May 24, 2018

Did Bolton and Pence Scuttle Trump’s Summit With Kim?
Nunes, Gowdy and Trump Try to Manufacture the “Spygate” Scandal
Historian Jon Meacham on His New Book “The Soul of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels”
Program Notes

We begin with the sudden about-face by Donald Trump who cancelled the forthcoming summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un in a letter to the North Korea dictator in which Trump makes childish boasts about the Kim’s puny nukes compared to his, writing “but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.” Sue Mi Terry, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Affairs who was previously the deputy national intelligence officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council and the Director of Japan, Korea and Oceanic Affairs at the National Security Council, joins us. We will discuss how it appears Trump’s new NSC Advisor John Bolton first derailed the summit by referring to the “Libyan model” of nuclear disarmament which alarmed Kim with the prospect of him ending up like Qaddafi.  Then Vice President Pence went further by remarking that the “Libyan model” of the dictator ending up being torn apart by a mob could apply to Kim if he did not make a deal with Trump. This prompted the North Koreans to reply angrily calling Pence is a “political dunce”, and that caused Trump to write in his letter to Kim that “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your recent statement…the summit will not take place”.

Then we will examine the meeting today arranged by the White House Chief of Staff in which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and the DNI Dan Coats briefed Republican Congressmen Devon Nunes and Trey Gowdy in response to the phony claims by President Trump who is trying to manufacture a scandal he calls “Spygate”, alleging the FBI “infiltrated” his campaign and spied on him. Mark Lowenthal the President of the Intelligence and Security Academy who was Republican Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence joins us to discuss how wrong it was for Trump’s new lawyer Emmet Flood to attend and that allowing the Democrat Adam Schiff in at the last minute made it less of a partisan farce.

Then finally we will speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meachum about his latest book “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels”. We will discuss this urgent moment we are living in with America at the crossroads under a president who is at war with the truth and the law. But while it may seem we are facing unprecedented threats to American democracy itself, Meachum argues we have presidents before who were not commensurate with the task and that we should not panic but we also should not relax.

Sue Mi Terry | Mark Lowenthal | John Meacham