We begin with the grudging acceptance by Donald Trump of the need to condemn Saturday’s violence by neo-Nazi white supremacists in a television address today in which he insisted on first emphasizing what a great economy he has created before addressing the burning issue of Charlottesville as if it were an afterthought. A witness who was part of an interfaith protest by clergy who faced Saturday’s phalanx of heavily armed white supremacist Stormtroopers spewing racist hatred, Bryan Mann, joins us. He is in his sixth year of studies at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Boston and will be an ordained rabbi in June of 2018. With his prayer shawl and kippa, linking arms with other clergy led by Cornell West, Bryan faced the Nazi taunts of “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us”, and he describes how the police did nothing to protect the counter-protesters who were defended by the Antifa, the anti-fascists who came to their rescue meeting violence with violence which has led many, including Trump, to assign blame to “many sides”.

Then we examine the rumors of palace intrigue that suggest the alt-right radicals close to Trump, Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller and the fascist sympathizer Sebastian Gorka, might be on the way out of the White House. Addy Baird, a reporter for ThinkProgress where she has an article “The subtle dogwhistle in Trump’s belated condemnation of white supremacists”, joins us to discuss today’s nasty tweets by Trump who went after the only black member of his manufacturing council, the CEO of Merck Pharma, who resigned to protest the president’s reaction to what happened in Charlottesville.

Then finally we look into the emerging right wing media juggernaut being enabled by Trump’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai that will effectively become the Ministry of Truth for the Trump presidency. Timothy Karr, the Campaign Director for Free Press and the SavetheInternet.com Coalition joins us to discuss how Ajit Pai’s changing of the rules to allow the Sinclair Broadcasting Group to buy up Tribune will create a monopoly that, along with Fox News and Breitbart, will pump out pro-Trump propaganda and create a Putin-like media machine of alternative facts while attacking the rest of the free press as “fake news”.

Background Briefing

A Rabbinical Student Who Faced the Taunts of Nazis In Charlottesville

Are the White House Right Wing Radicals On Their Way Out?

The FCC's Ajit Pai is Enabling Trump's Ministry of Truth


We begin with the violence that was brought to Charlottesville, Virginia by the Ku Klux Clan, neo-Nazis and white nationalist groups under the banner of “Unite the Right” who organized a Nazi-like torchlight protest Friday night against the removal of a statue of the Confederate leader Robert E. Lee then on Saturday converged on the statue wearing military gear waving Confederate flags and Nazi swastikas chanting “you will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us” as they clashed with counter-demonstrators. Nicole Hemmer, a professor at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and author of “Messenger of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics”, joins us to discuss her article at U.S. News and World Report “Sounds and Silence in Charlottesville: The violence of white nationalism spilled onto the streets of Virginia” and what she witnessed after a car driven by a white supremacist ploughed into a crowd of demonstrators celebrating the dispersal of the “Unite the Right” demonstrators.

Then we speak with sociologist Randy Blazak, Chair of the Coalition Against Hate Crime which monitors hate groups in the State of Oregon and a professor at the University of Oregon and author of “Hate Offenders”. He joins us to challenge the troubling remarks by the President of the United States that implied liberals and conservatives are equally violent when Trump went out of his way to emphasize that the hate, bigotry and violence on display in Charlottesville came from “all sides”. We discuss what is clear and that is there are members of the alt-right in the highest positions in the Trump White House and that the alt-right is trying to hijack the discussion about who is the victim in American history by encouraging the myth that white men are oppressed.

Then finally we assess the extent to which Trump’s threat of military action against Venezuela is playing into the hands of the Maduro government who have brought Venezuela to the brink of collapse and now, thanks to Trump, can blame the “Yankee imperialists” who have a sorry history of military intervention in Latin America. Jennifer McCoy, the Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University and author of “International Mediation in Venezuela”, joins us to discuss how Trump has set back regional efforts to deal with the worsening tragedy in Venezuela.

Background Briefing

White Supremacists Bring Violence to Charlottesville

Trump's Persistent Defense of the Alt-Right

Trump's Threats Play Into Maduro's Hands


We  begin with the latest target of Trump’s personal and public attacks, this time it is Mitch McConnell in the crosshairs, the Majority Leader of the Senate who is a member of Trump’s party and a vital ally in moving the president’s agenda forward. A 21 year veteran of the United States Senate, Jim Manley, who served as a senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 12 years as an aide to the late Senator Ted Kennedy, joins us. We will discuss the fratricide going on inside the Republican Party and this unprecedented public putdown in response to the Majority Leader’s mild criticism of Trump, and whether Trump’s biggest billionaire donor Robert Mercer who is putting up $300 million to defeat Republican Senator Jeff Flake because he criticized Trump, will go after McConnell and other Republican lawmakers Trump is annoyed with.

