Background Briefing: May 21, 2019


Growing Pressure on Speaker Pelosi to Initiate Impeachment Hearings

We begin with the growing pressure on Nancy Pelosi from her caucus to initiate impeachment hearings which she is resisting while Trump himself appears to be acting like Clint Eastwood, taunting the Democrats to go ahead and make my day as he defies subpoenas, tampers with witnesses and plays hardball by refusing to even recognize congresses role of oversight. John Lawrence, a visiting professor at the University of California Washington Center who served as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Chief of Staff, joins us to discuss his article at The Hill “After Mueller, Democrats need to avoid the Javert trap” and tensions that erupted in Monday night’s leadership meeting with internal sparring among some senior Democrats and Speaker Pelosi. We assess whether the impeachment train has left the station since there is so much frustration at the grassroots and among the progressive caucus and the party’s base that the speaker will no longer be able to restrain the passions of her rank and file. And in the face of Trump’s insults and taunts and his flagrant contempt towards the Article 1 branch, at some point hearings will have to be initiated at the very least to set the legal framework for getting the witness testimony and the documentation that Trump is stonewalling on.


The Need to Get Witnesses Trump Does Not Want to Testify on National TV

Then we speak with former Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman who served on the House Judiciary Committee charged with investigating the Watergate scandal who prepared articles of impeachment that precipitated the resignation of President Nixon. She joins us to discuss her latest book, “The Case For Impeaching Trump” and her article at Just Security “The Nixon Impeachment – A Blueprint for Today” and we assess how best to educate the American people about what is actually in the Mueller report and get the witnesses Trump does not want to testify before a national television audience.


Trump Again Is Ahead of the Democrats in Using Social Media for 2020

Then finally we examine today’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee “Understanding the Digital Advertising Ecosystem and the Impact of Data Privacy and Competition Policy” and speak with David Carroll, a professor of media design at The New School where his research examines major shifts in media as it relates to advertising, adtech, data rights, privacy, surveillance, social media and journalism.  He joins us to discuss how the Trump campaign, which used social media successfully in 2016, is way ahead of the Democrats in buying Facebook ads for 2020, helped in part by the crowded Democratic field competing against each other.