September 24 - Congressman Lieu's Call for the House Judiciary Committee to Investigate Kavanaugh; A Veteran of the DOJ on the Chaos Trump is Causing at the Top of the Department; The Republicans Are Stacking the Decks Against Dr. Ford's Testimony

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We begin with Congressman Ted Lieu who serves on the House Judiciary Committee and today called upon the House Judiciary Committee to open an investigation into the allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and a second accuser Deborah Ramirez, whose story of graphic and naked sexual harassment allegedly by Brett Kavanaugh at a drunken party of undergraduates at Yale, was just published by The New Yorker. In addition a third accuser has come forward who is represented by Michael Avenatti and she has made similar accusations which Congressman Lieu feels are sufficiently serious that together they raise the question of whether Judge Kavanaugh should keep his current job on the Federal Appeals Court, let alone the Supreme Court, and whether there are grounds for his impeachment. We also look into how much the White House is leaking reports that the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who oversees the Mueller investigation is about to resign, and is it a distraction from the chaos and uncertainty now facing the nomination of President Trump’s second pick for the Supreme Court. He is expected to testify on Thursday amid growing calls by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee for an FBI investigation into the accusations from an increasing number of women coming forward who are questioning Kavanaugh’s honesty and fitness to serve on the highest courts in the land.

 

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Part 2

Then with more chaos gripping the leadership of the Department of Justice, with an increasingly tenuous Attorney General Trump claims he does not have, and a Deputy Attorney General Trump is threatening to fire while pressuring him to resign, we will speak with a veteran of the Department of Justice who served for 26 years, assuming a series of management positions, including Acting Assistant Attorney General of the United States. Bill Yeomans, a Senior Fellow for Justice at the Alliance for Justice who is now a lecturer at Columbia Law School, joins us to discuss the repercussions of the recent New York Times story which alleged Rod Rosenstein considered wearing a wire to record Trump and that he questioned whether the 25th Amendment should be invoked to remove Trump from office. We assess whether Trump is trying to force Rod Rosenstein to resign at their upcoming showdown meeting on Thursday so that he can replace him under the Vacancy Act and thereby neuter the Mueller investigation, as opposed to firing him which would mean Trump would need Senate confirmation for a replacement for Rosenstein.

Part 3

Then finally we speak with Lena Zwarensteyn, the fair courts campaign director at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights who previously served as the director of strategic engagement at the American Constitution Society where she oversaw judicial nominations. She joins us to discuss the apparent determination by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “plow through” with Thursday’s hearing in spite of growing calls for an FBI investigation into the increasing number of accusers coming forward raising the likelihood that Kavanaugh is guilty of perjury. With Dr. Ford having been denied her request to speak after Kavanaugh and be questioned by the Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee and have Kavanaugh’s friend Mark Judge testify, we assess the extent to which the Republicans are stacking the decks against her.

 

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September 23 - Is the US Being Dragged Into a War Against Iran?; The Political Power of Women's Anger; The "Boys Will be Boys' Defense of Kavanaugh

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We begin with the attack on an Iranian military parade in the south-western city of Ahvaz which Iran's President Rouhani blames on the “bully” the U.S. and its Gulf state allies for backing and enabling. Dr. Trita Parsi, a Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University, who has an article at Middle East Eye “Is the Ahvaz terror attack aimed at dragging the U.S. into a larger war?” joins us. We discuss the competing pressures on Trump who promised his base he would not dig the hole deeper for the U.S. in the Middle East and get into more wars while at the same time, being susceptible to Saudi money and the wishes of his biggest financial backer Sheldon Adelson who along with Adelson’s hero Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince, would, as former Secretary of Defense Bob Gates warned, like to fight the Iranians to the last American. And while the Iranian economy is in freefall and the country is ripe for another people-power revolution against the corrupt ruling theocracy, military threats by hawks in the White House only play into the mullah’s hands. Furthermore with Putin now having buyer’s remorse that his puppet in the White House is unstable enough to launch a war to distract the American people from the Mueller investigation, Russia’s leader is privately warning the White House not to go to war against Iran and if they do, Russia would back Iran.

