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Rational Security

A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters hosted by Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal and featuring Brookings senior fellows Tamara Cofman Wittes and Benjamin Wittes, and managing editor of the Lawfare blog Susan Hennessey.
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Now displaying: 2017
Nov 15, 2017

The FBI is investigating an alleged kidnapping scheme involving ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Donald Trump Jr. was in direct contact with Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign. And author and scholar Yascha Mounk breaks down the breakdown in democracy.

Nov 9, 2017

Trump campaign adviser Carter Page says officials knew about his conversations with Russians. The Saudi government launches an alleged anti-corruption push, but is it really a power grab? And CIA Director Mike Pompeo is entertaining an alternate theory about the Russia hacks.

Nov 1, 2017

Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveils the first indictments in his sprawling investigation, and a surprise plea agreement. We’ll talk about the significance of his moves and where the investigation might be heading next. Plus, New York experiences the deadliest act of terrorism since the 9/11 attacks.

Oct 25, 2017

Leading GOP lawmakers say there’s nothing normal about the Trump administration. The deaths of four Americans in Niger raise new questions about the legal footing of the U.S. fight against terrorism. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems to have no plan for future Russian election meddling.

Oct 19, 2017

President Trump says Iran is not living up to the “spirit” of the deal to curtail its nuclear program. Russian trolls and propagandists speak out. And an American woman and her family are freed after five years in captivity in Afghanistan.

Oct 10, 2017

A leading GOP senator warns that President Trump risks starting “World War III.” Russia hacks the NSA using popular Russian anti-virus software. And Congress starts the bidding over a key surveillance law.

Oct 4, 2017

President Trump tells Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he’s wasting his time negotiating with North Korea. A gunman opens fire in Las Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in at least half a century. And an American is being held in Syria as an enemy combatant.

Sep 27, 2017

The Trump administration issues a new, revised travel ban. Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive. And the president tweets about a missile launch that didn’t happen.

Sep 21, 2017

Robert Mueller serves warrants in the Russia investigation. Donald Trump makes his first appearance before the UN General Assembly. And Mike Flynn's work on a private nuclear energy deal raises new questions about conflicts of interest in the Trump administration.

Sep 14, 2017

Facebook confirms that a Russian troll farm bought ads during the election cycle. Congress pushes back on the Trump administration’s plan to gut foreign aid and the State Department. And Equifax suffers a massive data breach.

Sep 7, 2017

Trump’s lawyers argue that he didn’t obstruct justice when he fired Jim Comey. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley explains how the US could leave the Iran nuclear deal. And the Homeland Security Department faces one of its greatest tests in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, just as a new storm approaches the Florida coast.

Aug 30, 2017

Donald Trump was pursuing business in Russia at the same time he was running for president. Two Cabinet secretaries distance themselves from the president. And is it time for the House to start seriously considering impeachment?

Aug 23, 2017

President Trump unveils his plan for Afghanistan. Cyber Command gets a boost. And Steve Bannon is out at the White House.

Aug 9, 2017

President Trump warns North Korea not to “make any more threats to the United States” with its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces a new crackdown on press leaks. And the Russia investigation heats up with a grand jury and a pre-dawn raid. 

Aug 2, 2017

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly takes charge at the White House. Republican senators come to the defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And President Trump finds himself personally entangled in the controversy over a meeting with Russians in Trump Tower.  

Jul 26, 2017

President Trump attacks Attorney General Jeff Sessions over Hillary Clinton and Russia. Jared Kushner talks to congressional investigators about his meetings with Russians. And Shane and Tamara bring back reports from the field. 

Jul 19, 2017

The Senate questions FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray. Democrats file suit against the Trump campaign over leaked emails. And the UAE is reportedly behind a cyber attack that led to upheaval in the Gulf region.

Jul 12, 2017

President Trump's eldest son met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer to get Russian government dirt on Hillary Clinton. Iraqi forces liberate the city of Mosul from ISIS. And Trump and Putin sit down for their first face-to-face meeting.

Jul 5, 2017

The first signs of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia emerge. State Department employees say they’re uncertain about the future of their work under the Trump administration. And the president is facing a crisis in North Korea as he prepares to meet with world leaders, including Vladimir Putin.  

Jun 29, 2017

Obama may not have responded forcefully enough to Russian meddling. But is Trump responding at all? A diplomatic crisis in the Gulf is the first major test of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. And the Supreme Court agrees to take up Trump’s travel ban.  

Jun 14, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee about his contacts with Russia. New information shows that thirty-nine states were targeted by Russian hackers during the 2016 election. And President Trump gives the military authority to ramp the number of troops in Afghanistan.

Jun 7, 2017

It’s been a huge two days for news on the Trump/Russia/Comey front. We’ll round it up. There’s a new crisis in the Persian Gulf. And just when you thought it was safe to go back to the polls, there are new revelations of Russia targeting the elections system.

May 31, 2017

Jared Kushner wanted a back-channel to talk to the Russians. In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, the Brits question whether the U.S. can keep secrets. And in the wake of Trump’s meeting with NATO leaders, where do U.S.-European relations go from here? 

May 24, 2017

Donald Trump tours the Middle East and insists peace is within reach. Robert Mueller is tapped as the new special counsel overseeing the Trump-Russia probe. And one very special podcast panelist spills his guts to the New York Times

May 18, 2017

President Trump lets the Russians in on a little secret. Jim Comey has been taking notes—of his meetings with the president. And what do this week’s extraordinary events tell us about where we are in this still unfolding national drama? 

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