Day: February 11, 2021

Background Briefing: February 11, 2021


Could Jamie Raskin’s Closing Argument Move Enough Republicans to Avoid Their Eternal Shame in History?

We begin with the closing arguments today by the House Managers in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in which Jamie Raskin invoked Tom Paine, whose pamphlet “Common Sense” sparked the American revolution, in calling upon the senate jurors to use their common sense to rule that Trump is guilty of insurrection. Garrett Epps, a contributing writer to The Washington Monthly and Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law joins us to discuss his article at The Washington Monthly, “The Jamie Raskin Moment” and how having known Raskin for over thirty years, Garrett believes Raskin’s appeal to the senators was not just for the history books. Rather it was an attempt to get them to rise above partisanship and the primary threat Trump poses to their reelections, to vote their consciences to ensure no future presidents can get away with the outrages against the Constitution, the government and American democracy Trump has so flagrantly committed.


The Consequences For the GOP in Exonerating Trump

Then we speak with Geoffrey Kabaservice, the director of political studies at the Niskanen Center in Washington and author of Rule And Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Tea Party about the zoom call he was on with 120 other former Republican officials considering forming a new party or a moderate block within a party now in the grip of Trump. We discuss the consequences of exonerating Trump for a party that is increasingly authoritarian and anti-democratic. 


The Cyberweapons Arms Race and a New Kind of Global Warfare

Then finally, following the recent cyber-attack on a water treatment plant in Florida which would have endangered 15,000 residents of Oldsmar had a plant operator not noticed the hack in real time, we speak with Nicole Perlroth, who covers cybersecurity for the New York Times. She joins us to discuss her new book, just out, This is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race and how the secretive and invisible government-backed cyberweapons market poses an urgent threat in a new kind of global warfare.