Day: January 24, 2021

Background Briefing: January 24, 2021


McConnell is Already Trying to Strangle the Biden Presidency

We begin with efforts underway by outgoing Senate Majority Leader McConnell that he is already moving to limit the ability of the new and razor-thin Democratic majority to govern, using the Organizing Resolution process to stymie them. Although a couple of Democratic senators oppose getting rid of the filibuster, it is becoming apparent that just as he did under Obama, McConnell wants to throw sand in the gears of government to prevent Biden from accomplishing anything so that in 2022 he can blame them for getting nothing done and take back control of the Senate. Ryan Cooper, a national correspondent for The Week and the co-host of Left Anchor podcast, joins us to discuss his latest article at The Week, “McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency” and assess whether a progressive agenda can emerge in spite of the assumptions that we be seeing a centrist coalition of conservative Democrats and less conservative Republicans driving the legislative agenda.


Trump’s Attempted Coup at the Department of Justice

Then we look into the shocking but not surprising story uncovered by The New York Times which has Trump trying to fire his Acting AG Jeff Rosen who did not want to obey Trump’s demand that the DOJ reverse the vote in Georgia to have Trump win instead of Biden. With the help of a Trump lackey in the DOJ, Jeffrey Clark, they plotted to remove Jeff Rosen and put Clark in charge but had to back off when Trump learned that the entire top echelon of the DOJ would quit en mass as in Nixon’s Saturday night massacre, and only then did they back down. Lisa Graves, who served in all three branches of the federal government, as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the DOJ, as Chief Counsel for Nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as Deputy Chief of the Article 3 judges division for the U.S. Courts, joins us to discuss Trump’s desperation to stay in office which culminated in an attempted coup against the legislative branch.


Was Trump Much More Hands-on in Planning and Executing the Capitol Coup Attempt?

Then finally we examine the likelihood that Trump’s involvement in the coup attempt was more hands-on than “provoking” the mob as Senator McConnell has charged, and that the impeachment trial in the Senate set for February 8, might reveal more about how Trump not only inspired the storming of the capitol to stop the certification of Biden’s victory, but helped plan and execute it. Lincoln Mitchell, a professor of political science at Columbia University and an associate scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, joins us to discuss how the GOP will fight to minimize Trump’s involvement as Kevin McCarthy is doing now, and how reports of a GOP Civil War and that the party is fracturing, are both wrong and wishful thinking.