Then, with today’s extraordinary putdown of Secretary of State Tillerson’s by the hawkish alt-right Deputy Assistant to President Trump, Sebastian Gorka, who belittled Tillerson’s diplomatic efforts to calm the situation with North Korea, we  to speak with Lili Bayer, a freelance journalist who writes for Politico and other publications and profiled Sebastian Gorka for The Forward. She joins us from Budapest, Hungary to discuss the letter by 55 Members of Congress asking Trump to fire Gorka and his ties to far right and neo-Nazi Hungarian political parties and the anti-Semitic Vitezi Rend Group whose medal Gorka wore to Trump’s inauguration.

Then finally we speak with Taran Singh Brar, a documentary filmmaker and political activist who erected a giant inflated chicken bearing a striking resemblance to Donald Trump near the White House yesterday. He joins us to discuss why he thinks Donald Trump is too chicken to release his tax returns while he plays chicken with North Korea, and how visitors to the mall in the nation’s capitol reacted to “Chicken Don”.

Background Briefing

Trump Turns on Mitch McConnell After Mild Criticism

Trump's Alt-Right Deputy Trashes Tillerson

The Activist Who Erected the Giant Inflated "Chicken Don" Near The White House


We begin with Donald Trump inflaming the combustible situation with North Korea with name-calling and threats that play to his base but could ignite a catastrophic war. Norman Ornstein, a contributing writer for The Atlantic and co-author of “It’s Even Worse Than it Was” whose forthcoming book is “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate and the Not Yet Deported” joins us. We discuss whether there is a method to Trump’s madness in continually riling up his base with overheated attacks on his enemies while constructing an alternative reality via propaganda pumped out by Fox News and Sinclair. In addition to unlimited financial backing from billionaires and on-going efforts to suppress the vote, would this be enough to keep him in power? Particularly as long as the Democrats fail to exhibit leadership and offer a narrative beyond Trump is a disaster and if you vote for him you’re an idiot, a refrain which Hillary Clinton ran on unsuccessfully.

Then we get an assessment of why South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has faced six no-confidence votes in parliament and how he dodged the latest bullet in a 189 to 177 vote despite mounting evidence of his corrupt ties to the wealthy Gupta brothers. Ambassador John Campbell, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria who was political counselor to the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria during South Africa’s first non-racial election and is the author of “Morning in South Africa”, joins us to discuss how long the ruling ANC can excuse corruption while clinging to the moral authority bequeathed to them by Mandela.

Then finally we examine the sudden reversal of the Justice Department in withdrawing support from a case before the Supreme Court challenging how voters were purged from the rolls in the important swing state of Ohio.Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School who served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, joins us to discuss how much the Trump Justice Department’s switching to support Ohio’s aggressive purging of voter rolls in the middle of a case is tied to the Administration’s wider efforts at voter suppression via the Kobach Commission.

Background Briefing

Is There a Method to Trump's Madness?

South Africa's Corrupt Leader Survives A Sixth No-Confidence Vote

The DOJ Reversal on Voting Rights


We begin with the warning from Attorney General Sessions to would-be leakers “Don’t do it!” and his threat to reporters that he is “reviewing” press subpoenas that would force journalists to reveal their sources or face jail time. Cora Currier, a journalist who, as a reporting fellow at ProPublica covered national security, and now covers national security and press freedom for The Intercept, joins us to discuss Sessions’ response to humiliating public criticism from Trump that he was “VERY weak on Intel leakers” and the release of embarrassing transcripts of the president’s private conversations with world leaders. We examine the DOJ’s pursuit of three times as many leak investigations that occurred under the Obama Administration and the FBI’s creation of a new unit to handle the investigations.

Then we look into why Donald Trump holds so many campaign-style rallies in West Virginia and why the state’s governor and only billionaire made an appearance at last Thursday’s rally to announce that he had switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party. Bob Kincaid the co-founder of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign and the President of the Coal River Mountain Watch joins us to explain Trump’s popularity in a state with the nation’s worst opioid addiction crisis and the highest death rate from opioids yet is the most dependent on Medicaid funds to address the crisis as Trump plans to cut Medicaid and proposed a 95% cut in funding for the agency leading the charge against the country’s opioid epidemic.

