The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Alex Potcovaru
Saturday, January 6, 2018, 9:15 AM

Lawfare began the year with a series of reflections on the state of the Trump presidency. Carrie Cordero examined the developments in President Trump’s relationship with the intelligence community throughout 2017. Benjamin Wittes analyzed Trump’s 2017 performance and his so-far-failing war against the so-called "Deep State." Paul Rosenzweig evaluated Trump’s year in cybersecurity. Jeffrey Smith critiqued Trump for threatening core American institutions through his actions. Bob Bauer examined how Trump’s encroachments on the Justice Department could erode the norm of the independence of federal law enforcement. And Jack Goldsmith argued that Justice Department rules and norms and the vigilance of the American people will prevent Trump from terminating the Robert Mueller investigation.

Wittes also posted a special edition of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt—along with Susan Hennessey, Jack Goldsmith, and Bob Bauer for a discussion of Schmidt’s article on White House Counsel Donald McGahn’s attempt to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

Goldsmith considered how Rod Rosenstein’s failure to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation could call into question elements of the current narrative.

Jane Chong argued that Congress may impeach a president for anticonstitutional abuses of power—even using powers that fall squarely within the executive's purview.

Vanessa Sauter posted the year-end Lawfare Podcast featuring our contributors answering listener-submitted questions.

Later, Wittes posted another episode of the Lawfare Podcast, featuring the first part of his conversation with Hudson Institute scholar Michael Doran about their strikingly differnt worldviews. The second part will post later today.

Matthew Kahn posted the ACLU’s brief saying that the U.S. citizen currently detained by the Defense Department as an enemy combatant wants ACLU representation in his ongoing habeas corpus action.

J. Dana Stuster posted an abridged Middle East Ticker, covering the Iranian protests. Daniel Byman examined Iran’s foreign policy weaknesses and considered opportunities to exploit them.

Stewart Baker discussed how he would respond to Iran’s crackdown on recent protests. Wittes later issued an editor’s note related to the post.

Timothy Heath argued that the competing strategies outlined by the United States and China indicate deepening competition in the diplomatic, cyber, economic, and information realms, although the risk of a major war remains low.

Michael Sulmeyer analyzed the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, aimed at securing election infrastructure.

Herb Lin argued that election hacking as we currently understand it does not constitute a cybersecurity issue.

Harleen Gambhir summarized the District Court for the Western District of Washington’s certification of the class in Wagafe v. Trump, presenting a potential preview of the issues stemming from “extreme vetting.”

Kahn posted Paul Manafort’s complaint against the Justice Department and Special Counsel Robert Mueller that claims Mueller’s jurisdiction is too broad under Justice Department regulations. Josh Blackman argued that the Manafort complaint is a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted the National Security Law Podcast, looking back at 2017.

Elena Chachko summarized Alyan v. The Military Commander in the West Bank, an Israeli Supreme Court case ruling that the Israeli government lacks the authority to use the bodies of terrorists to secure the return of Israeli casualties.

Amichai Cohen considered whether an amendment to Israel’s national security law would change the rules governing Israeli entry into conflict.

Wittes posted this week's episode of Rational Security: The “Never Get Drunk with Australians” Edition.

David Anderson described how the United Kingdom is using independent assessments of internal reviews as a new intelligence oversight tool.

Hayley Evans summarized the U.K. Parliament Intelligence and Security Committee’s annual report.

David Kimball-Stanley explained how a case involving the constitutional implications of 3-D printed guns may be headed to the Supreme Court.

Rosenzweig predicted future developments in cybersecurity in 2018.

Nicholas Weaver analyzed the security vulnerabilities nicknamed “Spectre” and “Meltdown” and offered some security recommendations. Bruce Schneier introduced his piece on the attacks.

Garrett Hinck reported on changes to an international export control agreement that now exempts cybersecurity research and information sharing from export license requirements for surveillance software.

Wittes provided a tribute to Doug Letter, who is stepping down as head of the civil appellate staff at the Justice Department after nearly 40 years of government service.

Chesney announced the winners of the Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship.
And Wittes posted the CIA’s response to his FOIA request for the director’s holiday message—fudge recipe included.

And that was the week that was.