Michael Steele and Rick Ungar keep you up to date with the latest breaking news and headlines. We like to have fun and we like to get things done. We are the home of Rational Radio.
Matt Dolan, the founder and CEO of The Global Teaching Project, joined the guys to talk about how education is the key to civil rights. Michael and Rick also discussed the May jobs report with Politico's Victoria Guida. How much credit does President Trump deserve for the strong economy?
The Trump administration imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union. They have retaliated in kind. Michael and Rick talk about whether we're now in the midst of a trade war. The guys also discussed whether liberals are too condescending and whether it is one of the key reasons for the anti-establishment backlash that gave us President Trump.
Dr. Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint, Michigan, joined the guys to talk about about the ongoing water crisis. Why was help so slow to get there and what still needs to be done in order for the crisis to truly be over? Michael Steele and Rick Ungar also discussed House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy debunking President Trump's claims about "spygate".
Tom Porter, the legislative director for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), joined the guys to talk about the state of the VA and Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, President Trump's pick to lead the agency. Michael Fuchs of the Center for American Progress jumps on to discuss the U.S. and North Korea scrambling to try and salvage the on-again, off-again peace summit scheduled for June 12th in Singapore.
The Senate passed a bill Thursday that seeks to reform the process for reporting and addressing sexual misconduct in Congress. The Senate’s bill, passed without any objection in a voice vote, aims to reform significant parts of the Congressional Accountability Act. The House passed similar measures earlier this year. The future of the Senate’s legislation is already in question as it faces strong criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and members of Congress like Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif. 14). Rep. Speier helped spearhead the passage of the House’s reform measures and she, along with many others, argue that the bill is too narrow in scope and would still allow too much wiggle room for abuse to occur. The congresswoman joins us to explain why she thinks the bill does not do enough and what the legislation needs to include. Michael and Rick also discuss Harvey Weinstein’s arrest on charges of rape. What impact, if any, will this have on Hollywood and the Me Too Movement?
President Trump canceled his planned summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un earlier today, citing North Korea’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” in recent statements ahead of the meeting. Lawmakers and pundits in Washington are split on the president’s decision. Several Republican senators expressed their approval while others around Capitol Hill wonder if President Trump is playing a risky game trying to leverage a more favorable negotiating position with North Korea. What led President Trump to call off this historic meeting? Gordon Chang, Daily Beast columnist, author of “Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World” and “The Coming Collapse of China,” breaks down the president’s possible motivations and how the U.S. should proceed from here. James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, declares in his new book that he thinks Russia swung the election for Donald Trump. Sam Nunberg, a former staffer on the Trump campaign, joins Rick and Michael to weigh in.
“What happened?” That’s the question Hillary Clinton and so many others were asking on the morning of November 9, 2016. Part of the immense confusion and frustration was directed at the pollsters who had said for months that Clinton was leading Donald J. Trump. How could they have gotten it so wrong? Shortly after the election, Fox News and the Associated Press pulled out of the media consortium that funds major polling outlets in order to focus on crafting and executing their own polling. These polls aim for a much larger scope than traditional exit polls and won't focus on “exiting” voters but will try to capture a better picture of all voter attitudes up to the close of voting stations. Can this new model compensate for the flaws in the old one? Domenico Montanaro, lead political editor at National Public Radio, talks about his reporting on the Fox and AP polling model. The NFL announced a new policy today that they think will end the controversy around players protesting during the national anthem. Michael and Rick discuss the possible outcomes and implications of the new policy.
We all know Twitter is President Trump’s favored avenue for keeping in touch with the American people, making policy proclamations and venting at Washington bureaucracy. President Trump tweets primarily through, according to reports, an iPhone that, despite being issued through White House Information Technology and the White House Communications Agency, could be a security risk. The president is supposed to swap out phones every month but refuses because it is “too inconvenient”. You may recall Hillary Clinton similarly said that she used her private email server for convenience. By failing to regularly replace the phone, President Trump leaves the device open to possible hacking and surveillance. Why would the president risk national security for convenience? Michael and Rick discuss this latest chapter of confusion in the Trump White House. Scott L. Nelson, an attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group, talks about the Supreme Court’s ruling that companies can require workers to accept individual arbitration.
