Day: June 1, 2023

Background Briefing: June 1, 2023


Trump Eviscerates His Own Defense as Jack Smith Closes in on Indicting Him

We begin with what legal analysts and pundits are describing as “game over” for Trump in being able to defend himself from charges pending from the Special Counsel Jack Smith who is investigating Trump’s theft of classified documents and obstruction of justice in holding onto them. Joining us is Dennis Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor and Chief Assistant City Attorney in San Francisco who has won cases of significance in the United States Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court. He currently serves as counsel to Lawyers Defending American Democracy, and he has an article at The Bulwark, “Why Trump Wants U.S. to Default on Debt” and we will discuss the existence of a recording from July of 2021 in which Trump claims to have a classified war plan to attack Iran which he acknowledges is classified and can’t be shared.


The Disconnect Between Biden’s Low Poll Numbers and His Many Achievements

Then we look into why Biden’s poll numbers do not reflect his many achievements including the bipartisan debt ceiling deal now before the Senate which appeals to a lot of Americans in the center who don’t consider compromise a dirty word. Joining us to discuss the reaction from progressives is Richard Parker, who teaches economics and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is a Senior Fellow at the Shorenstein Center. He is a former managing editor of Ramparts, was a cofounder of Mother Jones magazine, and serves on the editorial board of The Nation. His books include, The Myth of the Middle Class and John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics.


How Defense Contractors Influence the Ukraine Debate

Then finally we speak with Ben Freeman, a Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Previously, he was Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy and a National Security Fellow at the Project On Government Oversight where he spear-headed the “Foreign Influence Database.” He is the author of The Foreign Policy Auction and we discuss his new report at Responsible Statecraft, “How weapons firms influence the Ukraine debate.”