Background Briefing: October 15, 2018


Trump and MBS Concoct a Cover Story

We begin with the cover story the White House and the Saudi Crown Prince MBS came up with to get them both off the hook following the murder and dismemberment of the Saudi-American journalist Jamil Khashoggi in Turkey. Trump’s entire Middle East policy, not to mention his business interests, rest on his and Jared Kushner’s investment in MBS, and this violent ignorant spoiled prince who ordered the barbaric butchery of a Washington Post journalist needed a way out from under the international outrage his latest impetuous and rash act has provoked. Robert Baer, a veteran CIA Middle East operative and author of “Sleeping With the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude” who is now the national security affairs analyst for CNN, joins us. We discuss how an insular and inexperienced Saudi Crown Prince with absolute power would interpret Trump’s labeling of the free press as “the enemy of the people” as well as his constant attacks on The Washington Post, as a green light to get rid of a Washington Post reporter who was exposing the truth about this faux reformer who Khashoggi likened to Putin. Indeed the comparison between MBS and Putin is very apt since MBS is looting Saudi Arabia as he buys a yacht for half a billion dollars along with a fake Da Vinci for the same amount while confiscating the wealth of oligarchs who run afoul of him just as Putin does. And both Putin and MBS order highly provocative and grim murders of dissidents on foreign soil as a way to send a message to their citizens living under a reign of terror not to step out of line. But more to the point, both MBS and Putin are two of Trump’s favorite world leaders if not silent partners. So it is reasonable to assume that if Trump could get rid of the constitutional restraints on him and the rule of law which he seeks to undermine, then Trump would be able to emulate his despotic friends and lock up Hillary and start renditioning his many critics to black sites.


Senator Warren Fires Her Opening Shot Against Trump in the 2020 Presidential Race

Then with the release today of a video by Senator Elizabeth Warren answering Trump’s challenge of donating $1 million to charity if she could prove her Native American ancestry, which she did with DNA evidence, we assess whether this is her opening shot in a presidential contest for 2020 against her race-baiting cheapskate tormentor who needless to say, wimped out on making good on his bet.Robert Hockett, a Professor of Law at Cornell Law School who recently worked with Senator Warren to develop the Accountable Capitalism Act, joins us to discuss the reasons why Trump trashes Senator Warren. Apart from her being in every way the opposite of him, Trump knows she will be his toughest opponent and that is why he is going after her.