Background Briefing: April 10, 2019
A Partisan Protector of Trump, Barr Shapes the Narrative
We begin with William Barr’s testimony today before the Senate Appropriations Committee where he went further in tipping his hand as a partisan protector of Trump by venturing into the fevered swamp of anti-Trump “deep state” conspiracies in saying he will be looking into the “genesis” of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign and its ties to Russia, adding that “I think spying did occur”. This has Trump crowing that Barr is doing a “great job” and he’s “getting started on going back to the origins on where exactly this all started because it was an illegal witch hunt”. Michael German, a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program who served as a special agent with the FBI specializing in domestic terrorism and covert operations, joins us. We will discuss indications that Barr is moving to put his own spin on the report expected soon from the FBI’s Inspector General’s internal investigation into the FBI’s handling on its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, just as Barr put his own pro-Trump spin on the Mueller Report before it was released with his four page summary which Trump is celebrating as an exoneration.
Will a Split Between Centrists and Progressives Sink the Democrats?
Then with Obama warning the Democrats are in danger of forming a circular firing squad as progressive purity overwhelms pragmatism and Nancy Pelosi remarking in an apparent dig at AOC that “While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House”, we examine whether a division between centrists and progressives will split the Democratic Party and sink their chances of ousting Trump in 2020. Simon Rosenberg, the President and Founder of the New Democratic Network who worked on the Clinton Presidential campaign as a member of the 1992 Clinton War Room, joins us to discuss the findings in a new survey that half of Democratic-leaning voters are moderate or conservative with a quarter progressive and only 1 in 10 identifying as Democratic Socialists.
Trump Places Himself Above the Law as He Fights to Hide His Tax Returns?
Then finally, with Treasury Department announcing that they missed the deadline to release Trump’s taxes, we look into how Trump has essentially placed himself above the law as he defiantly fights the move underway by the House Ways and Means Committee to have the IRS turn over the past six years of his tax returns. We speak with Edward Kleinbard, a Professor of Law at USC who served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. He joins us to discuss his op-ed at The Los Angeles Times “The law is clear on disclosing Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee” and how Trump’s hysterical over-reaction and his Treasury Secretary’s clumsy and lame defense of the indefensible, point to a major cover-up of damaging information.