cover art for Ensuring the Continuity of Congress

The Lawfare Podcast

Ensuring the Continuity of Congress

The COVID-19 pandemic, disputed elections and threats against election officials have brought back into focus a set of questions first raised for many after the terrorist attacks of September 11. What would happen if a large number of members of Congress were dead, incapacitated or otherwise unable to meet to do the work of the country?

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute’s Continuity of Government Commission explores these questions. Lawfare senior editor and Brookings senior fellow Molly Reynolds sat down with Greg Jacob, a member of the commission, and AEI’s John Fortier, the commission's executive director, to discuss the continuity challenges facing Congress and what we might do to address them.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Trump’s Trials and Tribulations: 13 Jurors Down, Five to Go

    It's another episode of “Trump's Trials and Tribulations,” recorded on April 18 in front of a live audience on YouTube and Riverside. Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare Senior Editor Roger Parloff to talk about oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Fischer v. United States, over an obstruction charge used to charge hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants, including former President Trump. They checked in on Judge Cannon and last week's hearing on motions from Trump's co-defendants, De Oliveira and Nauta. They also checked in with Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien to discuss the ongoing jury selection in the hush money case in New York, why it is going faster than expected, and whether we can really expect opening statements to occur on Monday. And of course, they took audience questions from Lawfare Material Supporters on Riverside.To receive ad-free podcasts and to be able to submit a question to the panelists, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Lawfare Archive: Orin Kerr on Carpenter

    From November 29, 2017: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Carpenter v. United States, a major Fourth Amendment case asking whether a warrant is necessary before law enforcement can obtain cell site data identifying a suspect phone's location from a service provider. Lawfare contributor and Fourth Amendment expert Orin Kerr discussed the case with Benjamin Wittes at Brookings shortly after the argument.
  • Sara Moller on NATO at 75

    NATO recently had its 75th birthday. And many say its trajectory traces the adage, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” That is, at least in some ways, NATO has returned to its original mission of collective self-defense. This means the alliance is concentrating less on out-of-area operations that have occupied much of its focus since the end of the Cold War. The transition comes at a time when many are questioning the U.S.’s long-term commitment to its NATO allies, especially in light of former President Trump’s recent comments about burden sharing within the alliance. Lawfare Research Fellow Matt Gluck discussed NATO’s current and likely future posture with Sara Moller, Associate Teaching Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. They spoke about NATO’s role in the war in Ukraine, the alliance’s focus in the Indo-Pacific, and how NATO is balancing arms control with maintaining strong nuclear deterrence.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Chatter: Fabric, Dyes, Glamour, and International Affairs, with Virginia Postrel

    Author and speaker Virginia Postrel has spent many years researching and writing about, among other things, various aspects of the economics and societal context of fashion, glamour, and consumer choice. A few years ago her book The Fabric of Civilization tackled the history and global effects of fabric-making, dyeing, the clothing trade, and other textile-related activities. So when host David Priess had his curiosity piqued by some displays at the International Spy Museum related to silk, dyes, and espionage, he knew who to call.David talked to Virginia about the origins of string and of fabric, togas in fiction and reality, the value of purple in the Roman Empire, the importance of fabrics for outfitting armies and making warships' sails, the development of weaving, how textile merchants led to the modern political economy, Jakob Fugger, Chinese silk and espionage, Spain's 200 year monopoly on vibrant reds, efforts to steal Spain' cochineal secret, the long history of indigo, French efforts to steal Indian indigo, the invention of synthetic dyes, modern sneaker culture and conceptions of value, Jackie Kennedy, fashion and glamour on the world stage today, and more.Among the works mentioned in this episode:The book The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia PostrelThe TV show The VikingsThe Chatter podcast episode Private Sector Intelligence with Lewis Sage-Passant, June 9, 2022Virginia Postrel's YouTube channelThe book The Power of Glamour by Virginia PostrelThe Star Wars prequel moviesThe TV show Game of ThronesThe TV show The RegimeThe article "Trump isn't just campaigning; He's selling his supporters a glamorous life" by Virginia Postrel, Washington Post, March 18, 20The movie The Hunger GamesThe book The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionThe book Fifth Sun by Camilla TownsendChatter 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.
  • Sudan’s Forgotten Conflict with Reva Dhingra and Ciarán Donnelly

