Background Briefing: June 7, 2023


Evidence That it Was Ukraine, Not Russia Behind the Sabotage of the Nord Stream Gas Pipelines

We begin with the revelations from The Washington Post that a small group of six Ukrainian operatives blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines which the US government blamed on Russia leading to many journalists, including myself reporting that the Kremlin was most likely behind the sabotage. Joining us to discuss how Ukraine’s military intelligence headed by General Budanov is striking back at Russia as Putin wantonly destroys Ukrainian cities and infrastructure is Michael Weiss, Senior Correspondent for Yahoo News who has reported on international affairs for over ten years with a focus on the Middle East and Russia. He has interviewed ISIS operatives and Russian spies; published and curated a series of still-classified KGB training manuals; reported from rebel-held Syria and war-torn Ukraine; broken major stories about financial corruption; and exposed the Russian intelligence services’ ongoing subversion efforts in the United States and Europe. He is the the author of The Menace of Unreality: How Russia Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money and coauthor of the New York Times Bestseller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.


Is the Merger Between the PGA and LIV Golf Tournaments a Way For the Saudis to Pay Off Donald Trump?

Then we examine whether the merger between the PGA and the Saudi LIV golf tournaments is a way for MbS, Mohammad bin Salman, to pay off Donald Trump after lavishing his son-in-law Jared Kushner with billions from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund which owns 93% of LIV with the remaining 7% owned by persons unknown, likely Trump, who MBS clearly wants back in the White House. Joining us is Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now DAWN who was formerly the executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division. She has published widely on human rights issues in the Middle East in international and regional media, including The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, and CNN.

The Supreme Court’s Shadow Docket Where 99% of Unseen, Unsigned and Unexplained Cases are Decided

Then finally we look into the Supreme Court’s shadow docket where 99% of the decisions take place in unseen, unsigned and unexplained cases with many aligning with Republican political priorities. Joining us is Stephen Vladeck, who holds the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law and is a nationally recognized expert on the federal courts, constitutional law, national security law, and military justice. He has argued over a dozen cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Supreme Court, and has testified before numerous congressional committees. His latest book, a New York Times bestseller, is The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power.