Background Briefing: September 21, 2022


The New York AG Sues Trump, the Trump Organization, Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka for Staggering Fraud

We begin with the staggering fraud Letitia James the New York Attorney General accused Trump of in the civil fraud lawsuit she filed today against Trump, the Trump Organization and Donald Junior, Eric and Ivanka Trump who she claims are integral to the deception, an example of which is valuing Mar-a-Lago at $739 million when it is in fact worth $75 million. Joining us is David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and bestselling author of The Making of Donald Trump.  A 13 year veteran of The New York Times, he won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting that uncovered loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code and he has uncovered so many tax dodges that he has been called the “de facto tax enforcement officer of the United States”. The co-founder of, his latest book is The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family, and we discuss how, as the law closes in on Trump, he threatens to unleash violence and stoke civil war using militias and cult followers like QAnon.


Putin Threatens to Use Nukes, Declaring “It’s Not a Bluff”

Then we assess the threats made today by Putin to call up reserves, annex captured territory in Ukraine and possibly use nuclear weapons, declaring that “it’s not a bluff”. Joining us is Michael Kimmage, a professor of history and department chair at the Catholic University of America, chair of the Kennan Institute Advisory Council and a fellow at the German Marshall Fund. From 2014 to 2017, he served on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, where he held the Russia/Ukraine portfolio. His latest book is The Abandonment of the West: The History of an Idea in American Foreign Policy and we discuss his article at Foreign Affairs, “Putin’s Next Move in Ukraine: Mobilize, Retreat, or Something in Between?


President Biden’s Address to the UN General Assembly

Then finally we examine President Biden’s address today before the UN General Assembly and speak with Richard Gowan, UN Director at the International Crisis Group. He has worked with the European Council on Foreign Relations, New York University Center on International Cooperation and the Foreign Policy Centre in London and has also worked as a consultant for organizations including the UN Department of Political Affairs, the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. We discuss his article at Just Security, “Richard Gowan on Ukraine and How Russia’s War Reverberates at the United Nations.”