The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Garrett Hinck
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 7:13 AM

What a week it was.

Last Friday, CNN reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had filed the first indictments in the Russia investigation—though it did not name either the targets or the charges. Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes explained the significance of seven then-unanswered questions about the indictments.

On Monday, the news broke that Mueller had indicted Paul Manafort Jr. and Richard W. Gates III. Vanessa Sauter posted the indictment. Sarah Grant and Shannon Togawa Mercer summarized the charges. Matthew Kahn also flagged the D.C. district court ruling that compelled Manafort and Gates’ former attorney to testify against them. Shannon Togawa Mercer posted the government’s memorandum asking the court to set conditions on Manafort and Gates’s release.

Also on Monday, George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Sauter posted the stipulation of facts and the plea agreement and the transcript of the plea hearing. Sabrina McCubbin summarized the Papadopoulos court documents.  Sauter also posted the criminal complaint against Papadopoulos released on Wednesday.

Hennessey and Wittes shared their analysis of Monday’s developments in the special counsel investigation. Wittes also posted a special edition of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a discussion with Bob Bauer and Paul Rosenzweig about Monday’s events.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared the National Security Law Podcast, featuring their discussion of the indictments, ACLU v. Mattis, the captured Benghazi suspect, and developments in the al-Nashiri case:

Wittes also posted the “Million Dollars in Rugs” edition of Rational Security:

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman and Wittes shared the October 2017 data from their Confidence in Government on National Security Matters project.

They also discussed data that supported a troubling conclusion: Republican attacks on the special counsel seem to be affecting public confidence in Mueller.

On Tuesday, a man drove a truck into a bike path in New York City, killing eight people in the most deadly terror attack in New York since 9/11. Police shot and arrested the man, Sayfullo Saipov, at the scene. Matthew Kahn posted the federal criminal complaint against Saipov.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared an emergency edition of the National Security Law Podcast responding to Trump’s suggestion that he would send Saipov to Guantanamo Bay:

Chesney, McCubbin and Wittes analyzed President Trump’s suggestion that Saipov be held as an enemy combatant in the context of the chaotic developments in the military detention system.

It was also a dramatic week at the Guantanamo Bay military commissions. Sarah Grant summarized Tuesday’s confrontation between military judge Col. Vance Spath and chief defense counsel Gen. John Baker over the dismissal of Rahim al-Nashiri’s civilian defense team. Sauter posted the al-Nashiri defense team’s motion for a preliminary injunction at the D.C. district court to halt proceedings in the case. On Wednesday, Judge Spath held Gen. Baker in contempt of court. Grant detailed the developments from the contempt hearing. Sauter flagged Gen. Baker’s habeas petition at the D.C. district court. She also posted Judge Spath's memo of opposition.  

In other detainee developments, Kahn posted the government’s reply brief in ACLU v. Mattis, the case involving a captured American citizen being held by the military as an enemy combatant. Scott Harman analyzed the ACLU’s attempt to assume “next friend” status for the unnamed enemy combatant.

Kahn posted Judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling blocking the Trump administration’s ban on transgender military service members. Grant summarized the judge’s opinion and order.

Shannon Togawa Mercer posted the video of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on the AUMF with Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis. Scott Andersen and Sabrina McCubbin outlined the hearing’s key takeaways. Bruce Ackerman summarized oral arguments in Smith v. Trump, a case brought by a U.S. service member challenging the U.S. legal authorities for the Islamic State conflict.

Garrett Hinck posted the video and testimony of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing with experts, including social media executives on extremism, Russian disinformation and the 2016 elections. He also shared the video and testimony from hearings with social media executives before the House and Senate intelligence committees. And in response to the hearings, Alan Rozenshtein argued that the debate about whether technology companies are news publishers should shift to a discussion of their actual effects on society.

Stewart Baker shared this week's edition of the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with Chris Painter, former lead cyber diplomat at the State Department:

Evelyn Douek analyzed the impact of Germany’s new law to regulate online hate crimes and fake news.

Paul Rosenzweig shared video of an interview with Melissa Hathaway, former senior cybersecurity adviser in the Bush administration, on the future of cybersecurity.

Stewart Baker posted a second episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, featuring an interview with Rep. Tom Graves, co-sponsor of a “hack back” bill:

David Forscey analyzed the latest updates to Rep. Graves’ hack back bill.

In the Foreign Policy Essay, David Bosco presented the upside of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from UNESCO.

J. Dana Stuster updated the Middle East Ticker, covering the resignation of Iraqi Kurdistan’s president and the capture of a suspect in the Benghazi attacks by U.S. Special Forces.

Bonnie Jenkins argued that even if the U.S. leaves the Iran deal, the remaining members could continue implementing the accord.

Megan Reiss analyzed the conclusions of a recent piece in the New York Times on the effects of sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Sauter shared the Lawfare Podcast, featuring a discussion with Benjamin Wittes, Kori Schake, Nora Bensahel and Ryan Evans on the response to the Trump administration among foreign policy and national security elites:

Ryan Scoville reviewed Anthea Roberts’ book, “Is International Law International?”

Sarah Grant updated Water Wars, covering the ASEAN defense ministers’ meeting, developments in the South China Sea, and the latest commentary on maritime conflict.

Sauter shared a second episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring an interview between Benjamin Wittes and Anne Applebaum about her new book “Red Famine”:

Harry Larson explained what immigration detainers are and the legal challenges facing them in a guide to a perplexing point of conflict between local and federal law enforcement authorities.

And Wittes reacted to President Trump’s attempts to influence the Department of Justice, arguing that Trump’s frustration at his failure to successfully corrupt law enforcement in his favor reveals the strength and integrity of law enforcement institutions.

And that was the week that was.