The Lawfare Podcast
An Update on Fulton County from Anna Bower
It's been an eventful few days in Fulton County with a flurry of orders, a flurry of briefings, the former president deciding he wasn't going to seek removal to federal court, waiting for the 11th Circuit to rule on other people's removals, and other removals being denied—there’s just been a lot going on. To catch up, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare Legal Fellow Anna Bower. They talked about whether we’ll really see this case going to trial on October 23, about bail bondsman Scott Hall’s plea agreement, about whether other people will take the plea, about why Donald Trump is not seeking removal, and about all the people who want removal who just can't seem to get it.
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U.S. Arms Transfers to Israel, with Brian Finucane and Josh Paul49:53Last month, following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, President Biden announced that his administration would ask Congress for “an unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense,” totaling $14.3 billion. Such a package would supplement the defense aid Israel already receives from the U.S. According to Jonathan Guyer in Vox, “Israel has received about $3 billion annually, adjusted for inflation, for the last 50 years, and is the largest historical recipient of US security aid.” But with civilian casualties in Gaza mounting, including the reported killing of thousands of Palestinian children, likely with weapons of U.S. origin, a recent article in Foreign Affairs by Brian Finucane asks, “Is Washington Responsible for What Israel Does With American Weapons?” To talk through that essay, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Brian, a Senior Adviser at the International Crisis Group and former attorney adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department, as well as Josh Paul, a former Director in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, which oversees U.S. arms transfers, who resigned in protest over the U.S. government’s provision of weapons to Israel for use in the conflict in Gaza. They discussed the scale and process of U.S. weapons transfers, the domestic and international law that govern these transfers, and whether the U.S. is complicit and liable for war crimes committed with its weaponry. They also discussed why it would be a mistake to rely solely on the law of war to bring an end to the death and destruction in Gaza.
Tiana Epps-Johnson on Lawsuits and the Big Lie51:20Tiana Epps-Johnson is the Executive Director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, an organization which provides technical and financial assistance to election workers nationwide. If this sounds like it should be uncontroversial, hang on to your hats, folks. It is anything but. After her work in 2020 to help election workers conduct the presidential election under horrendously difficult COVID conditions and with inadequate budgets, Epps-Johnson found herself the subject of lawsuits, investigations by state attorneys general, and other forms of harassment. None of these have come to anything, but it's been extremely costly for the organization.She joined Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes and Lawfare Senior Editor Quinta Jurecic to tell the story. What does the Center for Tech and Civic Life really do? What was the nature of the attacks she faced? How much did it cost her organization to defend them, and how did she pay it? And what does it all mean for the future of safe elections in the United States?
Lawfare Archive: Building a Bridge Between 20th Century Law and 21st Century Intelligence01:08:48From November 7, 2015: Last week, George Washington University and the CIA co-hosted an event entitled Ethos and Profession of Intelligence. As part of the conference, Kenneth Wainstein moderated a conversation between CIA General Counsel Caroline Krass, Orin Kerr, and Benjamin Wittes on Bridging 20th Century Law and 21st Century Intelligence, a panel which we now present in full. What new legal questions are raised by rapidly evolving technologies and how do those questions interact with existing national security law? In response to these changes, how can the United States strike a balance between privacy, security and the economic imperatives driving innovation? The panel addresses these critical issues and more.
Lawfare Archive: The Jerusalem Embassy Opening and Protests in Gaza52:12From May 19, 2018: The past week saw the culmination of a major shift in U.S. 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, Natan Sachs, and Sarah Yerkes to sort through the headlines.
What Disqualifying Trump From the 2024 Ballot Would Mean for Election Law01:17:05In the past few weeks, there have been several notable developments in lawsuits seeking to disqualify Donald Trump from the 2024 election under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a case against Trump but invited the petitioners to refile once Trump won the GOP nomination. A court in Michigan rejected a challenge to Trump's eligibility on the grounds that Congress, not the courts, should ultimately decide. And, most recently, a Colorado trial court held that, although Trump did engage in insurrection before and during Jan. 6, Section 3 does not apply to presidents.As these and other cases make their way through the courts, and with the potential that the Supreme Court will at some point weight in, we're bringing you another portion of a conference held last month at the University of Minnesota Law School (for a previous excerpt, see the November 1 edition of the Lawfare Podcast). This panel, focusing on the interplay between the Section 3 challenges and election law, was moderated by University of Minnesota Law School Professor Nick Bednar, and featured Professor Ned Foley of the Ohio State College of Law, Professor Derek Muller of Notre Dame Law School, and Professor Andrea Katz of Washington University School of Law.
