Rational Security: The “Licking the Cow” Edition

This week, Alan, Quinta, and Scott were once again joined by co-host emeritus Benjamin Wittes to talk through the week's big national security news, including:

  • “Constitutional Annoyance.” Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Trump v. Anderson, the case weighing whether former President Trump’s involvement in Jan. 6 should disqualify him from being able to stand as a candidate in 2024 under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. And the justices, for once, seemed almost unified in their skepticism of the idea that he should be—though there was far less agreement as to why. Where is this case headed? And what will its ultimate impact be on the 2024 election and beyond?
  • “Putting the Hur(t) On.” Special Counsel Robert Hur completed his investigation into President Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified documents last week and, while he opted not to bring any charges, his lengthy final report has caused a stir: not just for laying out Biden’s apparent mishandling of classified documents over an extended period of time but also for citing Biden’s advanced age and apparent memory issues as grounds for not prosecuting—observations that have reignited anxieties regarding Biden’s capacity to stand for reelection. Was Hur out of line or just doing his job in making these observations? And how will his conclusions impact events moving forward, including the prosecution of former President Trump for his own mishandling of classified documents?
  • “‘I Can’t Pay the Rent,’ ‘But You Must Pay the Rent!’” Former President Trump has resumed his role as enforcer over the defense spending level of NATO members, suggesting most recently that he would encourage Russia to do whatever it wants with any members who fail to meet their commitments—comments that have triggered new anxiety over how NATO may fare in a second Trump presidency. How serious are these comments? What should folks be doing in response?

For object lessons, Alan recommended the weirdness of Donald Glover's new spy remake, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." Quinta urged listeners to check out a recent New York Times piece on "How Mark Meadows Became the Least Trusted Man in Washington." Scott mourned the end of football season by endorsing the sportsfan comedy of Annie Agar. And Ben announced that he had completed his quest to identify the worst rhetorical question headline ever.

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