The Lawfare Podcast

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The escalating tension between North Korea and the United States has risen to an unprecedented level. Earlier this month, Stephan Haggard, Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, gave a lecture at a private function on the complicated strategic and political risks that North Korea’s missile and nuclear capabilities present. He talked about the complex relationship among North Korea’s allies and adversaries, the impact of sanctions against Pyongyang, and the past and future role of the United States in addressing North Korean aggression.
Saria Samakie has a story unlike those of most of his peers at Georgetown. After being kidnapped three times in Syria, Samakie managed to flee the war-ravaged country and eventually arrived in the United States. Arne Duncan, a Brookings nonresident senior fellow and former secretary of education, recently interviewed Samakie to describe growing up in Syria, the harrowing experience of being a teenager under Assad’s regime, and what he envisions for his future—and his country’s. 
The growing threat from North Korea has intensified during the past few weeks after a series of missile tests demonstrated that the Kim regime may soon be able to strike the continental United States. This week, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Mira Rapp-Hooper, an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and Stephan Haggard, a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego, to discuss recent events on the Korean peninsula and the path forward for the United States and the international community. They addressed the diplomatic and military options for addressing the North Korean threat, the likelihood that the Kim regime will respond to traditional deterrence strategies, and how a new administration in the U.S. changes the dynamics in the region. 
The Wall Street Journal this morning broke a major story: Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Trump's former national security advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, for allegedly plotting with Turkish officials to arrange the extrajudicial removal of Fethullah Gulen from the United States in exchange for a boatload of money. We put together an emergency podcast with Shane Harris, one of the reporters on the story, Ryan Evans of War on the Rocks, and Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, Paul Rosenzweig, and Steve Vladeck to cover all the angles. What does it mean? And where does it go from here? Warning: the audio quality is a little rough in spots, recorded conference calls being what they are.
Behind the legend of Vladimir Putin, which America’s obsession with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 elections has only bolstered, hides a complex political landscape, history and—of course—president. To dispel the myth behind Russia’s president and explore the man underneath the facade, Russia expert and staff writer for The Atlantic Julia Ioffe recently published an essay titled “What Putin Really Wants.” Last week, Ioffe joined guest host Alina Polyakova to discuss her piece, and what young Russians actually think about America’s fixation on their country.
This evening, the New York Times published a story with new details of significance to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation regarding the President and obstruction of justice. Michael Schmidt reports, among other news, that President Trump instructed White House Counsel Don McGahn to attempt to prevent Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s Russia investigation. We put together a special edition podcast with Schmidt, and Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, Jack Goldsmith, and Bob Bauer to discuss what the story might mean for the future of the investigation. Warning: the audio is a recorded conference line and therefore somewhat rougher than usual.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government has been a focal point in political discourse since Mueller’s appointment in May. To contribute to that discussion, Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, interviewed Benjamin Wittes at the International Student House last week. Strategies a special counsel might use when investigating, the different mechanisms for removing a president, and the misconceptions surrounding impeachment were all discussed, followed by audience questions on a range of topics.  Please note that the audio quality is poor because of feedback in the room's audio system. 
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.  
In the past 24 hours, the Financial Times reported that Russian lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin testified before Robert Mueller's grand jury; Politico carried that the Mueller team is cooperating with the New York Attorney General to investigate Paul Manafort; and the Wall Street Journal broke that the President's lawyers have provided memos to the Special Counsel arguing that the president cannot commit obstruction of justice and questioning Jim Comey's credibility. Shane Harris and Paul Rosenzweig joined Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes to discuss the recent developments.
“What if J. Edgar Hoover Had Been a Moron?” That’s the question Lawfare’s editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes asks in a new article about his experience learning that his tweets had been written up in an intelligence report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis. After reporting on an internal DHS document and publishing other documents to Twitter, Wittes learned that I&A had distributed intelligence reports about those tweets along with the tweets of New York Times reporter Mike Baker. After Shane Harris reported on I&A’s activities at the Washington Post, DHS announced that it was halting the practice of collecting information on journalists and the head of the office was reassigned. Quinta Jurecic discussed the bizarre story with Wittes and former Assistant Attorney General for National Security David Kris.
President James Madison shaped the course of American history in not one, not two, but three different and foundational roles in the formation of the young republic. He was a drafter of the constitution, a leader of the Democratic-Republican party, and America’s first wartime president. In a sweeping biography, Noah Feldman traces Madison’s distinct roles and their resonance in current politics in his new book “The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.” Jack Goldsmith recently interviewed Noah Feldman on the book. Together, they discussed Madison’s dynamic role in shaping America’s Constitution, his influence on national security, including the use of economic sanctions, and much more.
