We begin on this Memorial Day weekend with reports that Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is slow-walking requests from the Senate Intelligence Committee for financial records and data of transactions between Trump associates and the Russians that FinCEN, the U.S. Treasury Division has collected. James Henry, an investigative economist and lawyer who has written widely on offshore and onshore tax havens, kleptocracy and pirate banking who is a co-founder of DCReport.org and author of “Blood Bankers”, joins us to discuss how important the assets and capabilities of the Treasury Department are in investigating the layers of shell companies and offshore accounts that criminals, oligarchs and money launderers use to disguise the sources of ill-gotten-gains and the beneficiaries of secret transactions.

Then we examine the role that Facebook could play in uncovering who is behind the fake news that was injected into the U.S. election and more recently the British, Dutch, French and now the German elections. Jonathan Taplin, the Founder and Director Emeritus of the Innovation Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and author of the new book “Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy”, joins us to discuss how these powerful new monopolies have amassed and monetized personal data while protected by “safe harbor” laws from responsibility for complicity in the dissemination of fake news, jihadist messaging and criminal activity.

Then finally we look into America’s diminishing role on the world stage with the leadership deficit from a president who may have made smart real estate deals but has so little knowledge of foreign affairs and how government works that instead of being the focus of flattery and adoring attention that he craves, he finds himself more and more as the dumbest guy in the room. Roger Morris, who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Johnson and Nixon and is the author of “Kindred Rivals: America, Russia and Their Failed Ideals”, joins us to discuss a president out of his depth and the reckless endangerment of the United States.

Background Briefing

Is the Treasury Secretary Sabotaging the Russia Inquiry?

Taking on the New Monopolies: Facebook, Google and Amazon

Trump Now Finds Himself As the Dumbest Guy in the Room

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking who served as Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. We will discuss America’s shrinking middle class as more plutocratic-friendly policies and priorities are enacted by the Republican Congress while a distracted Trump, who was elected as a populist, is increasingly mired in investigations over Russian influence and possible collusion in our election. With an increase in defense spending being offset by slashing safety net programs for working- and middle-class Americans, we assess how much as a nation we are prioritizing projecting power abroad over protecting the health and welfare of our people at home, as we improve the quality of death at the expense of our quality of life.

Then we continue the conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tom Ricks, an advisor on national security at the New America Foundation where he participates in the “Future of War” project. A contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine where he has the prizewinning blog The Best Defense, he joins us to discuss his latest book “Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom”. With the current trend of ideology trumping facts as we appear to be going back to the 1930’s, we explore how the conservative Churchill fought totalitarianism from the right while the socialist George Orwell fought totalitarianism from the left and given the unusually high number of senior military officers at the top level in the Trump Administration, how the generals around Trump should be protecting the country, not the president.

Background Briefing

Improving the Quality of Death at the Expense of America's Quality of Life

Trump's Generals Should Protect the County, Not the President

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with the thuggery displayed by the Republican candidate for Congress in Montana and look into how much the millionaire Greg Gianforte models himself on the billionaire Donald Trump.  And in body-slamming The Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs who Gianforte’s office claims is a “liberal reporter”, how much has Trump’s rhetoric in casting the press as “the enemy of the people”, trickled down to not just GOP candidates, but to the party’s grassroots. Trevor Timm, a columnist for The Guardian and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation joins us to discuss how dangerous it has become for journalists to ask questions in Trump’s America and how Trump’s inflammatory attacks on the press and reporters seems to be emboldening GOP activists and politicians to mete out frontier justice.

Then we speak with Charles Kupchan, who was director for European Affairs on the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration and spent the last 3 years as a Special Assistant to President Obama for National Security. He joins us to discuss Donald Trump’s scolding of NATO allies over defense spending and the disconnect with the Trump Administration’s priorities as they throw more money at the Pentagon while slashing funds for “soft power” in the face of a sustained and effective Russian propaganda and active measures assault on the U.S. and Western Europe.

Then finally we examine the hunt for a terrorist network underway in the U.K. following the horrendous suicide bombing in Manchester. David Schanzer, Director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University, joins us to discuss how the British handle the some 300 former ISIS jihadis who returned from Syria and Iraq compared to the U.S. and the current focus on who made the bomb that was used as well as the likelihood that the bomber had training in Libya where he was for the past three weeks before returning to the U.K. just days before the attack.

Background Briefing

The Danger to Journalists For Asking Questions In Trump's America

Trump Scolds NATO Allies While Disarming Against Russian Active Measures

The Hunt For the Terrorist Network Underway in the UK

SHOW NOTES

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We begin with the Trump budget that both conservative and liberal economists are scratching their heads in disbelief at the amateurism and mathematical absurdity of what the White House Director of the OMB, former Congressman Mulvaney, presented. Jacob Leibenluft, a senior advisor at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities who previously worked at the National Economic Council at the White House, joins us to discuss the double counting of $2 trillion in additional revenues which are in themselves dubious and wishful thinking based on the ideological pipe dream that cutting taxes on the rich and corporations will magically spur economic growth to make up for the loss in tax revenues for the Treasury. We will also analyze the extent to which the entire budget punishes the poor in order to further reward the already rich, and address it in terms of the guns versus butter paradigm as more guns are foisted on the pork-bloated Pentagon while butter is rationed to those who can prove they are looking for work.

Then we will look into yesterday’s testimony by the former CIA Director John Brennan in which he recounted how he had warned his counterpart Alexander Bortnikov the head of Russia’s FSB that “American voters would be outraged by any Russian attempt to interfere in the election”. Mark Lowenthal, the President of the Intelligence and Security Academy who served as Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production and Vice Chairman for Evaluation at the National Intelligence Council, joins us to discuss what happened to bipartisanship when it comes to a foreign adversary attacking the very foundation of American democracy itself.

Then finally we will assess President Trump’s visit with Pope Francis in the Vatican at which his daughter and wife were in attendance and where at the end, the Pope expressed concern to Melania Trump about her husband’s eating habits and expansive girth. Tiziana Dearing, a professor of social work at Boston College and the former head of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Boston joins us to discuss the extent to which the Pope was able to influence Trump to change his views and policies on climate change and immigration.

Background Briefing

Trump's Amateurish and Mathematically Absurd Budget

What Happened to Bipartisan Outrage at Russian Interference in Our Election?

The Pope Tries to Influence Trump

SHOW NOTES

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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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