Day: January 9, 2019

Background Briefing: January 9, 2019


Trump’s Two Main Claims Demolished in Manafort Document

We begin with the accidental release of evidence that Robert Mueller has which many see as a bombshell in as much as it establishes that, contrary to Trump persistent claims that Paul Manafort’s illegal activities happened before he was hired to run the Trump campaign, now it is clear that Manafort was supplying campaign polling data to a Russian linked to the GRU a foreign adversary’s military intelligence service which blows away Trump’s other claim that there was no collusion. Harry Litman, a former United States attorney and deputy attorney general in the Justice Department who is currently a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, joins us to discuss the significance of this new revelation. We will examine the possibility that Manafort was either cooperating with the Kremlin or was owned by Putin’s close friend the powerful oligarch Deripaska, who was leaning on Manafort to pay back debts. And the coincidence that the Trump campaign’s private polling data appears to fit neatly into the hacking of the Clinton campaign the GRU was engaged in, and the targeting of Americans in the important swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin with social media messaging carried out by the trolls hired by Putin’s chef at the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg.


The Likelihood Trump Will Declare a National Emergency on Thursday

Then, with Trump pulling off another Reality TV stunt today by walking out of a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, we will examine the prospect that tomorrow Thursday, when he visits the border, Trump will declare a national emergency. Aziz Huq, a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and is the co-author of “How to Save a Constitutional Democracy”, joins us to discuss how it appears Trump is poised to take a radical action which unfortunately he can do. We explore what constraints the Democrats could employ to stop this looming unwarranted authoritarian ploy.


How Despots Have Used National Emergencies to End Democracies

Then finally, we speak with Will Bunch, an award winning senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News where his latest article is “US ‘national emergency’ law a disaster waiting for a demagogue”. We will look into how despots like Erdogan, General Sisi, Maduro and Hitler have used declarations of emergency to end democracies and how one day ahead of the Friday deadline for government workers to get their paychecks, Trump could declare his national emergency to get the Pentagon to build his wall, then with that off the table, call for the Democrats to re-open the government.