The Briefcase: Comey, Flynn, & Mueller

It's been another whirlwind week! 

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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