John Bellinger

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John B. Bellinger III is a partner in the international and national security law practices at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC. He is also Adjunct Senior Fellow in International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as The Legal Adviser for the Department of State from 2005–2009, as Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council at the White House from 2001–2005, and as Counsel for National Security Matters in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice from 1997–2001.

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Donald Trump

What We Said in August 2016: Trump 'Would Put at Risk Our Country’s National Security'

Below is an excerpt from the letter of 50 former senior national security officials who had served in Republican administrations dated Aug. 8, 2016 in which we stated that if elected president, Donald Trump “would be the most reckless President in American history”:

In memoriam

George H.W. Bush's National Security Team: A Study in Statecraft

The obituaries of President George H.W. Bush have appropriately focused on his foreign policy successes, especially his deft diplomatic handling of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany as well as his firm but ultimately restrained response to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. One reason for his success is that he entered office with more foreign policy experience than any other president, having served not only as vice president for eight years but also previously as director of central intelligence, ambassador to the United Nations and as envoy to China.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

The Trump Administration Throws Down the Gauntlet to the ICC. The Court Should Decline The Challenge.

In his speech to the Federalist Society on Monday, national security adviser John Bolton fired a broadside at the International Criminal Court, which he called “ineffective,” “unaccountable,” “deeply flawed” and “outright dangerous.” He said the ICC unacceptably threatens American sovereignty and U.S. national-security interests. He criticized the ICC prosecutor’s request to start an investigation of U.S.


ICYMI: Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh Urges Republicans to Defend the Mueller Investigation and the Justice Department

In case you missed it, or missed Benjamin Wittes’s subsequent tweet commending it, former attorney general Dick Thornburgh had an important op-ed in the Washington Post last week—headlined “We Republicans Must All Speak out to Protect the Mueller Investigation”—in which he defends Bob Mueller, his investiga

International Law

The Trump Administration Should Do More to Explain the Legal Basis for the Syrian Airstrikes

In their post earlier today, Jack Goldsmith and Oona Hathaway argue that the Trump administration had no apparent domestic or international legal authority for last night’s air strikes against Syria. I had similarly questioned the legal basis, especially the international law basis, for the U.S. air strikes against Syria in April 2017. I would offer these additional thoughts now:


Amicus Brief on Behalf of Evan McMullin et al in Hawaii v. Trump: Congress Intended to 'Eliminate All Vestiges of Discrimination'

On April 25, when the Supreme Court hears argument in Hawaii v Trump, the challenge to President Trump’s third executive order imposing a travel ban on nationals from eight countries (“EO-3”), the Court will have received the views not only of the parties but of numerous other interested individuals, organizations, and states who have submitted 73 amicus briefs. Of these, 13 briefs support the Trump Administration and EO-3, while 56 briefs support Hawaii and oppose EO-3.