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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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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? 

May 10, 2017

Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. The gang shares their reactions. Then, we’ll dig into Rod Rosenstein’s role in Comey’s sudden departure. Finally, what does his dismissal mean for the future of the Russia investigation and the FBI? 

May 3, 2017

FBI Director James Comey says the idea he could have swayed the presidential election makes him “mildly nauseous.” President Trump is reaching out to autocrats and adversaries. Is it paying off? And the NSA reins in some of its surveillance operations. 

Apr 27, 2017

Mike Flynn is back in hot water over money he took from foreign sources. The Senate Intelligence Committee is beefing up for a long investigation of Russian meddling in the election. And FBI Director Jim Comey is back in the spotlight again this week amid questions of how he handled the Clinton and Trump investigations.

Apr 19, 2017

North Korea’s missile launch fizzles, but the ripples spread far and wide. CIA Director Mike Pompeo calls WikiLeaks a hostile intelligence service. And does the Globalist/Nationalist war in the White House really matter in the absence of a coherent foreign policy?

Apr 12, 2017

Former Trump adviser Carter Page is reportedly the target of a FISA warrant. The U.S. launches a cruise missile strike in Syria, and maybe sends a not so subtle signal to China on North Korea. And is the Trump administration’s foreign policy “unpredictable” by design, or just incoherent? 

Apr 8, 2017

At the Third Triple Entente Beer Summit, the usual Rational Security Gang joins up with Stewart Baker and Michael Vatis of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast to discuss airstrikes in Syria, the misadventures of Devin Nunes, and Steve Bannon's ouster from the National Security Council. Plus, in Object Lessons, Stewart recommends Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich and Shane does some sleuthing.

Mar 30, 2017

Devin Nunes throws a wrench into the House’s Russia investigation. Meanwhile, the Senate investigation hasn’t come off the rails. And should countries declare certain kinds of cyber attacks off limits? 

Mar 21, 2017

FBI Director James Comey makes it official: There is an investigation into Trump links to Russia. The top Democrat in the House investigating the Russian hacks makes a plea for civic virtue. And is Donald Trump his own worst enemy or his best defender? 

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