The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast features discussions with experts, policymakers, and opinion leaders at the nexus of national security, law, and policy. On issues from foreign policy, homeland security, intelligence, and cybersecurity to governance and law, we have doubled down on seriousness at a time when others are running away from it. Visit us at www.lawfareblog.com.

Mary Anne Franks on Section 230
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 immunizes platforms for the behavior of their users. It's been called by some the Magna Carta of the internet—but how foundational is it? Mary Anne Franks, a professor of law and Dean's Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami, thinks that Section 230 is indeed a cornerstone of the modern internet, but not in a good way. As part of Lawfare's ongoing Digital Social Contract research paper series, she recently published a paper entitled, "Section 2...

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen on Australia, Facebook and the Future of Journalism
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, the director of the Reuters Institute and professor of political communication at the University of Oxford, about the fight between Australia and Facebook. After Australia proposed a law that would force Facebook to pay for content linked on its platform from Australian news sites, Facebook responded by blocking any news posts in the country. The company ...

Merrick Garland vs. the Judiciary Committee with No Bull
Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland faced the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday for a multi-hour session of questions and answers from senators. There were opening statements, there was a lot of speechifying, and there was posturing on the part of senators of both parties. We stripped it all out to bring you just the questions and the answers with no repetition. The committee covered a lot of ground: How will Merrick Garland handle the John Durham investigation? How will he handle white supremacist ...


Alex Klass on the Texas Energy Crisis
For more than a week now, Texas has been struggling with a massive power outage caused by record low temperatures. Millions have been without power, heat and running water, and at least dozens have been confirmed to have died as a result. All states are confronting extreme weather, but Texas is unique in that its electricity is almost completely independent from the rest of the United States' grid. This has at times lowered costs and increased innovation in the Texas energy markets, but as the current crisi...

Trust, Software and Hardware
David Hoffman is associate general counsel and global privacy officer for the Intel Corporation, as well as the Steed Family Professor of Practice in Cybersecurity Policy for Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy. He invited Benjamin Wittes to give a talk to a group of students about trust and technology development in which they discussed what the components of trust really are, how many of them are technical and how many of them involve other things like corporate governance, including brand and the regu...

The Coup in Myanmar
On February 1, Myanmar's military overthrew the country's democratically elected government in a coup and declared a state of emergency for a year. It returns Myanmar to full military rule after nearly a decade of quasi-democracy that began in 2011. The coup came just hours before the start of a new session of Parliament, which was expected to endorse the results of a November election where de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party won in a landslide and the military-backed party performed poorly. The milit...


Chinmayi Arun on India and the Future of the Internet
Right now in India, there’s a legal battle that could portend the future of the internet. In this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic talked to Chinmayi Arun, a resident fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. She discussed one of the biggest stories about freedom of expression online today—the battle between Twit...

How the Impeachment Trial Ends
The second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is now over. It ended with a roar and then a whimper, and then a little bit of a roar again, as seven Republicans joined all of the Democrats to convict the former president. It wasn't enough, as the Senate needed 67 votes to convict and it only had 57, but it made a statement of sorts—or did it? To discuss the impeachment trial, its weird ending and where it fits in with the effort to hold Donald Trump accountable, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare managi...

Iran, the U.S. and the Middle East at a Turning Point
The Biden administration has promised significant changes to the U.S. relationship with Iran that could have a marked impact on the Middle East. What is the likelihood that this new administration will be successful? And how will other regional developments—from the Abraham Accords between Israel and a few Arab states, to the healing of the rift within the Gulf Cooperation Council, to the ongoing morass in Syria—affect the dynamics here? To address these questions, David Priess hosted a panel discussion on ...


Canada Takes on the Proud Boys
Lost in the shuffle of an impeachment trial here in the United States was big news from Canada last week. Canada’s Minister of Public Safety added the Proud Boys to Canada’s terror entity list. The listing might be in Canada, but the group had a role in the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. The listing has all sorts of interesting legal and national security implications, so Jacob Schulz talked it through with two Canadian national security experts. Jessica Davis is a former senior strategic intellige...

Ben Smith on Gatekeepers in the Internet Age
On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ben Smith, media columnist for the New York Times and former editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News. Ben spends a lot of time thinking and writing about the gatekeepers who hold the power to shape our public sphere. At BuzzFeed, he capitalized on the way the rise of the internet allowed upstarts to work around the Old Gatekeepers, the legacy media organizations; now, at the T...

An Update from Hong Kong
While we have been dealing with an insurrection in Washington, protestors in Hong Kong are being tried under the city's new Beijing-imposed national security law. For an update on what's going on in Hong Kong and in its relationship with China, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Sophia Yan, Beijing correspondent for The Telegraph in London, and Alvin Cheung, a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University and a non-resident affiliate scholar with NYU's U.S.-Asia Law Institute. They talked about how the national secur...


The Legacy of George Shultz with Nicholas Burns and Kori Schake
George Shultz passed away on February 6, just two months after passing his 100th birthday. He was a momentous and fascinating national security figure who has quite a legacy within national defense, foreign policy and even management circles in the federal government. To talk about his legacy and what made him such a special senior government leader, David Priess sat down with Ambassador Nicholas Burns and Kori Schake. Nick Burns is a man of many titles, including professor at the Kennedy School at Harvard ...

An Impeachment Trial Preview
The Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump—the sequel—gets underway this week when the House impeachment managers and Trump's new defense team spar on the Senate floor under the gavel of Senator Patrick Leahy. What should we expect from this second round of impeachment trial? For a preview, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Molly Reynolds, Lawfare's congressional guru and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Lawfare's managing editor Quinta Jurecic; and Lawfare's chief operating officer David Priess....

Transnational Repression: Out of Sight, Not Out of Reach
Some countries don't just abuse their citizens within their own borders; increasingly, they target individuals after they have gone abroad. A range of nefarious acts play a role here, and together they make up a phenomenon called transnational repression. Nate Schenkkan, the director of research strategy at Freedom House, and Isabel Linzer, Freedom House's research analyst for technology and democracy, are the two authors of "Out of Sight, Not Out of Reach: Understanding Transnational Repression," a new rep...


Lawfare Enters the Substack Discourse
On this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Quinta Jurecic sat down with Lawfare’s deputy managing editor Jacob Schulz, and Jordan Schneider, host of the ChinaTalk podcast, to talk about Substack. The newsletter service is the new cool thing in the journalism world—and, like any newly popular online service, it is already running into questions around content moderation. Jacob wrote about Substack’s content moderation policy earlier this month, and Jordan...

Impeachment Briefing
There is an impeachment trial next week, and the two sides—the impeachment managers for the House of Representatives and the lawyers for the former president of the United States—filed their briefs before the Senate. The briefs could not be more different. One is long, legally dense and factually rich; the other is short—a mere 14 pages—and contains some interesting oddities and errors. To chew over the briefs, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare's managing editor Quinta Jurecic and chief operating office...

Alina Polyakova on the Protests in Russia
It was the second weekend of major protests in Russia, as Russians across the country took to the streets to protest the detention of Alexei Navalny. In a major show of force, the police rounded up a very large number of people and there were a number of beatings. To bring us up to speed on the situation in Russia, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Alina Polyakova, president of the Center for European Policy Analysis. They talked about whether the protests are dwindling or gathering strength, and whether that's...


DHS Warning: Domestic Violent Extremists!
On January 27, the Department of Homeland Security issued an unusual National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin—unusual because it addressed solely the heightened threat environment of violence from domestic violent extremists, with no mention of foreign terrorist organizations or even the word terrorism. It's a striking document both for what it describes and for what it leaves unsaid. To discuss the bulletin, its context and what comes next, David Priess sat down with Carrie Cordero, former counsel to th...

The Least Dangerous Branch … of Facebook
Yesterday was a big day—the day that the Facebook Oversight Board released its first decisions. The independent board, an experiment in platform governance set up by Facebook, handed down five rulings weighing in on the company’s decision to remove various posts for violating Facebook’s community guidelines. It may not be Marbury v. Madison, but it’s still a big moment for online speech regulation. To mark the occasion, Lawfare is setting up a new page collecting and tracking the board’s decisions. For this...

Joan Donovan on Disinformation and Social Movements
For this episode of Arbiters of Truth, Lawfare’s miniseries on disinformation and misinformation, Kate Klonick and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Joan Donovan, the research director at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her work focuses on networked social movements, disinformation and media manipulation—so she’s the perfect person to help untangle the continued fallout not only from the January 6 Capitol riot, but from the last four years more broadly. The...


Project VENONA
David Kris sat down with David Hatch, the senior historian at the U.S. National Security Agency. They discussed Project VENONA, an incredibly significant intelligence program involving encrypted Soviet messages that began during World War II and went on for many years thereafter. It's a story full of unusual events and interesting lessons about intelligence and counterintelligence and spy vs. spy. There's also a little review of encryption—specifically, the risks of reusing one-time encryption pads—and a di...

'The President Who Would Not Be King'
Jack Goldsmith sat down with Michael McConnell, the Richard and Frances Mallery Professor and director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of the new book, "The President Who Would Not Be King: Executive Power Under the Constitution." They discussed McConnell's textual historical approach to interpreting presidential power under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, the many novel elements of executive power embodied in Article II ...

Confirmation Hearing Blitz with No Bull
The day before last week's inauguration of President Joe Biden, four of the Biden administration's core national security nominees appeared before various Senate committees for their confirmation hearings. Avril Haines, Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Alejandro Mayorkas, the nominee for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, appeared before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; retire...


Dan Byman on the Sequel that Never Came to Be
It was supposed to be the big sequel to the January 6 "Stop the Steal" rally-turned-riot. It was supposed to be the largest armed protest in the history of the United States, taking place in all 50 state capitals. And yet, Inauguration Day turned out to be peaceful. Protesters were few; acts of violence were even fewer. It's a major counterterrorism success, and like many major counterterrorism successes, it has largely been unremarked upon. How did we go without the sequel to the bloody events of January 6...

Information Disorder During and After the Trump Presidency
During his inaugural address yesterday, President Biden spoke about the subject of this podcast: disinformation. “There is truth and there are lies,” Biden said, “lies told for power and for profit.” And he asked Americans to unify rather than “turn inward” against those “who don't get their news from the same sources you do.” But in an era of QAnon and pandemic disinformation, how will that unification be possible? The day before the inauguration, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Kate Starbird, a...

Jeff Kosseff on the Fight Against Online Child Pornography
Private entities—in particular, technology giants like internet service providers, email services and social networks—play a vital role in helping law enforcement fight child pornography online. But the involvement of private entities does not eliminate the Fourth Amendment issues that come with electronic surveillance. In fact, the more the private entities cooperate with the government, the more likely it is that courts will consider them government agents, and the evidence they collect will be subject to...


Dan Hemel and Gerard Magliocca on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment
In the wake of the January 6 mob attack on the Capitol, some have called for the invocation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Section 3 disqualifies anyone who has engaged in rebellion or insurrection against United States from public office. In particular, critics of President Trump have seized on this as a potential way of preventing him from running in 2024. Alan Rozenshtein spoke about Section 3 with professors Daniel Hemel of the University of Chicago Law School and Gerard Magliocca of the Indiana Un...

