Background Briefing: August 17, 2022


Unanswered Questions Swirling Around the Mar-a-Lago Document Seizure

We begin with unanswered questions swirling around the Mar-a-Lago document seizure which, wishful thinking aside for those who want to see Trump dragged off in an orange jumpsuit or a straightjacket, is looking more and more like Trump is in big trouble. Joining us to assess the former president’s jeopardy is Sidney Blumenthal, the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post, Washington editor and staff writer for The New Yorker and his books include the bestselling The Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment and The Permanent Campaign. His latest book is All the Powers on Earth, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln 1856-1860. And we discuss his article at The National Memo, “Trump’s Secret Mar-a-Lago Files: The Unanswered Questions.”


Has the Law Finally Caught Up to Donald Trump?

Then we look into whether the law has finally caught up with Donald Trump and whether he can lie his way out of looming felony charges as those close to him like Rudy Giuliani who testified for hours today, are now targets of various investigations. Joining us is Jacob Heilbrunn, a Senior Editor at the National Interest, a columnist for The Spectator and the author of They Knew They Were Right: the Rise of the Neocons. Previously, he was an editorial writer for the LA Times and a senior editor at the New Republic. We discuss his article at Politico, “He Was Dismissed as a Conservative Kook. Now the Supreme Court Is Embracing His Blueprint” and another at The National Interest, “Will the FBI Search at Mar-a-Lago Embolden or Destroy Trump?”


Liz Cheney’s Wyoming Is Now Trumpland

Then finally we speak with Stephanie Muravchik, Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College whose research explores the intersections of politics with class, family, and religion. She is the author of American Protestantism in an Age of Psychology as well as Trump’s Democrats, a political ethnography of three blue strongholds that flipped Republican in the 2016 election. She has spent the last year working on a book with John Shields about Liz Cheney’s Wyoming and the future of the American right and we discuss her article with Jon Shields at The New York Times, “Liz Cheney and the Twilight of the Old Republican Elite.”