The Atlantic published a piece by senior editor David Frum on Friday simply titled, “It’s the Guns.” Frum opens with an earth-shattering statistic: “Americans of high-school age are 82 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than 15- to 19-year olds in the rest of the developed world.” How did we get here? In addition, how can we take action to ensure that number drops and that families all across the United States do not have to worry about whether or not their children will come home from school? Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, talks about actions that all of us can take to ensure that horrors like the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School never happen again. Michael and Rick discuss the steps that the Department of Justice is taking to review if there was any abuse or misconduct in the investigation of the Trump presidential campaign.
A seventeen-year old student walked into Santa Fe High School in Texas today with a shotgun and a revolver. He killed 10 people—nine students and one teacher—and wounded 10 others. Explosives, including pipe bombs, were found around the school. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that the shooting is “One of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.” As a community mourns and families grieve, many wonder what effect, if any, this most recent mass shooting will have on the national conversation about gun violence and gun control. Rick and guest co-host Tara Setmayer, CNN political commentator, wonder whether Washington will finally be moved to action or will offer the same trite slogans and statements. Anti-poverty advocate Jack Frech explains why so many Americans—almost half of U.S. households—cannot afford some of the most basic necessities like food and housing.
According to a study by The Stimson Center, a non-profit think tank, the United States government spent a combined $2.8 trillion of taxpayer money on the "War on Terror" between September 11, 2001 and the end of 2017. The Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute estimates that number will reach $5.6 trillion by the end of this fiscal year. The project's numbers also factor in the projected cost of veterans care based on injuries and grievances during this time frame. Was and is it worth it? Career counterintelligence and counterterrorism officer Malcolm Nance says it wasn't. Nance talks to Rick and guest co-host Boyd Matheson, opinion editor at the Deseret News, about the unbalanced cost of the "War on Terror" and how we need to fight smarter, not harder. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) discusses economic messaging for the Democrats heading into the midterms and settles the question of whether or not he’ll challenge Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker if the Democrats retake the House.
North Korea threatened to withdraw from the upcoming summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un over recent U.S. actions and rhetoric. The North took issue with joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea and said the United States may want to “corner” it and unilaterally demand “we give up our nuclear weapons,” citing statements made by National Security Adviser John Bolton on CBS’ “Face The Nation” in late April. Is North Korea trying to gain leverage before the historic summit or is this mere propaganda? Charles Armstrong, the director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University, discusses how this is impacting the delicate diplomatic and political situation on the Korean Peninsula. Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and former director of the New York Stock Exchange, talks about his new book “I Love Capitalism: An American Story.”
President Trump tweeted Sunday morning that he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to get controversial Chinese telecom giant ZTE “back into business.” Lawmakers and the intelligence community allege that ZTE’s products pose cybersecurity threats for surveillance and espionage. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Commerce banned U.S. companies from selling parts to ZTE after they found that ZTE violated a settlement that was established after it violated sanctions on Iran and North Korea. What could have possibly motivated this president, who emphasized his toughness on China throughout the campaign, to support this controversial Chinese company? Gordon Chang, Daily Beast columnist and author of “The Coming Collapse of China”, breaks down some of the possible financial, economic and political motivations behind the president’s move. Rick and guest co-host Boyd Matheson, opinion editor for the Deseret News, talk about how the president’s base could be suffering from unintended consequences of his policies.
The United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem earlier today as part of its formal recognition of the city as the capital of Israel. Today also happens to be the 70th anniversary of President Truman’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty. While U.S. and Israeli lawmakers celebrated, thousands of Palestinians protested at the border of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces used deadly force on Palestinian groups they claimed were trying to plant explosives. Over 50 people were killed and many more were wounded. Will we see more violence? What impact will it have on prospects for peace in the Middle East? Dr. Michael Makovsky, president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, talks about the potential geopolitical consequences for both the Israelis and Palestinians. Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps discusses how Democrats can capitalize on the issue of net neutrality at the ballot box in November.