David Kris on the NSA Annex
The NSA this week released a long-awaited update to its signals intelligence policy, which had not been updated since 1988. David Kris, former assistant attorney general for the National Security Division, shortly thereafter produced an even longer paper analyzing the dense and technical policy document. David joined Benjamin Wittes to talk about the significance of this new policy document, what it does and how it is different from the document it replaces. They also talked about David's paper, how he came...

Jonathan Zittrain on the Great Deplatforming
Yesterday, January 13, the House of Representatives impeached President Trump a second time for encouraging the violent riot in the Capitol Building on January 6. And yet, the impeachment is probably less of a crushing blow to the president than something else that’s happened in recent days: the loss of his Twitter account. After a few very eventful weeks, Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation is back. Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jonathan Zittrain, the George Bemis Professor of...


Late Impeachments
Jack Goldsmith sat down with Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University, to talk about an important issue in the news this week: late impeachments. In the current context, the issue of a late impeachment would arise if the House of Representatives impeaches President Trump before he leaves office but the Senate does not hold the trial for Trump, with possible conviction and disqualification from further office, until after he leaves office. They discussed how the Constitution and its historica...

The Incredible Vanishing President
Donald Trump is headed for a second impeachment, a whole lot of people have been charged in federal and local courts in Washington, and an even larger number are probably about to be. What's more, the president's social media accounts have vanished; in fact, one of the very networks on which the president's supporters organized has itself disappeared. To talk through it all, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare's Alan Rozenshtein, Bryce Klehm, David Priess, Quinta Jurecic and Susan Hennessey. They talked a...

Jamie Gorelick on Merrick Garland and the Justice Department Team
Jamie Gorelick was the deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. In that capacity, she hired as her top aide and adjutant one Merrick Garland. This was before Garland became a D.C. Circuit judge, but it was a fateful period for the department, a period in which Garland supervised some high-profile cases, including the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Gorelick to talk about Garland's history at the department, his selection ...


Who Let the Barbarians Through the Gates?
The storming of the Capitol on Wednesday was a catastrophic failure of protective law enforcement, as rioters overran Capitol Police barricades and gained access to a building that a lot of police were supposed to be protecting. How did it happen? Who screwed up? And what can be done about it? Benjamin Wittes sat down with Fred Burton, the executive director of the Center for Protective Intelligence at Ontic and a former protective officer; Garrett Graff, a journalist who covers federal law enforcement and ...

Emergency Edition: Insurrection at the Capitol
Today a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol following a rally at which the president spoke. Congressional efforts to count the electoral votes were suspended, and an armed standoff, in which at least one person was killed, ensued. To discuss the matter, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare managing editor Quinta Jurecic; Lawfare chief operating officer David Priess; Georgetown's Mary McCord, who used to run the National Security Division at the Justice Department; and Daniel Byman, a professor at G...

Counting the Electoral Votes
It is electoral count voting day, and members of Congress in a joint session will open and count the electoral votes and declare Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the winners of the election. It will not be without controversy, however, as members from both houses plan to object, forcing debate, and as the Proud Boys descend on Washington. In anticipation of turmoil inside and outside of the Capitol, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare senior editor Scott Anderson, Brookings and Lawfare congressional guru Molly...


The Role of the Pardon Attorney
Jack Goldsmith sat down with Margaret Love, the United States Pardon Attorney in the Justice Department from 1990 to 1997. They discussed Donald Trump's very controversial pattern of pardons and commutations, Trump's circumvention of the traditional pardon attorney process and the historical operation of that process prior to Trump. They also discussed various potential reforms of the process for determining pardons and commutations....

Dr. Geoffrey Gresh on 'To Rule Eurasia's Waves'
Alexander Vindman sat down with Dr. Geoffrey Gresh to discuss his new book, "To Rule Eurasia's Waves: The New Great Power Competition at Sea." Dr. Gresh is a professor of International Security Studies at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA) at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., with a primary research focus on maritime affairs. He has also served as the chair of the Department of International Security Studies and as CSIA's director for the South and Central Asia Security S...

Bye Bye, 2020
It is the last podcast of the year, and we are giving 2020 an appropriate send-off. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Lawfare executive editor Susan Hennessey, managing editor Quinta Jurecic, senior editor Scott Anderson, and Lawfare contributor and law professor Alan Rozenshtein to talk about the worst stories of the year, as well as their expectations and predictions for the coming year....


Bob Bauer on the White House Counsel in an Antidemocratic Moment
Bob Bauer is a former White House counsel, and he has been leading the legal response for the Biden campaign and transition to the unprecedented onslaught of efforts on the part of the president to overturn the 2020 election. He also recently wrote a piece for Lawfare on the current occupant of the White House counsel's office, Pat Cipollone, and how he should be handling the incredibly difficult position the president has put him in. Benjamin Wittes spoke with Bob about the article, the role of the White H...

Ask Us Anything
It's the end of the year, and that means we opened the phones for the annual "Ask Us Anything" edition. You called in with your questions, which we routed to Lawfare contributors for their answers. Benjamin Wittes, Molly Reynolds, Steve Vladeck, David Priess, Susan Hennessey, Scott Anderson, Judd Devermont and Rohini Kurup responded to questions on everything from pardons to prosecuting contractors to ethnic diversity at Lawfare. Thank you for your questions. And as always, thank you for listening....

Conflict in Ethiopia
It’s not something that has gotten a lot of attention amid a busy U.S. news cycle, but much has been happening in Ethiopia over the past two months. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who just last year won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring unity between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea, led a military battle against domestic forces in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray. The fighting has caused the significant displacement of people living in the region and has involved reports of atrocities. In e...


Jane Bambauer and Brian Ray on the Lost Promise of Digital Contact Tracing
In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital technology was touted as a potential savior. In particular, there was a burst of enthusiasm around so-called digital contact tracing apps, which would track people's movements and interactions and notify them if they had been exposed to COVID. Apple and Google, which together control the operating systems for virtually the entire smartphone market, joined forces and created a standard to help researchers, private entities and governments create contact t...

Government Agencies that Really Listen To You: SIGINT in the UK
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been conducting and regulating signals intelligence, SIGINT, since before the United States was born. To talk about how they do it across the pond, David Kris sat down with two experts on UK SIGINT and SIGINT regulation: Michael Drury and Tony Comer, both veterans of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British counterpart to our own National Security Agency. Michael was GCHQ's first full-time legal advisor from 1996 to 2010, when he...

Jasmine El-Gamal on What She Lost and Found at Guantanamo
Jasmine El-Gamal is a nonresident senior fellow with the Middle East program at the Atlantic Council. Between 2008 and 2015, she served as a Middle East advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as a special assistant to three undersecretaries of defense for policy. She is the author of a recent article in Newlines magazine entitled, "Lost and Found in Guantanamo Bay: Two encounters with two different men in the most notorious detention facility in the world shaped my faith – and my life – fore...


No One Expects the Spanish Disinformation
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jaime Longoria, an investigative researcher at First Draft, who monitors information disorder in Latino or Latinx communities in the United States and in Latin America. In the run-up to the 2020 U.S. election, there was an explosion of press stories about mis- and dis-information in Spanish-speaking communities. But this is hardly a new phenomenon. They talked with Jaime about the long-standing and ...

It's Over, or Is It?
It is two days after the Electoral College has met in 50 state capitals, voted and given 306 electoral votes to Joe Biden, making him the next president of the United States. Or did it? There is talk of a kind of electoral Alamo wherein a final showdown takes place over the counting of those electoral votes come January 6 when Congress meets in a joint session to receive the votes of the state electors. To discuss what happened this week, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Molly Reynolds, senior fellow at the Br...

Yaya Fanusie on 'Central Bank Digital Currencies: The Threat From Money Launderers and How to Stop Them'
Alan Rozenshtein sat down with Yaya Fanusie, a former CIA analyst and an expert on the national security implications of cryptocurrencies, who recently published a paper as part of Lawfare's ongoing Digital Social Contract research paper series, entitled, "Central Bank Digital Currencies: The Threat From Money Launderers and How to Stop Them." They talked about how central banks are exploring digital currencies, how those currencies might in turn be used by criminals and terrorist groups, and how government...


China-Australia Relations and What the U.S. Should Do About It
In the first part of this episode, Jordan Schneider, the host of ChinaTalk, sat down with Yun Jiang, a former Australian government official and an editor at the Australian National University's China Story blog, for a deep dive into the Australia-China relationship, providing much needed context on why tension has boiled over in recent months. In the second part, we excerpt a conversation that Jordan had with Wendy Cutler, a long-time USTR official and current vice president and managing director of the As...

The Past, Present and Future of Sovereign Immunity
This week, the Supreme Court returned once again to the complex and sometimes controversial Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, or FSIA, that protects foreign sovereigns from litigation before U.S. courts. At the same time, Congress is once again debating new exceptions to the protections provided by the FSIA on issues ranging from cybercrime to the coronavirus pandemic, an effort that may risk violating international law and exposing the United States to similar lawsuits overseas. To discuss these developmen...

The Vaccine Misinformation Cometh
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Claire Wardle, the co-founder and leader of the nonprofit organization First Draft and a research fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center. First Draft recently released a report on the information environment around the development of vaccines for COVID-19, and Claire talked about what she and her team found in terms of online discussion of the vaccine in English, Spanish and French. What ...


General Austin as Secretary of Defense
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...

Kyle Langvardt on Platform Speech and the First Amendment
On Monday, Lawfare released the first paper in its "The Digital Social Contract" paper series. For each paper, Alan Rozenshtein will be doing a podcast interview with the author, and the first guest is law professor Kyle Langvardt of the University of Nebraska College of Law. His paper, "Platform Speech Governance and the First Amendment: A User-Centered Approach," examines how the First Amendment should and should not apply to the content moderation decisions of major internet platforms. Plus, Alan and Ben...

Cristina Rodríguez and Adam Cox on 'The President and Immigration Law'
Jack Goldsmith spoke with Adam Cox and Christina Rodríguez, the authors of "The President and Immigration Law," a new book about the historical rise and operation of a president-dominated immigration system. They discussed the various ways that Congress has delegated extraordinary power over immigration to the president, how what the authors call "de facto delegation" confers massive presidential enforcement discretion that is the basis for programs like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a...


Lindsay Wiley and Josh Blackman on Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo
In a ruling late in the night, the day before Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court issued a preliminary injunction against Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, preventing him from imposing restrictions on how many people could attend houses of worship—restrictions that Governor Cuomo defended as necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. In a lawsuit brought by a Catholic Diocese and an organization of Orthodox Jews, a majority of the Court held that the occupancy restrictions had a high likelihood of violating the...

Can Democracies Play Offense on Disinformation?
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on platforms and disinformation, Quinta Jurecic spoke with Alina Polyakova and Ambassador Daniel Fried, the former U.S. ambassador to Poland and the Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council. The two have a new paper out on “Democratic Offense Against Disinformation,” published by the Atlantic Council and the Center for European Policy Analysis. They have written previously on how democracies can defend themselves against disinformation ...

An Assassination in Iran
The top Iranian nuclear scientist has been killed, apparently in an Israeli strike. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who has long been the mastermind of the Iranian nuclear program, was gunned down in an attack with a remote control machine gun. Iranian reprisals are expected, although their timing and nature is not clear. It also puts the incoming Biden administration, which is looking to bring back the Iran nuclear deal, in a bit of a pickle. To chew it all over, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Scott R. Anderson, intern...