Then finally we assess why the United Auto Workers failed in their bid to unionize the Nissan plant in Mississippi at which the majority of workers voted with the company against the UAW in a bitterly contested campaign. An expert on labor issues, Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley who studies labor, information technology and the organization of work, joins us to discuss the latest defeat for labor in the “right to work” South.

Background Briefing

The DOJ is "Reviewing" Press Subpoenas to Stop Leaks

Why Does West Virginia Love Trump?

The Fight to Unionize the Right-to-Work South


We begin with the release of the transcripts of Donald Trump’s calls to foreign leaders early in his Administration that indicate a woeful ignorance of world affairs, a delusional obsession with the greatness of his campaign and election victory, and a child-like temperament when confronted with facts and reality. We speak with two prominent American historians of the presidency and begin with Sean Wilentz, Professor of American History at Princeton University whose latest book is “The Politicians and the Egalitarians”. He joins us to provide an historical context on how much Trump has lowered the bar to the point where comparisons with prior presidents does a disservice to our history since Trump is such a disastrous aberration to the point that no matter how much his predecessors have faced the harsh judgement of history and are held in low esteem, it does a disservice to them and to our history to compare them to Trump.

Then we speak with the American political historian who teaches at American University, Allan Lichtman. He is the author of “The Keys to the White House: A Surefire Way to Predicting the Next President”, a system that has correctly predicted the outcomes of all US presidential elections since 1984 including the last election when, against all odds, he predicted a Trump victory. His latest book is “The Case For Impeachment” and we discuss whether Trump’s alarming lack of qualification for the job of president that the transcripts reveal, could be considered grounds for his impeachment.

Then finally we are joined in the studio by Bryan Fogel, the director of the new Netflix documentary opening nationwide “Icarus”. He sought to investigate the Lance Armstrong story of doping in sports and the science of cheating the tests for doping. But instead, he uncovered a brazen scheme of state-sponsored cheating that resulted in the hero of the film, a brave Russian whistleblower, having to escape Kremlin death threats by taking his family into witness protection, while the villain behind the cheating scandal was promoted by Putin to be his Deputy Prime Minister.

Background Briefing

Transcripts Reveal How Much Trump Has Lowered the Bar for the Presidency

Could Trump's Alarming Lack of Qualifications Be Grounds for Impeachment?

The Director of the New Netflix Documentary "Icarus"


We begin with a potential crisis facing a White House in chaos with yet another staff shake-up as Anthony Scaramucci, the newly-appointed Director of Communications, was shown the door today. In response to the latest North Korean missile test and threats coming from the White House, a bi-partisan group of top American officials who have had high-level dealings with North Korea, William Perry, George Schultz, Robert Gallucci, Sig Hecker, Richard Lugar and Bill Richardson, have written to President Trump urging him to open direct talks with Kim Jong-un. Adam Mount, the former project director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ independent task force chaired by Admiral Mullen and Sam Nunn, joins us to discuss how a dysfunctional White House will deal with a clear and present danger that does not lend itself to military force or rhetorical bluster, but rather requires mature and patient diplomacy.

Then with Putin kicking out American diplomats in a tit-for-tat Cold War-like reprisal, we examine Putin’s comments today that in their recent G-20 meeting, Trump agreed with Putin’s version of whether Russia meddled in our elections. David Halperin, who served on the National Security Council and was counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, joins us to discuss his article at The Huffington Post “”The Exxon-Treasury Fight and the Roots of Russiagate” which lays out a credible scenario of what the real ties are between Putin and Trump and why it appears that Trump is Putin’s puppet.

Then finally we speak with Katherine Stewart, the author of “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children” about her article in The New York Times “What the ‘Government Schools’ Critics Really Mean”. She traces the history of attacks on so-called government schools, meaning public education by religious fundamentalist who now have a champion in the new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who has funded crusades casting public schools as Godless government indoctrination camps.

Background Briefing

A White House in Chaos Facing a North Korea Crisis

Why Trump Is Putin's Puppet

The "Christian" Jihad Against What They Call "Government Schools"


We begin with the latest shakeup in the White House with the Chief of Staff Reince Priebus unceremoniously fired to be replaced by General John Kelly the head of Homeland Security. Chris Whipplea writer, documentary filmmaker, journalist and author of “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff define every presidency”, joins us to discuss the challenges facing the four-star Marine General in trying to restore regular order to a White House without a chain of command with competing power centers and various aides enjoying walk-in privileges into the Oval Office. We look into whether a mercurial President who enjoys humiliating subordinates and is incapable of taking responsibility for anything, particularly if things go wrong, can be weaned away from his power-hungry delusions that he and his family are America’s rulers and learn to govern.

