Day: February 12, 2020

Background Briefing: February 12, 2020


Barr Violates Everything the DOJ Stands For

We begin with the withdrawal of four career prosecutors from the Roger Stone case after Attorney General Barr intervened to have his loyal newly-appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia overrule them asking the court for a more lenient sentence for Roger Stone. This after President Trump had angrily tweeted that the 7 to 9 year sentence his long-time friend and political dirty trickster was facing was a “horrible and very unfair situation”, warning we “Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice”. Joining us is Harry Litman, a former United States Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department who is the Executive Producer and host of the Talking Feds podcast and a contributing legal columnist for The Washington Post where his latest article is “This is one the most odious achievements of Trump’s presidency Attorney General William P. Barr’s department has effectively has gone rogue”. We discuss how Barr’s actions in bowing to political pressure from the president and forcing his subordinates to do Trump’s bidding are devastating for morale within the DOJ, undermining prosecutorial independence and violating the duty of prosecutors to bring impartial justice. Adding insult to the injury of the unprecedented resignation of the four prosecutors, Barr’s new sentencing filing reads like a brief for the defense, omitting all of the damaging actions and aggravating behavior of Stone who repeatedly insulted the Justice Department and the judge as though expecting at the end of the day, a pardon from Trump.


 Xi Jinping’s Gamble to Revive the Economy Risks Spreading the Virus

Then we look into how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the Chinese economy and the global supply chain of auto-parts, pharmaceuticals, surgical gowns and facemasks etc., and speak with Victor Shih, Professor of Political Science in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego and author of Economic Shocks and Authoritarian Stability: Duration, Financial Control, and Institutions. He joins us to discuss Xi Jinping’s gamble in ordering people back to work to get the economy going again which risks the further spreading of the virus.


An Analysis of Trump’s $4.8 Trillion 2021 Budget

Then finally we get an analysis to President Trump’s $4.8 trillion federal budget proposal for 2021 which throws a record amount of money at the already-bloated Pentagon while cutting programs for the poor like food stamps, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Shawn Fremstad, a Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research joins us to discuss how Trump has extended his tax cuts for the super-rich who fund his campaign while sticking it to the poor who unfortunately often don’t vote.