July 23 - Trump is Laying the Groundwork For a Political and Cultural Civil War; Questioning Trump's Claim That He Has "The Complete Power to Pardon"; Poland's Right-Wing Government's Power Grab

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin with the Congressional vote to sanction Russia that constrains President Trump in a clear rebuke which indicates a distrust of the president’s peculiar determination to please Putin. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University joins us to discuss her article at CNN “Trump’s Authoritarian Playbook: What’s Next?” and the authoritarian playbook that she witnessed in Italy under Berlusconi that Trump appears to be following which could result in a constitutional crises if he does what he is threatening to do by firing the special prosecutor Robert Mueller and pardoning himself and his family. We examine the portent of a political and cultural civil war that Trump has laid the groundwork for and the open appeal to American fascism in a recent NRA video that threatens armed insurrection against liberals with “the clenched fist of truth”.

Part 2

Then we look into Trump’s assertion that he has “the complete power to pardon” and speak with Brian Kalt, Professor of Law at Michigan State University and author of “Constitutional Cliffhangers: A Legal Guide for Presidents and Their Enemies”, a book that identified unresolved constitutional questions that could easily lead to chaos and crisis. We discuss what would happen if Trump fires Mueller as he has threatened to do, and tries to pardon himself and his family.

Brian C. Kalt

Part 3

Then finally we go to Warsaw, Poland to speak with Jan Kubik, Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and Provost for Europe at the University College, London. He joins us to discuss the power grab by Poland’s right wing government in taking over the constitutional court and the encouragement that the anti-democratic right wing governments in Poland and Hungary are getting from Sebastian Gorka, the Hungarian fascist in the White House who is a close advisor to Donald Trump.

Jan Kubik