The Justice Department made history of a dubious sort on Saturday when it released under the Freedom of Information Act a redacted copy of the FISA applications seeking a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. David Kris provided an analysis of the applications. Shane Harris, Susan Hennessey, Tamara Cofman Wittes, and Benjamin Wittes discussed the unprecedented release and the president’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week on Rational Security:
After the White House announced that President Trump is considering stripping the security clearances of six former intelligence officials, Bradley Moss explored whether he has the authority to do so. Paul Rosenzweig drew our attention to a suddently relevant July 24 appeals court decision with potential implications for the president’s plan. Kristy Parker and Ben Berwick argued that Trump’s threat violates the officials’ first amendment right to criticize the president. And Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck discussed the “authoritarian impulse of the week” on the National Security Law Podcast.
On Wednesday, Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Molly Reynolds provided some necessary context for the Congressmen’s efforts.
In L’Affaire Russe news, Victoria Clark, Mikhaila Fogel, and Matthew Kahn summarized a number of key takeaways from Mariia Butina’s July 18 detention hearing. Kahn clarified the distinction between a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general.
Rosenzweig shared several additional reflections on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s July 13 indictment of 13 Russian intelligence officials. Josh Blackman and Seth Barrett Tillman questioned whether Mueller is an “Officer” of the United States or an “Employee” of the United States in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Lucia v. SEC. Bob Bauer outlined the norms and unwritten rules that the Special Counsel must negotiate.
Sharon Bradford Franklin foretold the end of bulk surveillance after the Carpenter ruling, and Orin Kerr predicted how Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as a Supreme Court justice, may rule on fourth amendment cases.
Robert Loeb highlighted Judge Kavanaugh’s history of deference to other political branches on national security issues. Scott Anderson, Jen Mascott, Vladeck, and Loeb offered their takes on the future of national security cases before the Supreme Court on the Lawfare Podcast.
On Wednesday, Scott Anderson explained whether the president has the authority to withdraw the United States from NATO without congressional consent. The next day, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill that would prevent the executive from doing just that.
Congress also released the conference text and explanatory statement for the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019. Bobby Chesney analyzed its implications for military cyber operations.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
On this week’s Middle East Ticker, J. Dana Stuster updated us on Trump’s all-caps threat to Iran, Israel’s rejection of a Syrian buffer zone, and Erdogan’s decision to lift the state of emergency in Turkey. Nathan Stock argued that Western and Arab governments should help foster Palestinian democracy.
Stephanie Leutert published the final entry in her series of dispatches from along Mexico’s southern border.
On the Lawfare Podcast, Shannon Togawa Mercer sat down with Jennifer Hillman and Clark Packard to tackle all things trade and national security.
Robert Williams raised concerns about the distinctions between national security interests and economic interests. David Stanton and Wenqing Zhao rounded up recent news on the U.S.-China tech trade conflict. Kathleen Claussen surveyed the wreckage left in the wake of Trump’s trade war battlefield.
Sarah Grant summarized the July 24 hearing at the military commissions.
Nathan Swire dove deep on China’s recent actions in the South China Sea for this month’s Water Wars.
This week in cyber, Herb Lin shared a recent poll that examined whether the public views the threat of Russian cyber operations along partisan divides. Stewart Baker interviewed Chesney on his recent paper with Danielle Citron: “Deep Fakes: A Looming Challenge for Privacy, Democracy, and National Security" on the Cyberlaw Podcast.
Elena Chachko made sense of Iran’s lawsuit against the United States in the International Court of Justice.
Kris recommended the recent CSIS report by Jennifer Daskal and Will Carter: “Low-Hanging Fruit: Evidence-Based Solutions to the Digital Evidence Challenge.”
Chesney announced the 9th National Security Law Workshop.
And that was the week that was.