President Trump Travels Abroad and Sarah Talks AHCA

We talk today about the President's trip abroad, bipartisan legislation on cybersecurity, a religious freedom executive order, and The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution

Aaptiv What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.

Third LoveStop tugging at your bra straps and second-guessing your size. It’s time to put fit first, with ThirdLove. ThirdLove uses women’s real measurements—and super smoothing memory foam—to create bras that fit better and are more comfortable. They offer sizes from double-A to G, as well as their exclusive halfcup sizes. Just answer a few simple questions online, and ThirdLove will recommend a bra in the right size and style for you. And now ThirdLove is offering you a chance to try one of their perfect 24/7 bras FREE for 30 days! Just pay $2.99 for shipping—and you’re on your way to a perfect fit. You’ll get to really live in this bra. Feel free to wash it. Wear it all day. You might even forget that you’re wearing it. If ThirdLove isn’t your new favorite bra, just return or exchange it, for free. Go to thirdlove.com/pantsuit now to get your perfect ThirdLove bra… and try it for 30 days!

CREDO Moblie What if you could make the world a little bit better every time you used your cell phone? Well, it turns out you can, thanks to CREDO Mobile. Because, whenever you use a CREDO product or service, you generate critical donations for progressive causes and vital activism work – at no extra cost to you. With over $150,000 donated every month to nonprofits like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, CREDO truly does give you the power to make positive social change every day. Not to mention, they offer coverage on the nation’s largest and most dependable 4G LTE network, and you can easily transfer over with your existing number. So, if you want a better world for all of us, AND a better way to stay connected to it, you want CREDO mobile.  And, right now, CREDO has a special deal for our listeners. Go to CREDOMobile.COM/pantsuit and get 2 smartphones FREE plus 50% off unlimited talk and text.  Or call 1-866-689-0099.  It’s time your phone company represented your value
 
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The Pearls

President Trump has kicked off his first international trip with an ambitious schedule. We discuss the media coverage of his trip and his joint "strategic vision" with Saudi Arabia. We also happily discuss bipartisan, bicameral legislation that's been proposed to enhance our cybersecurity. Finally, we talk about President Trump's executive order on the Johnson Amendment, which poses interesting issues about taxation, government, and religion despite being, as Slate calls it, a non-solution to a non-problem. 

For our compliments to the other side, Beth compliments Texas State Representative Helen Giddings for her efforts to stop shaming around school lunch balances, and Sarah compliments Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for her open and thoughtful communication about her decision to retire. 

The Suit 

Sarah talks with Constitutional Law professor Ganesh Sitaraman, author of The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution - our latest Pantsuit Politics book club pick!

The Heels

In the Heels, we talk about Get Me Roger Stone and Sarah's obsession with The Nest's eco-settings. 

The Briefcase: Comey, Flynn, & Mueller

It's been another whirlwind week! 

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

Pantsuit Politics takes time and energy to produce and that's why we're asking for your help and support. By pleading your monthly support for Pantsuit Politics, you make it possible to produce additional content, improve our offerings, and host events. Check out our Patreon page to see how you can support our show and get loads of additional content!

SPONSORS:

Aaptiv What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.

WYNC On the Media: When our phones are our very own, tailor-made media universes, and our social media feeds are seeded with opinions and lies, how can we possibly find common ground? Thankfully, there is one way to maintain a level of frankness and transparency in your media. Listen to On the Media, WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our world view. While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, the team at On the Media tackles sticky issues and untangles this era’s most intractable questions.  Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield are your hosts on a search for the truth in a 24-hour news cycle. Catch them on their weekly podcast, On the Media, on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts!

We catch up on the news since our Tuesday episode: 

  • On Tuesday morning, the President tweeted that he had properly shared information with Russian officials in order to pressure them to join the fight against ISIS. 
  • We then learned that Israel was the source of information shared with Russia. That's complicated, but we didn't have time to think about how complicated because...
  • The New York Times reported that James Comey kept contemporaneous memos of conversations with President Trump, and that one of those memos details the President asking Comey to back off Michael Flynn. 
  • Meanwhile, the President met with the Turkish president, and protestors were attacked outside the Turkish embassy. 
  • Also, a subpoena was issued for financial records related to a loan Paul Manafort took out right after leaving the Trump campaign. 
  • Representative Jason Chaffetz demanded to see all the Comey memos. 
  • Members of Congress started openly discussing impeachment, and, of course, many Trump supporters say this is all the media crying wolf. 
  • AND, Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel on the Russia investigation.

We also share listener feedback from Brett and Kerri. 

Hi Beth and Sarah,

I’m writing to draw your attention to two items that actually managed to make me feel a bit more optimistic about politics than I have been recently. 

First, I don’t know if either of you had a chance to see the town hall CNN hosted with Bernie Sanders and John Kasich.  Most of the thing was taken up with discussion about the recent Trump/Comey/Russia stuff, but the last 20 minutes or so were pretty powerful and more philosophical about the direction of the nation, particularly with respect to division and polarization.  These are two men who are certainly not perfect, and with whom I would disagree about various things (and who themselves disagree about many things), but their interactions at that town hall gave me a bit of renewed hope that a higher, more thought provoking, and generally more respectful discourse between different perspectives is absolutely possible when you recognize that the person opposite you is a human being with good intentions. 

