Is Syria Back on the Front Burner?
Gorsuch Sworn in With Victory Smiles
Making the Visitor Logs to the White House Public Again
We will begin with the G7 nations meeting in Italy to find a unified approach to pressure Russia to distance itself from Syria’s Assad regime following its use of chemical weapons on children. Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Center For Middle East Studies at the University of Denver and author of the new book “Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East” joins us to discuss his latest article at CNN, “Obama’s Syria Mistake is now Trump’s Problem”. We will assess whether Assad’s latest atrocity has brought the Syrian conflict back onto the front burner after it appeared that the fall of Aleppo meant that Assad, the Russians and Iranians had won the war and that the U.S. was prepared to accept that reality and go along with a Russian plan to keep Assad in power as this war that has destroyed Syria enters its seventh year.
Then we will look into the Rose Garden ceremony today where Judge Gorsuch was sworn in amid sunny smiles and spring flowers as the president Senator McConnell and Senator Grassley celebrated a great victory for which Justice Gorsuch thanked them without any mention of the seat stolen from Judge Garland and that the U.S. Senate was blown up in order to get Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Elizabeth Wydra, President of the Constitutional Accountability Center, joins us to discuss the important cases before the court that Gorsuch will now rule on.
Then finally we will speak with Josh Gerstein, a Senior White House reporter at Politico, about his latest article at Politico “New suit demands Trump White House visitor logs”, and discuss how what used to be public information, is kept under wraps by the new Administration so that the identity of Trump’s visitors to the White House, Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago remain secret. We will also examine how being a member of Trump’s private club in Florida has its benefits with the Koch brothers enjoying a table-side chat with Trump as a perk that goes along with William Koch’s $200,000 annual membership of Mar-a-Lago.
We begin with an analysis of the motives behind President Trump’s bombing of the Syrian airbase and the mixed signals coming from his administration with his U.N. Representative Nikki Haley advocating regime change saying that there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power while Secretary of State Tillerson says there is no change in U.S. policy with destroying ISIS still the main objective. Thomas Wright, a fellow and director of the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution and author of the forthcoming book “All Measures Short of War: the Contest for the 21st Century and the Future of American Power” joins us to discuss the E.U. conference of reconstructing post-war Syria that was meeting in Brussels when the chemical attack occurred raising doubts about whether the billions pledged will be forthcoming.
Then we will examine how much the bombing of Syria distracted attention away from the inquiries into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Mark Lowenthal, the President of the Intelligence and Security Academy who was the Republican Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, joins us to discuss the damage that Devin Nunes has done to the House Intelligence Committee and how much it will impact the Russia investigations going forward.
Then finally, following the cruise missile attack on Syria, with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria declaring that “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night”, we will look into the cheer-leading in the press that has accompanied Donald Trump’s use of military force against the Assad regime and speak with Eric Boehlert, a Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America and author of “Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over For Bush” and “Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press”. He joins us to discuss the unusual praise for Trump coming not just from the expected sycophants at Fox News, but from many of the anchors on MSNBC such as Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams who are normally critical of Trump.
We begin with the positive reviews coming from media pundits and across the country praising Donald Trump’s first “presidential” moment in last night’s address to Congress when he managed to follow the teleprompter and control his impulse to go off script and lash out at enemies real or imagined. Michael Kruse, a senior staff writer at POLITICO joins us to discuss his latest article at Politico “He’s a Performance Artist Pretending to be a Great Manager: Donald Trump sits at the top of the biggest org chart in the world. Why does he look so uncomfortable in the job?” We discuss the difference between performance and policy, grandstanding and governing, and whether Trump can maintain the discipline necessary to live up to the glowing praise he is now getting from conservative and liberal commentators on both Fox News and CNN.
Then we look further into the gap between Trump’s actions and words and speak with Eric Liu, the founder of Citizen University and author of the forthcoming book “You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen”. He joins us to discuss his article at CNN ”A Master of Symbols Over Substance”, and we will discuss what citizens can do to hold Trump and other politician’s feet to the fire so that their populist promises withstand the demands of their plutocratic patrons.
Then finally we speak with a former White House speechwriter to get an assessment of Trump’s speech and the Democratic rebuttal that seemed peculiar and off-key, especially considering the explosion of activism with massive and sustained demonstrations and boisterous Town Hall meetings where citizens at the grassroots appear to be way out ahead of their political parties. Paul Glastris, the editor-in-chief of The Washington Monthly who was a special assistant and senior speechwriter to President Bill Clinton, joins us.