We begin with the suicide bombing in Manchester, England in which a 22 year old British born Salman Abedi deliberately targeted young innocents killing 22 and wounding 59 in a terrorist act that the Islamic State is taking credit for. Hassan Hassan, a Senior Fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Peace and co-author of “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror”, joins us to discuss the role of Libyans in the Islamic State and the approximately 300 former ISIS fighters who have returned to the U.K. whose role in this horrendous bombing of young concert-goers is not apparent in what is known about the suspect so far, but it is likely that the instructions to build the bomb that was laced with nuts and bolts came from ISIS websites where instructions to make explosives and use trucks as weapons against soft targets are readily available.

Then following today’s testimony by former CIA Director John Brennan and the current head of the NSA Admiral Rogers, we speak with Kate Brannan, the Deputy Managing Editor of Just Security who is a non-resident fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security at the Atlantic Council. She joins us to discuss her latest article at Just Security “Connecting the Dots: Political Microtargeting and the Russian Investigation” and the testimony of top intelligence officials that is keeping the Russia story alive with next week’s testimony by the recently-fired FBI Director likely to intensify interest bigly.

Then finally we examine the looming confrontation with Iran that the Saudis and the Israelis are leading a gullible and ill-informed Donald Trump towards and speak with William Beeman, a Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota who was a consultant to the State and Defense Departments as well as the U.N. and the U.S. Congress. The author of “The Great Satan vs. the Mad Mullahs: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other”, he joins us to discuss how Iran in being demonized because Israel uses it as an excuse for its failure to deal with the Palestinians while the Saudis blame Iran for the problems they have with their own Shia minority who they mistreat.

 

Background Briefing

ISIS Takes Credit For Deliberately Targeting Young Innocents

Testimony By Top Intel Officials Keep the Russian Story Alive

Israel and Saudi Arabia Lead Trump By the Nose Into a Confrontation With Iran

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with the second leg of Donald Trump’s first presidential trip abroad and discuss his first day in Israel where he has promised to take on the ultimate challenge, an Israeli/Palestinian peace deal. Joining us to assess Trump’s meetings with Israeli officials and his meeting tomorrow with the so-called Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is Kate Gould, the Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby fielding the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington D.C. We discuss whether Israel, as a member of the anti-Iran alliance with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, can be pressured into making a peace deal with the Palestinians as a part of a broader strategic realignment in the Middle East with the U.S. and Israel joining an alliance of Sunni states against Shia Iran.

Then we speak with Christine Fair, a former United Nation’s political officer in Afghanistan and a Professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program who specializes in South Asia security issues. She joins us to discuss a matter unrelated to her regional expertise and that is her encounter with the white nationalist leader Richard Spencer in her gym in Alexandria, Virginia which resulted in the termination of Spencer’s gym membership. We discuss how Spencer, who leads an alt-right movement that seeks a whites-only America and recently led a Nazi-like torch light rally in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate statue, asked a female African-American gym instructor to protect him from Chris Fair’s verbal confrontation.

Then finally we look into today’s Supreme Court ruling rejecting two gerrymandered districts in North Carolina citing racial bias. Thomas Wolf, counsel with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University who focuses on redistricting issues, joins us to discuss what former Attorney General Holder describes as “a watershed moment in the fight to end racial gerrymandering” and another recent Supreme Court victory for North Carolina Democrats that struck down a restrictive Republican voter ID law.

Background Briefing

Trump Takes on the Ultimate Challenge

Confronting the Leader of America's Alt-Right White Nationalist Movement

A Victory Over Racial Gerrymandering in North Carolina

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with speech by President Trump in Saudi Arabia before more than 40 leaders of Muslim nations in which he condemned extremism and terrorism as not “a battle between different faiths” but “a battle between good and evil”. Natana DeLong-Bas, a Professor of Theology at Boston University who is an expert on Wahhabism, Salafism and Jihadism and is the author of “Jihad for Islam: The Struggle for the Future of Saudi Arabia”, joins us to analyze the speech and its likely impact. We will discuss how Trump avoided his inflammatory language against Muslims but instead was eloquent in describing how much Muslims are the main victims of terrorism, and examine the apparent disconnect with reality as Trump castigated Iran for spreading destruction and chaos across the region before a group of leaders who oppress their own people and would never allow an election such as the one which the Iranians just conducted.

Then with scandal and intrigue still rolling back in Washington as reports emerge that Trump told the Russians in the Oval Office that he had just fired Comey who he called “a nut job” to relieve pressure on him from the Russia investigation, together with reports that Jared Kushner is likely the “person of interest” investigators are looking into, we will speak with a former senior CIA analyst who was National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and Chief of Station in Asia. Kent Harrington joins us to discuss his latest article at Project Syndicate “Trump’s Loose Lips and America’s Intelligence Relationships” and examine reports that China has “systematically dismantled” CIA spying operations killing or imprisoning between 18 and 20 CIA sources in China.

