The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Anushka Limaye
Saturday, May 18, 2019, 8:16 AM

Last weekend, Jack Goldsmith argued that Robert Mueller erred in failing to apply the presidential clear statement rule in his analysis of presidential obstruction of justice. Benjamin Wittes responded to the piece, defending aspects of Mueller’s statutory interpretation. Andrew Kent supplied additional Justice Department precedent in support of Mueller’s obstruction theory. Josh Blackman furthered the criticism, exploring Mueller's constitutional analysis in light of the Office of Legal Counsel's opinions on the Clear Statement Rule.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on the Judiciary heard testimony from legal experts on the issues of executive privilege and congressional oversight; Mikhaila Fogel shared a livestream of the event. Fogel also shared White House Counsel Pat Cipollone’s letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler questioning the validity of the committee's investigation into obstruction of justice.

Margaret Taylor provided a comprehensive summary of oral arguments in Trump v. Committee on Oversight and Reform, in which President Trump and his associates are suing a congressional committee to prevent that committee from obtaining President Trump’s financial records.

Matthew Kahn shared President Trump’s executive order, entitled “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain.” Kahn also shared a livestream of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on 5G Infrastructure.

In other cybersecurity news, Ben Buchanan analyzed improvements in China’s cyber espionage techniques, resulting from failures in operational security at NSA. David Kris argued that U.S. counterintelligence must increase its focus on adapting to long-term cyber struggles and discussed the shift in approach required to make this change.

Quinta Jurecic shared three recently unsealed documents in the Michael Flynn case.

Mieke Eoyang, Ben Freeman, Ryan Pougiales, and Benjamin Wittes shared their latest data and analysis concerning the public’s confidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Keith E. Whittington analyzed the ways in which Trump’s presidency may constrain the dimensions of presidential power.

Wittes sat down with John Sipher, who ran the CIA’s operations in Moscow, to discuss the Mueller Report’s findings on Russian involvement in the 2016 election in an edition of the Lawfare Podcast, posted by Jen Patja Howell last Saturday:

Evan Kielar and Scott R. Anderson posted an update on Lawfare’s FOIA request form from last year on how Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger’s SF-86 form was released in response to a political advocacy group’s FOIA request.

In this week’s episode of the National Security Law Podcast, Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck discussed the latest national security news, including potential armed conflict with Iran and “starry-eyed” decisis on the part of the Supreme Court:

This week’s edition of Rational Security, posted by Jen Patja Howell, also covered tensions with Iran as well as the Russia investigation and a mass deportation plan:

Tyler Cullis and Amir Handjani assessed the effects of the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran on sanctions exemptions for trade in humanitarian goods with Tehran.

In other foreign policy news, Scott R. Anderson explored how the Trump administration may designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, and Emmah Wabuke provided a comprehensive analysis of rising tensions between Kenya and Somalia, and the accompanying national security implications this may have.

Bruce Riedel discussed the complex past that Algeria and America share, and how the Trump administration can apply JFK’s example today in supporting change in Algeria.

Raphael S. Cohen and James Dobbins explored what the Reagan administration’s policies towards the Soviet Union could teach the U.S. today about dealing with contemporary Russia.

And finally, Jared Cohen, founder and CEO of Jigsaw and Alphabet Inc., discussed his new book, Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America on Tuesday’s edition of the Lawfare Podcast:

And that was the week that was.