first one-on-one summit, where the U.S. president said that he trusted the Russian president's denial of election interference over his own intelligence community. In the United States, furor followed on both sides of the aisle. To break down what happened and what it means, Alina Polyakova sat down with Julia Ioffe, correspondent at GQ and long-time Russia observer, and Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, to talk about why nobody else was in the room with Trump and Putin during their over-two-hour, one-on-one meeting; what Russia's kompromat on Trump really might be; and whether this summit actually moved the needle in U.S.-Russia policy. What was gained and what was lost? Was this a win for Putin? An embarrassment for Trump?

Jul 18, 2018
Emergency Edition: GRUccifer 2.0 Indictment!
59:32

On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for their role in the theft and dissemination of documents from the DNC, the DCCC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election. Susan Hennessey, David Kris, Paul Rosenzweig, Matt Tait and Benjamin Wittes got together to make sense of the news.

Jul 14, 2018
#AbolishICE?
40:12

#AbolishICE is the hashtag that has proliferated all over Twitter. Anger over the family separation policy of the Trump administration has many people doubting whether the agency that does interior immigration enforcement is up to a humane performance of its task. Paul Rosenzweig, former policy guru at DHS where he supervised immigration matters, and Carrie Cordero, who has been actively engaged on the subject recently, joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss the substance of our immigration laws. Would abolishing ICE actually make a difference, or would it just be renaming the problem with three other letters?

Jul 11, 2018
Radek Sikorski on the Week's Events in Poland
21:37

It's been a bad week for Polish democracy, with the government removing a bunch of judges from the country's Supreme Court in order to replace them with party loyalists. In response, protestors took to the streets to push back against the deconsolidation of Polish democracy. Radek Sikorski joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss the week's events and the larger degradation of Polish governance of which they are a part. Radek served as foreign minister and defense minister of Poland, as well as speaker of the Polish parliament. He has also been a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and he's currently a senior fellow at the Center of European Studies at Harvard University and distinguished statesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Jul 07, 2018
Amanda Sloat Talks Turkey
36:28

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the Turkish election the other day, and becomes the first president under Turkey's new empowered presidential system. His party, in coalition with ultra-nationalists, will control the Parliament as well, so it's a big win for the Turkish president. It may be a loss for democratic values. On Tuesday, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Amanda Sloat, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow at Brookings, to discuss the election results, the crackdown in Turkey and the justifications for it, friction points in U.S.-Turkish relations, and what comes next for Turkey, the United States, and the EU.

Jul 03, 2018
Jim Baker and Orin Kerr on the Carpenter Ruling
47:36

On June 22, the Supreme Court released its long-awaited ruling in Carpenter v. United States, a case challenging whether law enforcement agencies need a search warrant to acquire the history of a cell phone's location from a wireless provider. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the five-justice majority that doing so amounts to a 4th Amendment search, a decision that will have far-reaching implications for law enforcement activities moving forward. On Thursday, Benjamin Wittes spoke on the phone with Jim Baker, the former general counsel of the FBI, and Orin Kerr, the 4th Amendment expert whose writing was cited in every dissent, to understand the decision. They talked about what the decision said, what a warrant for cell site data might look like, and the ruling's implications for other areas of 4th Amendment law.

Jun 30, 2018
Stephanie Leutert on the Other Southern Border
46:15

With the media and political commentators focused on family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border, few are paying attention to how developments along Mexico's southern border affect the United States. On Monday, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Stephanie Leutert, director of the Mexico Security Initiative at The University of Texas at Austin, who has spent the past several weeks in the field studying the flow of migrants from Central America into Mexico. They discussed who's entering Mexico, why they're doing it, why most continue on to the United States, and where the dangers lie along their journeys.

Jun 27, 2018
Michael Hayden on 'The Assault on Intelligence'
52:08

Gen. Michael Hayden has served as the head of both the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency—and he says that intelligence is under attack. In his latest book, “The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies,” Gen. Hayden argues that in what he calls a post-truth world, the United States needs its intelligence community now as much as ever. All the more reason to be concerned about the president’s repeated attacks on it.

