Background Briefing: March 26, 2019


The Republican Right and the Russiagate-Skeptic Left Embrace Barr’s Spin

We begin with the victory laps by both the Republican right and the Russiagate-skeptic left celebrating what is widely reported as an exoneration of President Trump by the Mueller report even though the report has not seen the light of day and all we know about it from a four page summary written by an Attorney General who was chosen because he did not believe a president can be indicted or charged with obstruction of justice who was able to put his own spin on the much-anticipated report to shape public perceptions.  Ryan Cooper, a national correspondent for The Week where he has an article “Ignore the media’s Trump-Russia recriminations. Look at the big picture instead”, joins us to discuss these strange bedfellows celebrating an exoneration that did not happen either for Trump or Russia, since even in Barr’s letter it is made clear that Mueller found the Russians were engaged in two main efforts to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. We will also look into how Trump is now going on the offensive answering the call to investigate the investigators, and while some Democrats appear to be on the defensive, given that the fix was in, the need for the whole Mueller report to be released to the public as soon as possible could not be more urgent and necessary so that the American people can see for themselves what Mueller and his investigators found.


 Trump Wants the Entire Affordable Care Act to Be Ruled Unconstitutional

Then with the Trump Administration asking a federal appeals court to rule the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, we will assess whether the courts could do what the Republican Congress failed to do time and time again and speak with Dania Palanker, a Research Professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown’s Health Policy Institute where she analyzes state and federal health insurance market reforms, including implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We will examine whether Trump’s move could backfire and become the campaign issue in 2020.


The Crisis of Legitimacy Roiling the Global Political Landscape

Then finally Manuel Castells, the world-renowned sociologist, joins us in the studio. He is the University Professor and the Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California and the author of the new book “Rupture: The Crisis of Liberal Democracy”. We will discuss the crisis in legitimacy roiling the global political landscape with the election of Trump, Brexit, the demise of traditional political parties, the rise of the extreme right, and the nationalist challenge threatening the European Union as worldwide, kleptocratic and authoritarian regimes seek to undermine democratic governments and institutions.