Second, I was struck by the reporting about Emmanuel Macron selecting a member of a rival party to be France’s Prime Minister.  I found that move to be incredibly refreshing, and a signal that his message about leading a centrist, inclusive government wasn’t just campaign talk, but an actual strategy he intended to pursue.  I hope the arrangement works, because our country could certainly do well to see examples of people from various perspectives and ideologies working together in good faith.  A truly centrist government feels like it’s a long way from a practical reality in the United States, but that sort of movement has to start somewhere. 

Being concerned about the breakdown of our national identity and discourse at the hands of partisanship, I found these two stories encouraging. 

Regards,

Brett

I appreciate your show.  I wanted to comment on the thought, briefly mentioned on your latest episode, that none of what we're learning about Trump was not evident during the election.  That may be true, BUT no one in the establishment thought he was actually going to be elected (not even Trump himself thought he was going to win).  The election itself demonstrated over and over again that the Republican establishment is out of touch with its base (for better and worse), so for them to not really get what was going to happen after he was elected is really not a surprise.

Very few people within the party backed Trump enthusiastically at any point during the campaign, really.   I think most established Republicans did fear what might happen were he elected, which is why they didn't support him.  Of course, now they see an opportunity to push their agenda forward and seem willing to publicly tolerate almost anything.  Which is apparently true of their base, regardless.

Sincerely,

Kerri 

Sharing Intelligence with Russia and Impeachment on the Table

Today, we're talking about the Washington Post's reporting that President Trump shared classified information with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. In the Suit, we discuss Evan Osnos's May 8 article "How Trump Could Get Fired." In the Heels, we reflect on our Mother's Day weekends. 

Membership Drive

We're excited to launch our first annual membership drive. Pantsuit Politics has become more than we could have imagined, and we want to meet the expectations of our growing community. We are constrained only by time and resources, and we truly appreciate listener support. Visit our Patreon page to check out our goals and the ways that we are trying to thoughtfully provide additional value to subscribers. 

SPONSORS: 

Aaptiv What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.

Third LoveStop tugging at your bra straps and second-guessing your size. It’s time to put fit first, with ThirdLove. ThirdLove uses women’s real measurements—and super smoothing memory foam—to create bras that fit better and are more comfortable. They offer sizes from double-A to G, as well as their exclusive halfcup sizes. Just answer a few simple questions online, and ThirdLove will recommend a bra in the right size and style for you. And now ThirdLove is offering you a chance to try one of their perfect 24/7 bras FREE for 30 days! Just pay $2.99 for shipping—and you’re on your way to a perfect fit. You’ll get to really live in this bra. Feel free to wash it. Wear it all day. You might even forget that you’re wearing it. If ThirdLove isn’t your new favorite bra, just return or exchange it, for free. Go to thirdlove.com/pantsuit now to get your perfect ThirdLove bra… and try it for 30 days!

CREDO Moblie What if you could make the world a little bit better every time you used your cell phone? Well, it turns out you can, thanks to CREDO Mobile. Because, whenever you use a CREDO product or service, you generate critical donations for progressive causes and vital activism work – at no extra cost to you. With over $150,000 donated every month to nonprofits like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, CREDO truly does give you the power to make positive social change every day. Not to mention, they offer coverage on the nation’s largest and most dependable 4G LTE network, and you can easily transfer over with your existing number. So, if you want a better world for all of us, AND a better way to stay connected to it, you want CREDO mobile.  And, right now, CREDO has a special deal for our listeners. Go to CREDOMobile.COM/pantsuit and get 2 smartphones FREE plus 50% off unlimited talk and text.  Or call 1-866-689-0099.  It’s time your phone company represented your value
 
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The Pearls 

On Monday, the Washington Post published an extraordinary report entitled "Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador."  This reporting rendered the Pearls that we recorded on Sunday night irrelevant, so we hopped on the phone Monday evening to share our thoughts on this report and the White House's response to it. We also discuss the risk of sharing classified information and (obviously) the hypocrisy of this considering the reaction to Hillary Clinton's email. This was recorded Monday before President Trump seemingly confirmed the story on Twitter Tuesday morning. 

The Suit

In the Suit, we discuss Evan Osnos's "How Trump Could Get Fired," which appeared in the New Yorker on May 8. For more information, we recommend listening to Osnos's interview on Fresh Air. Osnos describes two paths for Trump's removal from power: the 25th Amendment and the impeachment process. We talk about the possibilities and perils surrounding a discussion of the President's mental fitness. Including Howard Stern's take Sarah can't stop thinking about. Howard Stern: Presidency will be 'detrimental' to Trump's 'mental health'


We also discuss the impeachment process, which recent history has demonstrated is grueling for the country. Osnos reports that many House Republicans are privately concerned despite their pubic statements. Beth shares Mark Sanford's comments from the finale of The Circus. In light of recent developments, including Jim Clapper's comments to Jake Tapper over the weekend, we wonder whether our institutions can withstand the Trump presidency. 

The Heels

We discuss our Mother's Day weekends, which were exhausting and fun. Sarah talks about the latest episode of Catastrophe. 

The Briefcase: What the Comey!?!

We struggle maintaining our nuance in the face of Sally Yate's testimony and (most impactful) President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

Pantsuit Politics takes time and energy to produce and that's why we're asking for your help and support. By pleading your monthly support for Pantsuit Politics, you make it possible to produce additional content, improve our offerings, and host events. Check out our Patreon page to see how you can support our show and get loads of additional content!

SPONSORS:

Aaptiv What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.

Leave us a review on iTunes by clicking here!
Subscribe to Episodes: iTunes | Android
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We discuss the takeaways from Sally Yates's testimony before Congress, including the fact that President Obama warned Donald Trump not to hire Michael Flynn.

