Day: December 18, 2019

Background Briefing: December 18, 2019


Laurence Tribe on Today’s Impeachment

We begin with the impeachment today in the House of Representatives of Donald J. Trump who is charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. One of the country’s leading constitutional scholars, Laurence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and the author of “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment”, joins us to discuss today’s third impeachment of an American president and his article at The Washington Post which addresses the next stage of impeachment in the Senate, “Don’t let Mitch McConnell conduct a Potemkin impeachment trial”. We look into the stark contrast between Speaker Pelosi who opened today’s proceeding after the two articles of impeachment were read, who is standing up for the Constitution and the American people while the entire Republican opposition to the last man and a few women, is in lock-step behind one corrupt man who considers himself above the law. With Republican Congressman Collins and others hammering away at the familiar broken record of “hoax, sham, Burisma, Hunter Biden and no quid pro quo”, the absence of any defense of the president was as obvious as it was indefensible. Instead the Republican strategy is to heap scorn on the process while not addressing the high crimes and misdemeanors or indeed bribery, which is also outlined in the Constitution, a charge which Lawrence Tribe argues Trump is guilty of.


 Webster’s Alarm That Trump Will Fire His Second FBI Director

Then on this historic day we speak with an historian, Beverly Gage, a professor of history at Yale University and author of “The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror”. Her forthcoming book is “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the American Century” and we discuss the extraordinary op-ed that the former federal judge and head of both the FBI and the CIA, William Webster, wrote in Tuesday’s New York Times. After castigating his former friends AG Barr and Rudy Giuliani, Webster expressed alarm the Trump might fire his second FBI director, warning that Trump is a dire threat to the rule of law which should be above politics.


Republicans Purge 234,000 Voters in Key Swing State of Wisconsin

Then finally we speak with John Nichols, the Nation magazine’s national affairs correspondent and host of the Next Left podcast who joins us from Wisconsin to discuss the purging of 234,000 voters from the state’s rolls by right-wing activists in a move that could tip the 2020 election in Trump’s favor since he narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016 by only 22,000 votes. With Trump’s path to reelection dependent on the Electoral College and winning the same three rust belt states he won by 78,000 last time, this blatant voter suppression by the Republicans is clearly on target.