Day: August 21, 2018

Background Briefing: August 21, 2018


The Law Is Closing in on Trump from Two Directions

We begin with a dramatic day in federal courts in Virginia with Paul Manafort found guilty on 8 counts, 4 for tax fraud, 2 for bank fraud and I for hiding foreign bank accounts and in Manhattan Michael Cohen pleading guilty to 8 criminal counts of bank and tax fraud and campaign finance violations. A former federal prosecutor who now teaches domestic and international criminal prosecution issues at Harvard Law School, Alex Whitingjoins us to discuss how Manafort, who is now facing 80 years in prison and another trial in Washington D.C., is critical to Mueller’s investigation into the extent to which Trump, his family and his associates conspired with Russians. And now that Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has plead guilty to serious felonies and has named the sitting President of the United States as a co-conspirator in some of these felonies, we will assess what a volatile and volcanic Donald Trump will do as the law closes in on him from two directions. Presumably in the next day or so we will find out whether we are a nation of laws in which justice flows unimpeded or a divided country led by a vengeful autocrat drunk with power who could plunge the United States into a constitutional crisis by shutting down Mueller’s investigation to save his own skin while inciting his misguided base to rally to his rescue.


America’s Growing Ceo-Worker Pay Gap

Then we look into a new report from the Economic Policy Institute that finds America’s top 350 CEO’s made an average of $19 million in 2017, 312 times more than the median worker in their corporation, in a telling tale of growing income inequality since back in 1965, CEO’s were paid just 20 times more than the average worker.  James Galbraith, Chair in Government/Business Relations and a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and author of “Inequality: What Everyone Needs to Know”, joins us. We discuss what is driving this trend in the U.S. since the CEO-worker pay ratio in the U.K. is 94 to 1 and 40 to 1 in Sweden.


Senator Collins Accepts Kavanaugh’s Word He Will Not Overturn Roe v. Wade

Then finally we speak with Ian Millhiser, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of “Injustices: The Supreme Court’s History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted”. He joins us to discuss his article at ThinkProgress “BREAKING: Brett Kavanaugh thinks Senator Susan Collins is stupid”. Today, in a reversal of her earlier pledge that she would not vote for a Supreme Court Justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the Senator from Maine either naively or cynically accepted Kavanaugh’s assurance that Roe was settled law.