Background Briefing: January 27, 2019


Roger Stone’s History With Trump

We begin with the arrest and indictment of the dirty trickster and close adviser to Donald Trump Roger Stone and speak with someone who knows him well, Sidney Blumenthal, the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and author of the bestsellers “The Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment” and “The Permanent Campaign”. He joins us to discuss how when the mob lawyer Roy Cohn who represented Trump was dying of AIDS, he handed off Roger Stone to Trump to be his replacement and that Stone was instrumental in writing the full page ad denouncing NATO Trump placed in The New York Times in 1987 just after Trump’s return from the Soviet Union. We look into how Stone recommended Paul Manafort to Trump to be his 2016 campaign manager and how the two spoke often on the phone throughout the campaign making it likely that among the seven counts special counsel Mueller brought against Stone on Friday for witness tampering and making false statement to Congress, Stone’s conversations with Trump are sure to be the focus of further investigation into a possible link between the Trump campaign and the cyber-attack on the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton.


The Legal Jeopardy Facing Roger Stone

Then we follow up on what legal jeopardy Trump may be facing if Roger Stone agrees to cooperate with the Mueller investigation and speak with James Risen, the Senior National Security Correspondent at The Intercept and a former investigative journalist with The New York Times who won a Pulitzer Prize for his stories in the Times in 2006 about warrantless wiretapping by the NSA. His latest book is “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War” and he joins us to discuss his article at The Intercept “Roger Stone Made His Name as a Dirty Trickster, But the Trump-Russia Coverup May Finally Bring Him Down”.


The Deepening Isolation of Venezuela’s Maduro Government

Then finally we examine the deepening isolation of the Maduro government in Venezuela with the United State and 20 mostly South American nations recognizing the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly Juan Guaido as the head of state as European governments threaten to recognize him too unless a plan for new elections is announced in the next 8 days. Alejandro Velasco, a professor at New York University and a historian of Latin America who is the author of “Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela” joins us to discuss how economic incentives will help Guaido while military threats from the United States will help Maduro cling to power.