Senator John McCain is an American hero. Full stop. He's staring down his own mortality after receiving a brain cancer diagnosis last year. He weighed in on Gina Haspel's nomination for CIA Director and said that her refusal to condemn the practice of torture was disqualifying. A White House aide named Kelly Sadler made a comment about his condition, saying, "He's going to die anyway." The attempted joke fell flat and the White House has been inundated with calls for her to be fired. A retired three-star general went on Fox Business and told host Charles Payne that torture worked and it worked on John McCain, saying, "That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'" Rick and guest co-host Ron Christie do their best to figure out why anyone would make such comments about a man who put his life on the line for this country and has given so much of his life to public service. Is this a rock-bottom for civility and our civil discourse? The guys also examine the House GOP's plan to alter parts of the social safety net.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum joined us a couple of times over the past two weeks to explain his plan to fix America's ailing healthcare system. His plan is very similar to the Graham-Cassidy bill that Santorum helped to create. Dr. Steve Klasko, president and CEO of Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University, explains the flaws he sees in Santorum's plan and prescribes a solution to help fix our current system. Rick and guest co-host Ed Morrissey also speak to John Tamny, political economy editor at Forbes and editor of RealClearMarkets.com, about his new book “The End of Work: Why Your Passion Can Become Your Job”.
Rick Ungar and guest co-host Rick Tyler spoke with Politico's Elana Schor about Gina Haspel's confirmation hearing Wednesday. Haspel is seeking to become the first woman to become CIA Director, but her nomination has become controversial because she was involved in the CIA's interrogation program. Some Senators, like John McCain (R-Ariz.), found this disqualifying. Other Senators are keeping an open mind. Elana breaks down the hearing and predicts that Haspel WILL be confirmed. Michael Steele, who is currently on his lecture series and speaking tour in the Middle East, talked with energy industry expert Dr. Ellen Wald about Saudi Arabia's Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman, the reforms he's instituting in the kingdom and the implications they could have on the region and the world.
President Trump announced today that he is formally withdrawing the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—also known as the “Iran nuclear deal”—and once more imposing “the highest level” of economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. President Trump railed against the Iran deal on the campaign trail, often referring to it as the “worst deal ever.” Once he took office, he continued to take steps that suggested he wanted out of the deal. One example of this is when he imposed new sanctions on Iran last year. Many Republicans applauded the president’s move, saying the deal was not tough enough to keep the Iranian nuclear program in check and gave the Iranian government too much leeway to continue supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East. Aaron David Miller, a vice president and Middle East program director at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, thinks that President Trump’s rationale for pulling out of the deal is a “confluence of his personal ego, domestic politics, and a desire to separate himself from his predecessor.” But where does this leave Iran, our other partners in the JCPOA and the international community at large? Miller joins Rick and guest co-host Ed Morrissey, senior editor at Hotair.com, to discuss the potential geopolitical consequences of the U.S.’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum returns to continue talking about his plan to fix America’s ailing healthcare system.
The cover story for this month’s issue of “The Nation” magazine, “Election 2018 Is Off To The Racists”, chronicles the growing number of openly racist and white supremacist candidates in Republican elections since President Trump won the presidency in November 2016. How did the party of Lincoln get to this point? Evan Siegfried, a Republican political strategist and president of Somm Consulting, shares his thoughts on why the party is experiencing this uptick in non-traditional and extremist candidates. T.S. Ellis III, the federal judge in the Paul Manafort case, warned special counsel Robert Mueller last Friday that he may be overstepping his mandate as special counsel and accused Mueller of trying to bring down President Trump. Georgia State law professor Eric Segall talks to Rick Ungar and guest co-host Rick Tyler about the judge’s comments and the real concern in the legal community over the powers of a special counsel.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has a plan to fix Obamacare. On a basic level, his plan would seek to use block grants to give states more control over their healthcare needs. Santorum joins Rick and guest co-host Ed Morrissey, senior editor of HotAir.com, to discuss what his plan is and how it would work. Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich also jumps on to talk about his Ohio gubernatorial campaign and why he thinks he can bring Ohioans, Democrats and Republicans alike, together.