Why Businesses Need to Take Espionage Seriously
“American companies are in a bind.” So argue Bill Priestap and Holden Triplett, who have written a series of articles for Lawfare making the case that more and more state intelligence agencies are turning their attention to private businesses, using the tools of espionage in order to build their own economic power. Both writers are speaking from experience: Priestap ran the FBI’s counterintelligence division from 2015 to 2018, and Triplett led the FBI office in Beijing from 2014 to 2017 and was deputy head ...

H. R. McMaster on China
Jordan Schneider, the host of the ChinaTalk podcast, sat down with H. R. McMaster, President Trump's former national security advisor. They talked about his time in government; the origins of the 2017 national security strategy, which focused the U.S. government on China; how he thinks history is best applied to policymaking; and even why he considers himself to be the funkiest NSA in U.S. history....

Collaborating to Counter Violent Extremism Online
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on platforms and disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Nick Rasmussen, the Executive Director of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (also known as GIFCT). The GIFCT is an organization working to facilitate cross-industry efforts to counter the spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online. It was founded in 2017 by four platforms, but is now transitioning to a new life as an independent organization, which Nick...


Biden's Victory Around the World
We have a new president-elect here in the United States, which means changes to certain U.S. domestic policies and also a different way of doing foreign policy. So, what does Biden’s win mean for different countries and regions globally? Jacob Schulz brings you dispatches from around the world about the effects of Biden’s win with Boris Ruge on Germany and the EU, Alina Polyakova on Russia and Ukraine, Emmanuel Igunza on East Africa and the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Antonio Garza on Mexico, Tanvi Madan on ...

A Conversation with Alexander Vindman
Following his appearance on Friday on the Lawfare Podcast, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the Pritzker Military Fellow at the Lawfare Institute, appeared on Lawfare Live for a live video conversation and audience Q&A. It was a very good conversation—so good that we thought we would bring you an edited version of it as Part Two of our conversation with Alex Vindman. He discussed how one becomes an NSC director while serving in the active duty military, what risks the transition period has in foreign r...

Alex Vindman Talks Eastern Europe
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (Ret.) is now the Pritzker Military Fellow at the Lawfare Institute, the newest member of the Lawfare team. You've heard his story, likely in his testimony in the impeachment proceedings for President Trump. But Benjamin Wittes sat down with him for a different reason—his substantive expertise in Eastern Europe policy, Russia matters and great power competition. They talked about the challenges the Biden administration will face as it tries to pick up the pieces the Trump administ...


The Most Intense Online Disinformation Event in American History
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic are bringing you a conversation with Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory. Alex was last on the show in August to talk about the newly established Election Integrity Partnership, which he helped set up to focus on detecting and mitigating disinformation around the U.S. 2020 election. Well, the election is over! So Alex is back to talk about what the partnership saw, how well the infor...

Is Trump Creating a Deep State?
In the waning days of his administration, the president has attempted to install a political loyalist as General Counsel of the National Security Agency, a position that is traditionally a merits position, not a political position. He has also issued an executive order that gives the executive branch greater control over the civil service, making it easier to hire and fire people in agencies. It all raises the question: Is Donald Trump attempting to create the very deep state that he has spent the last four...

Job Openings in Al Qaeda
The world’s most dangerous job apparently has a vacancy once again. Al Qaeda’s #2 reportedly has been killed in Iran by Israeli forces acting on U.S. intelligence. In addition, there are some rumors about Al Qaeda's #1, Ayman al-Zawahri, also passing into the hereafter. To talk about the reports and the rumors, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare's foreign policy editor, Brookings scholar and Georgetown professor Daniel Byman....


'Homegrown: ISIS in America'
The Islamic State in America is a topic that once garnered front-page headlines, but it has fallen a bit out of public attention in the past year or so. Jacob Schulz sat down with Seamus Hughes, the author with Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens and Bennett Clifford of "Homegrown: ISIS in America." They talked about the book, how the Islamic State has attracted American followers, how the organization operates differently in the U.S. versus Europe, the FBI and the role it plays in countering homegrown extremism, ...

Kori Schake on What the Heck is Going On at the Pentagon
Kori Schake is a long-time Pentagon watcher; she is a former Defense Department, State Department and National Security Council official; and she leads the foreign policy and defense policy team at the American Enterprise Institute. She is also the author of an article in The Atlantic this week about the latest mishegoss at the Pentagon—a decapitating strike against the military civilian leadership of the United States by the president. She joined Benjamin Wittes to talk through possible explanations of why...

Marietje Schaake on Reclaiming Democratic Control of the Internet
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke to Marietje Schaake about how Europe is not necessarily waiting for America to get its act together and is moving ahead with tech regulation. Marietje served as a Member of European Parliament for 10 years for the Dutch liberal democratic party and is now the international policy director at Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center and international policy fellow at Stanford’s Institute for Human-...


Firings, Transitions and Staffing, Oh My!
Yesterday, President Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the latest in a string of dismissals. Meanwhile, the Biden campaign is trying to put a transition together, but the head of the General Services Administration will not ascertain that the transition has begun. To talk about it all, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Steve Vladeck, Susan Hennessey and Scott R. Anderson. They discussed the president's surprise—or not so surprising—removal of staff who have offended him, how you run a transition, wha...

Trump is Defeated
Well, that's it, folks. We have a president elect in Joe Biden. And, we have a president who is now officially a lame duck. To talk through the transition from Donald Trump to a more normal presidency, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Scott R. Anderson, Quinta Jurecic, Jacob Schulz and Susan Hennessey....

Almost Done...
The votes are almost all counted, but they're not quite all counted. We kind of know where the electoral votes are going, but some of them have not gone there yet. We think we know the outcome, but the outcome has not been officially called. To talk through the next several days, Benjamin Wittes sat down for a late-Thursday-evening chat with Lawfare chief operating officer David Priess, Lawfare senior editor Scott R. Anderson and Lawfare senior contributor Alan Rozenshtein....


We're Almost Done
Benjamin Wittes sat down with an all-Lawfare crew to discuss the election. Scott Anderson, David Priess, Jacob Schulz, Quinta Jurecic and Susan Hennessey joined Ben to talk about where the election is, whether we are in a transition or in a contested election, the challenges a Biden transition team might face and what concerns the team finds particularly alarming as they imagine the next few weeks and months....

Adam Tooze on World Order, Then and Now
In a conversation completely unrelated to yesterday's election, Jordan Schneider of ChinaTalk and Matthew Klein, author of the recent "Trade Wars Are Class Wars," spoke with Adam Tooze, a professor at Columbia University and an economic historian. They discussed what we can learn from the diplomatic and economic modes of the 1930s, why Nazi legal theory resonates so well in China today, how Xinjiang's camps echo the logic of Soviet gulags, whether the U.S. in fact lost the Cold War and the bureaucracies in ...

Are We Having a Healthy Election?
On this Election Day, we are checking in on how healthy the election actually is. Nathaniel Persily of Stanford Law School and Charles Stewart III of MIT together run the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project. Zahavah Levine and Chelsey Davidson manage the project on the Stanford side. Together, they have supervised a collection of students who have produced 32 articles for Lawfare on election administration as part of the project. Benjamin Wittes sat down with all four of them to discuss how the election ...


Daniel Byman and Colin Clarke on Violence at the Polls
We're all hoping for a peaceful Election Day tomorrow, but some people are worried about violence at the polls. Two of those people are Dan Byman, senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, the foreign policy editor of Lawfare and a professor at Georgetown University; and Colin Clarke, a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center and an assistant teaching professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Together, they wrote a piece on the Brookings FixGov blog on why the risk ...

Laura Rosenberger on Foreign Interventions in U.S. Campaigns
Laura Rosenberger is the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She was foreign policy advisor for the Hillary Clinton campaign four years ago, where she had to respond to Russian information operations against the campaign in real time. She has been working on combating foreign interference in U.S. domestic politics ever since, and she is the author of two recent significant articles—one in Foreign Affairs and one on Lawfare—bot...

Casey Newton on Four Years of Platform Chaos
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Casey Newton, veteran Silicon Valley editor for The Verge who recently went independent to start a newsletter on Substack called Platformer. Few people have followed the stories of platforms and content moderation in recent years as closely and carefully as Casey, so Evelyn and Quinta asked him about what’s changed in the last four years—especially in the lead-up to the election. They also spo...


What To Do About Xinjiang
There is a human rights crisis going on in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. The Chinese government has been rounding up minority groups, most notably the Uighurs, and putting them into forced labor and reeducation camps. The government has gone to great lengths to keep Xinjiang away from international attention, and it has had some success in doing so. Jordan Schneider, the host of the ChinaTalk podcast, wrote an essay on Lawfare last week outlining how the U.S. can respond and push back on the Chinese gov...

'Tomorrow, the World'
Jack Goldsmith sat down with Stephen Wertheim, deputy director of research and policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He is the author of the new book, "Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy." They discussed the surprising World War II origins of U.S. hegemonic militarism, the changes in what it meant to be an internationalist during this period and the domestic political origins of the U.S. embrace of the UN Charter. They also discussed the relationship between Werthei...

Congressman Jim Himes on the Intelligence Innovation Race
This month, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's Subcommittee on Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research released a report entitled, "Rightly Scaled, Carefully Open, Infinitely Agile: Reconfiguring to Win the Innovation Race in the Intelligence Community." Susan Hennessey sat down with Subcommittee Chair Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut to discuss the challenges the United States is facing with near-peer national competitors in science and technology and the impact on the intellig...


Foreign Interference... It's Happening
It's been a wild couple of days of disinformation in the electoral context. Intelligence community officials are warning about Russian and Iranian efforts to influence the U.S. presidential election—and claiming that Iran is responsible for sending threatening emails from fake Proud Boys to Democratic voters. What exactly is going on here? To talk through the developments and the questions that linger, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Scott R. Anderson, Susan Hennessey and Quinta Jurecic....

How to Report on Hacks and Disinformation
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Janine Zacharia, the Carlos Kelly McClatchy Lecturer in Stanford’s Department of Communication, and Andrew Grotto, director of the Program on Geopolitics, Technology and Governance and the William J. Perry International Security Fellow at Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center. In 2016, a key part of the Russian influence campaign involved the hacking and leaking of emails belonging to the Democrat...

Fear and Loathing at the U.S. Agency for Global Media
While everyone’s attention has been focused on the coronavirus and the run-up to the 2020 election, a lot has been happening at the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees a number of government-funded entities, including the Voice of America. Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker, was confirmed as the head of the Agency for Global Media in June after much controversy on Capitol Hill. Once installed, Pack gutted the top leadership and took actions critics say breached the firewall meant to protect the...


The Quad with Tanvi Madan and Lavina Lee
One of the most interesting strategic developments in the past few years has been the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad—the growing partnership between the United States, Japan, Australia and India. To look at how this institution resurrected itself after a false start back in 2007, what it is and isn't doing now, and whether China is right to look warily at this dialogue, David Priess spoke with Tanvi Madan, a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Program and the director of The India Project at the B...

An October Surprise from the New York Post
On October 14, the New York Post began publishing what it touted as a series of blockbuster articles on emails and photos obtained from a laptop mysteriously abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop—emails and photos that, the Post announced, belonged to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The materials had been provided to the tabloid by President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. And from there, it only gets weirder. In the eyes of many commentators, this looked like a continuation of...

