Day: April 6, 2020

Background Briefing: April 6, 2020


Trump Declares War on Whistleblowers

We begin as the death toll from COVID-19 in America passed the 10,000 mark and look into why the intelligence briefings Trump got from the CIA on January the 10 or 11th alerting him to the outbreak in China and the dangers it posed to America, were ignored and how by firing the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community and placing unqualified cronies in top intelligence positions, Trump is both insuring that the American people will not learn of his continuing blunders and of the role Russia is playing in helping him get re-elected. Melvin Goodman, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a former CIA analyst who is the author of Whistleblower at the CIA, joins us to discuss his forthcoming article at “The Impact of the Coronavirus on our Body Politic” and the war on whistleblowers Trump has in effect declared. Not only has Trump fired the IG of the IC Michael Atkinson and trashed him in public, he also fired the captain of the aircraft carrier the Theodore Roosevelt for expressing concerns about a coronavirus outbreak aboard his ship. In a further demonstration of the country’s drift towards Banana Republic government with North Korean overtones of ritual praise for the “Dear Leader”, Trump is signaling to all government employees that criticism of him is career-ending while adulation will be welcomed and might lead to promotion. But more insidious is the move to bottle up embarrassing revelations of willful ignorance and serial incompetence by placing Grenell in as the head of the Directorate of National Intelligence with Devin Nunes’s protege Patel as his deputy. In doing so Trump is not only preventing the American people from learning about his treasonous dealings with Putin, but having this coterie of loyalists in charge of our intelligence who are willing to engage in treason ensures that Trump will not be held to account for ignoring warnings and for not preparing America for national security threats like the coronavirus pandemic. We will also discuss the warnings by the recently-fired Michael Atkinson issued in his heartfelt statement on Sunday urging potential whistleblowers inside the government that the American people are …”counting on you to use the authorized channels to bravely speak up – there is no disgrace in doing so. Please do not allow recent events to silence your voices”.


The Need For Government Oversight is More Urgent Than Ever

Then we look further into Trump’s war on whistleblowers and speak with Danielle Brian, the Executive Director of POGO, the Project on Government Oversight where she focuses on National Security, wasteful defense spending, ethics, open government, and whistleblower issues. She joins us to discuss her article at the Project on Government Oversight’s blog, “It’s Time for Congress to Stand Up to Trump” and since trillions will be going out the door under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, we examine how we can ensure that the money is spent where it is actually needed, making government oversight more critical and urgent than ever.

Wisconsin is the Test Case For What Kind of Elections We’ll Have in November

Then finally, with Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor just issuing an executive order to postpone tomorrow’s primary election in Wisconsin until June which will be appealed to the Republican-dominated Wisconsin Supreme Court, we got to Madison Wisconsin and speak with Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the new corporate watchdog group True North Research who served at senior levels in all three branches of the federal government. She joins us to discuss how what is happening in Wisconsin with the Republicans making voters choose between their Democratic rights and their personal safety, will be the defining issue in the country all the way until the November election as the GOP insists on in-person voting during a pandemic while the Democrats want people to be able to vote by mail as Donald Trump did in 2018.

UPDATE: Since this interview was recorded, the Republican-dominated Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the governor’s order to delay the election until June. In addition, the Supreme Court voted to stop an order extending the absentee ballot deadline in Wisconsin.