The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Gordon Ahl
Saturday, November 23, 2019, 7:28 AM

This week, the House Intelligence Committee held five public hearings with nine witnesses as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Ben Wittes commented on one particular exchange between Amb. Gordon Sondland and Chairman Adam Schiff that reflects the language of the federal bribery statute. From a broader perspective, Keith E. Whittington explained how the president can commit an impeachable offense without violating federal criminal statutes. Meanwhile, Ben Berwick and Justin Florence discussed the flaws in existing arguments that Trump did not commit bribery.

Elena Kagan shared several “No Bull” episodes of The Lawfare Podcast that include only the substantive exchanges from each hearing. They are all available below:

First, Kagan posted an episode for the Tuesday morning hearing with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams. The opening statements from this hearing are available on Lawfare here.

Kagan subsequently covered the afternoon hearing with Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison, with opening statements here.

Then, on Wednesday, Kagan shared an episode covering Gordon Sondland’s testimony, whose opening statement is provided here.

Kagan also posted an episode for the evening hearing with Laura Cooper and David Hale.

And finally rounded out the week with an episode covering testimony from Fiona Hill and David Holmes, whose respective opening statements are here and here.

Lawfare also posted video coverage of the full hearings from Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Margaret Taylor updated the project of summarizing the 3,907 pages of closed-door deposition transcripts from the impeachment inquiry. As part of this, Charlotte Butash summarized the deposition testimony of Catherine Croft. Masha Simonova summarized the deposition testimony of Christopher Anderson. Jacob Schulz summarized the depositions of Laura Cooper and Jennifer Williams. Chinmayi Sharma covered the deposition testimony of Tim Morrison. Samantha Fry summarized Amb. David Hale, and Lucia Radder summarized the testimony of David Holmes to complete the collection of 15 summaries for all 15 transcripts released thus far.

Additionally, Lawfare posted newly released full deposition transcripts, including Williams, Morrison, Hale and Holmes from this week.

Jan Patja Howell shared this week’s episode of Rational Security which covered the long week of impeachment hearings but also the indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

For more on Netanyahu, Natan Sachs and Kevin Huggard discussed the significance of including the bribery charges in the indictment as well as the implications for Israeli politics moving forward. Scott R. Anderson explored the ramifications of another big development regarding Israel this week: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement of a U.S. policy shift on certain Israeli settlements in the West Bank not being violations of international law.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck likewise covered Pompeo’s announcement on this week’s episode of The National Security Law Podcast alongside commentary on recent pardons by President Trump and the impeachment testimony of Amb. Sondland.

For a recap of the public testimony from two weeks ago and the verdict in the Roger Stone trial, Howell shared another episode of The Lawfare Podcast.

With a focus on the middle east, Elena Hodges explained the causes of and reactions to ongoing protests in Lebanon. Michael O’Hanlon proposed a workable arrangement in Syria between the United States and the Assad regime. Simon Cottee analyzed the factors that led Trinidad and Tobago to become a major recruiting source for the Islamic State and how the country should handle returning foreign fighters.

Richard Altieri and Benjamin Della Rocca offered their biweekly roundup of U.S.-China tech news, focusing primarily on new reports about the detention and surveillance programs in Xinjiang.

Peter Margulies explored the hurdles the Department of Homeland Security faces while implementing asylum cooperation agreements with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

For cyber-related commentary, Lawfare released three podcasts this week. First, Howell shared a live recording of The Lawfare Podcast, with Ben Wittes in conversation with Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Jim Himes on cybercrime.

Second, in this week’s episode of the Arbiters of Truth series, Quinta Jurecic, Evelyn Douek and Alina Polyakova sat down with Ben Nimmo, the director of investigations at Graphika, to discuss ways to counter online disinformation campaigns.

Third, Stewart Baker shared the latest Cyberlaw Podcast, in which he spoke to Klon Kitchen about Google's tweaks to its search engine.

Dan Maurer discussed the flaws in the arguments that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman should be court-martialed for obeying a congressional subpoena over executive branch objections.

And that was the week that was.