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Tag Archive: Congressional Oversight

Sally Yates, Russia Testimony & Executive Privilege in the Trump Era

This week has shed light on the Trump administration’s aggressive approach to executive privilege, but it has also cast doubt over President Donald Trump’s ability to assert it successfully over the longer term. We watched this play out when the Justice Department warned former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates that she needed White House clearance to testify before the House intelligence committee due to issues of executive privilege.…   continue »

National Security-Related Congressional Hearings, March 27-March 31

Tuesday, March 28

10:00am – House Committee on Armed Services – Military Assessment of Russian Activities and Security Challenges in Europe (here)

10:00am – House Committee on Homeland Security – The Current State of DHS’ Efforts to Secure Federal Networks (here)

10:00am – House Committee on Foreign Affairs – The Budget, Diplomacy, and Development (here)

10:30am – Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – U.S.…   continue »

Reforming Surveillance In the Age of Donald Trump

An NSA site in Germany.

On Wednesday, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes (R-CA), gave a press conference in which he reported that Trump transition team members’ communications were intercepted by US intelligence agencies through “incidental collection.” This follows on Nunes’ concerns, after Michael Flynn stepped down following intelligence reports that he had talked to the Russian ambassador.…   continue »

Incidental Collection Is Extremely Troubling, Regardless of Legality

A lot of ink has been spilled over statements by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes that President Trump’s communications were incidentally collected pursuant to a surveillance order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This has a lot of Americans scratching their heads and asking what incidental collection is, so now seemed like a good time to explain.…   continue »

Whistleblower Retaliation: A Governmental Accountability and National Security Crisis

The role of an Inspector General (IG) office in a federal agency or department is to root out waste, fraud, and abuse, and where necessary refer criminal conduct to the Justice Department for prosecution. But what happens when the IG itself is corrupt, especially in a national security context where secrecy can be used to conceal malfeasance?…   continue »

Just Security Event: Surveillance and the Trump Administration

Join Just Security for a fireside chat on U.S. surveillance and a celebration of Jennifer Granick‘s new book, American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, And What to Do About It. Opening remarks by Senator Ron Wyden, followed by a discussion between Granick and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Washington Correspondent Charlie Savage on U.S.…   continue »

Norms Watch: Tracking the Erosion of Democratic Traditions (Feb. 3-10)

CHECKS AND BALANCES

Threatening judicial independence and American constitutional principles, Trump attacked a federal court judge this week in an unprecedented move which generated critique from Democrats, Republicans, and even Trump’s own nominee for the Supreme Court.

Trump Attacks Judge on Twitter

After Judge James Robart, a federal judge in Seattle, blocked Trump’s immigration ban nationwide on Friday, Trump launched an attack on Judge Robart the next day, referring to him as a “so-called judge” and declaring his decision to be “ridiculous.” Trump wasn’t finished blasting the judge, and on Sunday stated that Judge Robart would be to blame “if anything bad happens.” In what became a whirlwind weekend, the Justice Department filed a notice on Saturday night that it would formally appeal the order and on Sunday morning, the U.S.  continue »

Congressional Oversight in the Trump Era: Strategic Choices

Republican congressional leaders face stark strategic choices as Donald Trump assumes control of the White House. A period of acrimonious divided government will be supplanted by unitary Republican control. And the political salience of casting President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton as the cause of real and imagined government failures will evaporate as Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.…   continue »