Background Briefing: June 4, 2020


The Likelihood Trump Will Invoke Martial Law Before or After an Electoral Defeat

We begin with the announcement by the Secretary of Defense contradicting his boss by opposing Trump’s threat to invoke the Insurrection Act on 1807 followed by the former Secretary of Defense General Mattis who offered a stinging rebuke of the Commander-in-Chief divisive misrule characterizing Trump’s term in office as devoid of “mature leadership”. Then the former Chairman of the Joint Chief’s, Admiral Mullen weighed in writing in The Atlantic that he was confident in the professionalism of our armed forces but “less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this Commander in Chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops.” Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell who now teaches at the College of William and Mary and George Washington University, joins us to discuss whether the military would obey orders from Trump if he invoked the Insurrection Act or another less discussed but equally broad executive authority in secret statutes relating to the continuity of government passed in the wake of 9/11. We assess the likelihood of Trump using martial law as a last-ditch effort to avoid electoral defeat in November and the prospect of facing jail after January 20 of 2021.

The Federalist’s Leonard Leo is Now Using Dark Money to Suppress the Democratic Vote

Then we speak with Dahlia Lithwick, a senior editor and legal correspondent at Slate where she writes the columns “Supreme Court Dispatches” and “Jurisprudence”. She joins us to discuss her latest article co-authored with Rick Hasen, “The Right-Wing Legal Network Is Now Openly Pushing Conspiracy Theories” and we look into the expanding role of the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo who has be stacking the federal bunch with unqualified right-wing ideologues. Now it seems Leo is using the dark money he raised to defeat Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and seat Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to suppress the Democratic vote in November.

Trump Kills Environmental Protections in the Name of the “Economic Emergency”

Then finally, with today’s Executive Order from Trump waiving the Endangered Species Act and other environmental protections, we speak with Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, the Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He joins us to discuss how Trump is using the current “economic emergency” to speed up federal approval to plunder our public lands for mining, logging, drilling and pipelines.