The Week That Was

The Week That Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Gordon Ahl
Saturday, September 21, 2019, 7:18 AM

Benjamin Wittes offered some thoughts connecting two of the week’s big stories, the Corey Lewandowski testimony before the House Judiciary Committee and the intelligence official’s whistleblower complaint.

Robert S. Litt commented on the latest news accounts of President Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian President and analyzed the unwillingness of the ODNI to hand over the whistleblower’s complaint to Congress.

On Tuesday, Margaret Taylor analyzed the historical relationship between the executive and legislative branches on intelligence community whistleblowers. Litt similarly unpacked the facts at that time and the ongoing relevance for congressional oversight and the erosion of congressional power more generally.

As for documents related to the whistleblower complaint, Gordon Ahl shared the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community’s letters to the congressional intelligence communities calling the whistleblower complaint “urgent” and “credible.” Quinta Jurecic provided the letters from Adam Schiff to the ODNI, in which Schiff demands the House Intelligence Committee be provided the details of the complaint. And Jacob Shulz posted the General Counsel of the ODNI’s response to Congress arguing that the agency had no obligation to share information related to the whistleblower.

The podcasts this week also featured discussions about the whistleblower complaint, including as the primary topic that Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck debate on the National Security Law Podcast:

The latest episode of Rational Security, the ‘WhistleSTOP’ Edition, began with the whistleblower topic—before moving onto the Israeli election and Corey Lewandowki’s strange testimony and finishing with Ben’s favorite mussels bar in D.C.:

The House Judiciary Committee was busy this week hearing testimony from Lewandowski. The Judiciary Committee also held a hearing on FISA oversight. William Ford provided an overview of this FISA hearing and the four provisions set to expire in December that are under consideration for reauthorization.

Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes released the eighth episode of The Report; the current episode starts the coverage of Volume II of the Mueller Report, focusing on the president’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation:

Evelyn Douek shared her new paper from the Hoover Institution’s Aegis Series on Facebook’s new Oversight Board. Douek also discussed Facebook’s update on its values and the implications for content moderation.

On a related note, Stewart Baker analyzed how end-to-end encryption is going to lose out to content moderation.  Baker also shared the latest episode of the Cyberlaw Podcast, which focused on how a U.S. cybersecurity regime may be in violation of World Trade Organization obligations and many other topics:

Wyatt Hoffman and Ariel E. Levite presented a strategy for future private sector involvement in active cyber defense.

Alex Campbell examined the U.S. cyber shift from deterrence to persistent engagement and the potential implications of China failing to recognize this shift.

Looking internationally, Elizabeth Parker-Magyar discussed one reason why Jordan has welcomed many Syrian refugees. Richard C. Bush analyzed the legal and political reasons why there are ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

In the latest Water Wars, Amy Zeng reported on the first ever joint naval exercise between the United States and all ten ASEAN states.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast which explained the news about the attacks on the Saudi Arabian oil facilities:

 

David Priess announced a new Lawfare e-book, “The United States and the Use of Force Against Iran.”

Other documents that went up on the site included new filings in Trump’s lawsuit against the Manhattan district attorney over his pursuit of the president's tax returns, the Justice Department’s civil complaint against Edward Snowden and his book, and a Justice Department argument that the House is not involved in impeachment proceedings.

Bob Bauer looked at the bending of rules and norms by James Comey, Robert Mueller, and Don McGahn in the face of challenges from the Trump administration.

Finally, Jen Patja Howell shared another episode of the Lawfare Podcast, which entailed a live panel discussion at the Brookings Institution discussing the need for privacy legislation:

And that was the week that was.