Month: October 2018

Background Briefing: October 31, 2018


The Person Who Revealed an Attempt to Smear Robert Mueller

We begin with Special Counsel Robert Mueller referring evidence to the FBI that pro-Trump political operatives are offering to pay women to make false claims against Mueller accusing him of sexually harassing women in an effort to discredit the Mueller probe. One of these women, Jennifer Taub, who recently received an email trying to enlist her in smearing Mueller, joins us. A Professor of Law at the Vermont Law School, she forwarded the email to the Special Counsel’s office who then contacted the FBI and we will discuss the content of the email and the offer of money from a Simon Frick, a researcher at a firm called Surefire Intelligence. Although Jennifer has never met or spoken to Mueller, the pro-Trump troll wrote “It’s my understanding you may have had some past encounters with Robert Mueller” and he wanted her to talk about it in a phone call, “for which I would compensate you at whatever rate you see fit (inside reason), would be a good place to start …and a beginning rate to talk with you about all encounters you’ve had with Special Counsel Mueller”.  And on another subject, with widespread condemnation and dismissal of Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship which many see as a last-minute election ploy to rile up his base, we discuss Jennifer Taub’s op-ed at CNN, “Trump’s thumbing his nose at the law on citizenship.”


Reining in the Murderous Unchecked Powers of MBS

Then with the return to Saudi Arabia from exile in London of the younger brother of King Salman, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, we will examine the possibility that there may be efforts underway to check the reckless and murderous abuse of power being exercised by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS. Gregory Gause, Chair and Professor of International Relations at Texas A&M University and author of “Saudi-Yemeni Relations: Domestic Structures and Foreign Influences”, joins us to discuss the other signal that limitations may be imposed on MBS’s power with the announcement today by Secretary of State Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mattis that the U.S. wants a halt to the disastrous Saudi war in Yemen.


A 6000% Increase in the Dynastic Wealth of the Walton, Mars and Koch Families Since 1982

Then finally we speak with Chuck Collins, who directs the Program on Inequality and at the Institute for Policy Studies about his new study at“Billionaire Bonanza 2018: The Role of Dynastic Wealth” and his article at The Guardian “The wealth of America’s three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982”.With former Fed Chairman Paul Volker warning “we are developing into a plutocracy”, we will discuss how since 1982, the Walton, Mars and Koch families have seen their wealth increase by 6,000% while the median household wealth went down 3% over the same period.