Background Briefing: October 21, 2021


John Dean On How Bannon Is “Up to His Eyeballs” in January 6 and So Is Trump

We begin with the 229 to 202 vote today in the House to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress in which 9 Republicans joined with the Democratic majority. Joining us is John Dean, who was legal counsel to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal, and his Senate testimony helped lead to Nixon’s resignation. Currently a regular political and legal commentator on CNN, he is the New York Times bestselling author of Blind Ambition, Broken Government, Conservatives Without Conscience, Worse Than Watergate, and his latest book, coauthored with Bob Altemeyer, Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers. We discuss the likelihood that Bannon is as John Dean said on CNN, “up to his eyeballs” in the January 6 riot and that “I think he could lead to Trump or those closest to Trump, and I do believe that the indications are that Trump is much more involved in this whole thing than we think he was.” We look into what went on in the war room Bannon set up in the Willard Hotel in Washington on January 5 where he was joined by a top Trump White House aide and Rudy Giuliani in conversation with Trump who was in the White House plotting to have Vice President Pence not certify Biden’s electoral victory.


The Next Step For Senate Democrats After Republicans Kill Manchin’s Freedom to Vote Act

Then following Wednesday’s vote in the Senate in which the Republicans voted unanimously against Joe Manchin’s Freedom to Vote Act which he tried to get them to accept in the spirit of bipartisanship, we speak with Alexander Keyssar, a Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School and author of The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States which was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize. He joins us to discuss the next steps the senate Democrats might take as time is running out to check the rampant Republican voter suppression underway.


Democratic Dithering is Hurting Biden’s Popularity

Then finally we speak with Ryan Cooper, a national correspondent at The Week who is the Cohost of Left Anchor podcast and the author of the forthcoming book, How are You Going to Pay for That? Smart Answers to the Dumbest Question in Politics. He joins us to discuss his latest article at The Week, “Democrats’ months of dithering are sandbagging Biden’s popularity” and since voters respect decisive leadership, what can be done to get Senators Manchin and Sinema to understand neither of them is president of the United States.