Background Briefing: May 28, 2023

The Impeachment of a MAGA Crook by a Far-Right Republican-Dominated House of the Texas Legislature

 We begin with a rare example of justice with the impeachment on Saturday of a MAGA crook who uses religious piety as the last refuge of the scoundrel and in a case of perfect irony, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was impeached by the far-right Republican-dominated Texas House of the legislature and now faces a trial in the Senate for bribery and abuse of office. Joining us from Austin, Texas is Jeremi Suri, who holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a professor of history and public affairs. He is the co-host of the podcast “This is Democracy” and the author and editor of a number of books including The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office and most recently, Civil War by Other Means: America’s Long and Unfinished Fight for Democracy. We discuss the downfall of this brazen hypocrite who sued Biden based on Trump’s big lie that he won the election but until now had survived being under investigation for securities fraud, paying off a mistress with campaign funds and having his entire staff quit and go to the FBI asking them to investigate Paxton’s corruption.


Ron DeSantis’s Alarming Promise to Do To the Nation What He Has Done To Florida

Then we examine the recent promises by Ron DeSantis as to what kind of president he would be as he plans to do to the nation what he has done to Florida by increasing his personal control over the state while punishing his enemies and rewarding those who follow his orders. Joining us to discuss DeSantis’s vow to “re-constitutionalize the federal government” and “discipline the bureaucracy” while having the DOJ and FBI answer to him personally is Steven Harper, a professor at Northwestern University, and regular contributor to The American Lawyer. He is the author of several books, including The Lawyer Bubble — A Profession in Crisis and Crossing Hoffa — A Teamster’s Story. He blogs at The Belly of the Beast and we discuss his article at Common Dreams, “Ron DeSantis Has a Very Un-American Vision For America.”


The Ukrainian Counteroffensive and the “Game of Thrones” Power Struggle Inside the Kremlin

 Then finally as the counteroffensive in Ukraine gets underway we speak with Branislav Slantchev, Professor of Political Science at the University of California San Diego where he teaches courses in international relations, national security, and game theory and studies military coercion, intrawar negotiations, the conduct of war, and war termination. His articles have appeared in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, and Security Studies, among others, and he is the author of Military Threats: The Costs of Coercion and the Price of Peace. We discuss what a defeat of Putin’s “special military operation” will mean as a “game of thrones” power struggle is shaping up among the elites with some truly hideous replacements vying to take over.