On June 15, Gen. Hayden sat down with Jamil Jaffer of George Mason University’s National Security Institute to talk about the book, and how the intelligence community can navigate the challenges it faces.

Jun 22, 2018
Artificial Intelligence and Security
32:40

From manufacturing to healthcare, and from criminal justice to national security, artificial intelligence is changing nearly every sector of the global economy and many aspects of our public and private lives. And as artificial intelligence technology races ahead, its political, legal, and ethical considerations cannot be left undiscussed. Last Tuesday, as part of the A. Alfred Taubman Forum on Public Policy, James Baker, Susan Hennessey, and Scott Tousley joined John Allen at the Brookings Institution to discuss the opportunities AI offers and the challenges it presents to security.

Jun 20, 2018
All Things Inspector General...and Emails!
56:50

This week, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a gigantic report on the FBI's handling of the Clinton emails matter/investigation during the 2016 election cycle. On Friday, Benjamin Wittes got together with Quinta Jurecic, Lawfare's managing editor; Carrie Cordero, former Justice Department official and Lawfare contributor; and Marty Lederman of Just Security and the Georgetown Law School, to talk about the whole report.

Jun 16, 2018
Mira Rapp-Hooper and Steph Haggard on the Singapore Summit
41:56

On Tuesday, in Singapore, after doubts about whether the Summit would happen, President Trump met for several hours with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, culminating in a joint declaration between the two heads of state. Just after the declaration dropped, North Korea experts Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow at Yale's Paul Tsai China Center, and Steph Haggard, a professor at UC San Diego, joined Benjamin Wittes to help make sense of the news. They talked about the substance of the Summit, how it impacts the U.S.'s security alliances in the Asia Pacific, and what might come next for the U.S.-North Korea relationship.

Jun 12, 2018
Soumaya Keynes and Megan Reiss on Trade and National Security Under the Trump Administration
44:38

Economic welfare and national security have never been mutually exclusive, but trade has factored into the national security discourse prominently in recent days, with the administration announcing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in the name of national security, the backlash from American allies, and the current standoff with China. On Thursday, June 7, Shannon Mercer sat down with Megan Reiss, senior national security fellow with the R Street Institute, and Soumaya Keynes, economics and trade correspondent at The Economist, to discuss the ins and outs of trade law and how Trump is using it.

Jun 08, 2018
Clint Watts on 'Messing with the Enemy'
50:59

Former FBI agent and Army officer Clint Watts has spent years hunting down terrorists and Russian disinformation on the Internet in his spare time. In his new book, Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News, Watts documents what he learned from his experience. On Monday, he sat down with Benjamin Wittes in the Jungle Studio for a conversation about how terrorists, cybercriminals, and nation-states use online media platforms to influence people’s social and political perceptions. They talked about how Watts began tracking disinformation, what he saw, and what free societies can do to protect against it.

Jun 05, 2018
The Future of CFIUS
01:15:08

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) plays an essential role in advising the president on how to exercise his or her authority to block foreign investments that might let the U.S.'s adversaries acquire sensitive American technology or intellectual property. A bipartisan proposal in Congress aims to expand CFIUS's powers. On Thursday, the Center for Strategic and International Studies convened a panel of Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon official; Ivan Schlager, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates; Nova Daly, Senior Public Policy Adviser, Wiley Rein LLP; and CSIS Vice President James Andrew Lewis, to talk about CFIUS and how it might change under the new law.

Jun 02, 2018
Counterterrorism Under the Early Trump Administration
01:18:42

In January 2017, Donald Trump inherited a complex, multifaceted counterterrorism campaign, and since taking office, he has escalated it rhetorically and operationally. On Tuesday, New America convened a panel with Joshua Geltzer and Luke Hartig, both former senior fellows for counterterrorism on the Obama National Security Council; Stephen Tankel, a professor at American University; and Shamila Chaudry, former director for Pakistan and Afghanistan on the National Security Council. They discussed how Trump has changed how the United States uses force in its counterterrorism efforts, and where he has stayed the course of the Obama administration.