Ambassador Doug Silliman on the Fate of Embassy Baghdad
The past year has been a difficult one for the U.S. relationship with Iraq, a country that has increasingly found itself caught in the middle of the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against Iran and Iran's own efforts to strike back at the United States. Now, the relationship between the United States and Iraq appears to be reaching a new low, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reportedly threatened to close the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad unless the Iraqi government does more to thwart attac...


Maria Ressa on the Weaponization of Social Media
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek spoke with Maria Ressa, a Filipino-American journalist and co-founder of Rappler, an online news site based in Manila. Maria was included in Time's Person of the Year in 2018 for her work combating fake news, and is currently fighting a conviction for “cyberlibel” in the Philippines for her role at Rappler. Maria and her fight are the subject of the film, “A Thousand Cuts,” released in virtual cinemas this summer and to be...

David Priess Accepts the Results of the Presidential Election
Last Friday, Lawfare's chief operating officer, David Priess, published a piece on the site titled, "The Powerful Norm of Accepting the Results of a Presidential Election." It recounts the long history, with few exceptions, of presidents and other candidates who respected election results even if they did not go their way—a commitment that the current president and vice president have both failed to make. David joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss the piece, the history, the president and the vice president's ...

Charles Kupchan on 'Isolationism'
Many of us think of the history of the United States' interaction with the world as one of relentless expansion, growth and engagement. From the early colonies, through the Spanish American War, through involvement in two world wars and of course, the Cold War era, the story is one of America increasingly getting involved with countries in its region and around the globe. Charles Kupchan has a thing or two to say about that. He recently researched and wrote the book, "Isolationism: A History of America's Ef...


Molly Reynolds and Margaret Taylor Talk Congress
Congress is capable of moving a Supreme Court justice at record speed, yet it can't get coronavirus relief passed. It has struggled to keep the government open, and it has pending business that it has to accomplish now or during the lame duck session. Margaret Taylor and Molly Reynolds, both of Lawfare and the Brookings Institution, joined Benjamin Wittes for a Lawfare Live event to discuss the health of this first branch of government and its functioning during the combined crises of the coronavirus and an...

Andrew Weissmann on 'Where Law Ends'
Andrew Weissmann was the general counsel of the FBI. He was the head of the Justice Department's fraud section and helped run the Enron Task Force. And yet, he is best known these days for having been one of Bob Mueller's top prosecutors—and certainly the most smeared of Bob Mueller's prosecutors. Weismann's name became a kind of tagline for Mueller's supposedly evil alter ego as the investigation went on, and Andrew's new book, "Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation," recounts the whole experien...

Yochai Benkler on Mass-Media Disinformation Campaigns
On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Yochai Benkler, a professor at Harvard Law School and co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. With only weeks until Election Day in the United States, there’s a lot of mis- and disinformation flying around on the subject of mail-in ballots. Discussions about addressing that disinformation often focus on platforms like Facebook or Twitter. But a new study by the Berkman Klei...


Scott Anderson on State Election Rules
We have an election in less than a month, and a lot of analysts seem to be expecting contested results. Doomsday scenarios are playing out in the pages of national magazines, the campaigns are gearing up for legal challenges and a lot of people are super worried about it. But there's something missing from a lot of these conversations: actual state law. State laws are the rules under which an election will initially be challenged, and they differ a great deal from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Benjamin Witt...

John Brennan Remains Undaunted
Starting in January 2017, John Brennan became one of President Trump's most blunt critics among former national security professionals. In the years since, he has been working on writing a book, now available, called "Undaunted: My Fight Against America's Enemies at Home and Abroad." David Priess sat down with John to talk about the book and his career. They talked about what brought him to the CIA, his career as a CIA officer and manager, his work overseas at the CIA, his time at the White House as the Dep...

The President and the Coronavirus
President Trump is at Walter Reed with the COVID virus. A large number of executive and legislative branch officials have also tested positive. What happens when the president is seriously ill? What happens when the president is incapacitated? And what happens when a presidential candidate falls seriously ill—after people have already started voting? These are not all questions entirely answered by the law, but they are all questions on which the law has something to say. To talk it all through, Benjamin Wi...


An Islamic State Hoax?
On September 25, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested a Canadian man for faking his involvement in the Islamic State. It’s a strange charge, but the situation is made more complicated by the fact that the man—who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Huzayfah—was the primary subject of “Caliphate” a popular New York Times podcast series about the Islamic State. In that series, Abu Huzayfah talked at length about spending time with the Islamic State and rehashed in great detail his involvement in the execution...

Everything is On Fire
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic talked about how everything is on fire—not metaphorically, but literally. In recent months, wildfires in the American West have caused unprecedented devastation and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes. And along with the fires, the West has been grappling with a surge of false material circulating online about the flames. But this isn’t the first time wildfires and disinformation have gone...

Trump's Money and National Security
On Sunday, September 27, the New York Times dropped bombshell new reporting on nearly two decades of Donald Trump's tax return data. The story has attracted enormous attention and paints a dismal picture. Donald Trump paid no personal income taxes for 11 of the past 18 years, he uses tax deductions aggressively, and last year he paid only $750 in federal income tax. So, is this a story of a president merely in massive debt, or is there something more sinister at play? To whom does the president owe all this...


Peter Baker and Susan Glasser on 'The Man Who Ran Washington'
James A. Baker III has been a lawyer, a presidential campaign manager, the White House Chief of Staff for two presidents, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State and the point person for George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida recount. His career demonstrates what it takes to acquire political power; to wield it effectively to reach bipartisan compromises, even after bitter campaigns; and to wrestle with the tension between partisan loyalty and the principles of good government. David Priess spoke ...

TikTok, WeChat and Trump
It's been a wild few weeks with President Trump threatening to shut WeChat and TikTok out of the U.S. market and rip them out of the app stores. There have been lawsuits, a preliminary injunction—and a sudden deal to purchase TikTok and moot the issue out. To chew it all over, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare co-founder Bobby Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin Law School, and Jordan Schneider, the voice behind the podcast ChinaTalk. They talked about how we got here, whether the thr...

Mira Rapp-Hooper and Rebecca Lissner on 'An Open World'
Rebecca Lissner is an assistant professor at the U.S. Naval War College. Mira Rapp-Hooper is a senior fellow at Yale Law School's Paul Tsai China Center. Together, they are the authors of "An Open World: How America Can Win the Contest for 21st-Century Order." It's an ambitious book that looks beyond the liberal world order, arguing that China's rise and America's weakness render the old order obsolete. So, what will replace it? Lissner and Rapp-Hooper argue that the United States should push for an open or...


Nina Jankowicz on 'How to Lose the Information War'
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth miniseries on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke to Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, about her new book: “How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict.” The book chronicles Nina’s journey around Europe, tracing down how information operations spearheaded by Russia have played out in countries in the former Soviet bloc, from Georgia to the Czech Republic. What do these case studies revea...

Portland, DHS and the Rule of Law
Bobby Chesney sat down with former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Texas Congressman Chip Roy as part of the 2020 Texas Tribune Festival. They discussed Portland, DHS, domestic violence and even the shortage of civil discourse in our society....

Detention Questions and the Women of the Islamic State
It’s not something that gets a lot of attention in American news outlets, but there remain large numbers of women and children linked with the Islamic State detained in various camps in Syria. Some of the population in the camps are native to Iraq or Syria, but there are also significant numbers who traveled to the Islamic State from outside the Middle East. Many of these travelers came from Central Asia, but a not-insignificant number of them came from various countries in Western Europe—and many of those ...


Elizabeth Neumann and Kathleen Belew on White Power Violence
Elizabeth Neumann served as the assistant secretary for threat prevention and security policy at the Department of Homeland Security. She has recently been speaking out about President Trump and, among other things, his failure of leadership with respect to the threat of white supremacist violence. In the course of doing so, she made reference to a book by Kathleen Belew, a historian at the University of Chicago: "Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America," a history of violent w...

Goldsmith and Bauer on 'After Trump'
"After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency," a new book published by Lawfare, is a look at the manner in which Donald Trump has disrupted the presidency across a range of areas, as well as a series of proposals for reforms to try to restore those norms that his presidency has disrupted. Its authors, Bob Bauer, former White House counsel in the Obama White House, and Jack Goldsmith, Lawfare co-founder and former OLC chief in the Bush administration, joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss they book, how they came...

Congress's Control Over the Military
In recent years, Congress has taken unprecedented steps to push back against the Trump administration's efforts to pull U.S. troops from certain long-standing deployments overseas. The most recent such provision is contained in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2021 that is currently being debated and would prohibit the president from reducing U.S. troop levels in Germany and Europe unless certain conditions are met. But does Congress have the authority to direct these deployme...


The Spymasters with Chris Whipple
What is the proper relationship between the CIA director and the president? How should directors handle arguably illegal orders? How important is the director's role as the nation's honest broker of information during times of crisis? To get at these questions, David Priess sat down with Chris Whipple, a documentary filmmaker, journalist and the author of two books about the people around the president. "The Gatekeepers," based upon his documentary of the same name, examines White House chiefs of staff, and...

Alina Polyakova on the Poisoning of Alexei Navalny
Alexei Navalny is Russia's most prominent dissident, opposition leader and anti-corruption crusader—and the latest such person to be poisoned by the Vladimir Putin regime, which, of course, it denies. When we recorded this episode, Navalny's condition was improving as he received medical treatment in Germany. To discuss Navalny's career and why Putin chose now to attack him, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis. They talked about how Nav...

Mike Schmidt on Stopping a President
Michael S. Schmidt is a reporter for The New York Times, a reporter who broke a number of key stories during the Russia investigation. He is most recently the author of "Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President," a new book with exhaustive reporting on the history of the Russia investigation and the confrontations between the president and those in his administration who tried to put the brakes on his most extreme behaviors. Schmidt joined Benjamin Wittes to talk about the ...


Pete Strzok on 'Compromised'
Peter Strzok served in the FBI from 1996 to 2018 and eventually became the deputy head of the counterintelligence division, where he supervised, among other things, the Russia investigation, both at the FBI and later under Robert Mueller. His new book is called, "Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump." Benjamin Wittes sat down with Peter for an extended conversation over Zoom, sponsored by the Georgetown Center for Security Studies, to discuss the book, Pete's own history, why h...

Ben Nimmo on the Return of the Internet Research Agency
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ben Nimmo, the director of investigations at Graphika. Ben has come on the podcast before to discuss how he researches and identifies information operations, but this time he talked about one specific information operation: a campaign linked to the Internet Research Agency “troll farm.” Yes, that’s the same Russian organization that Special Counsel Robert Mueller pinpointed as responsible for Rus...

Cheap Fakes on the Campaign Trail
It was a big week for manipulated video and audio content. In just 36 hours, senior republicans or people associated with the Trump campaign tweeted, posted or shared manipulated audio or video on social media three times, prompting backlash from media and tech companies. Last week, Lawfare's managing editor, Quinta Jurecic, and associate editor, Jacob Schulz, wrote a piece analyzing these incidents. To talk through issues of deep fakes and cheap fakes, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Quinta, Jacob and Danielle ...


Everything You Wanted to Know About the Hatch Act But Were Afraid to Ask
The Hatch Act has been in the news a lot recently, between the Republican National Convention's use of the White House grounds and Secretary Pompeo's decision to address the Convention from an official trip in Jerusalem. What does the law really require, what does it forbid and what does it permit? Benjamin Wittes spoke with Amanda Kane Rapp, senior counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and Lawfare senior editor Scott R. Anderson. They talked about whether the RNC violated the Hatch Act, where the rule...