Then we look at the new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly who might be part of a wider power shuffle in which the embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions is moved to Homeland Security so that Trump can put someone in at DOJ who will fire the special counsel to end the Russia probe. Michael Cohen, a former State Department Chief Speechwriter for the U.S. Representative to the United Nations who is a columnist for the Boston Globe where he wrote an article back in April “Homeland Security’s John Kelly is Unhinged”, joins us to discuss Trump’s new Chief of Staff and whether he can reign in his boss who more and more observers are suggesting is unhinged.

Then finally we go to Caracas, Venezuela to speak with veteran Latin America journalist with the BBC and The Guardian, Phil Gunson, now the Andes Project Senior Analyst with the International Crisis Group. He joins us to discuss today’s vote that the opposition are boycotting for a Constituent Assembly that will end democratic representation in Venezuela leading to the possible arrest of elected legislators and the installation of a Cuba-style government led by President Maduro who is supported by less than 20% of his countrymen.

Background Briefing

The Historical Role of White House Chiefs of Staff

A Critic of Former Homeland Security Head John Kelly

Venezuelan Democracy at the Crossroads


We begin with the latest policy reversal of an Obama initiative announced by Trump on Twitter that the U.S. Government will no longer “accept or allow” transgender Americans to serve in the U.S. military. The author of “The Human Agenda: Conversations About Sexual Orientation and Gender”, Joe Wenke, a writer, social critic and LGBT activist, joins us to discuss what appears to be Trump’s new routine of daily distraction, this time scapegoating a vulnerable community in a cruel and cynical attempt to distract the public from the Russia investigation which is closing in on him and his family. We look into Stephen Bannon’s White House strategy of pandering to bigots who call themselves “Christians” in the alt-right’s phony battle against the bi-coastal secular humanists consumed by identity politics who don’t care about the white working class in the flyover states.

Then we assess the impact on the European gas market dominated by Russia’s Gazprom of the sanctions bill that just passed overwhelmingly in the House on a 419-3 vote. Fadel Gheit, the former Senior Energy Strategist for Oil and Gas with Oppenheimer and Company joins us to discuss what inroads U.S. shale gas and Qatari LNG have made into the European market and how much the new sanctions will affect Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project under the Baltic Sea directly to Germany that bypasses Ukraine and Poland.

Then finally we examine the Israel Anti-Boycott Act introduced into the Senate by Democrats at the behest of AIPAC, the American Israel Political Action Committee, which is meant to head off the Boycott Divestment Sanctions, BDS movement, in America that already has proven effective in Europe. M.J. Rosenberg, a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters joins us to discuss how this bill will criminalize political speech and subject Americans to up to 20 years in jail and a million dollar fine for just requesting information about BDS boycotts.

Background Briefing

Trump's Cynical Move Against the Transgender Minority

The Impact of US Sanctions on the European Gas Market Dominated By Russia

Criminalizing Political Speech in Order to Stop the BDS Movement


We begin with the cliffhanger vote in the senate with Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote to proceed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and speak with Dr. Adam Gaffney, an instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Secretary of Physicians for a National Health Program. He joins us to analyze the three bills that the Republicans will be voting on along with the House bill passed in May and we will discuss the various levels of pain the bills will cause with between 22 million and 32 million Americans suddenly deprived of healthcare which many only recently were able to afford in what is an abomination of the Hippocratic Oath physicians take that begins with the declaration to “first do no harm”.

Then we examine the apparent determination on the part of President Trump to humiliate and force the resignation of the first and only senator to join his presidential campaign, his most loyal and faithful servant the Attorney General of the United States, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the Third. The author of the new book “Rivals for Power: Presidential – Congressional Relations”, James Thurber, the University Distinguished Professor of Government and Founder and Former Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University joins us. We discuss the likely constitutional crisis that will erupt if and when Trump proceeds to force Sessions out in order to put in a compliant replacement to fire the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Then finally, following Trump’s latest insult against who he called “the beleaguered A.G.” and now calls “VERY weak”, we  assess how long Jeff Sessions can survive on the job and how Trump can get away with appointing someone to stop the Russia investigation by firing Robert Mueller. Bill Yeomans, a former at Assistant Attorney General who is now the Ronald Goldfarb Fellow for Justice at the Alliance for Justice joins us to discuss how this standoff between Trump and Sessions puts all of us in the unfortunate position of asking whether it is better to have a relic from the Jim Crow South turn back the clock, or have Trump escape justice.

