Background Briefing: July 23, 2020


The Enormous Emergency Powers a Lawless Trump Has at Hand His Predecessors Used With Restraint

We will begin with the unprecedented threat to our Constitution and rule of law that the tag team of President Trump and AG Barr pose as their private secret militarized police force begins a nationwide invasion of Democratically-led cities without congressional input or authorization headed by unqualified and unconfirmed lackeys and loyalists claiming to be defending the nation against a vague and ill-defined threat who are answerable only to Trump. Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and author of The New Era of Secret Law, joins us to discuss her article at The Boston Globe “Yes, Trump Can Legally Deploy Troops to Suppress Protests”. We look into the activities of untrained government thugs in Portland who honed their skills on the border beating up Mexicans and Central Americans and are now turning their weapons on American citizens protesting for racial and social justice. And since this dangerous and cruel theater is designed to distract from Trump’s failure to protect Americans from the raging pandemic, the enormous emergency powers previous presidents had at hand were always restrained by the respect for the law and the Constitution that guided past presidents. But Trump has total disregard for the rule of law and has expressed a sadistic pleasure in hurting his opponents while brazenly pardoning his lieutenants and wishing a child sex trafficker well as a wanna-be mob boss would do so that they won’t rat him out.


A Plan to End Our Misguided Policy of Domination in the Middle East

Then with the House defeating an amendment to cut 10% from the $740.5 billion defense budget we examine the irony that America’s allies under the protection our vast global military machine like Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea have all contained the pandemic with their economies up and running while the beneficent giant is crippled by Covid at home and hobbled by a lack of leadership unable to protect the American people. Dr. Trita Parsi, the Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft who is a co-author with Paul Pillar, Andrew Bacevich and Annelle Sheline of their new study “A New U.S. Paradigm for the Middle East: Ending America’s Misguided Policy of Domination”, joins us.


Trump’s New Cold War With China as a Reelection Strategy

Then finally we look into the escalating Cold War with China Trump is inflaming as an electoral ploy to paint Biden as being “soft on China” and assess what retaliation will come from the closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston and the fate of the fugitive researcher hiding in the San Francisco consulate who U.S. authorities allege is a undercover People’s Liberation Army scientist engaged in stealing intellectual property. Victor Shih, a Professor of Political Science in the 21st Century China Program at the University of California San Diego, joins us to discuss growing tensions as the Trump Administration considers whether to impose a travel ban on the 92 million members of the Chinese Communist Party.