Background Briefing: July 19, 2021


The First to Reveal Trump’s Oval Office Insanity Now that the Generals are Speaking Out Years Later

We begin with an early witness to Trump’s Oval Office insanity who, in contrast to the generals and others now leaking to journalists and authors, actually tried to warn the public about Trump’s frightening behavior as president in an op-ed he wrote for The New York Times under the title Anonymous back in 2018. Miles Taylor, the co-founder of the Renew America Movement, a coalition of over 150 members and former members of the Republican Party calling for strengthening the rule of law and restoring government ethics joins us to discuss what it was like inside the Oval Office dealing with a dangerous, delusional and ignorant president. The author of A Warning, he served as Chief of Staff to the former Secretary of Homeland Security in the Trump Administration and his Anonymous op-ed provided the first insight into White House chaos, administration instability, and the people working to keep Donald Trump’s reckless impulses in check and he warns us that today’s GOP is the number one threat to our national security.


The Spyware Used to Target Journalists, Human Rights Activists and Politicians

Then we examine the revelations from an international consortium of journalists who have uncovered a list of 50,000 phone numbers of journalists, human rights activists and politicians who have been targeted by the Pegasus spyware which the Israeli company NSO sold to governments intended to be used against criminals and terrorists. Joining us is David Kaye, a clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, who was the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression and is the author of Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet. We discuss his op-ed at The Washington Post, “Global spyware such as Pegasus is a threat to democracy. Here’s how to stop it.”


Trump is Now the Spokesman For the Anti-Vaxxers

Then finally we look into the disconnect between a deadly new strain of Covid, the Delta variant ravaging the country particularly in Red States with low vaccination rates and how former president Trump is now the chief spokesman for the anti-vaxxing movement encouraging Americans not to take the vaccine because they should not trust Biden along with election results and the Fake News. Lawrence Gostin, University Professor and Founding O’Neill Chair in Global Health Law at Georgetown University’s Law Center joins us to discuss how Trump is adding to the death toll he is already responsible for as he puts millions more Americans at risk.