Background Briefing: August 23, 2022


Trump’s Amateurish “Special Master” Ploy and the 300 Classified Documents Found at Mar-a-Lago

We begin with Trump’s latest effort to sue the Justice Department over the search of Mar-a-Lago with his amateurish filing before another federal judge he appointed asking for a special master to review the seized documents. Joining us to discuss this latest ploy and the revelation by The New York Times that Trump had more than 300 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago is Jack Blum, a veteran Capitol Hill investigator who is an expert on white-collar financial crime and international tax evasion. He spent fourteen years as a staff attorney with the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been a consultant to the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations, the United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, and served as the chair of the experts group on international asset recovery. We assess why Trump took so long to file for a special master and how much that is a symptom of his inability to find a qualified lawyer to represent him.


Hostile Intelligence Services Would Be Remiss in Not Targeting Mar-a-Lago

Then we examine how Trump is using classified material to blackmail the DOJ into constraining them from charging him under the Espionage Act because the nation’s top secrets could be exposed in open court. Joining us is Kent Harrington, a former senior CIA analyst who served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and Chief of Station in Asia. We discuss his article at Project Syndicate, “Trump’s Blackmail Defense” and how any hostile foreign intelligence service like Russia’s would be remiss if they hadn’t targeted Mar-a-Lago where a trove of some of the highest classified secrets were kept under the lowest security conditions.


Does Trump Have the “Samson Complex” in Threatening Civil War if He is Indicted?

Then finally we assess whether Trump has the “Samson complex” and could, when it came to the crunch, tear down the temple around him given his not-so-veiled threats to instigate civil war should he be indicted. Joining us is Dr. Bandy Lee, a medical doctor, forensic psychiatrist and a world expert on violence who taught at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Law School for 17 years before transferring recently to Columbia and Harvard. She became known to the public by leading a group of mental health professional colleagues in breaking the silence about Donald Trump’s dangerous psychology and publishing the New York Times bestseller, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. She is currently president of the World Mental Health Coalition and her latest book is Profile of a Nation: Trump’s Mind, America’s Soul.