The Just Security Podcast

By Just Security

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Just Security is an online forum for the rigorous analysis of national security, foreign policy, and rights. We aim to promote principled solutions to problems confronting decision-makers in the United States and abroad. Our expert authors are individuals with significant government experience, academics, civil society practitioners, individuals directly affected by national security policies, and other leading voices.

Episode Date
United States v. Trump: A Model Prosecution Memo for Mar-a-Lago

It’s been over three months since the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. We know that Trump kept classified documents after he left office. But since the search, we haven’t heard much information about what exactly the Justice Department plans to do about it. That’s pretty common. After all, investigations take time. Whatever the Justice Department’s timeline is, the investigation is likely to end in a document called a Prosecution Memorandum. It’s what prosecutors use when they evaluate whether to charge a person with a crime. And for Trump, that type of memo will be especially confidential and sensitive. It’s likely to present all the evidence, like what the FBI learned from searching Mar-a-Lago, consider what federal laws Trump might have broken, and analyze Trump’s best defenses.

Just Security’s “Model Prosecution Memo” considers the publicly available information from court documents and news reports. It also compares Trump’s alleged conduct to the entire universe of cases that DOJ has prosecuted under the same criminal laws. The memo concludes that Trump’s conduct exceeds the gravity of other former officials who the Justice Department has charged for the mishandling of classified documents. 

To discuss the Model Prosecution Memo we have Andrew Weissmann, Joyce Vance, and Ryan Goodman, who were among the memo’s authors. Andrew has served in many senior Justice Department roles, including on the core team for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Joyce served as the former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, and Ryan is Just Security’s Co-Editor-in-Chief. 

Show Notes: 

Nov 16, 2022
The FBI’s January 6th Intelligence Failures

The January 6th Committee is wrapping up its work, which has provided a detailed account of the individuals and groups involved in the attack. Thanks to the Committee, we know that law enforcement agencies like the FBI had intelligence about the attack ahead of time. What we don’t know is how they used that information or why they failed to stop the attack. 

Joining on this episode to discuss what the FBI knew, the culture inside the Bureau, and how to address reforms, are Andrew McCabe and Asha Rangappa. Andrew served as the FBI’s Deputy Director and Acting Director during the Obama and Trump administrations, and Asha is a former FBI special agent. 

Show Notes:  

Nov 10, 2022
Getting Into Putin’s Head

This year, the war in Ukraine has dominated news headlines and been on everyone’s mind. At the heart of it is Russian President Vladimir Putin, who began his career as a spy with the KGB. To understand a former spy, you need a former spy. Doug London is fluent in Russian and spent nearly 40 years with the CIA, as an operations officer and station chief in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. On this episode, he discusses Putin’s background, mindset, and strategies for the United States and others to address Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. 

Show Notes: 

Nov 07, 2022
The Biden Administration’s Secret Drone Policy (Pilot Episode)

New York Times national security correspondent Charlie Savage reported that the Biden administration has issued a still-classified policy on some types of counterterrorism operations, such as drone strikes and commando raids. That policy, the Presidential Policy Memorandum (PPM), follows earlier guidance from the Obama and Trump administrations. 

For reactions to the PPM, Just Security has a written mini-series from our lineup of expert authors. On this week’s episode, Yale Law School professor Oona Hathaway and New America International Security Program Fellow Luke Hartig discuss the Biden plan and what it all means for U.S. counterterrorism efforts and forever war. 

Show Notes:

  • Oona A. Hathaway (@oonahathaway)  
  • Luke Hartig (@LukeHartig)
  • Just Security mini-series on President Biden’s Presidential Policy Memo (PPM)
  • 0:23 Charlie Savage’s NYT article on the PPM
  • 2:20 President Obama’s Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG)
  • 3:12 President Trump’s Principles, Standards, and Procedures (PSP
  • 16:33  New York Times coverage of Aug. 29, 2021 Kabul drone strike that killed 10 civilians 
  • 17:40 New York Times coverage of March 18, 2019 Baghuz drone strike that killed about 70 civilians 
  • 18:20 Azmat Khan’s Pulitzer-winning reporting on U.S. drone strikes in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan 
  • Music: “The Parade” by “Hey Pluto!” from Uppbeat: (License code: 36B6ODD7Y6ODZ3BX)
Oct 29, 2022