A Busy Week at the DC Circuit
It was a big week for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals who handed down opinions in two cases involving former presidential White House advisors. The case of Don McGahn, former White House Counsel, was decided by a panel of the court, having been kicked back to that panel by the full court earlier in the summer. The case of Michael Flynn was decided by the full court, reversing a panel that had earlier ordered a lower court judge to throw the criminal case out. It's a dizzying series of events involving a com...

Alissa Starzak on Cloudflare, Content Moderation and the Internet Stack
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Alissa Starzak, the head of public policy at Cloudflare—a company that provides key components of the infrastructure that helps websites stay online. They talked about two high-profile incidents in which Cloudflare decided to pull its services from websites publishing or hosting extremist, violent content. In August 2017, after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew...


Briefings Schmiefings
Last week, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe informed Congress that elections security briefings in the run-up to the 2020 election would no longer be oral. There would be written intelligence product only, and there would be no Q&A sessions. Members of Congress are not happy about it. To discuss the the change, Benjamin Wittes spoke with David Priess, a former CIA briefer who used to do briefings like this, and Margaret Taylor, a former congressional staffer who used to consume briefings lik...

Election Anxieties and the U.S. Postal Service with Kevin Kosar and Anne Joseph O’Connell
On August 13, President Trump said in a news interview that he opposed supplemental funding for the United States Postal Service because such funding is needed for the delivery of universal mail-in ballots for the 2020 election. His comments sparked panic about whether the Trump administration is slowing Postal Service delivery in order to sway the election. Images of blue mailboxes being removed and anecdotes about slow mail delivery added fuel to the fire. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was called to test...

Trade War Powers: Past, Present and Future
Earlier this month, the Trump administration re-imposed tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada, signaling a new salvo in the now years-long trade war it has been waging with countless U.S. trading partners. But what gives the president the authority to pursue such measures unilaterally, even when he lacks support from members of his own party in Congress? To talk through this question, Scott R. Anderson sat down with Kathleen Claussen of the University of Miami School of Law and Timothy Meyer of Vanderbilt...


"What’s Going on at Pompeo’s State Department?" with Nahal Toosi and Scott Anderson
In mid-May, President Trump fired the State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. The ouster came as a surprise, and although it is clear that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked Trump to fire him, the reasons Pompeo gave for it have changed over time. This is just one of a series of controversies coming out of the Department of State in recent months. With the House Foreign Affairs Committee investigating and additional Inspector General reports becoming public over the last month, Margaret Taylor sa...

Emma Llansó on the Most Important Content Moderation Database You’ve Never Heard Of
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Emma Llansó, the director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). They discussed the Global Internet Forum, or GIFCT, a consortium which houses a shared database of content that platforms use to remove terrorism-related material. Emma makes the case for why it’s worth paying attention to—and why she finds it concerning. They also talked about CDT’s lawsuit ag...

Emma Llansó on the Most Important Content Moderation Database You’ve Never Heard Of
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Emma Llansó, the director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). They discussed the Global Internet Forum, or GIFCT, a consortium which houses a shared database of content that platforms use to remove terrorism-related material. Emma makes the case for why it’s worth paying attention to—and why she finds it concerning. They also talked about CDT’s lawsuit ag...


Yemen's Ongoing Tragedy
Yemen is home to the most tragic circumstances imaginable right now—years upon years of war, environmental disasters and severe humanitarian plight, exacerbated by cholera, diphtheria and now COVID-19. To discuss the ongoing situation, David Priess sat down with Elisabeth Kendall, a senior research fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College, Oxford University, who has spent extensive time on the ground in Yemen, and Mick Mulroy, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East....

Harold Holzer on 'The Presidents vs. the Press'
Jack Goldsmith spoke with Harold Holzer, director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, about his new book, "The Presidents vs. the Press: The Endless Battle Between the White House and the Media from the Founding Fathers to Fake News." They discussed the long and interesting history of the contentious relationship between presidents and the press, and how President Trump's relationship with journalists has many precedents and is not the low point in president-press relations. Th...

The State of the U.S.-China Relationship
In recent months, relations between the United States and China seem to have reached a new low as disagreements over trade, tech, human rights and the coronavirus have led the two sides to exchange increasingly harsh rhetoric. Just weeks ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went so far as to suggest that the decades-long experiment of U.S. engagement with China had been a mistake. But is this heightened tension just a bump in the road, or is it a new direction for one of the United States's most important bi...


The Senate Intelligence Committee, the 2016 Campaign and the Counterintelligence Threat
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has released the final counterintelligence volume of its extensive report related to many aspects of the Russian information warfare and influence campaign surrounding the 2016 election. To dissect it, David Priess sat down with Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic and Margaret Taylor. They discussed what's in this report, how it relates to the Mueller report and what actions, if any, it will spur from its hard-hitting findings....

Alex Stamos on Fighting Election Disinformation in Real Time
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and former chief security officer of Yahoo and Facebook. Alex has appeared on the podcast before, but this time, they discussed a new coalition he helped set up called the Election Integrity Partnership—a coalition focused on detecting and mitigating attempts to limit voting or delegitimize election results. Disinformation and misinforma...

Scott Anderson and Richard Gowan on the Disagreement in the Security Council on the Snapback of UN Sanctions on Iran
Late last week, the UN Security Council voted down a resolution, offered by the United States, to indefinitely extend a conventional arms embargo on Iran set to expire in October. The lifting of the arms embargo was one of the sweeteners that was part of the Obama administration's Iran nuclear agreement. Now, the Trump administration has announced it will begin the process of triggering the snapback of UN sanctions on Iran using procedures outlined in UNSCR 2231—a move that could be the death knell for the ...


Manipulating Intelligence Then and Now with Robert Draper
President Trump's relationship with the intelligence community is back in the news again after allegations that his administration manipulated an intelligence report to show a false equivalency between Russian efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election on his behalf and similar efforts by China and Iran on behalf of his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden. But Trump isn't the first president to try to get the intelligence community to align its assessments with his preferred version of the...

A Surprise UAE-Israel Deal
In a surprise announcement last week, the United Arab Emirates and Israel are normalizing relations, and Israel is putting on hold its plans for annexation of West Bank territory. To discuss the announcement and its diverse implications for various actors, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare senior editor Scott Anderson; Suzanne Maloney, an Iran specialist who is acting head of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings; Natan Sachs, the director of the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy; and Hady Amr, a n...

Adam Jentleson and Molly Reynolds on Getting Rid of the Senate Filibuster
On July 30, former President Barack Obama, speaking at the funeral of Congressman John Lewis, threw his weight behind ending the Senate filibuster if necessary to pursue a voting rights agenda. His comments brought to the forefront a debate that has been simmering for years within the Democratic party. Margaret Taylor spoke with Adam Jentleson, who served as deputy chief of staff to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid during the Obama administration, and Brookings senior fellow Molly Reynolds, about the his...


Shane Huntley on Countering Digital Threats at Google
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Shane Huntley, the director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group—a team that leads Google’s efforts to track threats from nation states and hacker groups. If you’ve ever received a notification from Google that a state-sponsored actor is trying to access your email account, you’ve heard from the Threat Analysis Group. The group examines everything from attempts to steal cryptocurrency to what Google...

Trump Takes Aim at TikTok and WeChat
President Trump recently issued executive orders aimed at banning TikTok and WeChat from operating in the United States. To discuss the sanction, Bobby Chesney sat down with Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens, an associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a faculty affiliate with the Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the Clements Center for National Security at UT; and Dr. Ronald Deibert, a professor of political science and the founder and...

The McGahn Decision and Proxy Voting
Last week, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington handed down a major en banc decision on the question of whether the president's former White House Counsel, Don McGahn, even needs to show up in response to a congressional subpoena, or whether he has absolute immunity from testifying before Congress. A strong seven judge majority of the DC Circuit overturned a panel opinion that had held that a congressional committee had no standing to sue to enforce its subpoena. The full DC Circuit ruled that yes,...


Jim Sciutto on Trump and 'The Madman Theory'
During the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon employed an unusual scare tactic in his efforts to reach a withdrawal—he led Vietnam to believe he was crazy enough to start a nuclear war, an approach he described as the madman theory. From his first days in office, President Trump has employed his own madman theory, from menacing North Korea with fire and fury to threatening withdrawal from NATO, leaving not just adversaries, but also U.S. allies and even his own advisors unsure of what he will do next. David Priess ...

Chad Wolf vs. the Committee with No Bull
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday. He was asked about the recent DHS personnel deployments in the wake of mass protests, particularly in Portland, Oregon. The hearing included some grandstanding and repetition, but we cut out all of the theatrics to leave you with just the questions and answers that you need to hear....

Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny Explain QAnon
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, reporters at NBC News. Writing at NBCNews.com, they report on disinformation and misinformation in health and politics. Their work covers a lot of ground, but for this episode, they discussed one increasingly prominent issue on that beat: QAnon, a conspiracy theory built around anonymous posts on an internet forum claiming that Donald Trump is waging war against a de...


DHS Compiles Intelligence on Journalists … Including our Editor-In-Chief
“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 reporte...

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Democratic Staff Report on Diplomacy in Crisis
Last Friday the Lawfare Podcast brought you Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's full statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his question and answer session with the senators, all with "no bull." A few days before that hearing, the Democratic staff of the Committee released its most recent oversight report titled "Diplomacy in Crisis: The Trump Administration's Decimation of the State Department." Following remarks by Ranking Member Bob Menendez, Margaret Taylor moderated a panel discussio...

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Democratic Staff Report on Diplomacy in Crisis
Last Friday the Lawfare Podcast brought you Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's full statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his question and answer session with the senators, all with "no bull." A few days before that hearing, the Democratic staff of the Committee released its most recent oversight report titled "Diplomacy in Crisis: The Trump Administration's Decimation of the State Department." Following remarks by Ranking Member Bob Menendez, Margaret Taylor moderated a panel discussio...


Michel Paradis on 'Last Mission to Tokyo'
Michel Paradis is a scholar of international law and human rights who has worked for more than a decade for the U.S. Department of Defense Military Commissions Defense Organization, where he has worked on a number of the landmark court cases to arise out of Guantanamo Bay. Most recently, he is the author of the book "Last Mission to Tokyo: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raiders and Their Final Fight for Justice." It's the story of two military commissions that arose out of the first U.S. bombing r...

Pompeo vs. the Committee with No Bull
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday. Pompeo was asked about the threats posed by China and Russia, the decision to withdraw 12,000 U.S. troops from Germany, the upcoming presidential election and much more. The hearing did include some grandstanding and repetition, but we cut out all of the theatrics to leave you with just the questions and answers that you need to hear....

Jillian C. York on Free Expression on a Broken Internet
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Kate Klonick and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jillian C. York, the director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She’s been an activist working on issues of internet freedom and free expression for many years, which gives her a unique perspective on debates over disinformation and platform governance. Jillian and Kate discussed Facebook’s Oversight Board—the entity designed to provide accountability for...


Barr vs. the Committee with No Bull
Attorney General William Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Barr was asked about the federal government's response to protests, the upcoming presidential election, the dismissal of former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman and much more. The hearing did include a lot of bickering and grandstanding, but we cut out all of the unnecessary repetition and theatrics to leave you with just the questions and answers that you need to hear....

