Background Briefing: November 19, 2019

Nancy Pelosi’s Behind-the-Scenes Strategy of an Impeachment She Did Not Want

We begin with today’s impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee with NSC Ukraine expert Colonel Vindman and VP Pence’s aide Jennifer Williams in the morning and the Republican-chosen witnesses Ambassador Kurt Volker and the NSC’s Tim Morrison in the afternoon. Marc Sandalow, Associate Academic Director of the University of California Washington Center and former Washington Bureau Chief for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of “Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi’s Life, Times, and the Rise to Power”, joins us. We discuss the central role of the Californian Congressman Adam Schiff and the Californian Speaker Pelosi in the hearings underway with Adam Schiff chairing the inquiry and Pelosi, behind the scenes, directing the House impeachment strategy. We will assess whether the Republican congressmen and congresswoman’s efforts to slime Colonel Vindman, questioning his loyalty while trying to out the whistleblower backfired, and whether the slipping TV ratings for the hearings mean the public is not engaged and is losing interest.

Republican Junkyard Dogs Yap at Witnesses Questioning Their Loyalty

Then we speak with Robert Mackey, a Senior Writer at The Intercept who writes about national and international news through the prism of social media about his latest article at The Intercept “Republicans Urge Americans to Follow Them Through the Fox News Looking Glass on Ukraine”.  We discuss the extent to which Republican congressmen are behaving like junkyard dogs snapping at witnesses in the hope they will draw blood, and whether Devin Nunes’ strategy of dismissing the hearings as a Democratically-orchestrated circus that the American people find boring will work.

The Three Tracks to Revealing Trump’s Taxes and the Hold by SCOTUS

Then finally we examine the significance of Chief Justice John Robert’s indefinite hold on making President Trump’s taxes available to the Congress and discuss the three tracks towards making Trump’s returns available to the public underway with lawsuits by the New York District Attorney, the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Oversight Committee.  Edward McCafferey, Chair in Law and a Professor of Law, Economics and Political Science at the University of Southern California and author of “Fair Not Flat: How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler”, joins us to analyze the cases and what if any ruling might come from the Supreme Court.