Background Briefing

Senate Republicans Narrowly Proceed to Dismantle Obamacare

The Looming Constitutional Crisis As Trump Pressures Sessions to Quit

Will Trump Get Away With Firing Sessions To Kill the Russia Investigation?


We begin with the increasingly important White House role of Stephen Bannon who successfully challenged the Secretary of State’s argument that Iran is sticking to the deal made with Obama, which makes it likely that in 90 days Trump will pull out of the G-5 +1 agreement with Iran. Joshua Green, a senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek and author of the new book “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency”, joins us to discuss the deep right wing Catholic fervor driving Bannon’s apocalyptic worldview that appears to go back to the 11th century crusades of the crescent versus the cross. We will look into the key role of Rebekah Mercer who brought Bannon and Kellyanne Conway in to rescue Trump’s flagging campaign and what the Mercer’s expect to get in exchange for being the biggest donors to both Bannon and Trump.

Then we speak with Thomas Nichols, a professor of national security affairs in the National Security Affairs Department of the Naval War College and author of the new book, “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters”. He joins us to discuss his belief that “the abysmal literacy, both political and general, of the American public is the foundation for all these problems. It is the soil in which all of the other dysfunctions have taken root and prospered, with the 2016 election only its most recent expression”.

Then finally we get an assessment of the new Democratic agenda, the “Better Deal” announced by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that aims to rebuild the coalition that FDR put together and bring the white working class back into the Democrat’s big tent. Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, joins us to discuss Schumer’s implicit criticism of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the promising anti-trust measures in the plan that hopes to reclaim the Democrat’s populist mantle that Trump was able to expropriate in the last election.

Background Briefing

The Author of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency"

Why Americans Have Turned Against Expertise and Knowledge

The Democrat's "Better Deal"


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-Ghait, 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 will 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”.

Then we will 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 will discuss what would happen if Trump fires Mueller as he has threatened to do, and tries to pardon himself and his family.

Then finally we will 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.

Background Briefing

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


We begin with the public humiliation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by his boss Donald Trump who told The New York Times he would not have hired Sessions had he known Sessions was going to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. David Graham, a staff writer for The Atlantic where he has an article “The Inadvisable President”, joins us to discuss the one-way street of loyalty in the Trump White House where Trump expects absolute loyalty while everyone around him, except for perhaps his family, are disposable. And in an Oval Office with the opposite message of Harry Truman’s that “the buck stops here”, if underlings are not blamed for everything that goes wrong they are at the mercy of a man who made himself famous as the gleeful executioner of jobs and careers with his power-play pronouncement – “you’re fired!”

Then we look into the deteriorating situation in Venezuela where today’s national strike has paralyzed a country on the brink of economic collapse and social chaos. David Smilde, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office of Latin America who has studied Venezuela for 25 years and curates a blog “Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights”, joins us to discuss how much the embattled and unpopular President Maduro is in control of a country he is systematically turning into a Cuban-style pseudo-democracy. We assess what other centers of power exist with deep-rooted Cuban influence over the Intelligence and Military services as well as the power of cartels in the lucrative drug trade and the corrupt former Chavez loyalists who have become the new oligarchs.

Then finally, following the diagnosis that Senator John McCain has a virulent form of brain cancer, we assess the possibility that Arizona will have two senate races in 2018 with both the junior Senator Jeff Flake who is up for re-election and successors to John McCain on the ballot. Evan Wyloge, and investigative reporter with the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting joins us to discuss how the White House is already gunning for Jeff Flake who Trump hates and what a prolonged absence of Senator McCain will mean for the narrow Republican lead in the senate.

Background Briefing

Trump's Public Humiliation of His Attorney General

Why is Maduro Turning Venezuela Into a Cuban-Style Pseudo-Democracy?

Will Arizona have 2 Senate Races in 2018?


We begin with the revelation that Donald Trump held an hour-long second meeting with Vladimir Putin at the recent G-20 meeting that the White House did not mention at which there was only a Russian interpreter and no notes were taken leaving the U.S. Government to rely on whatever record the Russian Government produces. James Goldgeier, the Dean of the School of International Service at American University who was Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council and is the author of “Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy towards Russia after the Cold War”, joins us. We will discuss his article at The Washington Post “There are no notes on Trump’s meeting with Putin. That’s a big deal” and the importance of Memorandums of Conversations known as MemCons which are not only important for the leaders themselves, but are invaluable for scholars and the historical record.

