July 19, 2018

The Man Trump Was Prepared to Hand Over to Putin to Be Silenced Permanently

Trump Accuses the Tiny Country of Montenegro of Being So Aggressive It Would Start World War III

A Gullible Trump Believes Russia’s Promise to Reign in Iran

Program Notes

We begin with the person who Vladimir Putin desperately wants to murder, Bill Browder,the chief executive and founder of Hermitage Capital Markets whose lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was tortured and killed in a Russian prison after uncovering a $230 million fraud by government officials. Bill campaigned to have the Magnitsky Act signed into U.S. law in 2012 and Putin, who personally received some of the stolen money, is obsessed with getting the act repealed. Apparently Putin got Trump to agree to what our president said was “an incredible offer” to turn over Browder and U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul to Putin in exchange for U.S. access to the 12 Russian military intelligence officers recently indicted by Mueller. With today’s Senate vote of 98 to 0 on a resolution urging Trump not to honor Putin’s request, we will discuss how Browder has been trying to avoid getting killed by Putin’s regime for the last 10 years and how Putin is terrified that the Magnitsky Act could be applied to his offshore fortune estimated to be between $50 and $200 billion.

Then we speak with Daniel Serwer, Professor of Conflict Management at the John’s Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies who served as a special envoy and mediator between Croats and Muslims at the Dayton peace talks and facilitated dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans. He joins us to discuss how Trump, in a softball interview on Fox News, cavalierly dismissed NATO’s newest member Montenegro as being unworthy of NATO’s defense under article 5 of the treaty and even accused the tiny Balkan country of being so aggressive that it could start World War III.

Then finally we analyze what appears to be the only possible agreement to emerge from the secret talks between Putin and Trump and that is some kind of promise by Russia to make sure that when Russia’s client Assad is restored to power in Syria, the Israelis will not be threatened by Iran as Trump abandons the U.S. position in Syria, selling out the Kurds and giving ISIS a reprieve. A specialist on Greater Syria, James Gelvin, a Professor of History at UCLA, joins us to discuss Trump’s gullibility is believing the absurd Russian promise to reign in the Iranians in Syria to help Israel.

Bill Browder | Daniel Serwer | James Gelvin

July 18, 2018

Russian Effort to Infiltrate the NRA and the National Prayer Breakfast
Ties Between America’s Religion Right and Russia’s Religious Right
Europe Fines Google &5.1 Billion While US Anti-Trust Efforts Languish
Program Notes

We begin with the 29-year-old alleged Russian spy Maria Butina, who appeared in federal court in Washington D.C. today on charges of conspiracy and acting as an illegal foreign agent in the U.S. Naveed Jamali, a Senior Fellow in the Program on National Security at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who spent three years as a civilian double agent with the FBI and is the author of “How to Catch a Russian Spy: The True Story of an American Civilian Turned Double Agent” joins us. We discuss Butina’s efforts to infiltrate Republican politics under the guidance of Russian spies with support from an oligarch close to Putin and her use of a 56-year-old American activist in Republican and conservative circles who she lived with who provided political access. We explore how many tentacles there were and are to the on-going Russian operation to influence our elections and look into evidence that Butina was being used as a lure by her paymaster, the Russian oligarch Alexander Torshin, to infiltrate the NRA so that Russian money could be funneled into the Trump campaign. And given that the Russians hacked into the private data of the DNC, Hillary Clinton, and her campaign manager, we assess how that valuable information was likely used in real time by Americans yet to be identified who would have given Trump the ability to not just read Hillary’s private thoughts and strategies, but anticipate her every move and political message.

Then we examine the efforts by Maria Butina to infiltrate a secret Christian political group of American Christian nationalists as well as gun rights groups to covertly promote Russian interests. Jeff Sharlet, a Professor of English at Dartmouth College and author of “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” and “C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy” joins us to discuss why Maria Butina was able to toss softball questions to candidate Donald Trump and try to set up meetings with him and Putin. And since she tried to infiltrate both the NRA leadership and the leadership of the National Prayer Breakfast which is organized by the secretive Fellowship Foundation, we investigate ties between America’s religious right and Russia’s religious right.

Then finally, following a $5.1 billion fine levied against Google by the European Union, we will look into why anti-trust efforts in Europe are much more vigorous and effective than they are in the United States. Matt Stoller, a Fellow at the Open Markets Institute who previously spent six years on Capitol Hill, most recently as a senior policy advisor to the Senate Budget Committee, joins us to discuss the lobbying power of the tech giants and the need for the American people to recognize the growing power of tech monopolies and the dangers posed to us from the business models of surveillance capitalism practiced by Google and Facebook.

Naveed Jamali | Jeff Sharlett | Matt Stoller

July 17, 2018

Allied Countries No Longer Want to Share Intelligence Because They Don’t Trust Trump

Will Republicans Start Deserting Their Compromised Leader

By the Year 2040, 30% Will Choose 70 Out of 100 Senators

Program Notes

We begin with the contrast between Putin unleashing his intelligence services to attack the United States while our president attacks our intelligence services, criticizing and undermining them at every turn. Dr. Mark Lowenthal, President of the Intelligence & Security Academy and a professor at Johns Hopkins University who served as Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, Vice Chairman for Evaluation on the National intelligence Council, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, joins us. We discuss the alarm felt not just here at home about Trump’s press conference with Putin, but abroad, particularly with allied countries with whom the U.S. shares intelligence who no longer trust the U.S. with vital secrets because our commander-in-chief could be compromised by the Russians and cannot be trusted to keep secrets from them.  And while our intelligence professionals might be wondering why they should risk their lives for a leader who neither trusts them or believes what they tell him, we will assess how easy it is for a trained KGB officer like Putin to exploit Trump’s ego and ignorance as Putin plays a weak hand strongly while our weak leader plays a strong hand weakly.

