The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Victoria Clark
Saturday, July 21, 2018, 12:04 PM

On Monday, President Trump flew to Helsinki, Finland to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last Sunday, Carol R. Saivetz laid out the topics that the pair were likely to address. After their closed-door, no-staff conversation, Trump and Putin held a press conference during which Trump refused to stand behind the U.S. intelligence community and acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 elections. His comments received plenty of attention on Lawfare: Bob Bauer discussed the question of impeachment after Trump’s defense of President Putin, while Alina Polyakova sat down with GQ correspondent Julia Ioffe and Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer on the Lawfare Podcast to digest what happened in Helsinki and what it means for the future.

Jack Goldsmith raised several uncomfortable questions in light of Trump’s comments and Mueller’s July 13 indictment accusing 13 Russian intelligence officers of hacking the DNC. On the National Security Law Podcast, Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck debated whether Trump administration officials should resign after Helsinki. They also discussed Doe v. Mattis, military commissions, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

On Monday, the Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint and supporting affidavit accusing Russian national Mariia Butina of conspiring to act as an agent of Russia within the United States. Victoria Clark, Mikhaila Fogel, Matthew Kahn, Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes offered some initial thoughts on the accusations against Butina and the implications for L’Affaire Russe. The next day, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Butina, and on Wednesday, federal prosecutors filed a memorandum in support of pretrial detention.

In May of 2018, Scott Anderson and Wittes filed a lawsuit against the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to the results of the FBI’s latest internal “climate survey.” Last Friday, the FBI turned over those results. Anderson and Wittes outlined the survey’s findings, noting in particular a loss of confidence among FBI employees in the agency’s leadership.

Stephanie Leutert and Caitlyn Yates explained the legal avenues available to Central Americans entering the United States. Lawfare published the first three entries in a series of dispatches by Leutert from her time along Mexico’s southern border: On Wednesday, Leutert introduced the series. In her second piece, she compared the impact of migrants and tourists on the local economy. And in the third, she described the myriad dangers for migrants crossing through Mexico.

Andrew Keane Woods argued that scholars are using the wrong tools to study both constitutional and human rights.

This week in cybersecurity, Michael Sulmeyer drew our attention to an article by Greg Falco on the cybersecurity implications for Trump’s proposed space force. Chesney and Danielle Citron introduced their paper on “deep fakes.” And on the Cyberlaw Podcast, Brian Egan, Matthew Heiman, Jim Lewis, and Megan Seiss tackled Mueller’s July 13 indictment, the Senate’s Secure Elections Act, and ZTE.

Molly Reynolds raised concerns about Congress’s ability to engage in meaningful oversight in light of FBI agent Peter Strzok’s testimony before two House committees on July 12.

Stephanie Zable explained the president’s authority to issue tariffs under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

On this week’s Middle East Ticker, J. Dana Stuster updated us on possible U.S.-Russia cooperation in Syria, Iran’s efforts to keep its oil markets stable, and Iraq’s growing economic protests. Daniel Byman criticized Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their strategy in Yemen.

The North Atlantic Council released a communique on behalf of NATO member-countries following the July 11 summit.

Clark posted a brief filed by the Justice Department with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear requests from private parties for the release of records. Fogel posted a lawsuit filed by Iran against the United States in the International Court of Justice.

Finally, Vladeck discussed Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s views on Morrison v. Olson in the context of the Mueller protection bill.

And that was the week that was.