Rudy Giuliani, a recent addition to President Trump’s legal team, revealed in an interview with Sean Hannity Wednesday night that Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen, his personal attorney, $130,000 that Cohen paid to former porn star Stormy Daniels as part of a settlement agreement before the 2016 election. In the same interview, Giuliani claimed that nothing about Cohen’s payment or Trump’s reimbursement violated federal campaign finance law. Many other legal experts disagreed. Election law professor Ned Foley, director of "Election Law @ Moritz" and Ebersold Chair in constitutional law at the Ohio State University's Law School, breaks down both arguments and the potential legal implications for the president. Rick and guest co-host Ed Morrissey discuss the tragic case of Alfie Evans and what it says about government overreach.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday night that special counsel Robert Mueller warned President Trump's legal team back in March that he could subpoena the president and bring him before a grand jury if he won't agree to sit down for an interview. Legal experts began debating and discussing whether a sitting president could be subpoenaed at all, let alone by the special counsel. Former federal prosecutor Doug Burns talks to Rick and guest co-host Rick Tyler about whether Mueller can and will subpoena President Trump. He also shares his thoughts on the potential interview questions that were leaked earlier this week. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price acknowledged in a speech Tuesday to the 15th annual World Health Care Congress that repealing the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate will increase premiums for all Americans. It was a surprising admission from a long-time opponent of Obamacare. The guys discuss what this hypocrisy says about our politics and our policies.
NBC News reported Monday that White House chief of staff John Kelly, increasingly frustrated with the president, called President Trump an “idiot” in one meeting and has tried to portray himself as a bulwark to hold back the president’s chaos. According to eight current and former White House officials, Kelly's comments to aides has eroded morale in the West Wing. Kelly pushed back against the story, calling it “total BS.” Will the chief of staff get the boot? Carol Lee, a national political reporter for NBC News who helped break the story, talks about Kelly's future in the administration. Keziah Daum, an eighteen-year-old student in Utah, bought a Chinese dress to wear to her prom. When she posted a photo of herself in the dress, she was attacked on social media and accused of cultural appropriation. Daum joins Rick and guest co-host Bill Tucker to discuss the whole ordeal.
Michelle Wolf’s roast of Washington media, politicians and other Beltway power players at Saturday’s White House Correspondent’s Association dinner left many with a sour taste in their mouths. The controversy around Wolf’s performance has dominated the social and news media conversation for the last 48 hours, inspiring debate and discussion about the role and purpose of the dinner in promoting the 1st Amendment. Olivier Knox, SiriusXM’s Chief Washington Correspondent and the incoming president of the White House Correspondent’s Association, notes that some members of the WHCA were critical of Wolf's performance because it “sends the message that we are in fact anti-Trump…that we are at war, not at work.” However, Knox adds, “I happen to think we’re not at war. We are at work.” Knox joins the guys to discuss the controversy and how the WHCA plans to continue in its work to support journalists covering the White House. Rick and guest co-host Bill Tucker also talk about ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp’s assertion that journalists should not call out the president and his staff when they lie, but should let the American people decide for themselves who is telling the truth.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in announced Friday evening that, together with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, North and South Korea will work towards a formal end to the Korean War by the end of 2018. The two countries will also work together on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The announcement sent ripples of hope and suspicion across the globe. North Korea has a track record of promising peace only to later continue business as usual. Gordon Chang, a Daily Beast columnist and author of “Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On The World”, thinks the new push for peace talks may be an attempt by Kim Jong-un to divide the U.S. and South Korea. Chang joins Rick and guest co-host Matt Mackowiak to lay out his concerns and suspicions as we witness the historic summit between the North and South Korean leaders. Mark McKinnon, executive producer and co-host of Showtime’s “The Circus” talks about documenting “the wildest political show on earth.”
Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, physician to Presidents George W. Bush, Obama and Trump, withdrew from his nomination as Secretary of Veterans Affairs early Thursday morning. Lawmakers, experts and the media criticized Admiral Jackson’s nomination from the start because of his lack of administrative experience. He faced further scrutiny this week after members of the White House medical staff raised allegations of “over-excessive” drinking while on the job, over-prescribing medication and creating a hostile work environment. This is the eighth nominee for VA Secretary since 9/11. Why does the VA never seem to get a win? Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, gives a veteran's perspective on Admiral Jackson’s decision and the VA’s track record in the 21st century. Disgraced comedian Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of indecent assault by a Pennsylvania jury today. Mr. Cosby's assaults spanned decades and there were dozens of allegations against him. Washington Post features writer Manuel Roig-Franzia, joined Rick and guest co-host Matt Mackowiak to talk about the trial and verdict.