What to Do With Detained Islamic State Fighters in Iraq and Syria
For a while, there have been large numbers of alleged former Islamic State state fighters and affiliates detained by the Iraqi government and by autonomous authorities in Syria. The fate of these detainees—and the more than 60,000 people affiliated with the men who live in refugee camps in the region—remains a pressing national security issue for countries in the region, as well as the United States and its Western allies. To talk about the situation, Jacob Schulz spoke with Bobby Chesney, Lawfare co-founde...

Anne Applebaum on the Twilight of Democracy
Anne Applebaum is a columnist, writer, historian and most recently, the author of "Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lore of Authoritarianism," a book that explores why authoritarian ideologies are on the ascendance in countries as diverse as Poland, Hungary, Spain, the United States and Great Britain. Benjamin Wittes spoke with Anne about the themes of the book: Why are all of these authoritarian ideologies on the rise now? What is the role of social media in their rise? What are the major themes that t...


How Corruption Works in China
Why has modern China prospered in spite of vast corruption? On this episode of ChinaTalk, Jordan Schneider talks with Yuen Yuen Ang, associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan, about her new book, "China's Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption." She draws comparisons between U.S. history and the China of today, arguing that access money in China functions like campaign finance in the States. They also discuss the implications of corruption for regime stabil...

Hany Farid on Deep Fakes, Doctored Photos and Disinformation
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work focuses on analyzing and identifying altered photo and video—what’s known as digital image forensics. Recently, he has done work on deep fakes—realistic synthetic media in which a person’s likeness is altered to show them doing or saying something they never did or said. He’s also helped develop technology used by platform...

Schrems II and the Future of Transatlantic Data
Last week, the European Court of Justice released its much awaited decision in Data Protection Commissioner v Maximilian Schrems, commonly known as Schrems II, which addressed which privacy requirements governments and corporations within the European Union will be required to secure before participating in international data transfers. The court's decision casts serious doubt on many of the measures currently in place, most notably in relation to the United States's own national security and surveillance a...


The Expanded Intelligence Activities of the Department of Homeland Security
Yesterday, Lawfare published an article revealing and analyzing a document from the Department of Homeland Security that offers legal guidance to analysts in its Office of Intelligence and Analysis regarding the appropriate intelligence activities to mitigate the threat to monuments, memorials and statues, among other things. To discuss this new information and its implications, David Priess spoke with not only the two authors of the article —Lawfare's editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes and University of Texas...

The Forgotten War Remembered
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. Though often called the "Forgotten War," the Korean War has highly conditioned much of our contemporary international politics in East Asia, and the people of Korea continue to live with its aftermath, both in the north and in the south. And the shadow of the Korean War looms large over something we often debate on Lawfare—war powers. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the U.S. entry into the Korean War, Benjamin Wittes spoke with ...

John Allen and Darrell West on Artificial Intelligence
Darrell West is vice president of the Brookings Institution and director of Governance Studies at Brookings. John Allen is the president of the Brookings Institution and a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general. Together, they are the authors of the book, "Turning Point: Policymaking in the Era of Artificial Intelligence," a broad look at the impact that artificial intelligence systems are likely to have on everything from the military, to health care, to vehicles and transportation, and to internation...


Jane Lytvynenko on Debunking the Disinformation Garbage Fire
This week on our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Jane Lytvynenko, a senior reporter at BuzzFeed News who focuses on disinformation. If you use Twitter regularly and have looked at the platform during any major media events—disasters, protests, you name it—you’ve likely seen her enormous tweet threads where she debunks hoaxes and misinformation. Recently, she’s turned her debunking skills toward misinformation and disinformation around the coronavirus pa...

A Deep Dive on China and the Uighurs
We talk a lot about Chinese policy in Hong Kong, but there's another human rights crisis going on in China in the province of Xinjiang. It concerns the Turkic minority known as the Uighurs whom the Chinese government has been rounding up and putting in reeducation camps. It is an ugly story—one that the Chinese government has gone to great lengths to keep from international attention, with some degree of success. To walk us through the situation in Xinjiang, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Jessica Batke, a senio...

David Rohde on the Supposed "Deep State"
In a 2018 poll, 74 percent of Americans said they believed that some group of unelected government and military officials was definitely or probably secretly manipulating or directing national policy. What is the actual history of presidents and Congress clashing with national security and law enforcement institutions? And how has that led to Trump's notion of a deep state out to get him? David Priess spoke with two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde of The New Yorker, who has turned his attention to th...


COVID-19 and its National Security Implications in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa
You've heard a lot about COVID-19 and its effects in the United States, China and East Asia, Europe and Brazil. But what about the Middle East, South Asia and Africa? The virus is hitting these regions hard with profound political and national security consequences. To discuss it all, David Priess sat down with Mona Yacoubian, a senior advisor on Syria, the Middle East and North Africa at the United States Institute of Peace; Nilanthi Samaranayake, the director of the Strategy and Policy Analysis Program at...

The Subpoena Cases Come Down
Yesterday, the Supreme Court, on the final day of its term, handed down the two big subpoena cases: Trump v. Vance, in which the president tried to beat back a subpoena from a New York grand jury, and Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP, in which the president tried to beat back a congressional subpoena for his financial records. He didn't entirely succeed in either case, but he made some headway in the Mazars case. To discuss it all, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare's Margaret Taylor, Scott Anderson, Quinta Jurecic...

Brandi Collins-Dexter on COVID-19 Misinformation and Black Communities
In this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Brandi Collins-Dexter, the senior campaign director at the advocacy organization Color of Change and a visiting fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She recently published a report with the Shorenstein Center on “Canaries in the Coal Mine: COVID-19 Misinformation and Black Communities,” tracing how different false narrativ...


Xinjiang, Hong Kong and China
The protests in Hong Kong have grabbed international headlines, but Hong Kong is hardly the only region of China that is experiencing brutal repression from the Chinese Communist Party. The latest unrest in the city and the imposition of the new national security law in Hong Kong mirrors actions taken in Xinjiang, the province of China that is inhabited principally by Uighur Muslims. To talk about it all, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Alvin Cheung, a non-resident affiliated scholar of NYU's U.S. Asia Law Insti...

David Priess on the History of the President's Daily Brief
David Priess is the chief operating officer of the Lawfare Institute. He is also a former CIA briefer for the Attorney General and the FBI director, and he's the author of "The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents." The president's daily brief has been in the news of late because of the Russia bounties story and the question of whether President Trump is actually internalizing the intelligence he is given in his daily briefing. Benjamin Wittes spoke...

Chris Brose on 'The Kill Chain'
Christian Brose was the staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he was also John McCain's senior policy adviser. He now works as the chief strategy officer of Anduril Industries, and he is the author of "The Kill Chain: Defending America and the Future of High-Tech Warfare," a look at how far behind the United States is growing in possible conflict against its principal national security adversary: China. Benjamin Wittes sat down with Chris to talk through what would happen if China and t...


David Shimer on "Rigged"
Jack Goldsmith spoke with David Shimer, the author of "Rigged: America, Russia and 100 Years of Covert Electoral Interference." They discussed United States and Soviet interference in elections during the Cold War, how and why the U.S. attitude toward foreign electoral interference changed after the Cold War, and whether and to what degree the Central Intelligence Agency still covertly intervenes in foreign elections today. They also discussed how the rise of the Internet asymmetrically empowers Russia and ...

Darius Kazemi on The Great Bot Panic
On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Darius Kazemi, an internet artist and bot-maker extraordinaire. Recently, there have been a lot of ominous headlines about bots—including an NPR article stating that nearly 50 percent of all Twitter commentary about the pandemic has been driven by bots rather than human users. That sounds bad—but Darius thinks that we shouldn’t be so worried about bots. In fact, he argues, a great deal of reporting ...

Taking China to Court Over the Coronavirus
As the United States continues to suffer from the effects of the coronavirus, the controversy surrounding China's alleged role in the pandemic has continued to grow. In recent weeks, it has even entered the U.S. courts, as private plaintiffs have brought claims against the Chinese government and related institutions for allegedly contributing to the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, members of Congress have introduced legislation aimed at making such litigation even easier to pursue, specifically by stripping...


About Those Russian Bounties
The New York Times and Washington Post both report that a Russian intelligence unit is paying bounties to Taliban-affiliated militants for killing coalition, including U.S., soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan. The White House denies that the president has been briefed on the subject, although the newspapers report that the White House was alerted to it and didn't do anything about it. Congress is asking questions, and Trump's critics are certain that this is the latest example of the president bowing bef...

Eric Posner on ‘The Demagogue's Playbook'
Jack Goldsmith sat down with Eric Posner, the Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and the author of the new book, "The Demagogue's Playbook: The Battle for American Democracy from the Founders to Trump." They discussed why demagogues are a characteristic threat in democracies, how the founders of the U.S. Constitution tried to ensure elite control and prevent a demagogue from becoming president, how these safeguards weakened over time and how Donald Trump's ...

Hong Kong’s Protests One Year On
Jordan Schneider, the host of ChinaTalk, sat down with Antony Dapiran, Hong Kong-based lawyer and author of two books on protests in Hong Kong. They discussed the history and legacy of the 2019 protests on the anniversary of one of the largest protests in human history, when two million Hongkongers marched against the extradition bill. They talked about the lead-up and aftermath of that day, how protests grew increasingly violent, the new national security law, and how these protests compare and contrast to...


Whitney Phillips and Ryan Milner on Our Polluted Information Environment
In this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Whitney Phillips and Ryan Milner, authors of the new book, “You Are Here: A Field Guide for Navigating Polarized Speech, Conspiracy Theories, and Our Polluted Media Landscape.” Phillips is an assistant professor in Communications and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University, and Milner is an associate professor of Communication at the College of Charleston. In “You Are Here,” they look at the uniqu...

Election Meltdown Update
COVID-19 is still rampaging around the country, primaries in several states did not go as planned, and, of course, there are Russians lurking in the background. With all of this happening around us, what is going to happen with the election we are about to hold in November? Benjamin Wittes checked in with Nate Persily, the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, a guru on conducting a safe and efficacious election in the era of COVID, and Lawfare senior editor Margaret Taylor, who has be...

Glenn Kessler on Donald Trump's Assault on Truth
Glenn Kessler is the head of the Fact Checker staff of the Washington Post. Along with Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly, he is the author of the new book, "Donald Trump and His Assault on Truth: The President's Falsehoods, Misleading Claims and Flat-Out Lies." It is a compilation and distillation of the 19,000 false or misleading statements Donald Trump has made and the Washington Post has documented in its mammoth database of presidential untruths since the president took office. Kessler spoke with Benjamin Wi...


John Bolton’s Book is Out of the Barn
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton's White House memoir, titled “The Room Where it Happened,” has made a lot of waves recently. Not only has Bolton faced criticism for publishing his account of his time in the Trump administration in a book rather than testifying in the president’s impeachment trial, but the Justice Department is now suing Bolton for publishing what it claims is classified information. So what is the government arguing? And, is Bolton’s book any good? On Friday, June 19, Quinta Ju...

Mira Rapp-Hooper on 'Shields of the Republic'
Dr. Mira Rapp-Hooper is the Stephen A. Schwarzman senior fellow for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the new book, "Shields of the Republic: The Triumph and Peril of America's Alliances." Matthew Waxman spoke with Mira about the history and strategic importance of American alliances, some of the constitutional issues alliances raise and what the United States should do to revitalize its alliances going forward....

