Background Briefing: December 23, 2019
Could Public Pressure Force McConnell to Conduct a Fair Trial with Witnesses?
We begin as this Christmas holiday week begins with a Congress in recess and not back until early January which coincides with the standoff over the impeachment of President Trump as House Speaker Pelosi holds up sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate where Mitch McConnell is determined to ignore them and rush a senate trial to acquit Donald Trump. Joining us now is Lisa Graves, co founder of Documented, a watchdog group that investigates how corporations manipulate public policy, harming our environment, communities, and democracy. She has served as a senior advisor in all three branches of the federal government–as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department, as Chief Counsel for Nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as a Deputy Chief of the Article 3 judges division for the U.S. Courts. We discuss what might happen when Congress returns in the New Year while Trump is expected to extend his two- week vacation at Mar a Lago. With polls indicating a majority of Americans want to hear from key witnesses in a fair trial in the senate, we assess whether popular pressure could grow to the point Senate Majority Leader McConnell will be forced to allow Bolton and Mulvaney and others to testify. Meanwhile the outgoing Republican governor of Kentucky is such a disgrace that the GOP in Kentucky could be tainted making McConnell’s reelection even less certain as he faces strong Democratic challengers.
Trump’s War on the FBI
Then, with AG Barr and his special prosecutor trying to build a case investigating the investigators which has already put the FBI in the hot-seat but now their attention is turning to investigate Obama’s head of the CIA, we look into legitimate criticisms of the FBI as opposed to the Banana-Republic inquisition Barr is conducting to please El Jefe. Joining us is Mike German, a fellow with the Liberty and National Security program at the Brennan Center for Justice who previously served as the policy counsel for national security and privacy for the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office and was a sixteen-year veteran of federal law enforcement, serving as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation where he specialized in domestic terrorism and covert operations. The author of a new book, just out, Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy, we do a damage assessment of Trump’s war on the FBI and the problems the new FBI has yet to fix.
The Assault and Plunder of Our Public Lands
Then finally as every day we learn of a Trump official in charge of the public’s business working against the public like Trump’s monopoly enabler in charge of anti-trust, we get an update on the assault and plundering of public lands by Trump replacement of the disastrous Ryan Zinke who is far worse. Joel Clement a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School with a background in climate and energy issues, joins us. Previously he served as Director of the Office of Policy Analysis within the DOI, the US Department of the Interior under Secretary Ryan Zinke. But when he and dozens of his colleagues were reassigned to different DOI positions for which they were frequently ill-suited; Mr. Clement was no longer able to work on climate policy to benefit vulnerable populations and he first blew the whistle on his politically motivated reassignment in The Washington Post, and later resigned.