Author: Graham Fitzgibbon

Background Briefing: November 12, 2019

 

Boris Johnson Suppresses a Report on Russian Meddling in the UK

We begin with the refusal by the U.K’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make public an explosive report from the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee on Russian meddling in U.K. politics which has prompted Hillary Clinton who is in the U.K. on a book tour, to comment to The Guardian, “who do they think they are that they would keep information like that from the public, especially before an election”. Luke Harding, a journalist and award-winning foreign correspondent for The Guardian and author of “Collusion: How Russia Helped Trump Win the White House”, joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian “Tories Have ‘ongoing relationship with Russia’ says Labour”.  We assess the similarities to the 2016 U.S. election interference by Russia which Hillary Clinton believes lost her the election and the money and support flowing from the Kremlin through Russian oligarchs living in the U.K. to the Tories, with the wife of Putin’s former finance minister giving close to 1.224 million pounds to the Conservative Party’s coffers alone.  With Brexit leader Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson doing exactly what Trump suggested they do, coordinate ahead of the December 12 election, we will speculate if and when the British public will get to see the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report which has been declassified and is the product of 18 months’ worth of work by British spy agencies and third-party experts examining Russian subversion and penetration of U.K. political institutions plus the Russian killings on British soil.

 

The Ignominious Exit of Morales Who Claims He is a Victim of a Coup

Then we speak with Christopher Sabatini, a professor in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and the founder and executive director of the new research non-profit, Global Americans. He joins us to discuss the ignominious exit from Bolivia by the country’s former President Evo Morales who claims he is a victim of a “coup” by the country’s military and opposition after public protests against the conduct of last month’s election led to protesters threatening to burn down Morales’s home.  We will look into who might fill the power vacuum in a very tense and volatile atmosphere.

 

Will Republicans Try to Disrupt, Distract or Even Derail Tomorrow’s Hearings?

Then finally we speak with Julian Zelizer, a Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University about his latest article at CNN, “The Moment of Truth for Democrats Arrives Wednesday” and assess the likelihood that Republicans will try to disrupt, distract and even derail tomorrow’s first televised public impeachment hearings. With the Republican strategy memo obtained by Axios indicating the GOP has little ground to stand on and no evidence to refute the witnesses, the last-minute placement of Trump’s top attack dog in the House, Jim Jordan, onto the Intelligence Committee, suggests tomorrow we can expect a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.