May 30, 2018
Vladimir Milov on Russia Beyond the Headlines
46:53

Vladimir Milov is the current economic advisor to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the former deputy minister of energy in the Russian government. This week, Milov spoke to Alina Polyakova about the Russian economy, the recent Cabinet reshuffles in the Kremlin, and how local politics are back in Russia.

May 26, 2018
Special Edition: Outing a Confidential Informant
41:11

Bob Bauer, Jack Goldsmith and David Kris join Benjamin Wittes to discuss the sequence of events between the Justice Department, the FBI, the House intelligence committee and the White House over the last few days and the resolution arranged at the White House on Monday afternoon.

May 22, 2018
The Jerusalem Embassy Opening and Protests in Gaza
52:16

The past week saw the culmination of a major shift in US policy as the United States formally opened its embassy in Jerusalem. Yet ongoing protests along the border with the Gaza Strip and the Israeli government’s harsh response have provided a sharp contrast to the hopeful rhetoric surrounding the embassy’s opening ceremony. On Friday, Lawfare senior editor Scott Anderson spoke with Khaled Elgindy, fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and a founding board member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association; Natan Sachs, fellow in and director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings; and Sarah Yerkes, fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to sort through the headlines.

May 18, 2018
Special Edition: Anthony Cormier on Trump Tower Moscow
27:20

Benjamin Wittes speaks to Buzzfeed reporter Anthony Cormier about his latest story, co-authored with Jason Leopold, about the negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

May 17, 2018
Amanda Tyler on Habeas Corpus in Wartime
01:02:45

In her new book, "Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay," Amanda Tyler presents a comprehensive account of the legal and political history of habeas corpus in wartime in the Anglo-American legal tradition. On Monday, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Tyler at the Hoover Book Soiree for a wide-ranging discussion of the history of habeas, where its origins really lie in English law, and how it has changed over the years in the United States, from the Founding to modern counterterrorism cases.

May 15, 2018
The Lawfare Podcast: James Comey on 'A Higher Loyalty'
01:20:19

Benjamin Wittes speaks to former FBI director James Comey before a live audience at the Brookings Institution.

May 11, 2018
The Lawfare Podcast: Special Edition: Gina Haspel vs. the Senate Intelligence Committee With No Bull
01:15:07

On Wednesday, Gina Haspel, President Trump's nominee to lead the CIA, testified for two-and-a-half hours on her nomination before the Senate intelligence committee. We cut out all the opening statements, all of the repeated questions, and in this episode, we're bringing you the distilled version of everything that's important from the hearing.

May 10, 2018
Shane Harris on the Gina Haspel Nomination
42:43

Gina Haspel, the CIA's current deputy director, goes before the Senate Intelligence Committee tomorrow, May 9, 2018, for confirmation as the CIA's director. Shane Harris of The Washington Post recently produced a lengthy and detailed profile of Haspel, who was deeply involved in the CIA's coercive interrogation program in the years that followed 9/11. He joins Benjamin Wittes to discuss the nomination, the cases for and against Haspel, and what we can expect when she faces the Committee tomorrow.

May 08, 2018
Mira Rapp-Hooper and Steph Haggard Preview the North Korea Summit
42:19

Only a few months ago, President Donald Trump threatened to rain fire and fury on North Korea and Kim Jong Un’s missiles were crashing into the ocean. Now, President Donald Trump is preparing for a summit with the North Korean leader. To understand what to expect from that meeting, Benjamin Wittes spoke on Friday to North Korea experts Mira Rapp-Hooper, senior research scholar at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center, and Steph Haggard, distinguished professor at the University of California-San Diego. They talked about how we got here, about what would make the Trump-Kim summit successful, and about predictions for the future of northeast-Asian security.

May 04, 2018
Democracy's Morticians: Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt on 'How Democracies Die'
53:57

Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt talk to Benjamin Wittes about their new book, "How Democracies Die."

May 02, 2018
Preserving Justice Department Independence
46:13

At Georgetown Law, Matt Axelrod, Bob Bauer, John Bellinger, Jack Goldsmith, and Don Verrilli reflect on the norms that govern contact between the White House and the Justice Department, how the Trump administration has broken them, and what can be done to protect them in this administration and future ones.

