Background Briefing: May 17, 2020


Trump Sidelines Health Professionals While Fox Switches Coverage From Covid to Obamagate

We begin with the inescapable conclusion that the top public health professionals advising the White House have become nothing more than window dressing for a president who only cares about his reelection, and with a combination of a sociopathic lack of empathy for the lives of the American people and magical thinking, Trump is determined to open up the country no matter the consequences.  Dr. Irwin Redlener, Clinical Professor of Health Policy and Management and Pediatrics at Columbia University’s Earth Institute where he is the Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness joins us to discuss his article at The Washington Post “The Pandemic Generation“. We examine growing tensions between the CDC and the White House where Dr. Birx is increasingly critical of the CDC while retaining a good rapport with Trump who clearly cannot stand being contradicted by Dr. Fauci. Fauci along with the heads of the CDC and FDA, seem to be no longer available to the media. Meanwhile the White House’s propaganda arm, Fox News, barely covers the coronavirus pandemic anymore having switched their focus to the bogus Obamagate conspiracy which their eager hosts obediently with breathless mania, spew out nightly, while the new Trump-worshipping White House press secretary promises reporters future briefings will “have a new look” and a “new focus”.  


The Latest in a String of Firings of Inspector Generals

Then we speak with Heather Hurlburt, the director of the New Models of Policy Change at the New America Foundation’s Political Reform program who served in the White House as special assistant and speechwriter to President Clinton and Speechwriter to Secretaries Christopher and Albright and a member of the Policy Planning staff at the State Department. She joins us to discuss this latest in a string of firings of IG’s from HHS, the Intelligence Community and the oversight panel on coronavirus spending and now the State Department’s Inspector General, which Pompeo requested apparently because Steve Linick was looking into possible misuse of a political appointee who was doing personal tasks for Pompeo and his wife on the taxpayer’s dime.


Trump’s Secret Negotiations With Iran Could Result in an “October Surprise” Deal

Then finally we go to the U.K. to speak with David Hearst, the Editor of Middle East Eye where his latest article is “REVEALED: The secret U.S.-Iran deal that installed Khadhimi in Iraq“. We assess what could be an election “October Surprise” Trump is working behind the scenes to pull off having done a deal under the table with the Iranian regime to release frozen funds from a third party in exchange for Iran allowing the U.S.-friendly Prime Minister in Iraq Mustapha al-Khadhimi to be seated. While most analysts assume Trump wants to go to war with Iran, David Hearst reveals that Trump killed the nuclear deal largely because it had Obama’s name on it and Trump hopes to get a diplomatic win by putting his name of the same renegotiated, renamed deal, just as he did with NAFTA.