Background Briefing: October 8, 2020


Trump’s Encouragement of Militia’s Takes A Deadly Turn

We begin with the arrests today by the FBI and Michigan State Police of six men plotting with members of a branch of the Michigan Militia, the Wolverine Watchmen, to storm the state capitol using explosives and assault weapons to capture and kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and put her on trial in Wisconsin. Thomas Mockaitis, a Professor of History at DePaul University who has taught counter-terrorism courses for the past 13 years around the world as part of the U.S. Defence Department’s Counter-terrorism Fellowship Program and is the author of Violent Extremists: Understanding the Domestic and International Terrorist Threat joins us. We discuss his article at The Hill “Presidential debate raises the specter of election violence” and the extent to which these domestic terrorists were inspired by President Trump who, in the recent presidential debate, told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” and earlier called on the Michigan Militia to liberate the state from its Democratic governor, prompting an armed invasion of the state capitol. With Trump’s repeated refusal and his Vice President’s refusal in last night’s debate to commit to a peaceful transition after the election, we assess whether this is a precursor for the violence insurrection Trump will call out when he loses the election, or will Trump be finally taken to task for his seditious encouragement of white supremacist vigilantes he is threatening to unleash.


Erdogan Has to Be Stopped But Trump Ignores the New Armenian Genocide

Then we examine the urgent need for a diplomatic solution to the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh where today Turkish F-16’s and Azerbaijani artillery destroyed an Armenian cathedral in which civilians were sheltering. David Phillips, the Director of the Program on Peace-building and Human Rights at Columbia University who chaired the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission, joins us to discuss his article at The Boston Globe “Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict is spiraling out of control. The United States, Russia, and France must work together to advance a diplomatic solution.” 


How Stephen Miller Has Crippled DHS’s Ability to Protect the Homeland

Then finally with Trump’s closest aide Stephen Miller coming down with Covid, we look into how Miller’s anti-immigrant racism has crippled the ability of the Department of Homeland Security to defend and protect the homeland from threats like pandemics because he has turned DHS into his own anti-immigrant police force. Jean Guerrero, an investigative border reporter whose latest book, just out, is Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda joins us to discuss how Miller and Trump derive sadistic pleasure from trolling liberals and punishing minorities, the poor and immigrants.