As we now know, Donald Trump did hire, then fire Michael Fynn - as well as Sally Yates - and most shockingly FBI Director James Comey. Before Comey was fired there were additional subpoenas issued for Michael Flynn's associates from the US Attorney's office in Virginia and since then the Senate has subpoenaed Micheal Flynn himself.

We discuss Trump's letter, Session's letter, and Rosenstein's memo. We also express exasperation at the White House's handling of the process and aftermath of the firing, including the entirely bizarre moment with Spicer and the bushes.

In attempt to figure out what's really behind the firing, we look back at Comey's March 20th testimony as well as the role of intimidation and other's perspectives on this. 'Like the horse head in the bed': Ex-intel officer says Trump fired Comey to 'send a message' to FBI We mention a great New Yorker article we will discuss in depth at another time and the role of hubris in this crisis. 

Then, we talk about next steps and whether a special prosecutor or independent commission is the right path forward. 

Trump, Bannon, and Globalism as the New Dividing Line

The Trump campaign successfully took over the Republican party, replacing conservatism with nationalism. Today, we discuss globalism as the new dividing line. In the Pearls, we talk about the House's passage of the American Health Care Act and the French election, and in the Heels we discuss the Kentucky Derby, Beth's car accident, and the way our brains and bodies work together. 

Membership Drive

We're excited to launch our first annual membership drive. Pantsuit Politics has become more than we could have imagined, and we want to meet the expectations of our growing community. We are constrained only by time and resources, and we truly appreciate listener support. Visit our Patreon page to check out our goals and the ways that we are trying to thoughtfully provide additional value to subscribers. 

 

SPONSORS: 

Aaptiv What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.

Harry & David Whether she’s a wine aficionado, a chocolate lover, or a fruit fanatic, Harry & David has something Mom’s guaranteed to love. UP TO 30% off select Mother’s Day items is an amazing deal, but it expires Friday. Harry & David is part of the 1-800 Flowers family of brands and the company we trust with Mom’s special day. Get up to 30% off select Mother’s Day favorites NOW! Just go to http://harryanddavid.com, click the radio icon and enter code PANTSUIT. 

CREDO Moblie What if you could make the world a little bit better every time you used your cell phone? Well, it turns out you can, thanks to CREDO Mobile. Because, whenever you use a CREDO product or service, you generate critical donations for progressive causes and vital activism work – at no extra cost to you. With over $150,000 donated every month to nonprofits like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, CREDO truly does give you the power to make positive social change every day. Not to mention, they offer coverage on the nation’s largest and most dependable 4G LTE network, and you can easily transfer over with your existing number. So, if you want a better world for all of us, AND a better way to stay connected to it, you want CREDO mobile.  And, right now, CREDO has a special deal for our listeners. Go to CREDOMobile.COM/pantsuit and get 2 smartphones FREE plus 50% off unlimited talk and text.  Or call 1-866-689-0099.  It’s time your phone company represented your value
 
Leave us a review on iTunes by clicking here!
Subscribe to Episodes: iTunes | Android
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The Pearls

First, we talk about the House's passage of the American Health Care Act. Spoiler: we aren't impressed by the process. Senate Republicans have assembled a working group to try to rewrite the bill. It doesn't include any women

We also talk about Emanuel Macron's decisive victory over Marine Le Pen in France's election. 

In our regular feature of complimenting the other party, Sarah praised Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker for their comments on the AHCA. Beth complimented Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for her video series encouraging folks to run for office. 

The Suit

We were inspired by several op-eds and an episode of This American Life to discuss the way views on globalism are redefining the political parties. In an op-ed in the New York Times, R.R. Reno described how the party of Reagan has become the "America First" party. Similarly, The National Review has lamented that Republicans have abandoned conservatism. In "The Beginning of Now," This American Life traces globalism's roots in the GOP back to Pat Buchanan, through Eric Cantor's defeat, to Brietbart, to Trump. We discuss what's happening with American identity and the future of the political parties. 

We also discuss the political impact of the next stage of globalization and the book Beth is currently enjoying. We also discussed another episode of This American Life on Russian propaganda and parallels in our own country.  

We end with a simple question, "What do we do now that our labels don't make sense anymore?"

The Heels

We obviously had to spend a couple of minutes on the Kentucky Derby (with a shout-out to Keeneland, one of the most beautiful racetracks in the country)!

Beth spent a recent day watching arraignments and has some thoughts on our criminal justice system, including the impact of our process on the poor. (Cash bail system under attack as unconstitutional) She also learned about the incredible case of Tyra Patterson, which we hope to discuss on a later show. Sarah also talked about this article and it's interesting illustration of similar issues in the criminal justice system. 

We also discussed this phenomenal article by Atul Gawande on the brain-body connection and Beth thanked everyone for the support on Twitter after her recent car wreck. 

The Briefcase: Mo Brooks, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Jackson?

Mo Brooks makes interesting connects between morality and health. Elizabeth Warren criticizes President Obama. Donald Trump becomes a Civil War historian and Hillary Clinton starts talking. We discuss it all and address listener feedback. 

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

Pantsuit Politics takes time and energy to produce and that's why we're asking for your help and support. By pleading your monthly support for Pantsuit Politics, you make it possible to produce additional content, improve our offerings, and host events. Check out our Patreon page to see how you can support our show and get loads of additional content!

SPONSORS: 

Aaptiv What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.
 
