The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Mikhaila Fogel
Saturday, April 27, 2019, 8:51 AM

As might have been expected, much this week focused on the fallout from Attorney General Bill Barr’s release of a partially-redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.

Susan Hennessey and Quinta Jurecic argued that the information contained in the report demands an impeachment inquiry. Jurecic also provided a color-coded “heat map” for understanding instances—as described by Mueller—in which President Trump may have obstructed justice. She also outlined the Supreme Court’s role in impeachment (Hint: it doesn’t really have one.) And Benjamin Wittes completed a reader's diary of the report.

Meanwhile, Samuel Moyn explored how the report spotlights the ways U.S. democracy has failed to derive an institution that can properly investigate a sitting president. Paul Rosenzweig analyzed the report from a cybersecurity perspective—and also posed some questions for Attorney General Bill Barr.

Gen. Michael Hayden and David Priess noted how deftly Mueller crafted his report, given the regulatory and political constraints under which he operated.

At the Brookings Institution, Wittes hosted a panel discussion on what we learned from the redacted report. The panel featured Hennessey, Chuck Rosenberg and Margaret Taylor. Fogel shared a video of the event, as well as the full-audio in a Bonus Episode of the Lawfare Podcast.

The Rational Security gang devoted an entire episode to the ins and outs of the Mueller report, and what the report was missing. Jen Patja Howell shared the episode.

And the Mueller report wasn’t the only beef between President Trump and Congress this week. Fogel shared a lawsuit filed by Donald Trump—in his personal capacity—and the Trump Organization against House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings and the accounting firm Mazars USA LLP regarding a dispute over the release of Trump’s financial information. Taylor analyzed and contextualized the lawsuit. Fogel also shared an exchange of letters in which the White House ordered an administration official not to comply with a congressional subpoena.  And Jurecic posted the House of Representatives’ application for a preliminary injunction against Trump’s border wall.

Elsewhere in the world, Dan Byman examined what the terrorist attack in Sri Lanka tells us about the threat of Islamic State foreign fighters. Jessie Durrett explored the unintended consequences that U.S.-Taliban peace talks may have on Afghanistan. Suzanne Maloney probed the Trump administration’s efforts to cut off Iran’s oil revenues. Elizabeth Allan detailed the history of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia security partnership.  And Sean Quirk updated Lawfare readers on the latest goings-on in the South China and East China Seas.

In the realm of privacy and technology, Alexei Bulazel, Sophia d’Antoine, Perri Adams and Dave Aitel proposed an expansion to the discussion of Huawei risk mitigation, and Herb Lin responded.  Andrew Gribakov explored whether California’s new data privacy law will allow it to apply for an adequacy determination under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Justin Hemmings and Nathan Swire argued that, contrary to what some EU members think, the Cloud Act is not a tool for economic espionage. Nathaniel Sobel broke down a Massachusetts high court ruling allowing the state to compel password decryption.

Bruce Schneier enumerated the “kill chain” of information attacks, and Jessica Brandt and Bradley Hanlon advocated that online platforms should coordinate their responses to disinformation.

And Stewart Baker shared this week’s episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, in which the Steptoe crew discusses, among other things, new proposed Internet regulations in the UK, the interagency process surrounding Cyber Command and the EU Commission’s approach to Kaspersky Lab.

Patja Howell shared the fifth episode in the Lawfare Podcast’s Culper Rule of Law Series, in which David Kris and Nate Jones interview former senior White House and Justice Department official Ron Klain.

Patja Howell also shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast, in which Jack Goldsmith spoke with former Trump administration official Michael Anton about Trump’s approach to foreign policy.

Fogel shared an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upholding Chelsea Manning’s contempt citation in the WikiLeaks case.

Nate Bruggeman issued a call for papers from the new Homeland Security Project at Harvard University’s Belfer Center.

And that was the week that was.