Apr 28, 2018
Lisa Monaco and Wayne Williams on Protecting the 2018 Election
41:27

Eric Rosenbach moderates a conversation between former homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and current Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams on election security.

Apr 24, 2018
Bobby Chesney and Scott Anderson on the Corker-Kaine AUMF
46:59

Last week, Sens. Bob Corker and Tim Kaine introduced a proposal to reshape the legal authorization for U.S. counterterrorism operations abroad. On Thursday, Susan Hennessey sat down with Bobby Chesney, co-founder of Lawfare and professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, and Scott Anderson, Lawfare senior editor and former State Department lawyer, to talk about the proposal. They discussed the current status of the authorization for use of force, what the new proposal says, and it’s prospects in this Congress.

Apr 20, 2018
Toomas Ilves on the Situation
51:51

Former Estonian President Toomas Ilves sits down with Benjamin Wittes and Megan Reiss to talk about the use of social media by the presidents of the United States and Estonia, election interference, cybersecurity cooperation, and the digitization of Estonia.

Apr 18, 2018
Taking Stock on Syria
47:17

All week, President Trump has promised airstrikes in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons, but so far nothing has come. Does this mean he’s having second thoughts? Or is this simply the calm before the storm? On Friday afternoon, Scott Anderson spoke with Dan Byman, Lawfare's foreign policy editor and a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and Tess Bridgeman, a former deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council and current affiliate of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation, for a late-breaking discussion on that question and more.

Apr 14, 2018
Tim Maurer on 'Cyber Mercenaries'
47:54

The idea of proxy conflict dates to the Cold War and earlier, but Tim Maurer’s new book “Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power” makes one of the first forays into proxy conflict in cyberspace. Last week, Maurer sat down with Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes at the Hoover Book Soiree to talk about the book. They discussed Maurer’s typology of how states like the United States, Syria, Russia and China differ in their use of cyber proxies and the challenges they pose to attribution and accountability.

Apr 11, 2018
Vladimir Kara-Murza on Russia's So-Called 'Election'
41:59

Vladimir Kara-Murza is the vice chairman of Open Russia, founder of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation and a contributing opinion writer for the Washington Post. On Wednesday, Kara-Murza spoke to Alina Polyakova about last month's presidential elections in Russia, the poisoning of Sergei Skirpal, and the future of Russia under and after Putin.

Apr 06, 2018
Special Edition: The President is a 'Subject'
28:41

The Washington Post reports this evening that: "Mueller told Trump’s attorneys the president remains under investigation but is not currently a criminal target." The report comes the same day as Alex van der Zwaan was sentenced to 30 days in jail for lying to Mueller's probe. On this emergency podcast, Benjamin Wittes is joined by Quinta Jurecic, Lawfare's deputy managing editor, who was in the courtroom for the van der Zwaan sentencing; Orin Kerr, a former federal prosecutor and the Duggan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Southern California; and Paul Rosenzweig, who served under Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Apr 04, 2018
Bobby Chesney, Matt Tait and Steve Vladeck on War, Law and Cyberspace
41:19

Bobby Chesney, Matt Tait and Steve Vladeck speak at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law on "War, Law and Cyberspace."

Apr 03, 2018
Chimène Keitner on the State Department Before and After #Rexit
49:04

Chimène Keitner speaks to Scott Anderson about her experience as international law counselor at the State Department and the future of the department after Secretary Rex Tillerson's departure.

Mar 30, 2018
Niall Ferguson on 'The Square and the Tower'
40:24

Jack Goldsmith interviews Niall Ferguson about Ferguson's latest book, "The Square and the Tower: Networks, Hierarchies, and the Struggle for Power."

Mar 27, 2018
Amy Chua on 'Political Tribes'
50:13

Jack Goldsmith talks to Yale Law School professor Amy Chua about her new book, "Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations," at the Hoover Book Soiree.

Mar 24, 2018
Liza Osetinskaya on Journalistic Freedom Under Putin
41:47

Shortly before last Sunday's election in Russia, Alina Polyakova spoke to Liza Osetinskaya, editor of The Bell and former editor of Forbes Russia and independent Russian news agency RBC. They discussed the Kremlin’s approach to censorship and how the Putin regime reacted when RBC, under Osetinskaya’s leadership, began covering the Panama Papers.