Leave us a review on iTunes by clicking here!
Subscribe to Episodes: iTunes | Android
Subscribe to our weekly email and get a free Pantsuit Primer audiobook!
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In a CNN interview, Representative Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, said, "It will free healthy people from having to pay the cost of the sick. It will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

We discuss the morality of healthy, as well as Blue Zones.

Elizabeth Warren critiqued President Obama during an interview with the Guardian

“I think President Obama, like many others in both parties, talks about a set of big national statistics that look shiny and great but increasingly have giant blind spots,” she said. “That GDP, unemployment, no longer reflect the lived experiences of most Americans. And the lived experiences of most Americans is that they are being left behind in this economy. Worse than being left behind, they’re getting kicked in the teeth.”

President Trump, in an interview with Salena Zito, a reporter for The Washington Examiner, on Sirius XM’s “Main Street Meets the Beltway,” Mr. Trump said the following: “Had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart, and he was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’ ” We have nothing kind to say for this observation, except acknowledging the good point of one of our listeners that he did do Big Block of Cheese Day

Wilbur Ross, speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recalled the scene at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, when the summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping was interrupted by the strike on Syria.

“Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria,” Ross said. “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.” As the crowd laughed, Ross added: “The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.”

Hillary Clinton sat down with moderator Christiane Amanpour, the CNN anchor, at a Women for Women International event in New York. “If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president,” Clinton said. We talk about the ways in which Clinton is covered are unfair, as well as the perspective this article offered Democrats say they now know exactly why Clinton lost and whether or not it was James Comey

In listener feedback, we addressed Eric: I try to listen to shows that veer away from emotional responses to news as I view that as part of the problem, you don't de-escalate or resolve issues when you are operating on the emotional side of your brain. As an officer we learned to de-escalate a person by asking factual questions and to get them to disengage from their self feeding emotional loop that they are in.

After her blog post, Beth heard from Christopher again and he has some questions:

Now here are a few questions for you.

If not America first then who first?

How is stopping criminal entry to our nation racist?

How is enforcing our law racist?

How is keeping our nation safe from a group that has told us "we will infiltrate our fighters with the refugee population" xenophobic?

We also talk trolling generally, in particular Lindy West's excellent examination in her book Shrill.

If you want a little homework, we'll be discussing the future of the Republican party, including this episode of This American Life on Tuesday.  

Considering the Death Penalty

Arkansas is carrying out a wave of lethal injections. Today, we reflect on the death penalty in the United States. In the Pearls, we discuss the order enjoining President Trump's sanctuary cities order, President Trump's first hundred days, and the attack at Transylvania University. In the Heels, we discuss the Handmaid's Tale and the Whitney Plantation. 

Membership Drive

We're excited to launch our first annual membership drive. Pantsuit Politics has become more than we could have imagined, and we want to meet the expectations of our growing community. We are constrained only by time and resources, and we truly appreciate listener support. Visit our Patreon page to check out our goals and the ways that we are trying to thoughtfully provide additional value to subscribers. 

SPONSORS: 

Aaptiv What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.

Harry & David Whether she’s a wine aficionado, a chocolate lover, or a fruit fanatic, Harry & David has something Mom’s guaranteed to love. UP TO 30% off select Mother’s Day items is an amazing deal, but it expires Friday. Harry & David is part of the 1-800 Flowers family of brands and the company we trust with Mom’s special day. Get up to 30% off select Mother’s Day favorites NOW! Just go to http://harryanddavid.com, click the radio icon and enter code PANTSUIT. 

CREDO Moblie What if you could make the world a little bit better every time you used your cell phone? Well, it turns out you can, thanks to CREDO Mobile. Because, whenever you use a CREDO product or service, you generate critical donations for progressive causes and vital activism work – at no extra cost to you. With over $150,000 donated every month to nonprofits like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, CREDO truly does give you the power to make positive social change every day. Not to mention, they offer coverage on the nation’s largest and most dependable 4G LTE network, and you can easily transfer over with your existing number. So, if you want a better world for all of us, AND a better way to stay connected to it, you want CREDO mobile.  And, right now, CREDO has a special deal for our listeners. Go to CREDOMobile.COM/pantsuit and get 2 smartphones FREE plus 50% off unlimited talk and text.  Or call 1-866-689-0099.  It’s time your phone company represented your value
 
Leave us a review on iTunes by clicking here!
Subscribe to Episodes: iTunes | Android
Subscribe to our weekly email and get a free Pantsuit Primer audiobook!
Follow Us: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

The Pearls

First, we discuss the federal court order enjoining enforcement of President Trump's executive order purporting to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities. We also discuss President Trump's interview with Reuters during which he reflected on his first 100 days in office (spoiler: Sarah is incensed; Beth hopes this indicates the beginning of some humility in the President), including past interviews from White House staffers on why it is such a hard job. 

We are heartbroken that our alma mater, Transylvania University, endured an attack that appears to be politically-motivated. The attacker previously wrote a post about his experience as a conservative at Transylvania. We also praised the response from the university president

Compliments to the Other Party: At listener Jaime's suggestion, Sarah complimented President Trump for his remarks about Senator Tammy Baldwin and her Buy American initiative. Beth complimented Heather Boushey, an economist who spoke compellingly at Vox Conversations about wealth inequality and taking a holistic approach to economic policy. 

The Suit

Arkansas is executing death row inmates because of a supply issue with a drug involved in lethal injections. The state had planned 11 executions. The court orders ultimately blocked half of the scheduled lethal injections, including a second that had also been scheduled for last Thursday night. There was an issue with the execution of Kenneth Williams, which is raising additional questions about lethal injection. 

