Background Briefing: November 10, 2019


NSC Officials Fight Trump to Defend Ukraine

We begin with the public testimony coming up on Wednesday from three senior U.S. diplomats in the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s attempt to bribe Ukraine’s leader into digging up dirt on his political opponent Joe Biden in exchange for much-needed military aid which the Congress had appropriated.  Joining us is an expert on Ukraine Anders Aslund, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council whose latest book is “Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path From Market Economy to Kleptocracy”. We discuss the recent testimony of the NSC’s Russia expert Fiona Hill and Ukraine expert Colonel Alexander Vindman who was concerned that the Russians might get wind of Trump’s cut off of military aid and be tempted to take advantage of it in Donbass in the east where Russia’s proxy army occupies a belt of Ukraine’s remaining territory after Putin had seized Crimea. The war in the Donbass has killed more than 13,000 since 2014 and we look into claims by U.S. security officials that defending Ukraine against Russia is vital for U.S. national security, something that the President of the United States appears to either not understand or care about since almost all of Trump’s foreign policy moves seem to favor Putin’s agenda over America’s interests. So the question arises, will next week’s testimony wake up Trump’s supporters to question their leader’s priorities and patriotism?


Billionaires Running in a Race Tilted Against Billionaires

Then with another billionaire Michael Bloomberg entering the Democratic presidential race joining Tom Steyer, we assess whether real billionaires are best suited to defeat the phony billionaire Donald Trump, particularly at a time when two of the top Democratic front-runners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are explicitly running against the billionaire takeover of our economy and the resulting income inequality which has relegated the American Dream to a worthless lottery ticket. Darrell West, the Vice President of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and author of “Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust” whose latest book is “DIVIDED POLITICS, DIVIDED NATION: Hyperconflict in the Trump Era”, joins us.


 An Expert on the War Against Reality

Then finally we go to London to speak with Peter Pomerantsev, a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics and author of award-winning book “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible”. He joins us to discuss his latest book “This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality” and explore the extent to which the Republicans and Fox News have borrowed Putin’s model of media manipulation as Trump successfully weaponizes lies while the Democrats struggle to weaponize the truth.