Background Briefing: October 30, 2019


Damning Testimony from Someone on Trump’s July 25 Call

We begin with the despicable attacks in the right wing media against U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman who serves on the staff of the National Security Council and testified yesterday to the House Intelligence Committee as a witness who was actually listening in on the disputed phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s President Zelensky which was at the heart of a whistleblower complaint that has led to an impeachment inquiry. Aaron Rupar, a journalist and the Associate Editor at Vox where he has an article “Trump allies are now accusing an impeachment witness – and Purple Heart recipient – of disloyalty”, joins us to discuss the character assassination of a decorated Iraq War veteran by Rupert Murdoch’s junkyard dogs at Fox News. With Laura Ingraham and John Yoo leading the propaganda offensive accusing Colonel Vinman of treason, when it is clear that the real traitors are Trump and Giuliani and their network of sleazy bagmen who are working in Putin’s interests against democracy in Ukraine and America’s values and national security, we question why it is that a Republican House leader Liz Cheney is coming to the defense of decency, not the Democrats. And since Colonel Vindman testified that important passages in the transcript of the July 25 call released by the White House were redacted, we will assess whether the disruptive antics by Trump loyalists like Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan will carry over to the impeachment trial in the House in the absence of any real defense of Trump being offered by Republicans.


Protests Rage Across Latin America

Then with protests raging across Latin America from Bolivia to Ecuador, from Haiti to Honduras, we speak with Michael Shifter, President for Policy and Director of the Andean Program at the Inter-American Dialogue.  He joins us to discuss how the protests cross ideological lines with Maduro’s leftist government in Venezuela a basket case and Morales in Bolivia facing charges of electoral fraud, while the right wing leader in Chile is under siege from angry citizens as Argentina just rejected their right wing failure Macri for the populist team of Alberto Fernandez with former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as his VP. Meanwhile the right wing thug leading Brazil, Bolsonaro, is being tied to a political assassination which has him fuming and cursing at the media in ways reminiscent of our vulgarian in the White House.


Will There Be Justice for Kurds and Punishment for Turkey

Then finally we examine yesterday’s two overwhelming votes against Turkey in the House, a 405 to 11 vote recognizing the Armenian genocide and a 403 to 16 vote for sanctions against Turkey for its brutal assault on the Kurds which Trump greenlighted. Henri Barkey, professor of international relations at Lehigh University and a former member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff on the Eastern Mediterranean and Intelligence, joins us to discuss whether there will be any justice for the Kurds and any punishment for Turkey.