President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to Congress and entered a formal plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday. Matthew Kahn shared the plea documents, and along with Mikhaila Fogel, Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, explained what the criminal information tells us and what it doesn’t. Fogel also posted a special edition of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Wittes sat down with Susan Hennessey, Paul Rosenzweig and Anthony Cormier of Buzzfeed News to discuss the implications of Cohen’s plea on the Mueller investigation.
In other news, Ranj Alaaldin asked if, after months of negotiations, Iraq’s new leadership will be able to make and keep a peace.
Bob Bauer assessed Roger Stone’s highly unconventional political strategies, and how interaction with a foreign government changes the dynamic.
Ned Price and Chuck Rosenberg explored the relevance of post-Nixon congressional reforms to our current era.
In their latest installment of their polling project, Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman, Ryan Pougiales and Benjamin Wittes analyzed data from October 2018 on which institutions the public trusts and mistrusts to protect the country’s security.
While the U.S.-China trade war is making headlines, Robert Williams argued that figuring out a way to protect strategically sensitive emerging technologies without undermining the American economic ecosystem may prove to be the defining trade security question of our time.
Bobby Chesney and Steve Vladeck posted this week’s National Security Law Podcast. This week, they discussed the legality of tear gas at the border, Russia’s attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, convictions in terrorism-related cases and much more:
This week’s Rational Security, posted by Jen Patja Howell, featured a discussion on another part of the Mueller investigation—Paul Manafort’s sentencing and revelations that the former Trump campaign chairman lied to the special counsel:
Matthew Kahn shared former FBI Director James Comey’s motion to quash a congressional subpoena issued by the House Judiciary Committee on how he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server and the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. Quinta Jurecic later shared the response of the House of Representatives to Comey’s motion.
Daniel J. Weitzner flagged a new essay series capturing some of the views at the Crypto 2018 Workshop on Encryption and Surveillance.
As part of the series, Ian Levy and Crispin Robinson, senior officials at the British GCHQ, outlined a series of principles that help enable most of the necessary lawful access without undermining the values we all hold dear.
As part of the Crypto series, Josh Benaloh explored the pitfalls of so-called “responsible” encryption backdoors. And Cindy Cohn advocated that the security community should work to make the digital world safer, rather than encouraging companies to build in security holes for law enforcement.
This week also saw a new addition to the Aegis Paper Series from the Hoover Institution, a paper by Andrew Burt and Dan Greer on approaching data security when threats are innumerable. On Wednesday, Stewart Baker shared this week’s Cyberlaw Podcast, which featured discussion on topics ranging from corporate ethics to a Facebook Supreme Content Court to international confidentiality orders:
Jen Patja Howell shared another episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Benjamin Wittes sat down with John Carlin to discuss Carlin’s new book with Garrett Graff, “Dawn of the Code War: America's Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat”:
In other cybersecurity news this week, Max Smeets and Herb Lin provided an outcome-based analysis of the new U.S. Cyber Command vision and the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy. In response to two essays—one by Bobby Chesney, the other by Robert Williams and Ben Buchanan—to Lyu Jinghua’s original argument on defending forward, Jinghua explored the prudence of the Defense Department’s strategy of “defending forward”. Finally, in the latest edition of SinoTech, Rachel Brown and Preston Lim detailed the U.S. Trade Representative’s report on Chinese utilization of unfair trade practices in advance of the G20 Summit.
Anthea Roberts, Henrique Choer Moraes and Victor Ferguson posted the second installment in their series on the new geoeconomic world order, arguing that our current era is characterized by a convergence of economics and security as well as a standoff between China and the U.S.
In this week’s Middle East Ticker, J. Dana Stuster discussed the UAE’s release of a British student accused of spying, the Saudi crown prince’s regional tour, and potential peace talks in Yemen. In other Yemen news, the Senate may have taken its most important step to date towards openly opposing U.S. involvement in the Yemen war—Scott Anderson has more.
Meanwhile, Shanelle Van assessed the merits and drawbacks of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a discussion with Benjamin Wittes, Scott Anderson and Alina Polyakova on the relationship between Ukraine and Russia:
Emma Broches analyzed the prospect of accountability for the Syrian conflict through the UN Mechanism.
And that was the week that was.