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Rational Security

A weekly discussion of national security and foreign policy matters hosted by Shane Harris of the Washington Post and featuring Brookings senior fellows Susan Hennessey, Tamara Cofman Wittes, and Benjamin Wittes.
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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 20, 2018

The future of Brexit is...anyone’s guess. A sealed subpoena and a courtroom smackdown: The latest on L’Affaire Russe. And the U.S. announces it’s withdrawing troops from Syria.

Dec 13, 2018

There have been big moves in the Russia investigation. We'll put this week’s pieces together. U.S. tensions with China escalate following the arrest of a senior Chinese telecom executive. And the Saudi crown prince has duped White House adviser Jared Kushner.

Dec 6, 2018

Robert Mueller says that Michael Flynn has cooperated extensively in multiple investigations, including about Russian interference in the election. A new guilty plea from Michael Cohen changes our understanding of Trump’s ties to Russia. And is Israel getting ready for a war or just an election?

Nov 29, 2018

Paul Manafort heads to sentencing amid revelations that he has lied to the special counsel, cooperated with Trump’s legal team, and may have met with Julian Assange. The president stands by Saudi Arabia and its crown prince whom the CIA says ordered the murder of a journalist. And President Trump heads off to meet with world leaders at the G20 Summit.

Nov 15, 2018

Battle lines are drawn over Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general. President Trump, stung by election losses, picks fights with America’s closest allies. And is North Korea deceiving the U.S. in nuclear weapons negotiations?

Nov 8, 2018

President Trump asks for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation. And Democrats retake the House, while Republicans expand their majority in the Senate.

Nov 1, 2018

Attempted bombings and a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue once again force us to confront domestic terrorism. Top U.S. officials call for a ceasefire and peace talks in Yemen. And a bizarre and apparently fake attempt to spear Special Counsel Robert Mueller prompts an FBI investigation.

Oct 25, 2018

Possible package bombs are sent to prominent Democratic political figures and Trump administration critics. And we’ll wrap up the Russia story so far and ask what it means for the midterm elections.

Oct 18, 2018

The disappearance of a Washington Post journalist becomes a foreign policy crisis for the Trump administration. U.S. and European intelligence officials say Iran may be planning attacks in Europe. And the U.S. embraces a major expansion in foreign aid to counter China’s growing influence.

Oct 11, 2018

A prominent journalist and critic of the Saudi regime goes missing in Istanbul. Nikki Haley says she’s resigning as the U.N. ambassador. And tech companies push back against a story about a massive hardware hack.

Oct 4, 2018

The Trump administration accuses China of a massive propaganda campaign in the United States. Facebook suffers a serious hack that exposes 50 million users. And, all laughing aside, what do we make of the administration's performance at the U.N. General Assembly?

Sep 26, 2018

Will Rod Rosenstein remain as the deputy attorney general, and what does that mean for the Russia probe he oversees? Tensions hit a fever pitch with China amid an escalating trade war. And the president addresses the U.N. General Assembly.

Sep 21, 2018

Paul Manafort pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate in the Russia investigation, and Mike Flynn gets a sentencing date. The Justice Department tells two Chinese media companies to register as foreign agents. And Trump declassifies more material about the surveillance of one of his campaign advisers.

Sep 13, 2018

John Bolton comes out swinging in his first major speech as national security adviser. Is Russia behind a mysterious string of illnesses at U.S. diplomatic facilities? And Trump administration officials met with coup plotters in Venezuela.

Sep 6, 2018

A bombshell new book shows the Trump presidency on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The US pulls funding for a Palestinian relief agency. And the president lashed out again at the attorney general and the Justice Department.

Aug 30, 2018

A former NSA contractor receives a stiff prison sentence for giving classified information to journalists. Nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea hit big roadblocks. And the administration backs off its plan to cut billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Aug 23, 2018

The gang breaks down one helluva day. Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and what it means for the president.

Aug 16, 2018

This week: The 'Frenzied Commentary' Edition! We talk about what Paul Manafort's fraud trial tells us, and doesn't tell us, about l'Affaire Russe; the tussle between executive and legislative authority in the new National Defense Authorization Act; and the end of Peter Strzok's FBI career.

Aug 9, 2018

With Shane and Susan away, Ben and Tamara are joined by Quinta Jurecic and Shannon Togawa Mercer to answer the questions you submitted on Twitter! It’s a potpourri of NatSec analysis, with a dollop of humor, and a soupçon of Scotch!

Aug 2, 2018

The National Security Council has a (very brief) meeting on election security. The TSA has been quietly tracking air travelers for years. And President Trump says he’s willing to meet Iran’s president without conditions. Plus: Predictions! Who will Robert Mueller indict next?

Jul 25, 2018

President Trump has one of the most tumultuous, and possible disastrous, weeks of his presidency. The president then lashes out at his political enemies in unprecedented ways. And the Justice Department releases, for the first time ever, a warrant application to the secretive FISA Court.

Jul 12, 2018

President Trump picks Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. What are his national security views? Trump blasts NATO allies ahead of a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And migrant families are being reunited with their children, but the process has been painful.

Jul 5, 2018

U.S. intelligence says North Korea is not giving up its nukes. Should the next Supreme Court justice recuse on matters involving Trump and the Russia probe? And the war in Afghanistan grinds on, with little notice, as Trump heads off to a tense meeting with NATO allies.

Jun 28, 2018

The Supreme Court upholds President Trump’s travel ban. Jared Kushner hits the road to drum up support for his peace plan. And chaos ensues as border agents and the Justice Department roll out Trump’s order not to separate families at the border with Mexico.

Jun 21, 2018

The gang from Bombshell joins us for a roundup of the week’s news: President Trump signs an order to keep immigrant families together, trying to defuse a crisis of his own making. Is the U.S. in a trade war with China? And get ready for Space Force!

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