Day: January 30, 2020

Background Briefing: January 30, 2020


Trump’s Obsequious Lapdog of Presidential Power Exalts Him Above the Law

We begin with indications that Senate Majority Leader McConnell may have corralled enough Republican votes to prevent witnesses and bring about a speedy acquittal of President Trump with the Republicans in lock step following Trump’s orders to block witnesses and documents in a supine act of fealty which does exactly what the second article of impeachment charges, obstructs Congress. Joining us is Lisa Graves, who is the Executive Director of the new corporate watchdog group True North Research and 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 the obsequious lapdog of presidential power Alan Dershowitz’s belief that a president cannot be impeached if he “does something he believes will help him get elected in the public interest” and how that not only places Trump above the law, but into the pantheon of the “sun king” Louis XIV who famously claimed “l’etat c’est moi”, I am the state. And if the three wavering Republican Senators Romney, Collins and Murkowsky joined with the Democrats, assuming Senators Manchin and Jones do not cross the aisle, would Chief Justice Roberts as the senate’s presiding officer, break the 50-50 tie?


If Trump is Exonerated Will He Be Emboldened to Use Military Force?

Then, if President Trump who many believe killed Suleimani in a “wag-the-dog” effort to distract from his impeachment problems is exonerated, will he then become more emboldened to use military force? Joining us to discuss that possibility is Elizabeth Saunders, a Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and author of Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions. She is an editor and contributor to The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog and the co-author of an article at Foreign Affairs, “The Imperial Presidency is Alive and Well: Don’t Mistake Impeachment for a Congressional Effort to Claw Back Power”.  


Sanders’ Authenticity With Iowa Voters Makes Him Monday’s Likely Winner

Then finally we go to Iowa for an analysis of the polling and wrangling going on between Democratic candidates where Joe Biden is reported to have reached out to the bottom tier candidates Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang in the hope their supporter will join his supporters in Monday’s caucuses if they don’t make it past the first ballot. Michael Lewis-Beck, a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa whose interests include comparative elections, quantitative methodology and election forecasting, joins us to discuss how Bernie Sanders’ authenticity with voters might make him Monday’s winner.