Then finally we speak with Middle East expert Rasool Nafisi, the author of “The Rise of the Pasdaran”, which is about the social, political and economic roles of the Guardians of the Revolution in Iran, who just lost the election to the incumbent Rouhani with their hardline candidate losing by 20 points. We will look into the country that Trump just blamed for all the troubles in the Middle East and assess how and when the dwindling chorus chanting “death to America” will fade into the background.

Background Briefing

In Saudi Arabia, Trump Vows to Meet "History's Greatest Test"

A Former CIA Official on Trump's Loose Lips

Trump Blames Iran For Chaos in the Middle East

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with Donald Trump’s childish and self-defeating criticism of the special counsel just appointed to investigate his ties to the Russians and speak with John Dean, the former Counsel to President Nixon and Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States. The best-selling author of “Conservatives Without Conscience” who is now an analyst on CNN, he joins us to discuss the comparisons now being made to Watergate and Trumpgate and Trump’s propensity to make things worse for himself by attacking the press, the CIA, the FBI, James Comey and now Robert Mueller. We also look into the possibility that Trump will make a terrible choice by appointing the Republican’s favorite Democrat, former Senator Joe Lieberman as the next Director of the FBI and how that will be received at the FBI and within the Department of Justice.

Then we analyze what the number two Republican in the House Kevin McCarthy said in June of last year in a private meeting with Paul Ryan and top Republicans where he remarked that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”, then after some bemused laughter he interjects “Swear to God”. After at first denying this to the Washington Post, once Paul Ryan was told there was a tape of the conversations, McCarthy’s bombshell was brushed off as an attempt at humor. Gustavo Arellano, the editor of the OC Weekly joins us to discuss his local congressman the former Red-baiter turned Putin-lover, and an article by Matthew Croker in the OC Weekly “Putin Payin’ Dana? Rohrabacher Claims He Man Crushes on Vlad for Free”.

Then we analyze what the number two Republican in the House Kevin McCarthy said in June of last year in a private meeting with Paul Ryan and top Republicans where he remarked that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”, then after some bemused laughter he interjects “Swear to God”. After at first denying this to the Washington Post, once Paul Ryan was told there was a tape of the conversations, McCarthy’s bombshell was brushed off as an attempt at humor. Gustavo Arellano, the editor of the OC Weekly joins us to discuss his local congressman the former Red-baiter turned Putin-lover, and an article by Matthew Croker in the OC Weekly “Putin Payin’ Dana? Rohrabacher Claims He Man Crushes on Vlad for Free”.

 

Background Briefing

Watergate and Now Trumpgate?

A Top Republican's Claim That "There's Two People I Think Putin Pays: Rohrabacher and Trump"

Sessions Revives the Failed War on Drugs

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with the appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to oversee the Russian investigation and examine the possibility that the memo that Congress is now demanding about Comey’s Oval Office meeting with Trump, at which the FBI Director was allegedly asked by the president to back off the investigation into Michael Flynn, is the first shot across the bow and that Comey has a number of incriminating memos that could be leaked incrementally revealing even more explosive details of an amateurish and dysfunctional presidency. A former intelligence operative, Malcom Nance, the author of “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and Wikileaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election”, joins us to discuss president’s remarks today at a Coast Guard ceremony where he avoided any mention of the Comey memo but portrayed himself as a victim of the press and other unnamed forces that are out to destroy his presidency. We will assess the gathering storm engulfing a chaotic presidency and how long the few adults like General McMaster and General Mattis will allow themselves to be used as props making excuses for a Commander-in-Chief who increasingly is making it obvious that he is dangerously out of his depth.

Then we will get a different perspective from the growing assumption that Trump is heading for impeachment and speak with Mark Perry, an author and historian specializing in military, foreign affairs and intelligence analysis. He joins us to discuss the possibility that a constitutional crisis could be averted by helping the president succeed rather than feeding into Trump’s combative impulses and his article at Politico “Why Americans Don’t Win Wars Anymore” that makes it clear we should be spending less on the military and more on combatting ignorance at home.

Then finally we will examine whether the political and cultural divide in the country can be bridged and speak with Robert Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas in Austin and the author of “Arguing for Our Lives: A User’s Guide to Constructive Dialogue”. He joins us from a Blue island in a deeply Red State and we will discuss how the information that the mainstream media reveals daily about Trump’s disastrous presidency does not penetrate the Fox, Sinclair, megachurch bubble that Trump’s supporters inhabit.

Background Briefing

A Special Prosecutor as Events Close in on Trump

A Case For Helping Trump Succeed

Bridging America's Reality Gap

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with the possibility that Donald Trump has compromised a vital intelligence operation against the Islamic State and speak with a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who investigated and supervised highly sensitive international terrorism cases such as the East Africa embassy bombings by Al Qaeda and their attack on the USS Cole. Ali Soufan joins us to discuss how painstakingly difficult it is to penetrate terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS compared to how easy it is to blow an operation as apparently Trump has done, and his latest book, “Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State”, which is a compelling and definitive account of how and why bin Laden’s ideology keeps rising from the dead with his son Hamza now poised to take over the growing organization that his father founded.