Lawfare Archive: Samuel Moyn on “How Warfare Became Both More Humane and Harder to End"49:26From October 22, 2016: This week, Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History at Harvard University, closed out a one-day conference on “The Next President's Fight Against Terror” at New America with a talk on “How Warfare Became Both More Humane and Harder to End.” He argues that we’ve moved toward a focus on ending war crimes and similar abuses, rather than a focus on preventing war’s outbreak in the first place. And in his view, the human rights community shares culpability for this problem. It’s an issue that will be of great consequence as the next president takes office amidst U.S. involvement in numerous ongoing military interventions across the globe.
Chatter: The JFK Assassination and Conspiracy Culture, with Gerald Posner01:39:01Sixty years ago today in Dallas, Texas, Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John Kennedy. For almost as long, various (often contradictory) conspiracy theories about that day have been circulating. Gerald Posner used overwhelming evidence and logic to dismantle these theories in his classic book Case Closed, first published in 1993 and re-issued with updates in the three decades since then.David Priess spoke with Gerald about why some anniversaries of major events resonate more than others; the limits of memory; what drove him to first research and write about the Kennedy assassination; what actually happened on November 22, 1963; early conspiracy thinking about it; Jim Garrison's flawed investigation of Clay Shaw; Oliver Stone and his influential film JFK; speculation about the Dealey Plaza "umbrella man" and about Cuban government involvement; decades of US government document releases; new memories from a former Secret Service agent; the impact of grand conspiracy thinking on society; and more.Among the works mentioned in this episode:The book Case Closed by Gerald PosnerThe book Reclaiming History by Vincent BugliosiThe book Hitler's Children by Gerald PosnerThe book Rush to Judgment by Mark LaneThe book Six Days in Dallas by Josiah ThompsonThe movie JFKThe Lawfare Podcast episode The JFK Assassination Documents, with Gerald Posner and Mark Zaid (December 22, 2021)The book Day of the Jackal by Fredrick ForsythChatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.
The Pigeon Tunnel: Errol Morris Interviews John le Carré53:56The great documentary filmmaker Errol Morris is best known for films such as “The Thin Blue Line” and “The Fog of War.” His latest film, “The Pigeon Tunnel,” is about the great espionage novelist John le Carré, whose real name is David Cornwell. Jack Goldsmith recently sat down with Morris to talk about “The Pigeon Tunnel.” They discussed le Carré’s complex and contradictory attitudes towards the Cold War, the influence of the traitorous British intelligence officer Kim Philby on le Carré's work, what Morris and le Carré have in common as documentarians, and how le Carré compares with Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad. Morris also reflected on his craft, including the difference between an interview and an interrogation and how he learned to interview a subject without saying anything.
Brooks, Wohlforth, and Keohane on the Strength of the United States in International Politics52:03At the end of the Cold War, there was no question that the United States was the most powerful country in the world—militarily, economically, and technologically. International relations scholars call this system, where one country is more powerful than all others, a unipolar one. But most analysts now argue that America’s decline over the last two decades coupled with a simultaneous Chinese rise, has ended the United States’s predominance in international politics, and that the world is no longer unipolar.Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth, international relations professors at Dartmouth College, made the argument in Foreign Affairs that while it’s true that the United States’s lead at the end of the Cold War has shrunk, the U.S. remains ahead of all other countries in terms of its military, economy, and technological production. Robert Keohane, Professor Emeritus of International Affairs at Princeton, responded to Brooks and Wohlforth’s article, discussing whether polarity matters for the prevention of a conflict between the U.S. and China. Lawfare Research Fellow Matt Gluck sat down with Brooks, Wohlforth, and Keohane for a wide-ranging conversation about what it means for a country to be the strongest of them all, the balance of power between the U.S. and China, what the War in Ukraine reveals about Russia’s global standing, and much more.