Mar 21, 2018
A Real Live Framer of the Constitution
32:34

Matthew Kahn speaks to John Feerick, dean emeritus of Fordham Law School and an adviser to the congressional committees that drafted the 25th Amendment.

Mar 16, 2018
Jeh Johnson on Protecting the Cyber Battlespace
38:51

Last week, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson addressed the Boston Conference on Cybersecurity in a speech titled "Cyberspace is the New Battlespace." The next day, Secretary Johnson sat down with Harvard Law professor and Lawfare co-founder Jack Goldsmith to discuss the themes his speech reflected on. They discussed the hacking and exfiltration of data, the vulnerabilities of the U.S. electoral infrastructure to cyberattacks, and the problem of fake news and disinformation—and what we might do to stem it.

Mar 14, 2018
Yascha Mounk on Populism and Democracy
46:39

Benjamin Wittes speaks to Yascha Mounk about his new book: 'The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It."

 
 
Mar 10, 2018
Max Boot on 'The Road Not Taken'
51:18

Benjamin Wittes interviews Max Boot on Boot's new book, "The Road Not Taken," for the Hoover Book Soiree.

Mar 07, 2018
Zhanna Nemtsova on Boris Nemtsov's Life
40:11

Alina Polyakova speaks to Zhanna Nemtsova about the life and political legacy of her father, Boris Nemtsov. Learn more about Nemtsova's work at nemtsovfund.org.

Mar 02, 2018
Dan Radosh on 'Liberty Crossing'
22:04

Benjamin Wittes speaks to "Daily Show" writer Dan Radosh about his latest sitcom, "Liberty Crossing," a workplace comedy about intelligence analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center.

Feb 28, 2018
Stephen Williams on Vasily Maklakov
44:37

Benjamin Wittes speaks to Judge Stephen Williams about his new book "The Reformer: How One Liberal Fought to Preempt the Russian Revolution," the story of Vasily Maklakov and the virtues of political moderation.

Feb 23, 2018
Phil Carter on Civil-Military Relations in the Trump Administration
38:38

The military has been not been a refuge from the Trump administration's norm-defying nature. This week, Jack Goldsmith speaks to Phil Carter, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, about the history of civil-military relations, episodes that highlight the Trump administration's departure from that tradition, and what that may mean for the future.

Feb 21, 2018
Special Edition: Mueller Indicts Russian Trolls
41:53

On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian entities involved in efforts to interfere in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election. Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes discusses what the indictment means for L'Affaire Russe and U.S. national security with David Kris, Paul Rosenzweig and Matt Tait.

Feb 17, 2018
Chuck Rosenberg on Value-Based Leadership
20:39

Chuck Rosenberg spent most of his career leading or helping lead federal law enforcement agencies. Before serving as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Rosenberg served as Jim Comey’s chief of staff at the FBI and the Justice Department, as counselor to FBI director Robert Mueller, and as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Now outside government, Rosenberg shared his thoughts on leadership with a group of University of Virginia law students two weeks ago, and now, we’re sharing his thoughts with you. He says of this speech, “I was privileged to work with great leaders, mentors, and friends at the Department of Justice. I learned so much from them: Bob Mueller, Jim Comey, Sally Yates, John Ashcroft, and David Margolis, among others. I hope my words reflect the values these good people—and so many others at DOJ—consistently demonstrated. Kindness, civility, humility, fairness, and character remain in fashion.”

Feb 13, 2018
David Frum on Threats to Democracy in the Trump Era
01:30:00

In his recent New York Times bestseller “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic,” David Frum, senior editor of The Atlantic, lays out a compelling account of how President Donald Trump’s tendencies could push the United States toward the illiberalism that many Americans believe the republican system of government to be immune to. In an event on Feb. 7 at the Brookings Institution, Frum sat down with Jonathan Rauch, Elaine Kamarck, and Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes for a conversation and Q&A on the book and Trump’s threats to democracy.

