Background Briefing: June 13, 2019


Trump: The Wannabe Gangster

We begin with yesterday’s even more extraordinary remarks by President Trump in his Oval Office interview with George Stephanopoulos than what he said on the day before when he sided with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un over his own CIA. Joining us is David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author of “The Making of Donald Trump” and the co-founder of the investigative news site DC Report whose latest book is “It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America”. We discuss how the man who made a mantra out of repeating “no collusion, no collusion”, openly admitted on camera that he would be happy to collude with a foreign entity like Russia or China to accept dirt on a political opponent in the 2020 elections. Trump then went on to trash the FBI and FBI Director Wray like a mob boss would, as he has done before, the difference being as David points out, that it’s worse than that, Trump is not a mob boss he is a wannabe mob boss. We will assess whether Trump’s flagrant contempt for the law and political norms on full display will be enough to force the leader of the Democratic opposition, Nancy Pelosi to step up and take on the leadership necessary to hold Trump accountable and put an end to the lawlessness, corruption and despotism which is degrading America and endangering the world.


A Founder of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on Today’s Attacks on Tankers

Then with attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman which Secretary of State Pompeo is blaming on Iran, we will speak with a founder of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Dr. Mohsen Sazagara who held a number of high ranking positions in the early years of the Iranian revolution. He joins us to discuss the role of the IRGC in carrying out attacks on tankers in the narrow Strait of Hormuz which are a bargaining chip for Ayatollah Khamenie in Iran’s negotiations with the U.S. to ease sanctions since these incidents raise the price of oil and create uncertainty in the energy sector.


How Democracy in Brazil Was Sabotaged to Allow a Far-Right Leader to Take Over

Then Petra Costa, a Brazilian filmmaker whose latest film is “The Edge of Democracy”, joins us in the studio to discuss how the popular Lula government and Lula’s successor in the Worker’s Party, Dilma Rousseff, were sabotaged and set up in legal coup which has led to the election of the far right firebrand Jair Bolsonaro. The film shows how easy it was for Brazil’s oligarchs to turn democracy on and off when is suited their ends, undermining Brazil’s frail democracy to divide the country and mobilize the people against their own interests.