Talking Feds is a roundtable discussion that brings together some of the most well-known former prosecutors in the country for a dynamic and entertaining analysis of the most pressing questions in today’s high-profile criminal cases, including the Mueller probe and related investigations.
Here's the Latest Episode from Talking Feds:
In this Special Talking Feds Now! Episode on the first day of impeachment hearings, Harry, Barb McQuade, and Glenn Kirschner assess the performances of the Members of Congress, starting with Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes; the staff counsel; and the two opening witness, William Taylor and George Kent. Schiff plainly approached the hearings as the accomplished prosecutor he used to be, and the Feds use that vantage point to explain what the Dems strategy was and how well they executed it. They likewise evaluate the strategy and tactics of the Republicans and consider what they can credibly hope to achieve given the hand they’ve been dealt. The Feds close with some thoughts about what to expect as the hearings unfold.
With Congress poised to begin public impeachment hearings, the Feds consider the coming historic juncture through the prism of the impeachment investigations of Presidents Nixon and Clinton. Eyewitness participants in those dramas spell out key distinctions that shed light on the Trump impeachment and bring into relief some of the high hurdles facing the House Judiciary committee right now. The episode brings together Judiciary Committee members and players from all 3 impeachment dramas—Elizabeth Holtzman, a Committee member and then the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress; Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment and a senior member today, and Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, the current Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and a member of the House Committee on Rules. Joining them is Lanny Breuer, former head of the Criminal Division at DOJ and special counsel to President Clinton during the 1998 impeachment trial.
The last 15 years have ushered in a series of daunting obstacles to voting rights in this county. It turns out that the supposed principle of "one person one vote" falls short in the field to a series of impediments, beginning with three 5-4 Supreme Court opinions that have scaled back on the ability of minority voters in particular to participate on equal footing with other voters. Returning Fed and Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Law at the University of Alabama Joyce Vance, Congress Member (and manager of his brother's presidential campaign) Joaquin Castro, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights) Vanita Gupta, and Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub join Harry to break down the state of voting rights in the country, analyzing the Court's actions and also poll closures, bogus charges of voter fraud, and the emasculation of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. They close with some hopeful developments on the horizon, beginning with proposed HR1, which would enact a laundry list of improvements and mitigate some of the harsh effects of the Court's decisions.
Charter Fed Barb McQuade joins David Frum and Malcolm Nance for a deep dig of two other issues circling the impeachment crisis. First, the Feds discuss the crazy wild card that is Rudy Giuliani, including his prospects for indictment from his old US Attorney’s office. Is he at the end of the day a serious risk to the President, and will Trump cut him loose or try to hold him ever close? Turning to the prospective drafting of articles of impeachment, the Feds consider whether and how to integrate into the basic charges the President’s term-long record of grave damage to national security and to the rule of law.
Former Clinton Press Secretary Joe Lockhart (who served Clinton during his impeachment trial) joins Feds Maya Wiley Jill Wine-Vance, and Harry Litman for a discussion of a number of facets of what is suddenly an impeachment crisis for the White House. What (if anything) is the White House doing right and what is it doing wrong? How does its efforts compare and contrast with the Clinton White House’s strategy in 1998? Turning to the Congress, the Feds consider whether the Republicans “no due process” argument is getting any purchase and speculate on how both the House and the Senate Republicans will approach the coming crisis.
The Feds take up the most sober, and one of the most controversial, topics in the federal criminal justice system -- the federal death penalty. There are currently 62 offenders on federal death row, a small fraction of the numbers in the state system, and the federal government has executed only 3 federal prisoners since 1963. So why do we have, and why do we need, a federal death penalty? Given the different approaches to capital punishment in the states, should the federal system work to ensure uniformity among all federal capital defendants or should it reflect the variations in local communities? As a practical matter, how does the decision whether to seek the death penalty work in the federal system? Finally, how does the Department of Justice approach the trials of capital crimes? Feds Rod Rosenstein, Johnny Sutton, and Carmen Ortiz – 3 former U.S. Attorneys who have extensive personal involvement in federal capital cases – unpack all these questions and detail the personal experience of seeking the ultimate penalty.
