Background Briefing: August 18, 2022


Florida Judge Rules on Unsealing the Affidavit Subject to DOJ Redaction

We begin with the surprise ruling by Judge Reinhart over the unsealing of the affidavit the DOJ prepared to justify the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. Even though the judge has received death threats from Trump supporters, he appears to have given Trump some ability, although it is likely to be heavily redacted, to find out about the case against him and who the witnesses giving damaging testimony are. Joining us is Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who writes about national security and civil liberties at and is a contributor to Motherboard, the New Republic, Al Jazeera among others. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and she serves on the Advisory Committee for the House Fourth Amendment Caucus, is a senior fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, and was declared an Internet Human Rights hero by AccessNow. We discuss her latest articles at, “The ABCs (And Provisions E, F, and G) Of the Espionage Act” and “Rule of Law: DOJ Obtained Trump’s Privilege-Waived Documents in May.”


The Ramifications of the Trump Organization CFO’s Guilty Plea

Then we examine the ramifications of the Trump Organization’s CFO Allen Weisselberg’s guilty plea in a New York tax fraud case today on 15 counts and speak with Scott Horton, a professor at Columbia Law School who is a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security. He serves on the American branch of the International Law Association, and has represented a variety of journalists and whistleblowers and we discuss what is happening with the Manhattan DA’s office since the new DA Alvin Bragg dropped their investigation against Trump but successfully prosecuted Weisselberg.


Senators Cruz and Grassley Make Outrageous Threats Against IRS Personnel

Then finally we look into outrageous threats to IRS personnel coming from GOP Senators Cruz and Grassley who are characterizing new investments in auditing and computers in the Inflation Reduction Act as a shadow army of 87,000 federal agents with AR 15’s ready to shoot small business people. Joining us is Casey Michel, a journalist whose writings on offshoring, kleptocracy, and financial secrecy have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Vox, The New Republic, and POLITICO Magazine, among others. He is a member of the advisory council for the Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative, and has contributed research pertaining to offshoring, illicit finance, and foreign interference to the German Marshall Fund, the Human Rights Foundation, and others. The author of American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World’s Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History, we discuss his article at CNN, “First Republicans attacked the FBI. Look who they’re coming for now.”