Background Briefing: April 23, 2024


Trump’s History of Using and Abusing Women

We begin with the role The National Enquirer played in helping to elect Trump in 2016, which emerged from today’s testimony from the tabloid’s ex-publisher David Pecker who operated a “catch and kill” policy of burying damaging stories about Trump and his extramarital affairs including Trump’s sexual encounter with a porn star. Joining us to discuss Trump’s tawdry history of using and abusing women is Nina Burleigh, a senior editor at The New Republic, best-selling author, documentary producer, and publisher of the Substack American Freakshow. A professor at New York University’s Arthur J. Carter Journalism Institute, she has written seven books, the latest of which includes Virus: Vaccinations, the CDC, and the Hijacking of America’s Response to the Pandemic and Golden Handcuffs: The Secret History of Trump’s Women, and she is the Producer of a recent documentary series on Apple TV, “Epstein’s Shadow.”


The Pathetic Man on Display in the Courtroom is a Far Cry From the MAGA Faithful’s Superhero

Then we explore the extent to which the pathetic man on display in the Manhattan courtroom is undermining the superhero mystique Trump and his enablers have manufactured that Trump is the MAGA faithful’s warrior, not an offender. Joining us is Sidney Blumenthal, the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post, Washington editor and staff writer for The New Yorker and his books include the bestsellers The Clinton Wars, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment and The Permanent Campaign. His latest book is All the Powers on Earth, The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln 1856-1860, and we discuss his latest article at The Guardian, “On trial, Trump is a shadow of the superhero his supporters crave.”


Will SCOTUS Undermine the 8th Amendment’s Protection for the Homeless Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

Then finally we assess today’s oral arguments in a Supreme Court case that could undermine the 8th Amendment’s protection the homeless have against cruel and unusual punishment in the form of a town in Oregon’s anti-camping ordinance that makes life so uncomfortable the homeless will move on down the road. Joining us is Garrett Epps, a legal affairs editor of the Washington Monthly who has taught constitutional law at American University, the University of Baltimore, Boston College, Duke, and the University of Oregon. He is the author of American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution, and we discuss his latest article at The Washington Monthly, “The Supreme Court Takes on Homelessness. What Could Go Wrong?