Laura Rosenberger on Chinese Information Operations
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Laura Rosenberger, the director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a senior fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States. When it comes to information operations, most Americans probably think of Russia as the primary culprit. After all, the memory of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election is still fresh. But over the past year, Chinese information operat...


Norm Ornstein and John Fortier on the Continuity of Government
Molly Reynolds spoke with Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center about the Continuity of Government Commission, an effort they helped to lead beginning in 2002 to ensure that our three branches of government would be able to function after a catastrophic attack that killed or incapacitated large numbers of our legislators, executive branch officials or judges. They discussed the findings of the Commission, how they relate to the challenges facing ...

Lawrence Douglas on Presidential Election Concessions
The 2020 presidential election is less than five months away. As the election inches closer and closer, concerns have grown about the possibility that President Trump, should he lose the election, would refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the result. How can we think about that risk? Do we have adequate statutory and constitutional guardrails that protect us from electoral catastrophe? Jacob Schulz sat down with Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amhe...

Patrick Skinner on Warrior Cops and Neighborhood Policing
Patrick Skinner is a police officer in Savannah, Georgia, who brings diverse experience to that job. He served as a case officer at the Central Intelligence Agency, handling foreign intelligence sources in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Jordan. He also has previous law enforcement experience with the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service. David Priess spoke with Skinner about today's policing crisis, Pat's experiences with counterterrorism operations and what ...


Evan Osnos on Tiananmen and Lafayette
ChinaTalk is the newest member of the Lawfare Podcast family, and its impresario, Jordan Schneider, does a wide range of interviews related to China's economy and security. In this episode, Jordan interviews Evan Osnos of The New Yorker about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the relationship between that date and the clearing of Lafayette Square. They talk about everything from the psychological similarities and differences between Donald Trump, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, to Chinese h...

Eileen Donahoe on Protecting Free Expression Online
On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Alina Polyakova and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Eileen Donahoe, the Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University. There’s no shortage of controversies roiling right now about free expression and the future of the internet—from platforms aggressively removing misinformation about the ongoing pandemic, to President Trump’s executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Eileen, Quinta ...

David Frum on Trumpocalypse
David Frum is one of the most prominent and eloquent conservative critics of the president. The former George W. Bush speechwriter and current writer for The Atlantic has written "Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy," a book about the Trump presidency, and in this case, what comes after it. David joined Benjamin Wittes for a wide-ranging conversation of the ground he covers in the book: how you rebuild after Trump, how you satisfy elements of Trumpism without letting them descend back into authorita...


Congressional Overspeech with Josh Chafetz
High profile congressional hearings, like the 2015 Benghazi hearings, the 2019 Mueller Report hearings and most recently, the Ukraine impeachment proceedings are often described in derogatory terms like "political theater," "spectacle" or "circus." But do these exaggerated performances on Capitol Hill actually serve a constitutional purpose? Margaret Taylor sat down with Josh Chafetz, a law professor and author of the book "Congress's Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers." They t...

The Trump Administration’s Latest Moves to Dismantle the Iran Nuclear Agreement with Peter Harrell and Richard Nephew
On May 27, the Trump administration announced that it was withdrawing sanctions waivers that had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to work with Iran on sensitive Iranian nuclear sites in support of the goals of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Margaret Taylor talked about what it really means with two experts: Peter Harrell, an attorney and adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and Richard Nephew, senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Colum...

Covert Action, Regime Change and International Law with Michael Poznansky
We normally think of international law as constraining leaders' actions, especially aggression toward other countries. But what if one effect of an established international principle actually spurs more covert action against other countries? Michael Poznansky is an assistant professor of International Affairs and Intelligence Studies in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, with a secondary appointment in the Political Science department, at the University of Pittsburgh. In his new book,...


Ryan Merkley on Why Wikipedia Works
In this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Ryan Merkley, the chief of staff to the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. We’ve spent a lot of time on this podcast discussing how social media platforms have handled issues of disinformation and misinformation. But what about Wikipedia? It’s a massive online encyclopedia written and edited entirely by volunteers—so, not a platform, but still an online service grappling with a wave of ...

Rashawn Ray on Police Violence
Dr. Rashawn Ray is a David M. Rubenstein fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He's also an associate professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he directs the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR). He is a scholar of, among other things, police-civilian relations and has done a lot of work on police-involved killings. He joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss the mechanisms of police violence, what causes it, what can be done to address it and reduce...

On the Brink with the Insurrection Act
The president is threatening to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization. This evening, he appears to have ordered a tear gas attack on peaceful protesters near the White House in order to stage a photo op in front of a local church. And he has called out troops in Washington, DC, and threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act. To talk through the legal ins and outs of what the president has done (and not done), what he has the power to do and what he does not have the power to do, and what the federal r...


Bart Gellman on 'Dark Mirror'
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....

Eli Lake Makes the Case for Flynn
Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg and the author of a recent article in Commentary magazine on the case of Michael Flynn. In that article, he argues a number of things that many at Lawfare have argued against—that Michael Flynn was railroaded, that he was set up, that the FBI behaved inappropriately, and that the Justice Department pursued Michael Flynn unfairly and was thus correct under Attorney General Bill Barr to seek dismissal of the case. To argue it out, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lake about the...

Gabrielle Lim on the Life and Death of Malaysia's Anti-Fake News Act
In this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Gabrielle Lim, a researcher with the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and a fellow with Citizen Lab. Lim just released a new report with Data and Society on the fascinating story of a Malaysian law ostensibly aimed at stamping out disinformation. The Anti-Fake News Act, passed in 2018, criminalized the creation and dissemination of wh...


Hong Kong Erupts
Hong Kong protesters are out in the streets once again, as the Beijing legislature contemplates a new national security law for the city, and the Hong Kong legislature considers a bill to make it a crime to disrespect the Chinese national anthem. It's all going relatively unnoticed amidst the international focus on the coronavirus, but Hong Kong is increasingly under the thumb of the Chinese Communist Party. To discuss the latest developments, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Sophia Yan of The Daily Telegraph, an...

The SpaceX Launch and the Future of Space Law
On Wednesday, NASA and the SpaceX Corporation are scheduled to send astronauts back into outer space from U.S. soil for the first time since the U.S. space shuttle program ended in 2011. The launch promises to kick off a new era in space exploration, one that will see the increased use of outer space for both public and private purposes, as well as greater involvement by private corporations and other unconventional actors in space exploration. To discuss the legal and policy challenges of this new era, Sco...

Steve Teles on 'Never Trump'
Steven Teles is the author of a new book with Robert P. Saldin, "Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites." Benjamin Wittes spoke with Teles about the book, how the national security and legal communities approach Donald Trump and how these two schools of thought have informed the Never Trump movement....


Deen Freelon on Why Black Trolls Matter
This week on Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Deen Freelon, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Deen’s work focuses on data science and political expression on social media, and they discussed research he conducted on tweets from the Internet Research Agency troll farm and their attempts to influence U.S. politics, including around the 2016 election. In a recent article, Deen and hi...

Trump and his Predecessors with Kate Andersen Brower
There may not be many laws governing how former presidents should interact with the current commander-in-chief, or with each other, or how the sitting president should treat his or her predecessors. But over time, we have developed a body of norms about how to do so appropriately. Donald Trump has, to put it mildly, changed expectations about the relationships that presidents past and present have with each other. David Priess recently sat down in the virtual jungle studio to chat with Kate Andersen Brower,...

Firing Inspectors General
President Trump on Friday fired the inspector general of the State Department. It was the fourth time he had fired or removed an inspector general in just the last six weeks. As he explained in a letter to Capitol Hill leadership, he had lost confidence in the inspector general, though Democrats were quick to point out that he appeared to be investigating Mike Pompeo on a number of matters, and Mike Pompeo, in turn, had requested his removal. To discuss the Trump administration's removals of inspectors gene...


David Kaye on Free Speech During a Pandemic
The global pandemic has raised searching questions about the relationship between a public health emergency and free speech. Jack Goldsmith sat down with David Kaye, the outgoing U.N. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, to talk about Kaye’s new U.N. report on “Disease pandemics and the freedom of opinion and expression.” The pair discussed the impact the pandemic has had on hostility to speech in different parts of world, the importance of in...

Global Trade and Investment in the Coronavirus Era
The global coronavirus pandemic has changed the way different corners of the world interact with each other, perhaps forever. Nowhere is this more true than the global economy, where a decade's long trend toward the easier exchange of trade and investment was already under increasing political pressure when the pandemic broke. It may now be facing a truly unprecedented set of challenges. To discuss how the global trade and investment systems are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Scott R. Anderson ...

Craig Silverman on Real Reporting on Fake News
On this week's episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek spoke with Craig Silverman, the media editor for Buzzfeed News and one of the leading journalists covering the disinformation beat. Craig is credited with coining the phrase “Fake News.” Evelyn spoke with him about how he feels about that, especially now that the phrase has taken on a life of its own. They also talked about a book Craig edited, the second edition of the "Verification Handbook,” available online now,...


Elizabeth Shackelford on 'The Dissent Channel'
Scott R. Anderson sat down with Elizabeth Shackelford, a former foreign service officer whose late 2017 resignation became a sign of growing discontent with the Trump administration within the diplomatic corps. They talked about her new book, "The Dissent Channel," out this week, which discusses her experience as a young diplomat living through a period of crisis in South Sudan, and the lessons it taught her about diplomacy, human rights and the role of the United States in the world....

The President's Tax Returns and the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court today held arguments in a blockbuster case. Do the Trump tax returns and associated financial documents at firms like Mazars and Deutsche Bank need to be turned over in response to congressional subpoenas and a subpoena by a New York State grand jury? Joining Benjamin Wittes to discuss it are Steve Vladeck, Quinta Jurecic and Margaret Taylor. They talked about how this confrontation developed between Congress and the executive, what the background law is and whether this should be in fact ...

'Unmaking the Presidency'
From the moment of his inauguration, Trump has challenged our deepest expectations of the presidency. But what are those expectations? Where did they come from, and how great is the damage? "Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump's War on the World's Most Powerful Office," by Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey, which is excerpted in this episode, situates Trump era scandals and outrages in the deeper context of the presidency itself. Now, the coronavirus pandemic presents one of the greatest challenges the ...


Dropping the Flynn Case
The Justice Department moved this week to dismiss the charges against Michael Flynn, a man who had pled guilty to lying to the FBI. It was an extraordinary move, one that provoked glee among the president's supporters and outrage among Justice Department traditionalists and critics of the president. On Friday, Benjamin Wittes spoke with Lawfare's Quinta Jurecic and Susan Hennessey, as well as with Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. Attorney and senior FBI official who has held a number of other significant posi...

Tony Mills on Congress's Institutional Limitations in Responding to the Coronavirus
Margaret Taylor sat down with Tony Mills, director of science policy at the R Street Institute, to talk about an article he recently wrote with Robert Cook-Deegan titled, "Where's Congress? Don't Just Blame Trump for the Coronavirus Catastrophe." They talked about the limited role of Congress in responding to the current crisis, and more broadly, its diminished institutional capacity to absorb and respond to developments in science, technology and medicine....

