Background Briefing: July 28, 2019
Apathy in the Face of Attacks on American Democracy and Sovereignty
We begin with the devastating report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election from the bi-partisan Senate Intelligence Committee which makes it clear the Russians hacked into voting systems in all 50 states apparently to explore vulnerabilities but in the case of Illinois they went further and appeared to make a practice run on how to alter election results which is an alarming portent for the 2020 election. An award winning investigative reporter Andrew Gumbel, who has written for The Guardian and many other publications and is the author of “Down for the Count: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America”, joins us. We discuss how the investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee exposes an attack on the very essence of American democracy which is widely celebrated and is an attack on America’s sovereignty which is something conservatives used to ferociously defend and is the reason why the U.S. is not a member of the International Criminal Court. But now the Republican leader of the senate, Mitch McConnell, is standing in the way of modest efforts to help states shore up election protection ahead of 2020 following last week’s warning by Robert Mueller that the Russians are meddling now and will the even more active in 2020. We speculate whether “Moscow Mitch” as he is now known as, can be shamed into standing up for American democracy, and why Americans are not up in arms about these brazen attacks on the very foundation of what the nation was built on.
Trump Trashes Another Black Congressman and a Whole American City
Then with Trump’s latest and continuing racist attacks on minority members of congress, this time Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings, we speak with Michele Gilman, a Professor of Law and Director of the Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic at the University of Baltimore. She joins us to discuss, not just Trump’s attacks on the widely respect Chairman Cummings, but on the city of Baltimore itself which he denigrates with his favorite word “infested” as though the city’s inhabitants were disease-ridden and contaminated, certainly not human, which is how this racist-in-chief often describes many of his fellow citizens.