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December Minipod: Benjamin Wittes and David Priess on Lawfare and Breaking News

This month, our editor-in-chief and publisher answered your question about Lawfare’s relationship to breaking news.

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  • Rational Security: The “So Much for that Menendez Rest Stop” Edition

    This week on Rational Security, Alan, Quinta, and Scott reunited to discuss the week’s big national security news, including:“Do as I Menendsez, Not as I Menendo.” New Jersey Senator and, until recently, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee Bob Menendez was indicted alongside his wife last week, on charges that they accepted money from Egyptian businessmen in exchange for information and favors arising from Menendez’s official duties. How serious are these charges? Where will they lead?“…with a Silver Spoon.” D.C. federal district court judge Tanya Chutkan is weighing a gag order on former President Trump, aimed at restraining him from commenting on the proceedings or attacking various officials involved in them. Trump and his attorneys, meanwhile, see the gag order request as an attack on his First Amendment rights. Who is likely to prevail? And what are the broader stakes?“The Forever Chore.” The House foreign affairs committee is set to hold the latest in a long series of hearings on a topic that has been on Congress’s agenda for more than a decade: reforming the 2001 AUMF that provides the legal basis for most global counterterrorism operations. But despite near-universal agreement on the need for change, progress has been limited. Is there reason to think this time will be different?For object lessons, Alan recommended the Dear Committee Trilogy, which even non-academics will find hilarious. Quinta urged listeners to check out the recent New York court decision concluding that former President Trump and his businesses misrepresented the value of various properties. And Scott log-rolled for his new law review article digging into some of the tricky constitutional issues raised by the prospect of defending Taiwan.
  • Trump’s Trials and Tribulations: A Trip Through Four Courts

    It's another episode of Lawfare's live Thursday show, “Trump’s Trials and Tribulations,” a tour around four courts. This week, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare Legal Fellow Anna Bower and Lawfare Senior Editors Scott R. Anderson and Roger Parloff. They talked about what's going on in Fulton County, about that judgment against Donald Trump and the Trump Organization in the civil case in New York, about Tanya Chutkan’s refusal to recuse herself, and about CIPA, CIPA, CIPA—classified materials in Mar-a-Lago. 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: General Austin as Secretary of Defense

    From December 9, 2020: President-elect Joe Biden has selected a new defense secretary, retired general Lloyd Austin, former commander of Central Command. The selection has received somewhat mixed reviews, and to discuss why, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Brookings senior fellow Mike O'Hanlon, a defense policy analyst, and Kori Schake, the head of defense and foreign policy at the American Enterprise Institute. They talked about why people are upset about General Austin's nomination, his background, the experience he has and doesn't have, who would have been a better choice and whether it matters that this is the second administration in a row that begins by putting a retired general at the head of the Pentagon.
  • Robert Silvers on the Cyber Safety Review Board

    The Cyber Safety Review Board was created by a Biden administration Executive Order entitled, “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity.” The Board reviews major cyber events and makes concrete recommendations that can drive improvements within the private and public sectors. Lawfare Senior Editor Stephanie Pell sat down with Robert Silvers, Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans at the Department of Homeland Security and Chair of the Cyber Safety Review Board, to discuss the Board’s mission and work. They talked about the two reports that the Board has issued, one that it’s currently working on, and a legislative proposal from DHS that seeks to codify the Board in the law and ensure that the Board receives the information it needs to continue to advance the overall security and resiliency of our digital ecosystem.
  • Chatter: Governing Space Settlements Ethically with Erika Nesvold

    As humanity builds settlements beyond Earth, myriad ethical issues will arise--many in a different way than they do terrestrially. Astrophysicist and space communicator Erika Nesvold has devoted extensive thought and research to how to ethically govern space settlements, most notably on her podcast Making New Worlds and in her book Off-Earth.In a conversation that pairs well with Shane Harris's March 2022 Chatter discussion with astrobiologist Lucianne Walkowicz about ethical space exploration, David Priess spoke with Erika about her grounding in Star Trek and other science fiction, the JustSpace Alliance that she co-founded with Lucianne, that alliance's interactions with space industrialists, Erika's application to be an astronaut, conflicting motivations for humanity to settle space, how we should select space settlers, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the concept of legal personhood for non-terrestrial bodies, labor law and criminal justice in space settlements, how motivations for settling space influence openness to various forms of government, and more.Among the works mentioned in this episode:The podcast Making New WorldsThe book Off-Earth by Erika NesvoldThe Chatter podcast episode Ethical Space Exploration with Lucianne WalkowiczThe Star Trek universeThe Foundation book series by Isaac AsimovThe Dune book series by Frank HerbertThe YouTube video All TomorrowsThe movie 2012The book 2010 by Arthur C. ClarkeThe book Artemis by Andy WeirThe movie SunshineThe book A Brief History of Equality by Thomas PinkettyThe book series The Wheel of Time by Robert JordanThe book Doomsday Book by Connie WillisChatter 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.
  • Ken Chesebro’s Upcoming Trial

    Next month, Kenneth Chesebro—the alleged architect of the fake electors plot—is set to be tried in Fulton County, Georgia, on racketeering and other charges. This week, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes and Lawfare Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower sat down with Chesebro’s defense attorneys, Scott Grubman, Manny Arora, and Robert Wilson. In a wide-ranging conversation, they discussed why Chesebro demanded a speedy trial, debated the merits of several pending motions, and chatted about the prospect of a settlement in Chesebro’s case.
  • A Conversation on Domestic Intelligence with Kenneth Wainstein

    On September 19, Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, Kenneth Wainstein, gave a speech at the Brookings Institution on the current threat environment and the role of the Department of Homeland Security's Intelligence and Analysis Office (I&A) in confronting it. Following the speech, Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes and Wainstein sat down for a Q&A, both between them and with the live audience at Falk Auditorium at the Brookings Institution. It's a wide-ranging conversation about the lessons of 9/11, how we seem to have forgotten them in certain respects, current congressional efforts to rein in I&A’s intelligence-gathering activities domestically, and the post-Jan. 6 need for those authorities.
  • Human Rights Abuses in Saudi Arabia with Joey Shea

    On August 21, the Human Rights Watch released a report detailing systematic abuses of Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers at the Saudi Arabia-Yemen border. Researchers interviewed dozens of Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers and found that Saudi border guards had used explosive weapons on them and shot migrants at close range. Lawfare’s Associate Editor of Communications Anna Hickey sat down with Joey Shea, a researcher in the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch who investigates human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They discussed the Human Rights Watch recent report, how the international community has responded so far, and the human rights record of Prince Mohammed bin Salman since he ascended the throne in 2015. 
  • September Minipod: Rule of Law in the U.S. Military

    On this month's minipod episode, Lawfare Associate Editor for Communications Anna Hickey was joined by Michel Paradis, senior attorney in the Department of Defense for the Office of Military Commissions Defense Counsel and lecturer at Columbia Law School, to discuss how accountability in the military can help the United States military in terms of its capabilities and ability to work with other countries.