We both highly recommend More Perfect's Cruel and Unusual podcast about lethal injection advocacy.

In 1972, the Supreme court decided Furman v. Georgia , 408 U.S. 238. From the case wikipedia page, "In a 5-4 decision, the Court's one-paragraph per curiam opinion held that the imposition of the death penalty in these cases constituted cruel and unusual punishment and violated the Constitution. However, the majority could not agree as to a rationale. There was no opinion of the court or plurality as none of the five justices constituting the majority joined in the opinion of any other." States began passing legislation to address the Supreme Court's concerns with unfair application and several of these statues were upheld in Gregg v. Georgia in 1976. 

The United States is the world's only western nation that still uses capital punishment. In addition to the federal government, 31 states use the death penalty. According to Gallup polling, 60% of Americans support the death penalty. Eighteen people have been exonerated by DNA evidence while serving on death row and there have been several issues with botched executions leading to an effective execution hiatus in many states. 

We discuss whether or not Texas executed an innocent man. We also discuss the purpose of the death penalty if it isn't a deterrent and if people age out of crime. We recommend the work of Bryan Stevenson

We even deep dive in the purpose of punishment generally and alternate approaches within parenting. Sarah recommends Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason and For most of history, people didn’t assume they deserved to be happy. What changed?

The Heels

We talk about The Handmaid's Tale (Beth preferred Alias Grace). Don't watch The Handmaid's Tale after reading about declining birth rates. We also discussed Sarah's trip to Whitney Plantation. If you're in Cincinnati, visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, too. 

 

 

 

The Briefcase: Lightning Round

Beth had the honor of dining with many of our DC listeners this week, and we're so happy to feature some of their voices in this episode! 

SPONSOR: Aaptiv
What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.
 
Leave us a review on iTunes by clicking here!
Subscribe to Episodes: iTunes | Android
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With Sarah in New Orleans and Beth in D.C., the sound in this episode isn't ideal, but we hope the substance is worth it. First, we talk about Beth's experience at Vox Conversations before moving into a lightening round conversation about the news of the week: 

Michael Flynn's acceptance of payments from foreign governments

The White House's release of a tax reform memo

Efforts to resuscitate health care reform in the House

President Obama's lucrative speaking gig

A federal judge enjoining President Trump's executive order on sanctuary cities

Our Friday feedback comes directly from our listeners who attended dinner in DC. 

Thanks for bearing with us through the audio! We'll be back on Tuesday with better sound and a robust discussion of the issues. 

Rehashing the Clinton Campaign

Today, we discuss the post-mortem looks at the Clinton campaign, along with Trump's first hundred days in office, the French election, and the looming deadline for funding the government. 

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The Pearls

We're close to the end of the first hundred days of the Trump presidency, and it's becoming clear that President Trump has accomplished some, but certainly not all of the items on his Contract with the American Voter. While the 100 day marker is relatively artificial, it has become a flashpoint in journalism and analysis, and we think there's some merit to starting strong. 

The French voted over the weekend, with moderate Emmanuel Macron and nationalist Marine Le Pen emerging as the top two candidates. They'll face off in June. Le Pen is widely seen as an extremist, and most French politicians are quickly lining up to support Macron

Congress has until April 28 to pass a continuing resolution for funding the government. The Trump administration has made funding contentious by taking a hard line on its priorities. The administration is sharply focused on funding a border wall and increasing military spending. 

Sarah extended her compliment for the other party this week to Representative Jamie Comer (and then added kudos for Joni Ernst following remarks critical of President Trump for spending so much time away from the White House). Beth complimented Dick Durbin for his nuanced take on Democratic candidates' positions on reproductive rights. 

The Suit

We discussed the conversation emerging from Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. We think the focus should be less on campaign infighting and drama and more on what we can learn going forward

The Heels

Beth shares a little about her sister, Kimberly's, wedding, and we talk more about Sarah's house hunt. 

The Briefcase: Elections Around the World

In today's Briefcase, we discuss elections in Georgia, Turkey, and the U.K., along with listener feedback. 

SPONSOR: Aaptiv
What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.
 
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The state of Georgia held a special election to replace Rep. Tom Price (now the Secretary of Health and Human Services). Democrats invested heavily in 30-year-old Jon Ossoff. In a crowded field and a district that Price carried by 23 points, Ossoff did well but failed to cross the 50% threshold required to win the seat. He and Republican Karen Handel will face off in a June election. 

Turkey held a referendum to diminish the parliamentary system and strengthen the president’s powers. The referendum measure eliminates the prime minister and places all of the prime minister’s powers in the president, gives the president more ability to make laws through decrees and more power over the judiciary, and potentially extends the president's term. President Recep Tayip Erdogan campaigned hard for this referendum which passed by a very narrow margin. He argued that threats to Turkey’s security require him to have broad power to protect the country. Opposition parties claim that there was foul play in the election and called for annulment of the referendum. The Turkish election board rejected the appeals. The change doesn’t go into effect until 2019, after an election that Erdogan is expected to win. (It’s also expected that he will hold this election earlier). This referendum is broadly seen as a move toward authoritarianism.  

Last month, Prime Minister Theresa May triggered a two-year process for withdrawing from the EU — meaning a March 2019 deadline. The process is going to be complicated, and Theresa May says that the UK needs to move past elections so that everyone isn’t campaigning just as the negotiations with the EU reach a fever pitch. She said she wouldn’t do this on many occasions, but she has reversed course. The election is now scheduled for June 8.  Commentators believe that she’s trying to strengthen her support in Parliament to have a stronger position in negotiations with the EU.