After a blockbuster week in both Congress and the Southern District of New York, Feds Frank Figliuzzi, Barb McQuade, and Elie Honig join Harry to assess the damage against the President and his country lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Several witnesses gave forceful closed-door testimony about the President’s turning over Ukraine foreign policy to Giuliani, who apparently executed a scheme designed to further Trump’s political interests to the derogation of the country’s national security interests. None of the witnesses might have drawn as much blood, however, as Trump’s own acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who acknowledge before the camera that a quid pro quo had occurred. The Feds consider whether removal is now on the table, and also the repercussions of a potential indictment of Giuliani by his old office.
Guest host Matthew Miller sits down with three reporters who cover The Department of Justice to find out what’s going on with Attorney General William Barr, the Ukraine investigation and more. Featuring Evan Perez, Katie Benner, Devlin Barrett.
Bill Barr's 2001 interview can be found here.
The whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the intelligence community has brought the Trump Administration to the precipice, imposing a far greater threat than did the Mueller probe. Several more whistleblower complaints against the Administration are stacked up and ready to go. Whistleblowers have arrived. But who are they, and what tends to happen to them after they blow the whistle? The Feds bear down on various aspects of the life and law of whistleblowers, with two of the most prominent whistleblower lawyers in the country and the author of a just-published book that gives an encyclopedic look at this suddenly critical set of players.
From Austin, Texas, it's a special bonus episode of Talking Feds. Harry Litman, Joyce Vance, Matt Miller, Asha Rangappa and Mieke Eoyang talk about the state of politics, the president and the law while producer Jennie tries to to get queso on the mic cables. It's a free-wheeling discussion in the back room at Cisco's in East Austin, so sit down and join us!
After disclosure of a whistleblower complaint revealing President Trump’s efforts to strongarm the President of Ukraine into producing dirt on Joe Biden and subsequent WH efforts to conceal it, the Democrats moved quickly to initiate impeachment proceedings. Talking Feds Ron Klain, Natasha Bertrand, and Frank Figliuzzi join Harry to analyze the depths of Trump’s troubles and the likely path of congressional investigation going forward.
Four Charter Feds – Frank Figliuzzi, Paul Fishman, Matt Miller, and Joyce Vance—join Harry Litman to analyze the complicated questions of law, politics, and national security swirling around the bombshell revelations that 1) a whistleblower complaint from someone in the national intelligence community has been filed but is being withheld from Congress notwithstanding the plain legal command to provide it; and 2) the complaint concerns President Trump’s attempting to strongarm the President of Ukraine into gathering dirt on Joe Biden’s son. The Feds then turn their focus on Corey Lewandowski’s testimony in the House last week, including the devastating cross-examination by committee counsel Barry Berke, and consider the possibility that Lewandowski could be charged with contempt.
In the wake of unconfirmed reports that a Grand Jury in the District of Columbia refused to indict former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the feds convene in emergency TalkingFeds Now session to analyze what happened, assess how rare—and how embarrassing—a development it would have been, speculate on just what is happening now in the US Attorney’s office and Main Justice, and consider the Department’s next moves.
Full episode transcripts available at Talking Feds dot com.
Following up on the last episode insiders’ account of the fabled Southern District of New York, the Feds canvas various cases in which the SDNY is still investigating conduct by the Trump circle and Trump himself. Trump insiders often have suggested that the greatest threat to the President and his family comes from the SDNY. Now that the Mueller probe has run its course, what possible cases does the SDNY still have in store? And if the SDNY does bring additional cases, will the new regime at the DOJ, led by AG Bill Barr, sign off on them?
Full episode transcripts available at talkingfeds.com
The Southern District of New York – the United States Attorney’s Office based in Manhattan – is the most renowned federal prosecutor’s office in the Department of Justice—and it knows it. It has a famous independence and swagger, which it has earned with a long string of high-profile prosecutions, particularly of organized crime figures. Friends of President Trump have long identified the SDNY as a bigger threat to his presidency than Robert Mueller. What makes this office tick, and so consistently excellent? Three long time assistants and supervisors in the office sit down with Talking Feds host Harry Litman to detail what life and work is really like in the SDNY.
