The Lawfare Podcast: Checking In on Congress

Quinta Jurecic, Molly E. Reynolds, Michael Stern, Eric Columbus
Tuesday, October 3, 2023, 8:00 AM
What has been going on in the halls of Congress? 

Published by The Lawfare Institute
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If you’ve been following the news out of Congress recently, you’ve probably been focusing on the narrowly averted government shutdown and the indictment of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez—and, perhaps, the House Republicans’ decision to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Biden. But there have also been some notable updates when it comes to the continuing fallout from Jan. 6. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unsealed an opinion limiting the ability of the special counsel’s office to access phone records from Rep. Scott Perry under the Speech and Debate Clause. Meanwhile, Trump’s onetime advisor Peter Navarro was finally convicted of contempt of Congress for defying the Jan. 6 committee. 

Lawfare Senior Editors Quinta Jurecic and Molly Reynolds sat down with two of our favorite guests to call when there’s news about Congress and the law: Mike Stern, former Senior Counsel to the House of Representatives, and Eric Columbus, who recently served as Special Litigation Counsel in the House Office of General Counsel. They discussed Perry, Navarro, how exactly one should define an impeachment inquiry, and, of course, the Menendez indictment.

Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Molly Reynolds is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. She studies Congress, with an emphasis on how congressional rules and procedure affect domestic policy outcomes.
Michael Stern is an attorney who specializes in legal issues affecting Congress and the legislative process, including congressional ethics, elections, investigations, lobbying and constitutional reform. He served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 to 2004. He later served as Deputy Staff Director for Investigations for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Special Counsel to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He has co-chaired the D.C. Bar’s Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section and served on the ABA Task Force on Lobbying Reform and the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council. He blogs about congressional legal issues at and is currently teaching a course on congressional oversight at the George Washington University School of Political Management.
Eric Columbus served as special litigation counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives’ Office of General Counsel from 2020 to 2023. During the Obama administration, he served in political appointments at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.

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