Background Briefing: September 18, 2022


How an Unqualified Trump Judge Got on the Bench With the Dark Money That Bought the Supreme Court Which Could Also Buy the Next Election

We begin with the DOJ appealing to the 11th Circuit following the ludicrous ruling by the Trump judge who is blocking the investigation into missing top secret classified documents Trump stole and lied to the National Archives about. Joining us to discuss how an unqualified judge making nakedly political rulings got on the bench in the first place is Justin Elliott, a reporter with ProPublica where he covers business and economics as well as money and influence in politics. He has produced stories for The New York Times and National Public Radio, and his reporting with NPR on the Red Cross’ troubled post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti won a 2015 Investigative Reporters and Editors award. We discuss his latest article at ProPublica, “How a Billionaire’s “Attack Philanthropy” Secretly Funded Climate Denialism and Right-Wing Causes” and how the man behind the dark money that bought the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court, now has $1.6 billion from one donor to fund far-right Republican causes in the November election.


China’s Troubled Ties With Putin

Then we assess the state of China’s ties with Russia following last Thursday’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan at which Putin was criticized for his war in Ukraine by India’s PM Modi and acknowledged to the Chinese leader that we understand your questions and concerns about the war in Ukraine. Joining us is Michael Swaine, director of the Quincy Institute’s East Asia program and one of the most prominent American scholars of Chinese security studies. Previously, he worked for nearly twenty years as a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specializing in Chinese defense and foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian international relations. He also advises the U.S. government on Asian security issues and his books include Remaining Aligned on the Challenges Facing Taiwan and Conflict and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Strategic Net Assessment.


With American Women Registering to Vote in Record Numbers, the Need For Care Infrastructure is a Winning Electoral Issue

Then finally, with American women registering to vote in record numbers, many motivated by the Supreme Court and Republican bans on abortion, we examine the changing political landscape ahead of the November midterms and the need for a care infrastructure in this country which is a winning electoral issue. Joining us is Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and co-founder of, a nonprofit national organization that supports policies to improve family economic security. She is the author of Keep Marching: How Every Woman Can Take Action and Change Our World and we discuss her article at CNN, “The harsh reality conservatives refuse to acknowledge.”