The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Matt Gluck, Tia Sewell
Sunday, August 16, 2020, 8:51 AM

As discussion of foreign interference in the 2020 election and mail-in-voting swirled around Washington, members of the Healthy Elections Project considered electoral challenges in various states. Hanna Balcha, Kenneth Kuwayti, Michelle Larg, Zachary Quinlan and Sarah Stothart explained the unique legal framework that governs elections in Texas and what officials in the state can do to secure elections and protect the public health. Joaquin Garcia, Zahavah Levine, Bea Phi, Peter Prindiville, Jeff Rodriguez, Lexi Rubow and Grace Scullion discussed challenges Wisconsin encountered in its August 11 congressional primary election and what the state needs to do moving forward to expand its mail-in-voting system and address other deficient election procedures before November.

Richard Altieri and Benjamin Della Rocca discussed the recent developments within the U.S. that continue to escalate tensions between the United States and China—President Trump’s executive orders banning Chinese tech giants and the intelligence report alleging attempted Chinese interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens, associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Dr. Ronald Deibert, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, on the U.S.-China relationship and the recent executive orders:

Justin Sherman discussed whether increasing global resistance to Huawei is a result of the Trump administration’s aggressive stance toward the tech titan.

Jim Dempsey explained the Trump administration’s comprehensive strategy to root out Chinese companies from American telecommunications.

Jonathan G. Odom discussed the unjust nature of China’s maritime claims and argued the rest of the world must begin to challenge Beijing’s assertive stance in the South China Sea.

Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a conversation with Lawfare’s Margaret Taylor and Scott Anderson about two court rulings concerning former White House Counsel Don McGahn’s elusive testimony and a congressional dispute over proxy voting. They discussed the implications of the McGahn ruling for congressional oversight and what’s to come in each of these two cases:

In light of recent Capitol Hill developments, Christopher Estep argued that congressional Republicans should reconsider their committee leader term limit policies. Howell shared a discussion on the Lawfare Podcast about eliminating the Senate filibuster, which both parties have used extensively to prevent the passage of legislation:

Howell also shared a discussion on the Lawfare Podcast with Jim Sciutto, CNN’s chief national security correspondent and anchor of CNN Newsroom, about Sciutto’s new book, “The Madman Theory: Trump Takes On the World.” The conversation covered the history of scare tactics in foreign policy and President Trump’s effort to influence and intimidate foreign leaders by acting unpredictably:

Elliot Setzer shared a Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruling that found Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli are not eligible to serve in their current positions because they were unlawfully appointed. Paul Rosenzweig analyzed the implications of the GAO assessment.

Tia Sewell and Benjamin Wittes analyzed the evolution of internal documents governing Department of Homeland Security intelligence activities.

Jeremy Gordon discussed the Justice Department’s findings in its recent review of the FISA application errors identified by the department’s inspector general’s office.

Alan Z. Rozenshtein argued New York Attorney General Letitia James’s effort to dissolve the National Rifle Association (NRA) imperils critical democratic norms.

Jordan Schneider considered what the recent intelligence report concerning foreign interference in the upcoming presidential election could reveal about Xi Jinping’s short-term and long-term foreign policy ideas.

Colin P. Clarke and Molly Saltskog discussed how the United States should react to Beijing and Tehran’s new partnership.

Simon Handler proposed that Israel and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states forge a cybersecurity alliance to improve democratic relations among the nations and advance productive cyber initiatives in the Middle East.

Howell also shared this week’s edition of the Arbiters of Truth disinformation series on the Lawfare Podcast featuring an interview with Shane Huntley, the director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group, about his team’s work to counter coordinated online influence campaigns:

Ashley Deeks discussed the role of cyber countermeasures in the United States’s new cyber strategy focused on active deterrence.

Howell also shared an episode of Rational Security, “Russia and Running Mates” edition, featuring conversation on the Biden-Harris ticket and election security for the upcoming November 2020 presidential race:

Kenneth Propp and Peter Swire proposed a remedy to address the apparent deficiencies in U.S. surveillance law identified by the European Court of Justice in the Schrems II decision.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently declined to rehear en banc Fazaga v. FBI, a case concerning state secrets privilege and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Rachael Hanna summarized the claims made in the case and the Ninth Circuit’s findings.

And Tatyana Bolton and Chris Inglis proposed an increased focus on hands-on training via cybersecurity clinics as a solution to the nation’s growing deficit of experienced cyber professionals.

And that was the week that was.