Background Briefing: December 5, 2021


The Presidents of the U.S. and Russia Will Speak on Tuesday as Putin is Poised to Invade Ukraine

We begin with warnings from the U.S. Intelligence Community that Russia plans to invade Ukraine as it mobilizes 175,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders and speak with Steven Pifer, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. He served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, and special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council. We discuss his article at Brookings, “Will Putin miscalculate?” and whether the video conference President Biden will be holding with President Putin on Tuesday will head off a Russian invasion which Ukraine expects in January. 


The Rise of Political Hatred in the Pro-Trump Red States

Then with congresswomen Boebert and Margorie Taylor Greene routinely spouting racist hatred and Congressman Gosar making death threats against the president and the Squad, we will investigate the rise of political hatred in the pro-Trump red states and speak with Dick Lehr, a professor of journalism at Boston University and a former reporter with the Spotlight Team at The Boston Globe. He won numerous awards and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting and is the author of seven award-winning books of nonfiction and fiction, the latest of which just out is, White Hot Hate: A True Story of Domestic Terrorism in America’s Heartland. We discuss the links between violent militias and far-right media provocateurs like Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson who have mainstreamed hate as they play with fire in the name of patriotism.


Trump Made $1.7 Billion While in Office While Jared and Ivanka Brought in $640 Million

Then finally we speak with David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author of The Making of Donald Trump.  A 13 year veteran of The New York Times, he is the co-founder of and his latest book, just out, is The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family. We look into how crime has paid for Trump and his family with Trump earning $1.7 billion while in office and Jared and Ivanka making $640 million on a White House salary of $1 per year.