Aric Toler on How Not to Report on Disinformation
For this week's episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Alina Polyakova talked to Aric Toler of Bellingcat, a collective that has quickly become the gold-standard for open source and social media investigations. Aric recently published a blog post in response to a New York Times article on Russian influence campaigns—one retweeted by former President Barak Obama no less—that Aric called “How Not to Report on Disinformation.” Evelyn and Alina asked him about the article an...


The Lawfare Podcast Bonus Edition: John Ratcliffe vs. The Committee With No Bull
Representative John Ratcliffe testified before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee as a part of his nomination for the position of Director of National Intelligence. Ratcliffe was asked about his views on Russian interference, about the threat posed by North Korea, about how he would handle a variety of issues posed by the coronavirus pandemic and much more. The hearing was fairly substantive but did include some meanderings and grandstanding. But we cut out all the unnecessary repetition and theatrics...

Jung Pak on 'Becoming Kim Jong Un'
Jung Pak is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a former CIA analyst and a North Korea specialist. She is the author of "Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Analyst’s Insights into North Korea’s Enigmatic Young Dictator.” She joined Benjamin Wittes to discuss Kim Jong Un, the recent questions about whether he had died or become seriously ill, his rise to power and his confrontations with Donald Trump over nuclear weapons....

Law, Policy and Empire with Daniel Immerwahr
Most of us don’t think of United States history as an imperial history, but the facts are there. The law and policy surrounding westward expansion, off-continent acquisitions, and a worldwide network of hundreds of bases reveal much about how and why the United States grew as it did. Last month, David Priess spoke with Daniel Immerwahr, associate professor of history at Northwestern University and author of “How to Hide an Empire.” They talked about everything from what the Constitution says about lands wes...


Tom Wheeler and Nicol Turner Lee on 5G Deployment and Digital Competition with China
Margaret Taylor spoke with Brookings scholars Tom Wheeler and Nicol Turner Lee to discuss their new papers published as part of a two-year-long Brookings project called Global China: Assessing China’s Growing Role in the World. They talked about where the United States and China stand in the so-called “race” to deploy 5G networks, and the need for a coherent U.S. national strategy going forward. They talked about spurring American competition by liberating the crucial asset of the next wave of the digital e...

Thomas Rid on 'Active Measures,' Part 2
In this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth miniseries on disinformation, Quinta Jurecic and Alina Polyakova spoke with Thomas Rid about his new book, "Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare." Yesterday’s episode of the Lawfare Podcast featured a conversation between Thomas and Jack Goldsmith about the book, focusing on the early history of disinformation through the 1980s. Today, Alina and Quinta follow up with a discussion with Thomas on disinformation in the digita...

Thomas Rid on 'Active Measures,' Part 1
Jack Goldsmith spoke with Thomas Rid about Rid’s new book, "Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare." The book is about the history of information operations and influence campaigns, and we’re bringing you a two-part Lawfare Podcast to discuss it in detail. On this episode, Jack and Thomas discuss the history of disinformation from the beginning of the 20th century through the 1980s. Tomorrow on the Lawfare Podcast’s “Arbiters of Truth” miniseries on disinformation, Alina...


Sophia Yan Reports from Quarantine in Beijing
Sophia Yan, a correspondent in Beijing for the London Telegraph, joined Benjamin Wittes from Beijing where she is in coronavirus lockdown after traveling to Wuhan, China, to see how it was recovering from being the coronavirus epidemic center earlier in the year. They talked about what Wuhan looks like these days, what quarantine means in China, and how close the surveillance is. And they talked about the Chinese government, how it is responding to the crisis, and about how the Chinese economy is recovering...

Coronavirus, Federalism and Supply Chains: A Case Study
We've covered this novel coronavirus from many angles, focusing on the disaster response issues that make up part of national security. For this episode of the Lawfare Podcast, we have something a bit different: a case study of how pandemic control measures intersect with federalism issues and supply chain continuity and security. With a focus on what's happening in Illinois, David Priess spoke with Rob Karr, the president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, representing the industry emplo...

Charlie Warzel on the Pandemic Internet
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Kate Klonick and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Charlie Warzel, an opinion writer at large at the New York Times. He’s written about the internet, disinformation, privacy and platform governance—and recently he’s been focusing on how these collide with COVID-19 and the uncertainty and anxiety of living through a pandemic. They talked about what the pandemic shows us about the role of big tech companies and how the spread of a deadly disease...


Mom and Dad Talk Clinical Trials in a Pandemic
There has been a lot of confusion during the COVID-19 crisis about what counts as legitimate clinical evidence that a treatment really works. The president is endorsing unproven drug therapies based on anecdotal accounts. And while Lawfare is not a clinical trials or medical site, the subject of treating coronavirus cases certainly has become a national security issue. Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic just happen to know the perfect people to offer a basic explainer of the clinical research process. Mom a...

Mom and Dad Talk Clinical Trials in a Pandemic
There has been a lot of confusion during the COVID-19 crisis about what counts as legitimate clinical evidence that a treatment really works. The president is endorsing unproven drug therapies based on anecdotal accounts. And while Lawfare is not a clinical trials or medical site, the subject of treating coronavirus cases certainly has become a national security issue. Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic just happen to know the perfect people to offer a basic explainer of the clinical research process. Mom a...

Former Congressman Brian Baird and Daniel Schuman on How Congress Can Continue to Function Remotely
On April 16, former members of Congress participated in a "Mock Remote Hearing" via Zoom to test the viability of online congressional proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Former General David Petraeus testified, along with representatives from Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other experts; a Member of the UK Parliament testified about how the UK Parliament is innovating to meet the demands of social distancing. Margaret Taylor talked with former Congressman Brian Baird—who chaired the mock hearing—and Dani...


Is Contact Tracing a Privacy Threat?
Many people are holding out contact tracing as the way we are going to control the COVID-19 epidemic. Once we start opening up the economy again, it involves identifying people who have tested positive for the virus and notifying those with whom they have been in close contact that they are at risk and need to quarantine. It also involves surveillance—electronic surveillance of a type that we are not comfortable with as a society. Can we do it legally? Should we do it? Will it be effective? To work through ...

Is Contact Tracing a Privacy Threat?
Many people are holding out contact tracing as the way we are going to control the COVID-19 epidemic. Once we start opening up the economy again, it involves identifying people who have tested positive for the virus and notifying those with whom they have been in close contact that they are at risk and need to quarantine. It also involves surveillance—electronic surveillance of a type that we are not comfortable with as a society. Can we do it legally? Should we do it? Will it be effective? To work through ...

The Lawfare Podcast Special Edition: The National Security Law Guys Talk Adjourning Congress, “Total Authority” and Guantanamo
Lawfare founder Bobby Chesney and Lawfare contributing editor Steve Vladeck host the weekly National Security Law Podcast from the University of Texas Law School, where they discuss current developments in national security law. This week’s episode had lots of content that we thought Lawfare Podcast listeners may be interested in hearing, so we are bringing it to you in a distilled form. In this episode, the fourth edition of a Lawfare edited National Security Law Podcast, Bobby and Steve discuss the legal...


Camille François on Covid-19 and the ABCs of Disinformation
On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Camille François, the Chief Innovation Officer at Graphika, where she works to identify and mitigate disinformation and misinformation online. On April 15, Graphika released a report on an Iranian influence operation focused on COVID-19, an operation blaming the United States for supposedly creating the virus and praising China’s response to the pandemic. Camille discussed what Graphika found and ho...

Camille François on Covid-19 and the ABCs of Disinformation
On this episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Camille François, the Chief Innovation Officer at Graphika, where she works to identify and mitigate disinformation and misinformation online. On April 15, Graphika released a report on an Iranian influence operation focused on COVID-19, an operation blaming the United States for supposedly creating the virus and praising China’s response to the pandemic. Camille discussed what Graphika found and ho...

Viktor Orbán Switches Democracy Off
Nobody has been more aggressive about using the coronavirus crisis to seize power than Hungarian strong man Viktor Orbán. Orbán declared a state of emergency and has been ruling by decree. He has also instigated criminal penalties for spreading false information about the coronavirus, and his Fidesz party has effectively dissolved Parliament. Joining Benjamin Wittes to discuss the decline of Hungarian democracy is András Pap, a Hungarian scholar of constitutional law and a professor at Central European Univ...


Viktor Orbán Switches Democracy Off
Nobody has been more aggressive about using the coronavirus crisis to seize power than Hungarian strong man Viktor Orbán. Orbán declared a state of emergency and has been ruling by decree. He has also instigated criminal penalties for spreading false information about the coronavirus, and his Fidesz party has effectively dissolved Parliament. Joining Benjamin Wittes to discuss the decline of Hungarian democracy is András Pap, a Hungarian scholar of constitutional law and a professor at Central European Univ...

ICE, CBP and Coronavirus Response
Whether it has been travel bans, family separation, or changes to asylum rules, the Trump administration has long been embroiled in controversies over its immigration and detention policy. Those controversies have come amidst surges in migrants and asylum seekers, particularly at the U.S. southern border. The Trump administration's new policies have been legally and technically complex, and that was all before COVID-19. Mikhaila Fogel sat down with immigration reporters Hamed Aleaziz of Buzzfeed News, Dara ...

Stan Brand on the State of Congressional Oversight and Subpoena Power
Margaret Taylor sat down with Stan Brand, who served as the general counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1976 to 1983. They talked about key issues working their way through the courts that could redefine congressional subpoena power and congressional oversight for a generation. How will these cases move forward in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? How might they be decided, and what might that mean for the future of congressional power? And what impact are these cases having on congressional ove...


Jim Baker on FISA Errors
Jim Baker served as general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was also the counsel for the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department, where he supervised FISA applications. He joined Benjamin Wittes in the virtual Jungle Studio to discuss Inspector General Michael Horowitz's shocking report on inaccuracy in FISA applications, and the problems at the FBI that led to these errors....

Kate Klonick and Alina Polyakova on Pandemics, Platform Governance and Geopolitics
On this episode of Lawfare's Arbiters of Truth series on disinformation, Quinta Jurecic speaks with Alina Polyakova and Kate Klonick, who both have expertise that can clarify our confusing current moment. Alina has been running a great series of virtual events at the Center for European Policy Analysis on disinformation and geopolitics during COVID-19. And Kate’s research on platform governance helps shed light on the aggressive role some tech platforms have been playing in moderating content online during ...

China, Technology and Global Supply Chains with the Cyberspace Solarium Commission
March 11 marked the launch of the official report of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. The commission is a bicameral, bipartisan intergovernmental body created by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, and charged with developing and articulating a comprehensive strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace. For the last month, Lawfare has published a series of commentaries on various highlights from the report, some by analysts involved with the commission. In this episode of the ...


The United Nations and the Coronavirus Crisis
The devastating effects of the coronavirus COVID-19 are being felt in nearly every corner of the world, with little regard for national borders or boundaries. In many ways, this makes it the exact sort of transnational threat that the United Nations is supposed to help address, yet the response across various U.N. institutions has been inconsistent at best. To understand how the United Nations is responding to the coronavirus crisis and why, Scott R. Anderson spoke with two people who know it like few other...

The United Nations and the Coronavirus Crisis
The devastating effects of the coronavirus COVID-19 are being felt in nearly every corner of the world, with little regard for national borders or boundaries. In many ways, this makes it the exact sort of transnational threat that the United Nations is supposed to help address, yet the response across various U.N. institutions has been inconsistent at best. To understand how the United Nations is responding to the coronavirus crisis and why, Scott R. Anderson spoke with two people who know it like few other...