The Lawfare Podcast
Lawfare Archive: Bart Gellman on 'Dark Mirror'
From Monday, June 1, 2020: Journalist Bart Gellman is the author of the new book, "Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State." Jack Goldsmith sat down with Gellman to discuss the book. They spoke about Gellman's reporting on the Snowden affair, the scope of the National Security Agency's surveillance capabilities, and press freedom as it relates to national security reporting.
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Trump’s Trials and Tribulations: Removal, Gag Orders, and Disqualification, Oh My57:17This past Thursday, Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson hosted “Trump’s Trials and Tribulations,” Lawfare’s weekly live video chat about developments in the many ongoing trials circulating around former President Trump. He was joined by Lawfare’s two leading court reporters, Senior Editor Roger Parloff and Legal Fellow Anna Bower, both of whom have been closely following developments in courthouses around the country, both from afar and sometimes up close and personal. They talked about removal proceedings in Georgia, a proposed gag order of the former president in Washington, D.C., and new news about how former President Trump allegedly mishandled classified information in Florida, as well as the coming wave of litigation around the country seeking to disqualify Trump from the presidency under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.This is a live conversation that happens online every Thursday at 4:00pm Eastern Time. If you would like to come join and ask a question, be sure to visit Lawfare’s Patreon account and become a Material Supporter.
Lawfare Archive: An NSI Conversation on U.S.-China Policy50:32From May 25, 2019: Our friends from the National Security Institute at George Mason University stopped by earlier this week to discuss U.S.-China relations. Lester Munson, Jodi Herman, Jamil Jaffer, and Dana Stroul, former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers who collaborated and sometimes competed with one another on the Committee, had a lively discussion about Huawei, cyber and tech security, the South China sea, and Uighur internment.
How States Think01:10:51It is commonplace for American leaders to describe their fiercest foreign adversaries as irrational, crazy, delusional, or illogical. In their new book, “How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy,” political scientists John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Sebastian Rosato of the University of Notre Dame argue that these claims and many similar ones are often wrong because they're based on a flawed understanding of state rationality in international affairs.Jack Goldsmith questioned Mearsheimer and Rosato about why they think most states act rationally most of the time in developing grand strategy and managing crises. Among other topics, they discussed how their theory of state rationality differs from rational choice theorists and political psychologists, why understanding state rationality is important to success in international affairs, and why Mearsheimer, a harsh critic of U.S. expansion of NATO and of the U.S. choice to pursue liberal hegemony after the Cold War, nonetheless argues in this book that those decisions were rational.
Chatter: Secret Intelligence and the British Royal Family with Rory Cormac01:15:27The British royal family and UK intelligence operations have been linked since Queen Victoria's time, involving everything from personal protection to matters of international intrigue to concerns about blackmail. Professor and author Rory Cormac, who has conducted extensive research on the British intelligence services, has recently added to his corpus of writings in the field with a book about the modern royal-intelligence intersection: Crown, Cloak, and Dagger, co-authored with Richard Aldrich.David Priess and Rory discussed the difference in US and UK education about the royal family; intelligence foundations during the reign of the first Elizabeth; why it fell apart under her successor; the seeds of modern intelligence under Victoria; the involvement of UK intelligence officers in the death of Grigori Rasputin; the challenges and advances involving intelligence and Edward VII, George V, and Edward VIII; the contributions of George VI to the Allies' massive D-Day deception operations; Elizabeth II's reading of intelligence reports; Soviet spy Anthony Blunt's close relationship with the royal family; Elizabeth's role as a diplomatic "helper;" the exposures of Charles III and Prince Willliam to intelligence; why Clement Attlee was an underappreciated prime minister; and more.Among the works mentioned in this episode:The book Crown, Cloak, and Dagger by Richard J. Aldrich and Rory CormacThe book How To Stage a Coup by Rory CormacChatter 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 Tyranny of the Minority with Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt50:53Democratic backsliding, a term that American political scientists usually use to describe the process by which other countries transition to autocracy, has come home. Freedom House’s Global Freedom Index, which attempts to track the health of democracies around the world, recently demoted the United States from a score of 90 in 2015 to 83 in 2021, lower than every established democracy in Western Europe. How did American democracy fall so far behind, and more importantly, what can we do about it? Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien spoke with Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, authors of the new book, “Tyranny of the Minority: Why American Democracy Reached the Breaking Point,” to answer these questions about our ailing democracy. They discussed the diagnoses and prescriptions of this breaking point, the most damaging counter-majoritarian features of the U.S. Constitution, and why constitutional and electoral reform is so damn difficult in the U.S.—but not impossible. They also got into how the Republican Party went off the rails.
