Background Briefing: May 14, 2023


The First White House Insider to Expose Trump on How Trump Will be Even More Dangerous Next Time

 We begin with the frightening prospect that Donald Trump could return to the White House with a recent ABC/Washington Post poll having Biden 6 points behind Trump. Although many Americans found Trump’s recent CNN Town Hall appalling, it is increasingly apparent that what Democrats think should disqualify him only makes him stronger and more dangerous. In the wake of recriminations following Trump’s deranged diatribe of combative concoctions on CNN, it should be clear he will be even worse next time. From 2016 to 2020 Trump’s outrageous and sadistic behavior was on full display to the professional and qualified White House staff, but only a few insiders have had the decency and sense of responsibility to inform the public about how derelict and dangerous Trump was the first time around. Joining us is someone who experienced Trump close up in the Oval Office and was the first to warn the public about him, Miles Taylor, a national security expert who works in Washington, DC. He served as chief of staff for Kirstjen Nielsen, the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under the Trump administration, where he published an “Anonymous” essay in The New York Times, blowing the whistle on presidential misconduct. He later published the #1 national bestseller A Warning, revealed himself to be the author, and launched a campaign of ex-officials to oppose Donald Trump’s reelection. He has worked as an advisor in the George W. Bush administration, on Capitol Hill, as a CNN contributor, and is the cofounder of multiple democracy-reform groups. His forthcoming book is Blowback: A Warning to Save Democracy from the Next Trump.


After Top Officials Met For 8 Hours, Could China and the U.S. Work Together to End the War in Ukraine?

Then we look into encouraging signs that Biden’s National Security Advisor had two meetings a few days ago lasting 8 hours with China’s top diplomat and that the two countries could perhaps work together to end the war in Ukraine with China in a position to get Putin to the table and the U.S. with similar influence over Ukraine. Joining us is Orville Schell, who was formerly the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and currently is the Arthur Ross Director of the Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations. His books include Mandate of Heaven: The Legacy of Tiananmen Square and the Next Generation of China’s Leaders, Virtual Tibet: Searching for Shangri-La from the Himalayas to Hollywood, Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-first Century, and most recently My Old Home: A Novel of Exile.


A Champion of Democracy and Transparency Who Took on Powerful Interests and Won

Then finally we go back a few decades when Democrats had powerful senators in red states that are now under total far-right GOP control and that Frank Church, a Democratic Senator from Idaho, now home to militias and neo-Nazis, was a leading champion of democracy and transparency who fought the most powerful interests and won. Joining us is James Risen, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author whose investigative reporting has triggered a series of political firestorms. Among his best-selling books are State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration and Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War. The Senior National Security Correspondent at The Intercept and a former investigative journalist with The New York Times, his new book, just out, is The Last Honest Man: The CIA, the FBI, the Mafia, and the Kennedys―and One Senator’s Fight to Save Democracy.