Background Briefing: March 21, 2019


Assessing the Many Legal Cases Against Trump

We begin with an assessment of the mounting legal cases against the president and his family and close associates as the Congress begins a series of investigations and the Mueller inquiry nears its climax while other jurisdictions such as the Southern District of New York proceed with cases generated by evidence seized from Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen. Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a Brennan Center Fellow and a Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law and author of “Corporate Citizen? An Argument for the Separation of Corporation and State” whose forthcoming book is “Political Brands”, joins us. We will discuss the obvious angling for a pardon from Trump by Manafort’s lawyer and apparent efforts by members of Rudolf Giuliani’s team to dangle a pardon in front of Michael Cohen, as well as examining the mounting speculation that Mueller is about to drop some indictments.  And we will examine whether the fact that Rod Rosenstein is now staying on longer at the DOJ, is an indication that Rosenstein is sticking around to act as a shield for Barr and Mueller when the report comes out and Trump goes ballistic, particularly if he and-or members of his family are indicted.


The Unfair Treatment of Congresswoman Omar

Then we speak with Lawrence Jacobs, the Chair of Political Science at the University of Minnesota where he directs the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Political Affairs who has just returned from Oxford University where he was a visiting scholar. He joins us to discuss his article about the political paralysis in the U.K. over Brexit at the Minnesota Star Tribune, “The cluelessness of the elites”, and since he knows Congresswoman Omar and her family, the unfair treatment she is getting in the press as well as assessing the presidential campaign of Minnesota’s Senator Amy Klobuchar.


 Trump’s Losing Battle with China

Then finally we look into the battle between the U.S. and China over Huawei and who gets to build the global infrastructure for the next generation of communications 5G and the extent to which America’s allies are not responding to strong-arm pressure from Secretary of State Pompeo to refrain from buying Huawei’s cheaper product. Scott Kennedy, the Director of the Project on Chinese Business and Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, joins us to discuss who will win the trade wars Trump is waging against China to reduce the trade deficit which has since grown to record levels.