Day: February 21, 2019

Background Briefing: February 21, 2019


Trump’s Accomplices in Overturning Libel Laws

We begin with President Trump’s escalation of his war on the press he calls “the enemy of the people”, a description he tweeted out on Wednesday in caps attacking The New York Times. Today he attacked the Washington Post in support of a Nick Sandmann, a high school senior in Washington D.C. for an anti-abortion rally seen in a video that went viral wearing a MAGA hat smirking in the face of a Native American elder. Trump tweeted “Go get them Nick. Fake News!” James Wheaton, who teaches First Amendment Law and Journalism Law at both U.C. Berkeley and Stanford University Graduate Schools of Communications joins us to discuss the coincidences that Trump is championing a $250 million law suit against the Post for the exact amount his nemesis Jeff Bezos paid for the newspaper. And we will assess the coincidence that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas announced the Supreme Court should reconsider its 1964 landmark First Amendment ruling in New York Times v. Sullivan shortly after his wife’s Oval Office visit with Trump, who has repeatedly called for an overhaul of America’s libel laws vowing “I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money”.


America’s Hidden History

Then we examine the hidden history of American empire which flies in the face of our cherished foundation as a country forged in an anti-colonial revolution and instilled with the popular belief we are a world power spreading freedom and democracy having saved the world twice with our reluctant interventions in World War 1 and 11. Historian Daniel Immerwhar, a professor of history at Northwestern University, joins us to discuss his new book, just out, “How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States” and shatter myths as the American Republic continues its struggle to survive the American Empire.


Is There a Move Underway to Protect the GOP from the Damage the Mueller Report Will Do To Them?

Then finally we look into why suddenly the Mueller report is about to be released following Acting AG Whitaker’s recent hint it was close to being finished and then the recent arrival of a new attorney general who auditioned for Trump and got the job because he was critical of the Mueller probe. Jeremy Venook, a research analyst for the Moscow Project at The Center for American Progress who previously was an editorial fellow at The Atlantic, joins us to discuss whether there is a move underway to protect the Republican Party from the damage a revelation of the extent of Trump’s criminality and treason would inflict on the GOP.