Day: July 13, 2020

Background Briefing: July 13, 2020


Trump’s Pardon of Roger Stone is Unconstitutional

We begin with the growing outrage against Trump’s pardoning of Roger Stone including the distinct possibility that the Federal Judge who sentenced him, Amy Berman Jackson, could challenge the commutation. Corey Brettschneider, a professor of political science at Brown University and a visiting professor of law at Fordham Law School and author of The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents joins us. We discuss his article at The Atlantic “The Traditional Interpretation of the Pardon Powers is Wrong: Properly understood, the commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence is unconstitutional”. Since the president’s powers to grant pardons and reprieves is constrained by the limit in the Constitution “except in cases of impeachment”, Corey argues that the Constitution bans a president from using the pardon and reprieve power to commute the sentences of people directly associated with any impeachment charges. And since Trump’s impeachment which focused on Ukraine included in the articles “previous invitations of foreign interference in United States elections” and “previous efforts to undermine United States Government investigations into foreign interference in United States elections”, there is ample evidence that Stone’s guilt in colluding with Wikileaks and the Russians and lying and covering up his activities for which he was convicted, qualify as an exception to the president’s pardon powers because of Stone’s well-documented involvement in Trump’s impeachment.


Trump Defames Dr. Fauci While Offering Medical Advice From a Game Show Host

Then with the White House trashing and sliming the popular 50-year-long government servant Dr. Anthony Fauci, having sent out opposition research-type lists of lies and exaggerations against him, we assess what role facts and science can play in explaining the worsening public health crisis we are facing now that Fauci has been gagged. Shannon Bennett, the Chief of Science and Dean of Science and Research Collections at the California Academy of Sciences, a virologist who has studied virus evolution, identification and transmission, joins us. We discuss the dangers of not just opening up the economy but the schools, and how Trump is his own worst enemy because the only way to reopen the economy is to stop the spread of the virus.


The Owner of the Washington Redskins Bows to Financial, Not Moral Pressure

Then finally with the owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins bowing to financial pressure from FedEx which was threatening to take away their $45 million a year naming rights to the stadium and Nike’s and Amazon’s removal of the team’s merchandise from their online stores, we speak with David Glass, a member of the White Earth Nation and the president of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and the Media. He joins us to discuss this victory for Native Americans along with the stopping of the Dakota Access pipeline and the Supreme Court’s decision to declare the eastern half of Oklahoma to be Native American land.