Feb 09, 2018
Special Edition: Memo #Released
43:41

On Friday, Rep. Devin Nunes, the House intelligence committee chairman, released a controversial and long-awaited memo alleging surveillance abuses by the Justice Department and FBI against Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. In this special edition of the Lawfare Podcast, Quinta Jurecic, Orin Kerr, David Kris and Benjamin Wittes unpack the memo, its charges, and what those charges mean for the Mueller investigation and the future of surveillance oversight.

Feb 03, 2018
Mike Pompeo on the State of the CIA
46:28

Last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo visited the American Enterprise Institute to join AEI Resident Fellow Marc Thiessen for a conversation to reflect on his first year running the agency and his vision for 2018 and beyond. They discussed the challenges posed by North Korea’s missile program, the war on terror, the Trump administration’s national security agenda, and the quotidian of being CIA director. Sorry to disappoint the curious Lawfare listener out there, but no—there was no discussion of the Pompeo family fudge recipe sent to the CIA workforce—and Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes—with the director’s holiday card.

Jan 30, 2018
Stephen Vladeck on Dalmazzi
44:47

Lawfare contributor and University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck argued before the Supreme Court last week in United States v. Dalmazzi, a case concerning the appointment of military judges to the Court of Military Commission Review and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Vladeck joined Scott Anderson on the Lawfare Podcast to discuss the complexities of the case, why it matters and what it’s like arguing before the nine justices.

Jan 27, 2018
The Lawfare Podcast, Special Edition: Not Firing Bob Mueller
35:14

The New York Times Thursday evening is reporting that back in June, President Trump tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller—but couldn't quite pull it off. We, however, pulled off a special edition of the podcast to go over the story. Joining Benjamin Wittes on the recorded conference call (pardon the audio quality) were Lawfare contributors Jack Goldsmith, Steve Vladeck, Carrie Cordero, and Bob Bauer.

Jan 26, 2018
What the Heck Happened in Hawaii?
01:00:46

It may seem like ages ago, but the false alarm about a missile heading towards Hawaii hasn't left our minds. Last week, Shannon Togawa Mercer interviewed a group of experts on the event: Stephan Haggard, political science professor at the University of California, San Diego; Garrett Graff, author and journalist; Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and Paul Rosenzweig, Lawfare masthead contributing editor and former deputy assistant secretary for policy at DHS all joined in. They discussed what actually occurred and how it happened, the relationship between the federal and state governments in handling emergency responses like this, the political situation surrounding the alarm, and what would have happened if there actually had been a missile. 

Jan 23, 2018
Shaun Walker on Russia's Long Hangover
45:16

This week on the Lawfare Podcast, the Guardian's Moscow correspondent Shaun Walker joined special guest host Alina Polyakova to discuss his new book "The Long Hangover: Putin's New Russia and the Ghosts of the Past." They discussed Putin's use of Russian history as political strategy, the pulse of Russian politics as its elections approach in March, the changing landscape of Russia's outer cities, and much more.  

Jan 20, 2018
Special Edition: Anthony Cormier on Russia Wire Transfers
34:20

Buzzfeed News has published a lengthy story by reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier entitled, "Investigators Are Scrutinizing Newly Uncovered Payments By The Russian Embassy." The story reports on an unusual set of wire transfers and movements of money by Russian diplomatic sources, including by former ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak in the period immediately surrounding Donald Trump's election and inauguration. The transactions, the story reports, are under scrutiny both from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and from the Senate Intelligence Committee. Cormier joined Benjamin Wittes on the podcast to discuss the story, the larger reporting stream of which it is a part, and what it may mean. 

Jan 17, 2018
David Anderson on the United Kingdom's Intelligence Policies
50:26

This week, Shannon Togawa Mercer and Benjamin Wittes interviewed David Anderson QC, who served as the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation in the U.K. from 2011 to 2017. Anderson has appeared 150 times in the E.U.'s Court of Justice and the General Court in Luxembourg and is one of the country's leading experts in the national security law field. He joined Wittes and Mercer for a conversation on his career, his role in reviewing terrorism legislation, the changing nature of intelligence in the U.K., and much more. 

Jan 13, 2018