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.
When the Department of Justice required RT, the Russian-funded news outlet, to register as a foreign agent last month, the Russian government responded in kind. Yet the Kremlin's recent crackdown on Western media is part of a longer history of stifling independent media in Russia. For this episode of the Lawfare Podcast's special Russia series, Alina Polyakova talked to Mikhail Zygar, a Russian independent journalist, filmmaker, and author of two books on the Kremlin’s elite circle. They discussed Zygar's latest book "All the Kremlin's Men," what it’s like to be an independent journalist in Russia today, why Vladimir Putin may be far from a strategic mastermind, and much more. 
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, America’s longtime ally in the Middle East, faces a tumultuous future. Plummeting oil prices, an ongoing royal purge, and Yemen’s civil war across the border have thrust the kingdom into a domestic and international maelstrom. But what role does the United States play in Saudi Arabia’s changing position? To address that question, Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, recently discussed his new book “Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and America Since FDR” at a Brookings event. Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, moderated the conversation in which they discussed the state of U.S.-Saudi relations, the historical events that have precipitated Saudi Arabia’s current situation, and the future of the kingdom. 
On December 31, 2017, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act will sunset. Officials insist that the provision authorizes critical intelligence gathering, but as of yet, Congress has not signaled whether it will give a clean reauthorization of the bill, pass it with amendments, or allow it to lapse altogether. In this week's podcast, Susan Hennessey sits down with FBI General Counsel Jim Baker and the Bureau's Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch Carl Ghattas to discuss the legal and operational elements of Section 702. 
At this point, it’s widely accepted that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election; the question now is what the United States should do about it. At Third Way, Mieke Eoyang, Evelyn Farkas, Ben Freeman, and Gary Ashcroft have a new paper on the subject, titled “The Last Straw: Responding to Russia’s Anti-Western Aggression.” Mieke and Evelyn came to the studio to talk with Benjamin Wittes about their proposals, which range from sanctions to FARA reforms.
The United Kingdom has a new Prime Minister. It also has a looming cliff it is careening toward and about to leap off of on Halloween of this year. This week, Benjamin Wittes sat down with his Brookings colleague Amanda Sloat to talk about all things Brexit. They talked about the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (and his hair), and his views on Brexit. They compared him to his American counterpart (and his hair). They talked about the deadlock between Britain and the European Union. And they talked about the way the Brexit debate plays out in American politics.
Few nations have a history with the United States that is as complicated as that of the Republic of Iraq. Today, several factors, including the Trump administration's campaign of maximum pressure against Iraq's neighbor Iran, are putting entirely new pressures on this relationship, one that many believe remains essential to maintaining regional security. To help examine these dynamics and what they might mean, Scott R. Anderson spoke with Ambassador Douglas A. Silliman, the new president of The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, who from 2016 to early 2019 served as the United States ambassador in Baghdad.
It's been a horrible week in northeastern Syria. The U.S. abandoned its Kurdish allies after the president had a conversation by phone with Turkish President Erdogan and pulled the plug on the stabilizing U.S. presence in the region. The Turkish government began a major incursion over the border, which has produced significant casualties and major questions about ISIS detainees in Kurdish custody. To talk through it all, we pulled together quite a group. In the first half of the podcast, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Scott R. Anderson and Dan Byman, both of Brookings and Lawfare. In the second half, Ben sat down with Oula A. Alrifai, a fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Leah West, a Lecturer of International Affairs at Carleton University in Canada.
Filmmaker and cyclist Bryan Fogel talks about his new movie, Icarus, about Russian subversion of international doping rules in sports—and how it relates to the current investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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.
Last week, Juliette Kayyem joined Lawfare’s Jack Goldsmith at the Hoover Book Soiree for a discussion of her new book, Security Mom: An Unclassified Guide to Protecting Our Homeland and Your Home. In their conversation, Kayyem, who served as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security, distills lessons from her years of government service, outlining a number of smart, measureable guidelines that every American citizen can follow in order to enhance their own security preparedness. In her assessment, homeland security begins in the home, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that our families are prepared in the event that the unthinkable happens.   
Eric Schwartz, dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and previously U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, explains why the United States has an interest in alleviating the Syrian refugee crisis. 
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.
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.
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Podcast Details

Started
May 15th, 2015
Latest Episode
Aug 14th, 2020
Release Period
Daily
No. of Episodes
579
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic

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