Background Briefing: September 2, 2020


A Report From Moscow on the Poisoning of Navalny by Novichok

We begin and go to Moscow to speak with a Russian independent defense analyst Dr. Pavel Felgenhauer who writes for Novaya Gazeta one of the few press outlets not controlled by Putin about the German government’s conclusion that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok. We explore the role of the security services in applying Novichok onto Navalny’s skin possibly at passport control and how they delayed his release for treatment in Germany until traces of the nerve agent dissipated. However it seems that Navalny did not get the fatal dose intended, but what kind of condition he will be in if he ever recovers fully is not known. Navalny’s Chief of Staff is tweeting out Putin’s signature to indicate that in spite of the ritual Kremlin denials, Putin authorized the poisoning as he has done before, to send a signal to dissidents that he will not tolerate political opposition. It is also clear that Putin is happy that a prominent critic is out of the country and out of his hair, not that he has much.


Outrage in Europe at Putin the Poisoner But Silence From Trump

Then we look into what if any response will come from the Trump Administration as European authorities led by Germany consider a response to another use of a chemical weapon after the 2018 poisoning of Russian dissidents in the U.K. in spite of Russia’s signature on the 1993 treaty banning the use of Chemical Weapons. Gregory Koblentz, the Director of the Graduate Program in Biodefense at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University who is a member of the Scientist Working Group on Chemical and Biological Weapons at the Center for Arms Control, joins us to discuss the deadly design of Novichok.


Will The Trump Inaugural Committee’s Corruption Ensnare Trump?

Then finally we examine the possibility that the many investigations into Trump’s inaugural will come to a head soon with Elliott Broidy. a top Trump fundraiser who was the deputy finance chairman of the RNC about to be charged. He could make a plea deal to name others just as the tell-all book by Melania Trump’s former friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff appears to buttress suspicions that the Trump inaugural committee was awash with corruption with at least $50 million of the $107 million raised unaccounted for. James Henry, an economist, lawyer and investigative journalist joins us to discuss how Trump got lucky with a stay from the DC Appeals Court delaying the release of his tax information until after the election, but may not be so lucky with Melania’s spurned friend who has tapes of her conversations with the First Lady.