Alexandra Widas  //  3/16/17  //  Topic Update


Since his inauguration, Trump has considered making greater use of Guantanamo Bay; his administration has also faced numerous inquiries involving potentially improper foreign influence or involvement.

The Trump Administration considered bringing future Islamic State detainees to Guantanamo Bay. The NYT details the evolution of draft Executive Orders on this topic.

o   The draft E.O. can be found here.

o   Robert Chesney provides an annotation “of sorts,” detailing the operative provisions that matter and their potential impact.

o   In light of this proposal, Jack Goldsmith details the need for Congress and the Administration to seek and pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  This may be particularly pertinent given the recent increase in U.S. troop presence in Syria (NYT).

o   Bill Lietzau and Ryan Vogel argue wartime detention is an honorable practice in modern war, but that it must be humane and consistent with the laws and customs of war.

o   Doyle Hodges discusses the extent to which current members of the military can and should resist carrying out “clearly illegal” orders.

o   Jack Goldsmith comments on an earlier draft E.O. on Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants.

A number of scholars have turned to the blogosphere to reject President Trump’s assertion of false facts about Guantanamo.

o   Helen Murillo Klein (Lawfare) and Steve Vladeck (Just Security) analyze President Trump’s Twitter-based discussion of recidivism rates among former Guantanamo detainees.

o   Steve Vladeck also details facts about Guantanamo under the Obama and Bush administrations to combat Trump’s attempt to “whitewash” Guantanamo.

Trump’s Allegations that Obama Spied on Him:  On March 4th, 2017, President Trump tweeted that President Obama wiretapped Trump’s New York offices during the campaign.

o   Noah Feldman argues that these accusations raises Trump’s risk of impeachment.

o   John Culhane examines whether Obama could sue Trump for libel.

o   Asha Rangappa responds to the Trump allegations with an overview of how difficult it is to get a FISA warrant.

o   FBI Director James Comey asked the Justice Department to publicly reject Trump’s assertion.

o   NYT reports the Justice Department refuses to comment as to whether Trump is under investigation.

Michael Flynn & Turkey

o   Michael Flynn registered with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent for the Turkish government in March.

o   Susan Hennessey and Quinta Jurecic provide a breakdown of the difference between registration as a “foreign agent” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and being a targetable “agent of a foreign power” under Title I of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Michael Flynn & Russia:  The WSJ reported U.S. counterintelligence agents investigated communications between Michael Flynn and Russian officials.

o   Adam Klein writes about his concerns about leaks from the intelligence community and the accompanying corrosive effects of leaks about American citizens on perceptions of the intelligence community.

o   In Lawfare, Susan Hennessey and Quinta Jurecic examine the laws that relate to government leaks, how the White House might investigate and remedy information control problems, and what leak investigations and enforcement might mean for the executive branch’s control of information.

o   Susan Hennessey and Jordan Brunner also summarize what we knew about investigations into Trump associates’ ties to Russia as of January 25th, 2017.

o   Paul Rosenzweig lays out the steps he would take to investigate the alleged Russian connection to members of the Trump administration.

o   In a follow-up piece, he responds to requests that he document the steps he would take to investigate the alleged Obama order to wiretap Trump.

o   Scholars and commentators have advocated for a variety of approaches to investigate the Russian connection to the current administration.

o   Ken Gude and Kate Martin argue a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate Trump’s Russia ties.

o   Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes detail the need for a select committee on the Russia connection.

o   Susan Hennessey and Helen Klein Murillo lay out the rules of congressional investigations for this type of effort.

o   Ryan Goodman and Richard Painter detail steps taken to date and argue for an independent investigation.

o   The NYT’s Nicholas Kristof describes ten dots connecting President Trump and his aides to Russia.

o   Ryan Goodman responds with additional dots both exonerating and incriminating President Trump from these connections.

o   Tim Zick explains why the First Amendment likely does not protect Michael Flynn from prosecution under the Logan Act.


Updates | The Week of February 19, 2018

2/25/18  //  Daily Update

Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a new charge against Paul Manafort while Richard Gates pled guilty. Meanwhile, President Trump's proposal to arm teachers drew controversy in Washington.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Updates | The Week of February 5, 2018

2/11/18  //  Daily Update

The Nunes memo set off aftershocks; agencies scrambled to implement the Trump Administration's policies to mixed effect; and Congress passes a budget after a brief overnight shutdown.

Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump's Guantánamo "policy" is best understood as an extension of his anti-Muslim bigotry, wrote Nimra Azmi and Sirine Shebaya at Take Care. The terrorist watchlist statistics from last week's DOJ and DHS exaggerate the threat of terrorism, argued Harsha Panduranga at Just Security. The Pentagon's new National Defense Strategy contains notable omissions related to climate change and the use of special operations forces.