Then we look into today’s White House meeting between President Trump and President Erdogan of Turkey that was bound to end in disappointment for Erdogan who is demanding the extradition of the cleric he blames for the coup against him, Gulen, and that the U.S. cut ties with the Syrian Kurds, who are the only fighting force the Pentagon can count on to defeat ISIS and take their Syrian capitol Raqqa. Max Hoffman, a Policy Analyst on National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress who focuses on Turkey and the Kurdish regions, joins us to discuss Trump’s business ties in Turkey and why the U.S. president was almost alone in congratulating Erdogan’s power grab in narrowly winning the recent disputed referendum.

Then finally we speak with 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. He joins us to discuss a comparison that the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. has made between the Assad regime and the Nazis, following the revelation that a crematorium has been installed in a Syrian prison to dispose of the bodies of the thousands of Syrians the regime systematically murders.

 

Background Briefing

Terror Groups Are Hard to Penetrate But Penetrations Are Easily Blown as Trump Has Demonstrated

The Doomed Meeting Between Trump and Erdogan

The US Compares the Assad Regime to the Nazis

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with the short list of candidates to replace James Comey as head of the FBI and speak with Harry Litman, a former United States Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General about his article at the Los Angeles Times “Don’t worry, the FBI won’t give up the Russia investigation” and whether Trump will be able to appoint a partisan lackey to shut down the Russia Investigation. With Senator Graham suggesting Trump’s choice of a politician would be unwise, we will look into the possibility that Senator Cornyn and Congressman Mike Rogers might not be chosen, given the narrow margin that Trump has in the senate to get his nominee approved. But given the problem that Trump is surrounded by inexperienced sycophants who are incapable of giving seasoned and sober advice to this erratic and adolescent president, Trump will likely not choose someone with credibility meaning that if he were to be proven innocent, a not-guilty verdict would not be believed.

Then we will examine the mind-boggling revelation from the Washington Post that Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador that was provided by a U.S. partner in an intelligence-sharing arrangement that is considered the most highly classified sensitive information that the U.S. does not even share with close allies. A former CIA veteran Robert Baer, a best-selling author who is now the national security analyst on CNN, joins us to discuss the possibility that Trump is either a reckless and dangerous incompetent, or the Manchurian Candidate.

Then finally we will look into the “Belt and Road” forum that has just concluded in Beijing and assess the extent to which China is eclipsing the U.S. as a global leader following the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the TPP and its reversals on climate change and clean energy. The editor of the Asan Forum, Gilbert Rozman, a Professor of Sociology at Princeton University specializing in societies in China, Japan, Korea and Russia, joins us to discuss the makings of China’s new world order.

 

Background Briefing

The Short List to Replace Comey

Is Trump the Manchurian Candidate or Just a Reckless and Dangerous Incompetent?

The Making of China's New World Order

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with the bizarre registered letter from Donald Trump’s lawyers that Trump claims exonerates him from accusations that he has had business dealings in Russia, even though the real questions are about deals with Russians here in the U.S. Investigative journalist Richard Behar, a Contributing Editor of Investigations for Forbes Magazine who also wrote on the staffs of Forbes, Time and Fortune, joins us to discuss his latest article at DCReport.org “The Kazakhstan Connection: Trump, Bayrock And Plenty of Questions” and how the Russian-born mob-connected former “Senior Advisor” to Trump, Felix Sater, is threatening to rat on the Kazakh kleptocrat Tevfik Arif, whose Bayrock Group worked in close partnership for nearly a decade with the Trump Organization. We will look into whether someone inside the shady deals behind the financing of Trump’s real estate ventures will spill the beans that could expose the president to impeachment.

Then we will speak with Alexander Butterfield who served as the Deputy Assistant to President Richard Nixon and revealed the existence of the White House taping system during the Watergate Investigations that provided the evidence that led to Nixon’s resignation as he faced impeachment. We will discuss similarities between what happened in 1973 and what is happening at the moment with Trump firing the Director of the FBI who is investigating him and Trump’s threatening tweet to FBI Director Comey that their White House conversations may have been taped.

Then finally we will examine the global ransomware hacking attack that has crippled hospitals and other institutions forced to pay ransoms in bitcoin in order to retrieve vital data that the hackers have encrypted. Robert Morgus, a policy analyst with the New America Foundation’s Cybersecurity Initiative joins us to discuss the escalating threat of ransomware cyber-attacks that have affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries based on stolen NSA hacking tools that more people will find themselves infected by on Monday morning.

Background Briefing

Are the Rats Deserting Trump's Sinking Ship?

The Man Whose Evidence Brought Down a President

The Escalating Global Ransomware Cyber-Attack

SHOW NOTES

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