Background Briefing: August 1, 2018
Trump’s Tweet to the AG to Shut Down Mueller “Right Away”
We begin with the latest angry tweet from Trump indicating he is freaking out as the Mueller probe closes in on him. Andy Wright, a Professor at Savannah Law School who served in the White House as Associate Counsel to President Obama and worked in Congress conducting oversight of U.S. national security matters, joins us to discuss Trump’s demand that Attorney General Sessions shuts down the Mueller probe “right away”. We will look into why Trump is lashing out, making a somewhat ambiguous comparison between Paul Manafort and Al Capone on the second day of the trial of Trump’s former campaign manager who is facing many charges among which is not paying taxes on $60 million, a similar charge which eventually brought down Al Capone. And while the White House spokesperson and Trump’s TV lawyer Giuliani frantically try to walk back Trump’s tweet by suggesting the president is expressing an opinion, not issuing an order to his Attorney General, we will assess whether Trump’s panicked rhetoric will lead to an action that could result in a constitutional crisis if Sessions bows to his bosses demands and fires his Deputy Attorney General who oversees the Mueller investigation.
Manafort is Likely at the Heart of Trump’s Collusion with Russia
Then we speak with someone who knows Paul Manafort well from the decade Manafort spent in Ukraine working for the Russian-backed Ukrainian leader Yanukovych on a salary of $9 million per year, meaning Manafort made $90 million not the $60 million he avoided taxes on. Anders Aslund, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University who worked as a Swedish diplomat in Poland and Moscow and was an economic advisor to the governments of Russia and Ukraine, joins us. We discuss the extent to which Manafort was likely working with Russian intelligence all along together with his deputy, a Russian Military Intelligence officer, and his partner Roger Stone. All three might well be at the heart of Trump’s collusion with Russia which perhaps explains why Trump is so anxious.
A Book on the Frightening Parallels Between Hitler’s Rise and Trump’s America Today
Then finally we speak with the author of a very important book which in many ways is all about the current political situation today in the United States even though the book does not mention Donald Trump’s name and is all about the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Benjamin Carter Hett, a Professor of History at Hunter College and author of “The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic” joins us to discuss how Hitler rose to power on a campaign of lies and an anti-globalist and anti-immigrant platform with a promise to build a wall on Germany’s border.