We also discussed Megan's feedback on our North Korea discussion (sign up for our emails to read Megan's full message and see her recommendations for further exploration of North Korea) and Kerry's feedback about Smart Power

The Complexity of North Korea

Today, we're discussing the most difficult problem facing the Trump administration: what to do about North Korea. 

First, in the Pearls, we discuss a new law repealing an Obama-era rule on funding for Planned Parenthood. Sarah recommends this documentary on abortion. We also talk about the Trump administration's decision not to make White House visitor logs public. For our compliments to the other side, Sarah compliments Republican governors in blue states (Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland), who tend to be enormously popular and effective. Beth was impressed by a profile of Governor Dannell Malloy of Connecticut. 

In The Suit, we discuss North Korea. We recorded this episode prior to North Korea's failed missile test, but the question remains--how should the Trump administration respond to North Korea's weapons program? So far, the Trump administration has talked tough on North Korea. It's clear that President Trump is learning on the job with respect to North Korea, and some commentators worry that praise of his military action in Syria will move him toward a more aggressive stance. Context on North Korea matters greatly-- what's the regime thinking? What role does cyberwarfare play? And what are the ramifications for our relationship with China

In the Heels, Sarah discussed a blog post from Jen Hatmaker that caused quite a stir on our Facebook page, and Beth talked about her obsession with NPR's podcast How I Built This. 

SPONSOR: Aaptiv
What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.
 
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Pantsuit Primer: North Korea

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Spend 20 minutes with Beth preparing for Tuesday's episode with some North Korean geography, history, and facts about the current state and its leader, Kim Jong-un. 

Our Pantsuit Primers archive is available to listeners who support our show through Patreon. New Pantsuit Primer episodes are available to everyone two weeks then placed in the archives!

Recommended Resources: 

North Korea's Nuclear Program

Fast Facts on North Korea

The Official Website of North Korea

Understanding Kim Jong-un

Trump Inherits a Secret Cyberwar Against North Korea

The Briefcase: Glenn Greenwald on Trump's war

Photo Credit: DST-photography Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: DST-photography Flickr via Compfight cc

We tackle Glenn Greenwald's The Spoils of War: Trump Lavished With Media and Bipartisan Praise For Bombing Syria point by point as well as tackle listener feedback on environmental regulations and the need for love not fear.

SPONSOR: Aaptiv
What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.
 
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Pantsuit Politics Book Club: Hillbilly Elegy

Sarah discusses the Pantsuit Politics Book Club March pick - J.D. Vance's memoir Hillbilly Elegy with Jean, a stay-at-home mom from Central New York who was unimpressed with the best seller.   

Show Notes

Jean's beginning thoughts on J.D. Vance and Hillbilly Elegy

"He is a bad source for what he is trying to get you to understand about these people. He is intrinsically different and always was because while the people he was talking about had the fuck it mentality, he didn't. he wanted out and knew it. he used the military as many often do to pull himself out. something that any of the others could do but dont because theyve already given up. like the bird that doesnt leave the cage when the doors open. He cant understand his own people and maybe thats why he comes off as judgy, because hes trying to tell a story from a mold he doesnt fit.
My degree is in Psych, I have a deep rooted desire to understand why people think the way they do. I expected him to be a first hand source to aid in that understanding, but hes not. He is the outsider looking in at his own people because of that intrinsic difference between his drive and their lack of it, which means even he doesnt understand why they do and think the way they do. 

We also discussed:

Arlie Russell Hochschild Strangers in their own Land

S*town podcast

Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days

James Frey's A Million Little Pieces

The Pantsuit Politics Book Club will be reading The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic by Ganesh Sitaraman.

Syria: Can we achieve peace through strength?

Photo Credit: neeravbhatt Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: neeravbhatt Flickr via Compfight cc

Today, in the pearls, we have a Kentucky theme—we’re going to talk a little about President Trump’s actions on coal and the Washington Post’s scathing editorial about Mitch McConnell. Then in the Suit we discuss the military strike in Syria, and in the Heels, we’ll discuss what’s on our minds outside of politics this week.  

SPONSOR: Aaptiv
What do you get when an app that Sarah is obsessed with becomes a sponsor of the show? Aaptiv - a fitness app that provides audio workouts guided by a trainer synched with the perfect playlist and fully customizable by workout type, machine, duration, and intensity. Aaptiv is are offering our listeners a free 30 day trial. Go to https://aaptiv.com, sign up for a monthly subscription, and enter promo code PANTSUIT.
 
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Show Notes

We acknowledge the horrendous attacks in Sweden and Egypt.

Sweden mourns 4 killed, 15 wounded in Stockholm truck attack

Palm Sunday bombings kill dozens at churches in Egypt

In our Kentucky-themed Pearls, we discuss Trump's recent actions on coal and the Saturday Night Live skit targeting Trump's Kentucky supporters.

Trump moves toward relief from water rule that threatens coal

Trump signs law rolling back disclosure rule for energy and mining

We also discuss the Washington Post’s scathing editorial about Mitch McConnell.

We both compliment Senators from the other side who criticized the party line with regards to the recent rule change.

In the Suit, we respond to our listener Katie's concerns that "'peace through strength' is getting more and more antiquated with every generation."

We also share our previous views on Syria we both shared on Sarah's blog before the podcast began.

Sarah: A mother's thoughts on Syria

Beth: Another Mother's Perspective on Syria

In the Heels, Beth gives Sarah the ultimate compliment and Sarah shares her thoughts on her recent trip to Dollywood. 