Guest host Frank Figliuzzi leads a discussion of fighting violent extremist crimes in the United States without compromising civil liberties. Frank is joined by Barbara McQuade, Mary McCord and Malcolm Nance. In the sidebar segment, Emmy award winning actor Bradley Whitford explains the difference between international and domestic terrorism.
Full transcript available at talkingfeds.com
For many Republicans, the Trump Administration has posed a stark choice between values and outcomes, a choice that seems increasingly irreconcilable with the norms and practices of previous Republican administrations.
Host Harry Litman talks with three Republicans who made the choice early on not to support the President's policies. William Kristol, political author and commentator, Peter Keisler, former acting Attorney General of the United States, and Carrie Cordero, former senior associate general counsel at the office of the Director of National Intelligence.
What are the values and purposes behind the pardon power? How has President Trump used this executive power in his first term and how might he use it in the future?
Harry talks with an expert panel including Robert Bauer, former White House counsel and professor, Margaret Love, former pardon attorney, and Rachel Barkow, professor of Law at New York University and a former member of the United States Sentencing Commission.
They've sued white supremacists after Charlottesville, fought for bail reform in Missouri, and stood up in court for Welcoming Cities like Gary, Indiana.
The former Feds at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law left the Justice Department to take on cases that have Constitutional claims at their core. They discuss the impact of their litigation efforts in areas where the U.S. government would traditionally play a role.
Host Harry Litman is joined by ICAP's team of former Feds: Mary McCord, Joshua Geltzer, Amy Marshak, Annie Owens, Nicolas Riley, Seth Wayne.
Three familiar Feds are joined by director Rob Reiner to assess the testimony of special Counsel Robert Mueller and consider the prospects for continued congressional investigation. Mueller testified to Congress for seven hours about the contents of his report. Although his answers were brief, he nonetheless painted a clear picture of misconduct and potential crimes committed by the President and his associates.
Harry is joined by former Feds Melinda Haag, Martha Boersch and filmmaker Rob Reiner.
Feds including some of the finest and most experienced trial lawyers in the country proffer specific, word-for-word, 5-minute lines of questioning for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. They defend their own lines of questioning and critiques others in turn. The Feds then engage in a trial lawyers’ discussion of what goals are achievable from Mueller’s testimony, which risks are worth taking and which are not, what tone to take in the questioning, how to handle the expected obstreperousness of the Republicans, how exactly to make use of the Mueller Report, and other fine points of the trial lawyer’s art as applied to this critical hearing.
Full transcripts available at Talking Feds dot com
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 at c-span.org.
This episode was sponsored by Georgetown Law's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and The American Constitution Society.
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.
Full transcripts and more available at talkingfeds.com/news
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.
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 White 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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Harry is joined by Barbara McQuade, Mimi Rocah and Elie Honig.
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.
The Feds discuss the implications of the revelation that some member(s) of Congress helped dangle a pardon to Michael Flynn, and the importance of the district court’s muscular intervention in ordering that the information be made public. They then consider Trump's deranged tweet about treason and the overall impact of Trump's threats now that he has an apparent ally and loyal servant in the Attorney General of the United States.
Of all the many aspects of the various Trump dramas, the counter-intelligence investigation of the President and his campaign can be the hardest to understand and follow, not least because it remains highly classified and we have no way to chart its progress with certainty. But we can bring a depth of knowledge and experience to the topic, and that is what Feds Frank Figliuzzi and Josh Campbell, who both have extensive FBI experience, do in this episode. The Feds provide a detailed but nuts-and-bolts explanations of how counter-intelligence investigations work, and then analyze the prospects over the next two years for the remarkable counter-intelligence investigation of the Trump campaign and the president himself.
A Talking Feds NOW special episode. The Feds convene in emergency session to dissect the Attorney General’s remarkable testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to analyze the import of Barr’s apparent decision to act as an advocate for the President’s personal interests.
Host Harry Litman is joined remotely by Robert Raben, Barbara McQuade and Matthew Miller.
