The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Victoria Clark
Saturday, June 9, 2018, 8:24 AM

Quinta Jurecic kicked off the week by posting two letters sent by the Trump legal team to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in June 2017 and January 2018. Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes offered their thoughts on the letters. David Kris tackled three of the Trump team’s remarkable legal claims. And Josh Blackman explored the question of what laws apply to the president.

A wave of presidential pardons sparked a week of discussion on executive power. Bob Bauer argued Trump’s pardons are symbolic of his “demagogic presidency.” He then laid out the implications of Rudy Giuliani’s “murder in the oval office” hypothetical. Paul Rosenzweig explained the good-faith assumption behind the president’s pardon power. And Jack Goldsmith collated the plethora of opinions on whether the president actually has the power to pardon himself.

On Monday, Jurecic posted a motion that Mueller filed with the U.S. District Court accusing Paul Manafort of witness tampering. Rosenzweig noted that the evidence behind the motion appeared a little shaky. Friday afternoon brought an interesting turn of events as Mueller filed a superseding indictment bringing formal charges against Manafort on the witness tampering charges. Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort’s elusive Russian friend, was added as a defendant. Rosenzweig said he eagerly awaits next Friday’s evidentiary presentation.

For more on witness tampering, Article II, and the Carpenter case, check out this week’s Rational Security: The ‘500 Days’ Edition.

In other indictment news, Matthew Kahn posted the grand jury indictment of James Wolfe, the former director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, who is charged with three counts of making false statements to a government agency.

Matthew Weybrecht considered whether President Trump's publicly calling for a Justice Department investigation is preferable to presidents' privately making similar requests.

Curtis Bradley and Goldsmith worried the “national interest” constraint in the Office of Legal Counsel's for the legality of presidential uses of force does not constrain the president at all.

Richard Fontaine and Vance Serchuk challenged Congress to take a more active role in U.S. military operations overseas.

After the U.S. government announced its plan to release John Doe in Syria, Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck predicted that the end of Doe v. Mattis may be in sight. They also talked war powers, military commissions, and CIA black sites in the National Security Law Podcast.

This week in cyber, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Mayank Varia, and Charles Wright outlined how Congress can help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the tech community.

Evelyn Douek brought our attention to a recent U.N. report on online content regulation. Rosenzweig touched on a Federal Trade Commission loss and a Google’s AI.

Bruce Schneier used the Russia vs. Telegram messaging app battle to highlight how big tech companies are increasingly the arbiters of internet freedom.

Duncan B. Hollis and Matthew Waxman explored how Bush-era proliferation policy could inform cybersecurity cooperation.

Stewart Baker posted the latest episode of The Cyberlaw Podcast which covered the (expected and unexpected) implications of the General Data Protection Regulation, and more.

In a new essay for the Hoover Aegis series, Goldsmith and Stuart Russell explained why the U.S. is uniquely vulnerable to cyber operations.

Clint Watts sat down with Benjamin Wittes to discuss disinformation and tracking down terrorists in the latest Lawfare Podcast.

On this week’s Middle East Ticker, J. Dana Stuster caught us up on Jordan’s prime minister, the Gulf Crisis, and the city of Manbij.

Lila Margalit underscored the Israeli Supreme Court’s support for inmates’ right to personal space.

Chibli Mallat revealed growing Saudi dissent, and Kemal Kirisci and Kutay Onayli investigated whether Erdogan’s political challengers have a chance of electoral success.

Sam Roggeveen highlighted Philip Bobbit’s plan to end the seven-decade stand-off in the Korean peninsula.

Michael Neiberg looked back at WWI to see why we must question our historical assumptions.

Rick Ledgett reminded us of the many dedicated NSA staffers on the five-year anniversary of the Snowden disclosures.

Finally, Mark A. Lawrence reviewed Max Boot’s The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam, and pondered its implications for U.S. intervention overseas.

And that was the week that was.