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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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Rational Security
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Now displaying: 2018
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!

Jun 13, 2018

President Trump returns from a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un, praising the North Korean dictator and castigating U.S. allies. A senior Senate staffer is indicted in an investigation of press leaks. And where did Trump’s Middle East policy come from? Israel and the UAE says a new expose.

Jun 6, 2018

Paul Manafort gets in touch with some old friends. Was it witness tampering? Donald Trump discovers an Article II interpretation that would make Hamilton blush. And we’re on the edge of our seats for a Supreme Court decision on the 4th Amendment and cell phone records.

May 30, 2018

President Trump told Jeff Sessions that he should not recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Trump feuds with the Homeland Security secretary as the administration separates children from their families at the U.S. border with Mexico. And investigators determine that Russia was the source of a missile that shot down a Malaysian airliner in 2014.

May 23, 2018

President Trump orders the Justice Department to investigate the Russia investigation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo details the administration’s strategy for dealing with Iran. And Trump appears to say that North Korea might not need to get rid of its nuclear weapons after all.

May 17, 2018

Israel kills dozens of protesters in Gaza as the US opens a new embassy in Jerusalem. President Trump wants to save jobs at ZTE, the Chinese company officials say threatens US national security. And the government has a suspect in the leak of CIA hacking tools.

May 9, 2018

President Trump decides to undo the Iran deal. Gina Haspel faces a grilling in the Senate. And Devin Nunes wants information that intelligence officials fear could jeopardize a source.

May 2, 2018

Robert Mueller has lots of questions for President Trump. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran lied about its nuclear weapons program. And John Kelly has reportedly described the president as an unhinged “idiot.”

Apr 25, 2018

Gina Haspel faces an uphill climb to become the next CIA Director. Former FBI No. 2 Andrew McCabe may face criminal charges. And the Democratic National Committee files suit over the 2016 theft of its emails.

Apr 18, 2018

Jim Comey has a few words to say. Nikki Haley is not confused about anything. And Mike Pompeo makes a surprise trip to North Korea.

Apr 12, 2018

Federal authorities launch raids on the home and office of President Trump’s personal attorney. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress. And the U.S. prepares for possible military action against Syria. Special guests this week: Quinta Jurecic of Lawfare and Nancy Youssef of The Wall Street Journal.

Apr 4, 2018

Robert Mueller tells the president’s lawyers that Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation. Trump vows to pull the military out of Syria. And American troops may be heading to the US border with Mexico.

Mar 29, 2018

This week, we’re live from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law! On the show: Like Goldilocks in search of porridge, the president can’t seem to find the lawyer who’s just right. The U.S. expels Russian diplomats, but Trump continues to hold his fire against Putin. And Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify before Congress over Facebook’s role in Russian election interference.

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