As the center of investigation of Trump’s misconduct moves to the House, a group of Feds who have special in-depth knowledge of Congressional investigations predict what lies ahead. The Feds discuss the likely maneuvers of three House Committees and the likely counter maneuvers of the Department of Justice. They consider the prospects for the House to get the Mueller Report without redactions, and the possible critical roles for public opinion and the handful of moderate Republican Senators.
Harry is in Washington, D.C. with Robert Raben, Elliot Williams and Matt Miller.
The Feds probe deeply into the 438-page redacted Mueller report, training their focus in in particular on the respective roles of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General William Barr. Was Mueller’s decision to shy away from a bottom line judgment on obstruction of justice appropriate? Is Barr not an honest broker, and if not, why not? The Feds tell us the one thing that surprised them the most in the Mueller report.
Host Harry Litman is in La Jolla, CA by Carol Lam, Jennifer Rodgers and from Tucson, AZ by Frank Figliuzzi.
The Feds convene in emergency session to discuss the Mueller report and the Barr press conference. They analyze whether Barr was a faithful expositor or an advocate for Trump, and whether Mueller’s intent was to leave the judgment on obstruction to Congress. Host Harry Litman is joined remotely by Amy Jeffress, Jennifer Rodgers and Paul Fishman.
The Feds analyze what to expect from the soon-to-issue Mueller report and offer educated surmises on the internal dynamics within DOJ, including the relationship between the Special counsel’s office and the Attorney General. They then take up the Assange case, again explaining the dynamics within government and evaluating whether it was a case that should have been brought.
Host, Harry Litman, is joined in the Washington D.C. studio by Amy Jeffress, Julie O'Sullivan, and Matthew Miller.
The Feds analyze the outbreak of the war of press leaks between the Mueller camp and the Barr camp and the emerging dueling versions of Barr’s decision to give the President a pass on obstruction. They then consider the prospects that the House will be able to secure the unredacted Mueller Report and the President’s tax returns.
Host, Harry Litman, is joined remotely by Joyce Vance, Paul Fishman, and Matthew Miller.
At a time of intense curiosity about the contents of the Mueller Report, and assessment of Mueller’s key decisions over the course of the probe, this episode brings together prominent former federal officials who each worked closely and at length under Mueller when he was United States Attorney and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director. Their vantage points, generally absent from the public discussion to date, give rise to educated surmises about Mueller’s calculations over the life of the probe to the present day, when he possibly is at odds with the Attorney General about critical conclusions from his probe.
Host, Harry Litman, is joined in the San Francisco studio by Melinda Haag, Martha Boersch, and Candace Kelly.
The Feds debate Special counsel Robert Mueller’s baffling decision not to reach a judgment as to the President guilt of obstruction and the Attorney General’s decision to step into the breach and clear Trump. They then discuss the many perils that remain for Trump and his circle from investigations in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere.
Host, Harry Litman, is joined remotely by Barbara McQuade and Mimi Rocah.
The Feds convene an emergency session to discuss Bob Mueller’s long-awaited submission of his report to the Attorney General.
Host, Harry Litman, is joined remotely by Paul Fishman, Julie Zebrak, and Matthew Miller.
The Feds consider whether it was appropriate for the Manhattan DA to file pardon-proof charges against Paul Manafort, then describe the specific steps Congress and the DOJ would take to investigate the emails to Michael Cohen suggesting Trump and Giuliani may have dangled a pardon to keep him silent.
Host, Harry Litman, is joined in the Washington D.C. studio by Elliot Williams, Julie Zebrak, and Elie Honig.
The Feds discuss what the Mueller Report might look like and what happens after it drops, then turn to consideration of Paul Manafort's prospects for ever getting out of prison.
Host, Harry Litman, is joined in the Washington D.C. studio by Joyce Vance, Paul Fishman, and Matthew Miller.
Talking Feds is a prosecutors’ roundtable that brings together some of the most well-known former prosecutors in the country for a detailed, dynamic, and entertaining analysis of the most pressing questions in high-profile criminal cases, including the Mueller probe and related investigations.