Background Briefing: December 16, 2018
A Profile of Mike Flynn Ahead of Tuesday’s Sentencing
We begin with the sentencing this coming Tuesday of Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and special counsel Robert Mueller’s rejection of Flynn’s lame excuse that he was tricked into lying to the FBI. Douglas Wise, who served as Deputy Director of the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2014 to 2016, joins us to discuss General Flynn’s controversial tenure as head of the DIA when ended in 2014 when President Obama fired him. Then at a meeting on November 10, 2016 at the White House shortly after Trump won the election, Obama personally urged Trump not to hire Flynn. We will assess whether Flynn like Paul Manafort who also lied to FBI investigators, is angling for a pardon from Trump and how so much of Flynn’s shady business dealings and conspiratorial beliefs went undetected or were ignored by Trump. The most egregious of these being Flynn’s acceptance of $530,000 from Turkey’s Erdogan apparently on the promise of kidnapping and rendering Fethullah Gulen from exile in Pennsylvania to face charges in Turkey that the cleric engineered the failed military coup against Erdogan. And apart from leading the chant of “lock her up” at the Republican convention, Flynn pushed the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was running an underground pedophile prostitution racket out of a pizza parlor in Georgetown which inspired a rescue attempt by an impressionable disciple armed with an assault rifle who believed the nonsense Flynn and his son were promoting.
Why Russia is Unlikely to Reignite Its War with Ukraine
Then we speak with a former ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, the William Perry Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation about alarm expressed by the Ukrainian government about a Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s Western border. We look into why it is unlikely Russia will re-ignite the war in the Donbass since Putin is already successfully squeezing Ukraine via his unannounced blockade of Ukrainian shipping in an out of the Sea of Azov under a new bridge over the Kersh Straits which Russia just built connecting their mainland to Crimea. We will also discuss the significance of Ukraine’s split from the Russian Orthodox Church.
The History of the White Power Movement Which Emerged from the Shadows with Trump’s Arrival
Then finally, following the recent verdict by a jury in Charlottesville, Virginia that 21 year-old avowed neo-Nazi Alex Fields Jr. should be sentenced to 419 years in jail and pay a $480,000 fine for plowing his car into a crowd and killing Heather Heyer, we speak with Kathleen Belew, a Professor of History at the University of Chicago who researches the 20th century history of white power militancy through previously classified FBI documents. The author of the new book “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America”, she joins us to trace the history of a movement which has emerged from the shadows with the arrival of Trump who appears reluctant to criticize neo-Nazis and white supremacists.