The Week That Was

The Week that Was: All of Lawfare in One Post

By Matt Gluck, Tia Sewell
Saturday, August 22, 2020, 11:39 AM

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) released the fifth and final volume of its report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s involvement in that obstruction. Elliot Setzer shared the report itself. Benjamin Wittes argued Republicans on the committee misrepresented the report by downplaying its findings of Trump campaign participation in the Russian effort. Todd Carney, Samantha Fry, Quinta Jurecic, Jacob Schulz, Tia Sewell, Margaret Taylor and Benjamin Wittes introduced a reading diary for the report and summarized the first section. And Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast covering the SSCI report with a discussion featuring Lawfare’s David Priess, Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic and Margaret Taylor:

Howell also shared a discussion on Rational Security about the Senate report, the recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) determination that the Department of Homeland Security leadership is serving unlawfully and protests in Belarus over corruption in the recent election of Alexander Lukashenko:

David Priess and Benjamin Wittes announced the publication of Lawfare’s first book: “After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency,” by Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith. The authors consider detailed reforms to the presidency in light of the last four years. They address foreign influence on elections, war powers, assaults on the press and pardon power abuse, among several other areas. Bauer and Goldsmith discussed one of their legal proposals targeting U.S. participation in foreign electoral interference efforts in the context of the recent Senate report.

Josh Blackman and Seth Barrett Tillman argued that while the new Abuse of the Pardon Prevention Act may seem like a wise idea in the current moment, it would prove dangerous for the future of American politics.

Sean Quirk discussed the recent U.S. and Chinese naval developments in the South China Sea—specifically examining how countries in the region are reacting to the increasingly aggressive U.S. criticism of Chinese maritime claims. And Mark J. Valencia considered whether Vietnam would benefit from filing a complaint against China over Beijing’s claims and activities in the South China Sea.

Howell also shared a conversation on the Lawfare Podcast about the recent Israeli-United Arab Emirates agreement to normalize relations. Scott Anderson, Suzanne Maloney, Natan Sachs and Hady Amr spoke about the meaning of the deal for the domestic political environments of Israel, Iran and the United States, its potential impact on the Palestinians and how the agreement could change regional dynamics more broadly:

Daniel Byman discussed how a new administration could more effectively combat rising white supremacist violence in the United States.

Vera Miranova provided her interviews with foreign Islamic State women about accountability and punishments for Islamic State activities.

Howell also shared a discussion on the Lawfare Podcast with Robert Draper, correspondent for GQ and the New York Times Magazine contributor, about Draper’s new book, “To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America into Iraq,” and his recent article concerning the Trump administration’s attempts to change intelligence reports regarding election interference. They spoke about what this Trump administration effort reveals about the relationship between presidents and the intelligence community:

David Priess shared a Lawfare Live event with the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy and International Security at George Mason University covering the historical challenges of constructing the president’s daily intelligence brief.

Gavin Wilde analyzed the intelligence community’s role in confronting malign foreign influence campaigns on social media platforms.

Howell also shared a discussion with Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, about electoral disinformation on the Lawfare Podcast. The conversation covered Stamos’s new coalition targeting threats to the integrity of the upcoming election and TikTok:

Matt Gluck shared a Justice Department report on charges against a former member of the intelligence community who allegedly shared classified information with Chinese officers during his time in the government.

Paul Rosenzweig argued that although client-side scanning (CSS)—systems’ ability to scan content before it is sent—appears to be an effective tool to prevent the distribution of harmful content online, the technology is not ready for use and could threaten privacy.

Ashley Deeks considered the use of artificial intelligence in international law contexts.

Katie McKinney, Scott Sagan and Allen Weiner discussed the myths of military targets and unconditional surrender in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks and argued that this history underscores the necessity of appointing U.S. leaders who care about law and justice in war.

Lester Munson shared an episode of Fault Lines featuring a conversation about the development of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, the devastating explosion in Beirut and lacking foreign aid in the next coronavirus relief bill under debate in Congress:

Sam Denney and Kemal Kirisci discussed how the U.S. can improve its refugee policies in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Darrell West and Nicol Turner Lee shared an episode of TechTank featuring a discussion with Brookings fellows Annelies Goger and Makada Henry-Nickie about the pandemic’s potentially lasting impact on healthcare, employment and education in the United States:

Howell also shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast featuring a conversation with Scott Anderson, senior editor at Lawfare; and Richard Gowan, the U.N. director for the Crisis Group, about the disagreement within the U.N. Security Council about how to respond to the Trump administration’s effort to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Barbara McQuade and Chuck Rosenberg discussed the Justice Department’s inconsistent views on materiality in prosecutions evidenced by the department’s actions in the Michael Flynn and Kevin Clinesmith cases.

William Ford explained the D.C. District Court’s recent Proxy Voting decision and the challenges facing the plaintiffs’ in their appeal of the ruling.

Judy E. Faktorovich discussed the claims regarding Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in a recent petition targeting content moderation.

Bobby Chesney discussed the impact of President Trump’s most recent TikTok executive order and how it differs from his prior directive.

And Elliot Setzer shared a U.S. district judge’s decision compelling President Trump to turn over his financial records to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

And that was the week that was.