    One year ago, fighting broke out in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). In the intervening months, the death toll and humanitarian cost have been immense. And yet, the suffering has gone largely overlooked by the United States and European nations. As U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield recently said, “Just five years after a revolution that offered a glimpse at a free, peaceful, democratic Sudan, people are losing hope. Aid workers have begun calling this conflict the forgotten war. Sudanese children are asking why the world has forgotten them.”To learn more, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Reva Dhingra, a Policy Adviser at the International Rescue Committee, and Ciarán Donnelly, a Senior Vice President for International Programs, also at the IRC. They discussed the roots of the current conflict, the spillover effects, and the exacerbating effects of climate change. They also heard about what Ciarán saw on his recent trip to the Sudan-Chad border. To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Matt Olsen Debriefs on FISA 702

    Last week, the House passed an overhaul and reauthorization of the FISA 702 program, a bill which now heads to the Senate for final passage. In the run-up to Senate consideration of it, Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matt Olsen joined Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes to talk about the House bill. They talked about the new constraints it imposes on the Justice Department and the FBI, what it doesn't do, the warrant requirement that isn't there, some other provisions that have generated controversy, and the bill's prospects in the Senate this week.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • FISA 702 Passes the House

    Friday morning, the House of Representatives suddenly—after failing to do so earlier in the week—took up the reauthorization of FISA 702. They considered a bunch of amendments, one of which failed on a tie vote, and then proceeded to pass reauthorization of 702. Immediately after the votes, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare Senior Editors Stephanie Pell and Molly Reynolds, and Lawfare Student Contributor Preston Marquis. They talked about how the center beat the coalition of the left and right on the key question of warrant requirements for U.S. person queries, about whether the civil liberties community gained anything in this protracted process or whether the administration just kicked its butt, about what happens now as the bill goes back to the Senate, and about all the little details that went into this bill. To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Everything You Need to Know Heading Into the Trump Trial in New York

    Today marks the start of the first criminal trial of former President Donald Trump in New York City. Trump is facing 34 felony counts for his alleged falsification of business records related to hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and others after the 2016 election. After months of pretrial hearings, motions to dismiss and for an adjournment, motions for recusal, and more, jury selection in the case begins today.In light of today’s events, Lawfare Associate Editor Katherine Pompilio sat down with Lawfare Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower, Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien, and Lawfare Senior Editor Roger Parloff who will be covering the trial at length. They discussed the case’s background, Trump’s various attempts to delay the proceedings, how jury selection will work, our plans for covering the trial, and more.To receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at
  • Rational Security: The "Eldritch Portents" Edition

    This week on Rational Security, Alan and Quinta were joined again by Brookings Senior Fellow and Lawfare Senior Editor Molly Reynolds to talk over the week’s national security news, including:“The 702nd Time’s the Charm?” Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was originally set to expire on December 31, 2023. But somehow, Congress has managed to keep kicking the can down the road—and we’re once again in the middle of an argument about whether and to what extent the legislature should reform the bulk surveillance authority. How did we end up here, and is there any indication that Congress will manage to pass a lasting reauthorization in some form this time around?“Magic Mike.” Speaker of the House Mike Johnson’s troubles don’t stop with FISA, however. He’s also tangled up in a prolonged dispute with his caucus over the U.S. aid to Ukraine—which is becoming a matter of rapidly increasing urgency, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warning that his country “will lose the war” if the aid is not approved. Johnson now says he’ll put his own aid package on the table, still tying that aid to another tranche of aid to Israel. But will the House actually vote this time, or is this just another head fake?“Finally, We Can Talk About Linux.” A few weeks ago, a single software engineer alerted the world to an alarming discovery: malicious code inside a key piece of Linux software that, had it gone undetected, could have caused a catastrophic cyberattack. What on earth actually happened here? And what could stop it from happening again?For object lessons, Alan recommended an adorable giraffe growth chart for keeping track of your child's height. Quinta took a cue from Molly and endorsed a podcast by a local NPR affiliate—“Lost Patients,” a series about mental health care from KUOW and the Seattle Times. And Molly shared a story about misprinted pens from the Clinton impeachment trial, as told in Peter Baker’s book "The Breach."Other references from this week’s show:A chart explaining how dark it gets during a total solar eclipseBruce Schneier’s Lawfare article about the XZ Utils backdoorTo receive ad-free podcasts, become a Lawfare Material Supporter at You can also support Lawfare by making a one-time donation at