The Lawfare Podcast: Is Trump Creating a Deep State?

Jen Patja, Benjamin Wittes, Susan Hennessey, Scott R. Anderson, Rudy Mehrbani
Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
Brookings

In the waning days of his administration, the president has attempted to install a political loyalist as General Counsel of the National Security Agency, a position that is traditionally a merits position, not a political position. He has also issued an executive order that gives the executive branch greater control over the civil service, making it easier to hire and fire people in agencies. It all raises the question: Is Donald Trump attempting to create the very deep state that he has spent the last four years denouncing? To talk over this question in its various permutations, Benjamin Wittes sat down with Susan Hennessey, who recently wrote an article about the NSA General Counsel appointment; Scott Anderson, Lawfare senior editor; and Rudy Mehrbani, senior advisor at Democracy Fund Voice, senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, former assistant to the president and director of presidential personnel and former associate White House counsel in the Obama administration.



Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books.
Susan Hennessey was the Executive Editor of Lawfare and General Counsel of the Lawfare Institute. She was a Brookings Fellow in National Security Law. Prior to joining Brookings, Ms. Hennessey was an attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the National Security Agency. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Scott R. Anderson is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow in the National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School. He previously served as an Attorney-Adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and as the legal advisor for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Rudy Mehrbani is a senior advisor at Democracy Fund Voice, a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, and the former assistant to the president and director of presidential personnel and former associate White House counsel in the Obama administration.

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