Then we speak with Heather Hurlburt the Director of the New Models of Policy Change project at the New America Foundation’s Political Reform Program. She served in the White House, State Department and Congress and was Special Assistant and Speechwriter to President Clinton and a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning staff. We will discuss her article at New York Magazine “7 Takeaways From Trump’s Catastrophic Meeting With Putin” and whether the apparent hold that Putin has over Trump will begin to erode the lockstep support Republicans have afforded their leader so far.

Then finally we examine the present challenge the Democrats have of overcoming a baseline deficit of having to win 8% more votes than the Republicans just to break even and the even greater challenge they have into the future because by the year 2040, 70% of Americans will live in 15 mostly blue states, meaning that 30% of the population in red states who will be older, whiter, more rural, more male and less educated, will choose 70 out of 100 senators. Norman Ornstein a contributing writer to The Atlantic and the author of numerous bestsellers, the latest of which is “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported”, joins us to discuss the growing tyranny of the minority in America.

Mark Lowenthal | Heather Hurlburt | Norman Ornstein

July 16, 2018

Trump’s Shameful Display of Craven Fealty Towards Putin
Trump Outmatched by Putin on the World Stage
Trump Defends Putin While Blaming Everything on Hillary Clinton
Program Notes

We begin with the shameful and craven fealty on display today in Helsinki at the press conference which followed Trump’s meeting with Putin in which our president blamed America and sided with the leader of a hostile foreign power who intervened in our election and, according to our Director of National Intelligence, continues to attack the infrastructure and election systems of United States to this day. David Rothkopf, a visiting professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and author of “The Great Questions of Tomorrow” joins us to discuss his article at The Daily Beast “Way Trump Deals With Russian Attacks Is ‘Textbook Treason’”.  We assess whether today’s disgraceful display of a weak and compromised president cow-towing to a ruthless despot could be a turning point for the American people to recognize that the Republicans who are seeking to undermine the Mueller investigation, are serving Russian interests as much as the indicted Russian military officers who attacked as were. And with Senate Minority Leader Schumer speculating that Putin “Holds damaging information over Trump”, we look into what it will take for Republican enablers of their traitor-in-chief to re-discover their patriotism.

Then we go to Prague and speak with an expert on transnational crime and Russian security affairs, Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague whose latest book is “The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia”. He joins us to discuss how much Trump was outmatched by Putin who appeared as more than an equal on the world stage after coming off a very successful World Cup Russia hosted, and the alarm felt among America’s European allies as Trump praises Putin while calling the E.U. a foe.

Then finally we speak with Russian expert Kathryn Stoner, Director of International Policy Studies and Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. The author of the forthcoming book, “Russia’s Return as a Global Power”, she joins us to discuss how disheartening it is to see our own president reject the findings of our own Justice Department and Intelligence Agencies to defend Putin and blame everything on Hillary Clinton and her email servers.

David Rothkopf | Mark Galeotti | Kathryn Stoner

July 15, 2018

Trump Meets with Putin in Spite of His Own Government’s Warnings
Trump’s Trail of Wreckage
How Discredited Foreign Policy Ideas and Blunders Contributed to Trump’s Election
Program Notes

We begin with growing doubts about why Trump is meeting with Putin in Helsinki and what is the nature of their relationship. Malcom Nance, a career U.S. Intelligence officer and author of “The Plot to Destroy Democracy: How Putin and His Spies Are Undermining America and Dismantling the West” joins us to discuss the extraordinary disconnect between the latest indictments by Robert Mueller of 12 Russian military intelligence GRU officers and the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’s warning that the red light is blinking as it was before 9/11 warning that “Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack” by Russia, and our president’s eagerness to get along with Putin who is orchestrated the meddling in our 2016 elections and is now orchestrating Russia’s on-going cyber attacks on our infrastructure and election systems. When asked by CBS News what is the biggest foe America faces globally, the first thing out of Trump’s mouth was the European Union, not Russia and we  examine the evidence which suggests Trump is either Putin’s “useful idiot” or a traitor who has bought into Russia’s agenda, which if true, would make Putin Trump’s case officer and the spymaster behind the most significant intelligence operation since the Germans sent Lenin in a boxcar to Russia in 1917.

Then we go to London to speak with Polly Toynbee, a columnist with The Guardian and the author of “Dismembered: How the attack on the state harms us all”. She joins us to examine the trail of wreckage in Donald Trump’s wake as he trashed NATO, undermined the women leading Germany and the U.K. by in effect campaigning on behalf of their political opposition, then advised Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May to sue the E.U. rather than negotiate with them over Brexit. We also assess the impact of massive demonstrations in London and Scotland and the indignation felt by many in response to Trump posing smugly in Winston Churchill’s armchair.

Then finally we get an analysis of the radical break from traditional U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy with a president intent on destroying treaties, alliances, democratic institutions and diplomatic norms and speak with Stephen WaltProfessor of International Affairs at Harvard University and author of the forthcoming book “The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy”. We discuss how discredited ideas and policies and blunders like Iraq, ironically contributed to Trump’s election which has led to a dramatic worsening of these trends.Then finally we get an analysis of the radical break from traditional U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy with a president intent on destroying treaties, alliances, democratic institution and diplomatic norms and speak withStephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University and author of the forthcoming book “The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy”. We discuss how discredited ideas and policies and blunders like Iraq, ironically contributed to Trump’s election which has led to a dramatic worsening of these trends.

Malcolm Nance | Polly Toynbee | Stephen Walt