A Weaponized World Economy with Henry Farrell and Abe Newman56:26Economic warfare isn’t a new concept. Protectionist policies, asymmetrical trade agreements, currency wars—those are just a few examples of the economic levers states have long used to control outcomes. But in their new book, two political scientists, Henry Farrell and Abe Newman, argue that a technological innovation spurred on by free market embracers and coopted by the U.S. was an accidental entry point into a new era of economic statecraft—an era whose precise contours and rules are still being ironed out today, as we are fighting in a so-called economic war. Lawfare Associate Editor Hyemin Han talked to them about how this weaponization came to be, how U.S. national security objectives are bleeding into economic warfare, and what policymakers might focus on in trying to ensure that the economic web that the U.S. currently sits at the center of is not ravaged by its own power.
The Mechanisms for Cybersecurity Aid with Eugenia Lostri41:41This week, the UN General Assembly will meet in New York to discuss, among other things, international cooperation to improve global cyber security challenges. This meeting builds on national and international commitments and initiatives that have already been made this past year. One such initiative is cyber-secure nations banding together to provide aid to cyber-risk nations.Lawfare Legal Fellow Saraphin Dhanani sat down with Eugenia Lostri, Lawfare's Fellow in Technology Policy and Law, who recently wrote an article titled, “What Will Mechanisms for Cybersecurity Aid Look Like?” They discussed why cybersecurity aid is necessary, the growing initiatives that the U.S., EU, and international bodies are making in this area, and the many challenges that await.
Trump’s Presidential Immunity Defense with Saraphin Dhanani and Benjamin Wittes40:21Some time soon, former President Donald Trump is expected to file a motion in U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s courtroom to dismiss the Jan. 6 case against him based on some theory of presidential immunity. In a recent piece for Lawfare, our very own Legal Fellow Saraphin Dhanani and Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes write, “The bottom line is that this defense is a bit of a moon shot for Trump, but it’s not a crazy moon shot.”Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien sat down with Saraphin and Ben to talk through their article, “The Trump Defense, Part II: The Presidential Immunity Gambit.” They discussed the general contours of the defense’s argument and strategy, the prosecution’s likely counterarguments, and all the murkiness and unknowns in between. They also talked about how, even if Judge Chutkan does not accept Trump’s immunity defense—and even if the appellate courts ultimately affirm her judgment on that score—the immunity defense could still be useful to the former president.
Rational Security: The “We Need to Talk About Kevin ... Again” Edition59:47This week on Rational Security, with Scott traveling, Quinta and Alan were joined by Lawfare Senior Editor Molly Reynolds to break down the week’s big national security news stories, including:“What is Impeachment, Really?” Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has announced an impeachment inquiry against President Biden seemingly with the goal of finding something to impeach him over. Will this do anything to hold back the right flank of McCarthy’s caucus from coming for McCarthy’s speakership? “The Investigation of the Investigation of Donald Trump.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman and fearless Trump defender Rep. Jim Jordan has fired back against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over the Georgia state indictment of Donald Trump, announcing that he’s planning to investigate Willis for engaging in what he terms a politically motivated prosecution. Willis has responded by accusing Jordan of seeking “to obstruct a Georgia criminal proceeding.” What kind of authority, if any, does Congress actually have to conduct this kind of oversight?“Still Musky.” A new biography of Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson has sparked controversy thanks to Isaacson’s description of a decision by Musk to turn off Starlink coverage near Crimea to block a Ukrainian maneuver. Isaacson has already walked back his own reporting … but the incident still raises questions about Musk’s power on the global stage and his ability as a private actor to shape the course of war.For object lessons, Alan recommended the novel “Song of Achilles.” Molly shared a PBS documentary series about the Troubles called Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, and Quinta shouted out the HBO documentary series Telemarketers.