Congress's Last Stand: Mueller's Testimony

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

When Robert Mueller testifies on July 17th, the stakes for the House are enormous. The two committees must use the opportunity to make the American people understand the gravity of the offenses and misconduct laid out in the Report, but that is no easy task. How should they approach it in broad strokes? How do they get meaningful answers, respectfully, from Robert Mueller? 

Harry Litman is joined by Andrew McCabe, Ron Klain, Tim Lynch, and Matt Miller for a discussion in front of a live audience. You can also watch video of the live discussion on C-SPAN.

This episode was sponsored by Georgetown Law's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and The American Constitution Society.

Read More: Andrew McCabe is the author of The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump

Trump's Interference with the DOJ

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

Feds Jamie Gorelick, Paul Fishman, and Amy Jeffress – a group with hugely rich experience from line Assistant U.S. Attorneys to the highest reaches of Main Justice—describe and explain the norms that should govern the interactions between political employees and career prosecutors.  Those norms were firmly respected before the Trump Administration, which has routinely flouted them, infecting DOJ’s law enforcement function with crass political considerations.  The result is a series of body blows to the Department, from the morale of career employees to its reputation for impartiality before the federal courts.  The Feds close with some surmises about how likely it is that the damage will outlive the Trump Administration, and what restoring DOJ culture will require.

For more about this episode:

Who is Justice Robert H. Jackson? John Barrett of St John’s University, who is writing Jackson’s biography runs The Jackson List site:.

Here also is Jackson’s famous speech, in which Jackson says i”while the prosecutor may strike hard blows, he must never strike foul ones.”

What are “the letters?” Listen to Jamie Gorelick explain this concept in the Lawfare podcast.

“Public sentiment is everything”

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

Pivoting off President Abraham Lincoln’s famous maxim, the Feds consider the state of public opinion about the current President’s many serious transgressions. What explains the apparent indifference of wide swaths of the American public to the President’s assault on constitutional values and the rule of law? What are the prospects for Mueller’s upcoming testimony or other events to break through the apparent impasse? And is there a moral obligation to push back on the constitutional outrages whether or not there are reasonable prospects of changing the current calculus?

Harry is joined by Barbara McQuade, Frank Figliuzzi and Julie Zebrak.

And stay tuned after the discussion for a preview of the Talking Feds live event July 8-11 in Washington, DC. 

Mueller Report Myths and Gerrymandered Maps

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

In this special Feds Now episode, The Feds break down the myths of the Mueller Report, as first elucidated in a recent Time Magazine article. Host Harry Litman is joined by the co-authors of the article, former US Attorneys and Talking Feds charter members Barbara McQuade and Joyce Vance. The Feds then turn to the ramifications of the 5-4 Supreme Court on political gerrymandering with Richard Cordray, who clerked for two Supreme Court justices and was the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

These 11 Mueller Report Myths Just Won’t Die. Here’s Why They’re Wrong by Barbara McQuade and Joyce White Vance.

No Hope

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

The Feds take up the administration’s assertion of absolute immunity for Hope Hicks, including whether absolute immunity is even a viable legal concept. They then consider a new Supreme Court decision that potentially points the way towards a legal breakthrough in the impasse between the White House and Congress. Finally, they consider the sobering possibility that the race is over even as Congress continues to run in place.

Host Harry Litman, is joined by Paul Fishman, Matt Matthew Miller and Judge Nancy Gertner.

Ted Talks

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

The Feds are honored to be joined by Rep. Ted Lieu, a forceful presence on the House Judiciary Committee. We begin with a probing look at the legal, ethical, and political implications of the President’s suggestion that it’s fine for a campaign to take negative information about an opponent from a foreign country, including the seemingly untenable position that Trump has imposed on FBI Director Christopher Wray by directly contradicting him in public.  Following a sidebar from Prof Larry Tribe on the federal government’s obligation to provide information to criminal defendants, the Feds engage in a candid assessment of Congress’s attempts to date to bring the Mueller report to life before the American public, ending with Rep Lieu’s declaration that  "[w]e are going to get McGahn to testify at some point."

Along with Congressman Lieu, host Harry Litman is joined by Josh Campbell of CNN a former FBI agent. He’s also joined by Professor Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School, former trial and appellate lawyer, and one of the chief public authorities on prosecutorial practice.

A House Divided

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

The Feds consider the White House’s radical and unprecedented strategy to not only rebuff all investigative demands from the House, but to deny the very legitimacy of the House’s oversight.  They unpack the voicemail from the President’s lawyer asking Michael Flynn’s lawyer for a “heads up”of Flynn’s communications with Mueller.  They then bat around a new proposal from Prof Larry Tribe that potentially could break through the drastic logjam.

Host Harry Litman is joined by former Feds Asha Rangappa, Elliot Williams, and Barbara McQuade.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors (feat. Professor Laurence Tribe, Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, and Congressman Jamie Raskin)

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

An unbelievably high-powered panel-- Professor Laurence Tribe, Dean Erwin Chemerinksy, and Congressman and Judiciary Committee member Jamie Raskin--take up an incredibly important topic,  "High Crimes and Misdemeanors." The three set aside some common misconceptions and agree on important aspects of the constitutional term. They then turn to plow new ground, each opining on what potential offense by the President is the most serious and predicting how the Congress may view differently the Venn diagram of potential impeachable offenses.  Finally, they offer their thoughts on whether we are at a moment of constitutional failure, and whether the constitutional scheme is likely to prove equal to the stresses that the President has imposed on it.

Host Harry Litman is joined by:

Professor Laurence Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. Professor Tribe has prevailed in three-fifths of the many appellate cases he has argued (including 35 in the U.S. Supreme Court); was appointed in 2010 by President Obama and Attorney General Holder to serve as the first Senior Counselor for Access to Justice; and helped write the constitutions of South Africa, the Czech Republic, and the Marshall Islands. His treatise, “American Constitutional Law,” has been cited more than any other legal text since 1950. He has written 115 books and articles, most recently, To End A Presidency: The Power of Impeachment (co-authored with Joshua Matz).

Professor Erwin Chemerinsky is the Dean of Berkeley Law and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law. From 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine School of Law. He is the author of eleven books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction, including We the People:  A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court.  

Congressman Jamie Raskin, (D-MD 8th District), member of the Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Reform Committee, the House Committee on Rules; and vice chair of both the House Administration Committee and the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. Before entering Congress, Raskin was a three-term state senator in Maryland, where he also served as the Senate majority whip. For more than 25 years, he was a professor of constitutional law at American University's Washington College of Law and authored dozens of law review articles and several books, including the Washington Post best-seller Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus the American People and the highly acclaimed We the Students: Supreme Court Cases For and About America's Students.


The Day Bob Mueller Spoke

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

On the day when Robert Mueller broke his 2-year silence, the Feds convene in a special @talkingfeds Now! Episode to tell you what wasn’t said in the wall-to-wall coverage.  Each Fed offers up in roundtable order a detail or nuance that the coverage overlooked or underreported, filling in some critical blanks and implications in the first and perhaps only statement that Mueller will make.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined by Barbara McQuade, Elie Honig and Mimi Rocah.

Do Overs and Cover Ups

Talking Feds_Square Podcast Thumbnail.png

The Feds analyze the current apparent impasse between the Administration and the House of Representatives and discuss possible inroads that the House Democrats could nevertheless execute.  They detail possible witnesses that the House still can call.  They conclude by considering the legal and political implications of the two district court victories upholding subpoenas for financial records of the President, including before 2016.

Host, Harry Litman, is joined by Joyce Vance, Matthew Miller and Jennifer Rodgers. Former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray explains the sidebar.