Then we examine why the Republicans are having such a hard time repealing and replacing Obamacare, a seven-year-long mission if not obsession that is in disarray. James Morone, a professor of Political Science at Brown University and editor of “Healthcare Policy in the USA and Germany” whose latest book is “The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office”, joins us to discuss how not just Obamacare is proving to have a powerful political constituency, but also Medicaid is proving durable since it covers the costs of retirement homes for most of the nation’s elderly citizens.

Then finally, with the president hosting Republican senators for lunch at the White House where he issued a not-so-veiled threat to wayward senators urging them to “hammer” out a health plan adding, “We shouldn’t leave town until this is complete”, we look into the conflicted politics of repeal and replace. Jonathan Cohn, a senior correspondent at The Huffington Post and author of “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Healthcare Crisis – and Who Pays the Price”, joins us to discuss his latest article at The Huffington Post “Republicans Have a Way Out of Their Health Care Mess: Working with Democrats”.

Background Briefing

Trump's Second Meeting With Putin Without Notes and an Interpreter

Why the Republicans Are Having a Hard Time Killing Obamacare

The Conflicted Politics of Repeal and Replace


We begin with an attempt to understand why Donald Trump persists in trying to make deals favorable to Russia on Putin’s terms, and speak with Dr. Michael Carpenter, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense with responsibility for Russia who served as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Biden and as director for Russia at the National Security Council. Now a senior director of the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, he joins us to discuss his article at Defense One, “The U.S. Should Steer Clear of Russian Help in Syria”. We look into the folly of working with the Russians to combat ISIS since Putin’s strategy is to support his proxy Assad at all cost without recognizing that Assad is the main reason why Islamic terrorists have a foothold in Syria.

Then we examine the reasons why Trump and the Republicans have sold their souls to Russia following a recent poll that finds 48% of Republicans see nothing wrong with Donald Trump Junior’s meeting with Russian operatives offering help to elect Trump and damage his opponent. James Kirchick, a journalist and foreign correspondent who is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age”, joins us to discuss his article at Politico “How the GOP Became the Party of Putin”. And since Trump’s core supporters live in a bubble of delusion impervious to facts and evidence, we assess the extent to which Trump’s advisors like Bannon and Gorka have followed the playbook of Putin’s media guru Vladislav Surkov to create a parallel universe of alternative facts in which there is no objective truth, but where only subjective truth matters.

Then finally we speak with Abbe Gluck, a Professor of Law and the Faculty Director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School. She joins us to try to make sense of the many tweets and statements coming from Donald Trump in the wake of the Republican Senate’s latest failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act which Trump is praising as “a pretty impressive vote by any standard” while declaring he wants Obamacare to fail and that “Republicans are not going to own it”.

Background Briefing

Why Does Trump Persist With Deals on Putin's Terms?

Why Have Republicans Sold Their Souls to Russia?

Trump Calls His Defeat on Health Care "Pretty Impressive"


We begin with White House plans to privatize the war in Afghanistan following a proposal by Erik Prince the brother of Betsy DeVos and founder of the mercenary army Blackwater along with Stephen Feinberg the billionaire hedge fund owner of the military and intelligence contractor DynCorp, that Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner are championing. A biographer of Erik Prince, Robert Young Pelton, the author of “License to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror”, joins us to discuss what is called the “Laos option”, to turn over the fate and future of Afghanistan to a CIA shadow army largely made up of foreign mercenaries thus reducing American boots on the ground and providing Trump with an exit strategy from nation-building, a concept that Stephen Bannon abhors.

Then we speak with Alexander Klimburg, a program director at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies about his new book, just out, “The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace”. He joins us to discuss the weaponization of information and the global struggle over the future of the Internet with democracies wanting to keep the Internet free and open while autocracies like China and Russia argue for sovereign control of information using appeals to nationalism to control their populations through censorship and propaganda.

Then finally we examine a rare victory in the congress for decency and human rights following a surprise vote in the House to block U.S. participation in the Saudi war on Yemen. Kate Gould, the Legislative Representative for Middle East Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest fielding the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington D.C., joins us to discuss the two amendments to the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act that passed overwhelmingly.

Background Briefing

Bannon and Kushner Plan to Privatize the War in Afghanistan

The Weaponization of Information and the Darkening Web

The House Vote Blocking Us Participation in the Saudi War on Yemen