Background Briefing October 13, 2019


The Trump Family and Giuliani’s Sleezy friends

We will begin with this last bad week for President Trump in which he lost five important court rulings, had his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani embroiled with two sleazy Russian gangsters and possibly facing charges and his acting head of Homeland Security quit because of interference from immigration hardliners Stephen Miller and Ken Cuccinelli. Michael Greenberger, the Director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland where he teaches courses in Constitutional Law at the University of Maryland School of Law, joins us to discuss these reversals for Trump as he stonewalls the House in the current standoff which many see as a constitutional crisis either underway or in the making. We will touch on the unconstitutional role of Trump preferring acting cabinet heads who have not been confirmed by the Senate and investigate the arrest of the two gangsters Parnas and Fruman who after having breakfast with Rudy Giuliani at Trump’s Washington hotel, were arrested at Dulles airport with one-way tickets out of town. We will assess whether these two lobbyists for the illegal marijuana trade in the U.S., which is run by Russian and Armenian organized crime, who were helping Giuliani dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine, were under FBI surveillance and that as a result, Giuliani was caught on tape violating campaign finance and FARA laws. And since the Southern District of New York in pursuing this case, one wonders how Trump AG William Barr will try to shut this inquiry down.


Will Trump Abandon Israel Next?

Then we will examine the growing unease in Israel about Trump’s selling out of the Kurds and reports of Turkey’s war crimes against captured Kurdish fighters as well as the escape of ISIS prisoners and speak with Dr. Guy Ziv, a professor at American University’s School of International Service and Director of the Israel National Security Project. He joins us to discuss alarm expressed by a leading columnist in Israel’s main newspaper that “Trump abandons allies without blinking and Israel is liable to be next’” and the call by 50 reserve combat officers beseeching Netanyahu to “do everything possible to prevent a massacre of the Kurdish people”.


How to Create a New Democracy and Economy

Then finally we will speak with Matt Stoller about his new book just out, “Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy”. A Fellow at the Open Markets Institute who was previously a Senior Policy Advisor and Budget Analyst to the Senate Budget Committee, he joins us to explain how authoritarianism and populism returned to American politics for the first time in 80 years leading to the fall of the Democratic Party. We will also look into the steps needed to create a new democracy at a time when corporate power in increasing and the middle class is shrinking.