Trita

Part 2

Then we examine the increasing political power of women’s anger and the revolutionary rage galvanized around the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings as the all-male Republican Senate Judiciary Committee “plough’s through” the confirmation of an anti-choice corporatist judge who will move the Supreme Court to the far right for generations. Joining us is Christine Fair, a Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service who has been singled out by Fox News and The Daily Caller for her profane tirade against Kavanaugh and the GOP, resulting in her address being published on white supremacist websites and wanted posters of her distributed on cars and tacked on trees in her neighborhood.

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Part 3

Then finally we look into how this sordid Washington drama is highlighting another ugly side of the thinking of many men about women in which the “boys will be boys” defense of Kavanaugh sends the message that pushing women and teenage girls to have sex is a normal part of being a real man. Andrew Yarrow, a Senior Fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute whose latest book is “Man Out: Men on the Sidelines of American Life”, joins us to discuss his article at The New York Daily News “Kavanaugh, Sex and Modern Masculinity: What the Standoff Reveals about Men in Our Culture”

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September 20 - Michael Cohen Has Been Telling Mueller A Lot About Trump's Dealings With Russia; The Flimsy Excuses Trump Offers for Why the FBI Can't Investigate Kavanaugh; Leftists Can Be Both Idealists on Domestic Issues and Realists on Foreign Policy

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We begin with the breaking news from ABC News that the special counsel Robert Mueller has been questioning Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen extensively in interviews in Washington D.C. and New York and that Mueller has primarily been focusing on Trump’s dealings with Russia. Scott Horton, a Professor at Columbia Law School and a contributing editor at Harper’s in legal affairs and national security, joins us to discuss how Mueller has been wary of dealing with Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis since Davis represents prominent Russian oligarchs and organized crime figures. But apparently Cohen’s alleged visit to Prague to pay off Russian hackers involved in meddling in the 2016 campaign, which was first noted in the Steele dossier, has been part of the discussions. And since Cohen himself has ties to Russian and Ukrainian gangsters that preceded Trump’s ties to the Russian and Ukrainian mob, and Cohen first met Trump when he bought condos in Trump properties for his Russian and Ukrainian criminal clients, the combination of what Cohen knows about who funded the Trump Organization together with what the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization knows and is telling Mueller, could prove fatal to Trump.

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Part 2

Then with today’s email from the lawyers for Kavanaugh’s accuser to the Senate Judiciary Committee stating that Christine Blasey Ford “would be prepared to testify next week” if the senators offered her “terms that are fair and which ensure her safety”, we speak with Mike Zubrensky, Chief Counsel at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. He was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Obama Administration working on judicial nominations for the Department of Justice and joins us to discuss his article at Medium “Judicial Nominee Background Investigations – Fact vs. Fiction” and how flimsy and fatuous Trump’s and the Republican’s excuses are for why the FBI can’t do a quick investigation of Dr. Ford’s charges against Kavanaugh.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Daniel Bessner, a Professor in American Foreign Policy at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies who has an article at The New York Times “What Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Think About the South China Sea? The rising left needs more foreign policy. Here’s how it can start”. We discuss the sweet spot in American politics the left has yet to discover in which you can be an idealist on domestic issues while being a realist on foreign policy.\

 

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September 19 - The Kavanaugh-Ford Standoff; Will the FBI Director and the DNI Have to Resign?; Is the Putin-Erdogan Plan for a Buffer Zone on the Syria-Turkey Border Workable?