The Briefcase: Focus on Foreign Policy

Sarah returns to Pantsuit Politics on Tuesday's episode. For today's Briefcase, we have a special episode focused primarily on foreign policy. We're delighted to have Kerry Boyd Anderson on the podcast. Kerry is a political risk consultant with more than 14 years experience as a professional analyst of international security issues and Middle East political and business risks. She started her own company a year ago and is also a contributor to Gulf News in Dubai. She was previously a Deputy Director for Advisory services with Oxford Analytica.  Kerry joins Beth for a discussion of the humanitarian, military, and political crisis unfolding in Syria. 

Then Dante, our Chief Creative Officer, takes a spin in Sarah's chair to discuss the news of the week and listener feedback. Beth and Dante talk about President Trump's comments throughout the week, Ambassador Nikki Haley's comments at the United Nations, and the White House's potentially shifting position on Syria. We then discuss North Korea's test missiles and Rex Tillerson's strange response.  

Finally, we turn to the confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch and discuss the Democratic and Republican positions with respect to the Supreme Court. 

We received great feedback this week and will save most of it for next week, but we had to address Sandy's question: 

I have yet to have an experience with regulations that was not literally "job creating" for me and/or rigor/responsibility-instigating.  I cannot really trace back an example where a regulation has forced a company to make significant cuts or go under.  (I do, however, know of companies in the Chemical Engineering realm have utilized tax breaks intended for cleaner energy...but only did so in loop-hole/ethically questionable way...but maybe that's a different topic).  Perhaps if I played out a scenario where the presence of regulations did make companies paralyzed (e.g. God forbid, if Honda leaked tons of antifreeze into storm water, knew about it, didn't report it ever, and then somehow owed a sum that would take them out), it feels like at that point such irresponsibility would have to be quite consequential.  

And I guess that's my question:  Why does this "anti-regulation" rhetoric exist?  Does it have any grounds?  Is it just a rallying cry?  Some attempt to beef up some stocks or something?  

Once I stopped and thought about it in my own life experiences and realized it didn't match my life experiences, I got confused & concerned. Thoughts? Love you ladies!

As always, we so appreciate the support of our listeners! 

 

Global Citizenship with Tsh Oxenreider

Photo credit: The Art of Simple

Photo credit: The Art of Simple

We are delighted to be jointly hosting a discussion of global citizenship with Tsh Oxenreider, founder of The Art of Simple, The Simple Show, and author of Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living, Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, and At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe. 

With Tsh, we discuss what we've learned about podcasting, news, raising children who care about the world around them. We talk about how the world is actually getting better all the time, and we discuss Tsh's travels with her husband and three children. 

The Briefcase: Ivanka's new role and Pence's marriage

mike-pence-wife.jpg

Before we got started, we thanked everyone for their patience as our feed repopulated. The good news is you can now go all the way back to our premiere episode in the feed!

We talked about Ivanka's new role as special assistant to the president. We also discussed the Washington Post's profile of Karen Pence and the controversy over several observations about the Vice President's marriage. 

We praised the Senate Intelligence Committee  for being the adults in the room. 

We discussed feedback from Brynn on the need to empathize with everyone. "So I’m finding myself constantly caught in this catch 22 where I want to emphasize with Trump supporters who feel betrayed, while at the same time fighting back the urge to just SCREAM “we told you so!”"
Allison wrote in and wondered "if Ryan and the Republicans, instead of trying to appease the non-compromising Freedom Caucus, could try to reach out and work with moderate Democrats to draft and pass the bill?"

Also we shared a NY Times article "A Great New Accidental Renaissance" (link) from Megan and this fantastic quote. "It’s early, but we may be experiencing a great awakening for the humane values that are under siege by a dark-side presidency. People are going inward, to find something bigger than Trump, and outward, to limit the damage he inflicts on the country."

FISA, Flynn, and Failure

We're talking about the FISA process, Retired General Michael Flynn, and the failure of the American Health Care Act. 

The Pearls

We comfort ourselves about our miserable election predictions by noting that we predicted that the American Health Care Act would not make it through the House of Representatives. And it didn't. Big winners: the American people for not being subjected to a half-baked, not-really-about-health-care-health-care-bill. Big losers: Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, Republicans generally

Sadly, we have two incidents of violence to acknowledge. A British man, Khalid Masood, rammed his vehicle into a crowd at Westminster Bridge in London after stabbing a police officer. His connections to Saudi Arabia have police still investigating his possible motives. On Sunday morning, a dispute escalated into a shooting in a Cincinnati, Ohio, night club, leaving one person dead and 15 injured. Our prayers are with everyone impacted in London and Cincinnati. 

For our compliments to the other party, Sarah tipped her hat to the Freedom Caucus for standing their ground in opposition to the AHCA. Beth complimented the Democratic lawmakers behind the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act (the MAR-A-LAGO Act), which would require the White House to publish its visitor logs and mandate the release of visitor logs when the President conducts business...elsewhere. 

The Suit

We start with a mini-primer on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA"), which was enacted in 1978 to protect Americans’ privacy in the midst of counter-terrorism efforts. A law enforcement training white paper helped us significantly in understanding key provisions of FISA. FISA was enacted to limit the presidents' power and to create a judicially-manageable standard for issuing warrants in national security investigations. 

