Tag: civil service

Background Briefing: September 29, 2019


The Person Who Sealed Nixon’s Fate in Watergate

We begin with the impeachment inquiry underway following Speaker Pelosi’s announcement last Tuesday and indications that the articles of impeachment may well be voted on by the House and reach the U.S. Senate by December. The speed with which this is happening is in contrast to the Watergate hearings where the smoking gun, the White House tapes, came towards the end of the inquiry, not at the beginning as the transcripts of Trump call to the Ukrainian president and the release of the whistleblower’s complaint are what initiated this fourth attempt at impeaching an American president. Joining us is the person who provided the evidence that led to President Nixon’s resignation, Alexander Butterfield, a retired U.S. military officer, public servant and businessman. He served as Deputy Assistant to President Nixon from 1969 to 1973 and revealed the existence of the White House taping system on July 13, 1973 during the Watergate scandal investigation. He later served as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and is the subject of Bob Woodward’s recent book, “The Last of the President’s Men”. We discuss the similarities and differences between today’s investigations and the Watergate investigation, and the stark differences between the two presidents, one perhaps the most qualified of American presidents, and the other the least. And while both had personality defects, Nixon’s paranoia and dirty tricks do not begin to match Trump’s dirty deeds, extreme narcissism, infantile insecurity and criminality.


Trump’s Trashing of a US Ambassador to Ukraine

Then we speak with a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer who served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council. We discuss Trump’s trashing of a highly regarded career Foreign Service officer who was also a U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump ominously said in his phone call with President Zelensky, is “going to go through some things”. With the Secretary of State subpoenaed to explain Giuliani’s role in this unfolding scandal and the State Department’s point man on Ukraine just resigning and about to testify, we will assess what this is all doing to morale in the State Department.


Was the Firing of the DNI and His Deputy 3 Days After Trump’s Phone Call a “Coincidence”?

Then finally we speak with Katrina Mulligan, the Managing Director for National Security at The Center for American Progress who previously served as director for preparedness and response at the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and on the staff of the National Security Council where she developed strategy and policy in response to unauthorized disclosures of classified information.  She joins us to discuss the “coincidence” that the DNI Dan Coats and his deputy Sue Gordon were fired by Trump three days after his infamous phone call with Ukraine’s president.