Day: December 11, 2018

Background Briefing: December 11, 2018


Trump’s Staged Outburst in the Oval Office

We begin with the petulant outburst today by Donald Trump which the reality TV showman staged by bringing the press into the Oval Office after a private meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and soon-to-be House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Ben Jacobs, the Washington Correspondent covering Congress for The Guardian where he has an article “Trump vows to shut down government in heated public row with Democrats”, joins us to discuss Trump’s most meaty bone yet thrown to his base in which he proudly stated he would shut down the government to get funding for his border wall claiming the he would take responsibility for the political risk because he was protecting America’s border security.  Schumer immediately characterized the staged blowup as a “tantrum” by Trump but with about 10 days to go before the government runs out of money, the dysfunction in Washington could suddenly spread to epic levels. We assess the likely political consequences of Trump’s high-stakes gambit in which neither side is likely to back down, and whether wasting $5 billion to satisfy an absurd campaign promise by Trump will be a compromise the Democrats will be willing to accept in order to be seen as the only responsible adults left in the room.


“Political Synergy” Between the Trump Campaign and the Kremlin

Then we speak with Seth Hettena, an award-winning journalist and long-time investigative reporter for the Associated Press about his article in The New York Times, “The Dangers of Doing Favors for Donald Trump”. He joins us to discuss the recent court filing by Robert Mueller and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York which reveal what could clearly be seen as collusion or conspiracy with a top Russian official close to Putin who appears to be his spokesman Dimtri Peskov offering “political synergy” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.


The Naked Republican Power Grab Underway in Michigan and Wisconsin

Then finally we look into the naked power grabs underway in Michigan and Wisconsin where Republican-controlled lame-duck legislatures are trying to stymie the will of the people by hamstringing incoming Democrats who were just elected to state offices by passing a flurry of bills aimed at thwarting the incoming office-holder’s ability to govern. John Nichols, the Washington correspondent for The Nation where he has an article “The Republican Party Has Become “a Conspiracy to Seize Power”, joins us from Madison, Wisconsin.