Background Briefing: August 2, 2022


The Drone Strike on Al Qaeda’s Leader the Taliban Were Hosting in Spite of Reassurances to the Contrary

We begin with the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri the leader of Al Qaeda by a US drone strike over the weekend and speak with Peter Bergen, one of the few journalists to have interviewed Zawahiri’s predecessor Osama bin Laden. The author or editor of eight books, including three New York Times bestsellers and four Washington Post best nonfiction books of the year, he is a Vice President at the New America Foundation, a professor at Arizona State University and a national security analyst for CNN and has testified before congressional committees eighteen times about national security issues. His latest book is The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden: The Biography and we discuss the apparent close ties to the Taliban regime Al Qaeda has since Zawahiri was staying in a house belonging to the Taliban’s Minister of the Interior which flies in the face of reassurances by the new Taliban in the Doha Agreement that they would not host international terrorists.


Why is Xi Jinping Making Such a Big Deal About Pelosi’s Visit to Taiwan?

Then, with House Speaker Pelosi in Taiwan in spite of China’s warnings that she will be playing with fire and get burned, we look into why Xi Jinping is making such a big deal about her trip and speak with Perry Link, one of the world’s foremost experts on China’s language, culture, and people. He has translated many Chinese stories, writings and poems into English and in the 1990s, he edited the “Tiananmen Papers,” a collection of documents leaked by a high-level Chinese official that helped chronicle the events that led up to and followed the pro-reform student protests in June 1989. He was blacklisted by the Chinese government in 1996.


Why Have Efforts to Bring Trump to Justice Been So Timid and Faltering

Then finally we get an assessment of why efforts to bring Trump to justice have been so timid and faltering in the face of Trump’s lawlessness, lying and defiance and speak with Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer who formerly served as associate deputy attorney general during the Reagan administration. He was general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, research director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran, and member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Presidential signing statements. The author of several volumes on the United States Supreme Court, the United States Constitution, and international law, he helped write the articles of impeachment for President Nixon and President Clinton and he is the author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy and American Empire: Before The Fall.