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We begin with the standoff between Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser Professor Christine Ford who wants an FBI investigation before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee which President Trump is denying her offering the most flimsy of excuses. Eric Segall, a Professor of Law at Georgia State University and author of “Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court is not a Court and its Justices are not Judges” joins us to discuss whether Professor Ford’s lawyers are overplaying their hand in making demands on the U.S. Senate whose members are notorious for guarding their privileges and protocols. With Senator Graham warning bluntly that if Professor Ford does not show to testify on Monday, the Committee will go ahead and vote on Wednesday, we assess the chances of a compromise since the excuses for not having a quick investigation by the FBI then a hearing don’t add up. But in the meantime Professor Ford has had to go into hiding due to death threats, hacking and impersonation online, and with the senile patriarch Senator Hatch already calling her “mixed up”, a repeat of the treatment Anita Hill got might not play too well in the #MeToo era and further erode the chances of Republican women remaining loyal to Donald Trump’s GOP at the polls in November.

Eric Segall

Part 2

Then we examine the looming collision if not a constitutional crisis resulting from President Trump’s order to declassify secret work product of on on-going investigation in which the president himself might be a target. Andy Wright, a Senior Fellow and Founding Editor of Just Security who served in the White House as Associate Counsel to President Barack Obama and also worked in Congress conducting oversight of U.S. national security matters, joins us. We will discuss the possibility that both the Director of the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence will be forced to resign to protect intelligence sources and methods from a cynical attempt by Trump to bolster a conspiracy theory cooked up by Fox News and the so-called Freedom Caucus in the House.

Andy Wright

Part 3

Then finally we look into the deal Russia’s President Putin has made with Turkey’s President Erdogan to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe by setting up a buffer zone on Turkey’s southern border for three million Syrian citizens trapped with the remnants of the jihadist opposition to the Assad regime. An expert on U.S.-Turkey relations, Aaron Stein, a Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Hariri Center for the Middle East, joins us to assess whether the plan is workable and how much the U.S. has been sidelined in the region by Russia’s diplomatic initiatives.

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September 18 - Russia is Giving Israel a Free Hand in Syria to Go After Iranian Targets; Trump and His Fellow Authoritarian, Poland's President Duda, Field Softball Questions From Regime-Friendly Reporters; Trump's Escalating Trade War With China

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We begin with the diplomat tensions erupting from the shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft in Syria which was blamed on the Israelis although it was the Assad regime’s barrage of anti-aircraft fire which downed the aircraft killing all 15 aboard. Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma who writes “Syria Comment” a daily newsletter and blog on Syrian politics, joins us to discuss efforts by Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russia’s President Putin to calm the tense situation in a crowded airspace in a volatile area of combat with multiple local and international forces butting up against each other. Since Israeli warplanes were attacking Iranian targets in Syria at the time the Russian maritime reconnaissance aircraft was shot down the Syrians, we analyze the apparent agreement between Russia and Israel to allow the Israelis a free hand to go after Iranian and Hizbollah targets in Syria. And we will assess the deal between Russia and Turkey to create a buffer zone on Turkey’s border with Idlib to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe confronting three million civilians trapped with the last jihadists fighting the Syrian regime. With Russia winning in Syria and bolstering ties with Iraq and Iran, the bitter irony arises that after the U.S. spent over $5 trillion dollars and lost thousands of American lives, it looks like the Russians have ended up with the spoils from our pointless and endless wars.

 

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Part 2

Then we assess today’s White House visit by Poland’s President Duda followed by a press conference at which both authoritarian leaders Trump and Duda were able to choose softball questions from regime-friendly reporters. Charles Kupchan, a former special assistant to President Obama for National Security who was Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council under President Clinton, joins us to discuss the key issue Trump and Duda did not mention and that is the growing authoritarian nature of the ruling party in Poland and their takeover of the country’s media and courts.

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Part 3

Then finally we speak with Scott Kennedy, the Director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and author of “Beyond the Middle Kingdom”. He joins us to discuss China’s tit-for-tat response to Trump’s escalating trade war after $200 billion in tariffs were slapped on them on Monday and the likelihood that before long there will be tariffs on all Chinese imports with the exception of rare earth minerals. We also discuss the mysterious disappearance of China’s biggest movie star.

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