The key provisions of FISA were: 

  1. Non-criminal electronic surveillance can only occur for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence
  2. Foreign powers and agents of foreign powers could be targeted for electronic surveillance (foreign powers and agents of foreign powers are defined in the statute—explicitly says “non US persons” — US persons are citizens, legal permanent residents, US corporations, unincorporated associates with a substantial number of members who are citizens or lawful permanent residents) 
  3. The government needs probable cause to conduct surveillance (and set a probable cause standard)
  4. Established foreign intelligence surveillance courts (FISC) at the district and appellate levels to review applications for warrants under the act
  5. The government can only conduct electronic surveillance in the US for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence or foreign counterintelligence pursuant to a warrant issued by a FISC or in an emergency with approval from the attorney general provided that a warrant is sought within 24 hours 

In 1995, FISA was expanded to include physical searches (which meant a recognition that the president’s power to order physical searches in the interest of nat security is limited)  In 1998, provisions were added on pen registers and trap and trace - includes phone calls, email, and all electronic forms of communication. These provisions specifically prohibit investigation of US persons for activities protected by the 1st Amendment. 

Often the collection of information under FISA leads to collection of evidence of a domestic crime (not the intention of the surveillance). The FBI is obligated by the statute and executive order to pass that evidence the appropriate law enforcement agency. But, there have been many challenges to evidence collected under FISA in criminal cases because of 4th and 5th Amendment concerns. These challenges led to the establishment of the “primary purpose” test and “the wall” — the intelligence community became very careful about ensuring that applications for FISA warrants demonstrated that the primary purpose of surveillance was foreign intelligence or foreign counterintelligence — not law enforcement. Law enforcement and intel community have struggled a little with the appropriate sharing of information. 

This information-sharing struggle was directly confronted and significantly altered by the October 2001 passage of the Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (the PATRIOT Act).

Under the PATRIOT Act, the intelligence community's burden on a FISA warrant application is to show that collection of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence is a significant purpose rather than the purpose of the activity.  In 2002, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (part of the DOJ) asked the FISC to remove “the wall” (separating law enforcement and foreign intel collection). The FISC declined and wrote its own minimization standards, trying to maintain a balance between effectuating the PATRIOT Act and limiting the very intrusive methods available under FISA. The DOJ appealed to the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. The Court of Review said that the FISC was wrong and was trying to end run the PATRIOT Act. It found that the wall did not survive the PATRIOT Act. 

Now, disclosure and use of FISA information: 

  1. Must be for a lawful purpose
  2. Must be accompanied by an admonishment that FISA derived info can only be used in a criminal proceeding with the advanced authorization of the Attorney General 
  3. The government has to give notice to the criminal defendant and the Court if it is going to use FISA derived info in a criminal proceeding (so the defendant has a chance to contest the use of the evidence)
  4. There are no exceptions to the AG having to approve disclosure in advance, and the government never produces a copy of the application to obtain a FISA warrant. 

In 2008, FISA amendments were passed. These amendments included section 702, which allows the government to collect email and other communications of non-US persons. Over 25% of the NSA’s intelligence relies on information obtained under 702. Section 702 expires at the end of 2017 and needs to be reauthorized — that’s what House Republicans were referring to in the Comey/Rogers hearing. This section has been widely criticized but not well understood. Surveillance under Section 702 can only be directed at specific foreign targets outside the US. It doesn’t allow for bulk collections. There are two important aspects of the Section 702 program: PRISM and upstream collection. Section 702, FISC, and intelligence agencies use minimization standards to protect incidental collection of information, including masking

After we discussed the process for collecting intelligence, we discussed the facts surrounding the resignation of Michael Flynn, who had registered with the Justice Department as a "foreign agent" because of a $530,000 contract from August - November 2016 with Inovo BV, which is owned by a Turkish businessman. It has been reported that Flynn's attorneys told the Trump campaign twice that he was going to have register as a foreign agent. 

We also discuss reported from former CIA Director James Woolsey regarding Flynn's presence in a meeting with Turkish officials about the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a cleric accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating a failed coup attempt. Finally, we discuss reports from the weekend that Flynn might now be cooperating with the FBI to aid in the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

The Heels

We start talking food in the Heels since Beth has been cooking up a storm after her week with the flu. We mention amazing asparagus pizza, blueberry dumplings, and Beth's cobbler creation. Sarah recommended two books she just finished up -- A Piece of the World and The War that Saved My Life. 

The Briefcase: A report from the ground

We began by encouraging everyone to share the #trypod hashtag. The idea is to introduce someone who doesn’t listen to podcasts to the medium. Show them how to do it and obviously subscribe them to Pantsuit Politics!

We began by discussing FBI Director James Comey's testimony before Congress confirming that the FBI is investigation whether or not President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election. We also discussed the AP's revelation that Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign manager, was paid millions by a Putin ally.

Karen on Twitter had a great read of the situation: Illegality all around T. He was likely influenced by ppl with specific agendas tailored to appeal to his world view and vanity and so he is influenced. Also think he probably willfully "ignorant" of crimes around him but I bet we will never be able to pin any intentional criminal activity on him.

We then shared Beth's interview with Katherine Gypson, reporter for Voice of America, who was in the room for both Comey's testimony and Representative Devin Nunnes's press conference. 

We discussed Judge Gorsuch's confirmation hearings and growing concerns about his views on torture and statements about women at law firms. We also discussed the Democratic party's plans to filibuster his confirmation. 

We moved on to talk about two abortion laws that recently passed in Texas and several pieces of feedback we've gotten related to abortion. 

We talked about the proposed Reins Act and whether or not the Congress really needs approval over so much regulation. We wrapped up with feedback from Shannon on the difference between how we discuss terrorism when the terrorist is white.