A federal judge for the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Tuesday night that the Trump administration would have to continue protections for current DACA recipients and continue accepting qualified applicants to the program. Two other federal judges, one in Brooklyn and one in San Francisco, handed down similar orders to the Trump administration, saying it had to continue to protect Dreamers. However, Judge Bates is the first to rule that the president must continue accepting applicants. Judge Andrew Napolitano noted on Fox News that this could force presidents to support predecessors’ policies, even if they campaigned against them. Steven D. Gordon, a litigation attorney in Holland & Knight’s D.C. office, breaks down the ruling.EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt instituted a new “transparency” rule that will limit what kinds of research are used in writing regulations. Pruitt’s allies say that it will increase public trust, but members of the scientific community say it will block the EPA from using myriad landmark studies that rely on personal, confidential information. Rick and guest co-host Matt Mackowiak weigh in on the potential implications of the transparency rule.
On Tuesday morning, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and CNN's chief medical correspondent, published an open letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on CNN.com. Dr. Gupta shared stories and corresponding scientific evidence about how marijuana treats pain better than opioids and could even help end the opioid crisis. Is pot the secret weapon we’ve needed in the fight against the opioid epidemic? Rick Ungar talks to Dr. Gupta about his research and upcoming CNN special report: “Weed 4: Pot vs. Pills”. Rick and guest co-host Bill Tucker, a veteran TV journalist, discuss the recent backlash against celebrities like Kanye West, Shania Twain and Roseanne Barr who have voiced support for President Trump. Have we reached a new level of intolerance?
Kim Jong-un announced through North Korean state-run TV on Saturday that North Korea is ceasing all of its nuclear missile tests. The North Korean dictator stated that tests would no longer be necessary as “the weaponisation of nuclear weapons has been verified.” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said that he was glad that Kim “learned PR.” Is this just a PR move by North Korea and what should we make of this newest overture? Career counterintelligence officer Malcolm Nance breaks down North Korea’s latest move and what we can expect from the summit between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. Andy Puzder, former CEO of CKE Restaurant and President Trump’s first nominee for Secretary of Labor, talks about his new book “The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It”.
Fox News host Sean Hannity accused the news media of being partisan hacks and "nothing more than an extension of the Democratic Party” during the opening monologue of his primetime TV show on Tuesday night. Hannity went on to express how he thinks all the “fake news media” does is “parrot liberal talking points” and try to delegitimize President Trump “24/7.” Is it hypocritical for Sean Hannity to slam the media for “bias” when he says things that could be seen as biased in their own right? Is there real bias against conservatives in the “mainstream news media” or is it more of a rallying and talking point for conservatives? Michael Steele and Rick Ungar dig into the question of whether there is inherent liberal bias in the mainstream media. On Thursday evening, the Department of Justice gave Congress access to former FBI Director James Comey’s memos about his meetings with President Trump. They were leaked to the public almost immediately. Our hosts dive into the meat and potatoes of the memos and share their thoughts on the potential political and legal impact they could have on the president and the Mueller investigation.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In told reporters on Thursday “North Korea is expressing a will for complete denuclearization." President Moon’s statement was met with skepticism because in the past, North Korea has reneged on deals when it came to dismantling its nuclear program. Bill Gertz, senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon, weighs in on President’s Moon’s claim and shares his outlook on President Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Farmers across Midwest are restless over the potential backlash they face from President Trump’s recent trade policies. Doug Palmer, senior trade reporter for Politico, talks about how one of the president's core constituencies could suffer because of his tariffs and the threat of a trade war.
On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a "travel ban" that would prevent foreign nationals from eight countries from entering the United States. The countries listed were: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. Some government officials from Venezuela were impacted as well. Because these are Muslim-majority countries, many liberals claimed that the travel ban was racist and done in order to single out Muslims. The Trump administration argued that this was an issue of national security and the president, as the chief of the executive branch, has the right to craft immigration policy, especially when national security is involved. The state of Hawaii, along with other parties, sued to block the ban from going into effect. The Supreme Court heard opening arguments in the travel ban case this week. Former federal prosecutor Doug Burns joined Rick and guest co-host Bill Tucker to recap the arguments both sides are trying to make. Author Donald Lee Sheppard talked with the guys about his book, "The Dividends of Decency: How Values-Based Leadership Will Help Business Flourish in Trump's America".
Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away this evening at the age of 92. The wife of President George H.W. Bush and mother of President George W. Bush, Mrs. Bush was an iconic figure in Republican and national politics for decades. Andrew Ochs, who produced C-SPAN's 'First Ladies Series', called her "the most prolific and most productive first lady in history." Michael Steele and Rick Ungar share memories of Mrs. Bush and talk with SiriusXM's Chief Washington Correspondent Olivier Knox and Ochs about her legacy and impact on the White House and American politics.
President Trump ordered airstrikes and missile strikes against chemical weapons facilities in Syria Friday night in conjunction with British and French forces. Many of President Trump's supporters sounded off on social media and over the airwaves, expressing their feeling that this contradicted everything Trump said on the campaign trail. From Fox News hosts like Laura Ingraham to InfoWars’ Alex Jones, Trump supporters expressed their disgust at this “business as usual” move by the president. Columnist and radio host Jack Hunter joins Michael and Rick to share his perspective on the strikes and why he sees them as contradictory to the president’s campaign rhetoric and promises. Our hosts also discuss the potential impact of former FBI Director James Comey's opening salvo on President Trump as he kicks off the press tour for his book, "A Higher Loyalty".
Current CIA Director Mike Pompeo testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday to begin the confirmation process to become Secretary of State. Senators from both sides of the aisle asked him about his positions on the Iran Deal, North Korea and President Trump’s power to launch military strikes on the Assad regime without congressional approval. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is prepared to oppose and possibly derail Pompeo’s nomination. Elana Schor, congressional reporter for Politico, talks about the obstacles on Director Pompeo’s path to confirmation. Will he become our nation's top diplomat? Michael and Rick also talk about some of the tidbits we've seen of former FBI Director James Comey’s tell-all book.
Long before John Lewis represented Georgia's fifth district in Congress, he was one of the great icons of the Civil Rights Movement. Congressman Lewis was one of the original 13 freedom riders and, as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he was one of the six primary organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. Congressman Lewis joins Michael and Rick to reflect on the legacy of his friend and colleague Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years after Dr. King's assassination, the congressman talks about how we can continue to uphold and expand his legacy.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's decision not to seek re-election in 2018 has created a whole new set of issues for Republicans heading into the 2018 midterms. Pundits and politicians are already discussing Ryan’s possible successors and the internal struggle the party faces and will continue to face. Rick Wilson, a Republican consultant, Daily Beast columnist and author of the upcoming book “Everything Trump Touches Dies”, explains his recent column “Donald Trump Takes Out Paul Ryan, and ‘It’s Going to Be a Civil War’”. Wilson joins Michael Steele and Rick Ungar to discuss what impact he thinks Ryan departure will have on the House and why he thinks the GOP is in for a reckoning come November. President Trump signaled Thursday that he may want the U.S. to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, something that would reverse one of his first acts in the office. The guys give their take on the president's most recent policy reversal.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced Wednesday morning that he will not seek re-election in 2018. The announcement sent shock waves across the country. Many Republicans in Congress are looking at difficult re-election campaigns in November as Democrats appear poised to retake control of the House. What does Ryan's resignation say about the GOP's outlook for the midterms? Will Ryan stay on as Speaker or will House Republicans want to elect a new leader? Kyle Cheney, congressional reporter for Politico, talks about how Capitol Hill is reacting to the news of Ryan’s retirement and how it will affect the GOP for the rest of 2018. Veteran counterintelligence officer Malcolm Nance breaks down some of the ways the Trump administration can respond to the Assad regime’s latest chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.
Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday for the first of two public hearings on Capitol Hill this week. The Facebook founder and CEO addressed issues regarding data security and privacy related to the harvesting of private information by Cambridge Analytica and Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election. Journalists and pundits were critical of the Senate Judiciary Committee from the very first question because it appeared the senators hadn't done their homework and were ignorant about some of the most basic aspects of Facebook. Steve Kovach, senior correspondent for Business Insider, says that let Zuckerberg get through the hearing virtually unscathed. Kovach breaks down the hearing with Michael and Rick and talks about what questions he'd like lawmakers to press Zuckerberg on. On Monday night, FBI agents raided the house, hotel room and office of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer. Former federal prosecutor Seth Waxman weighs in on what the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller's team might learn from the raid.
An attack possibly involving chemical weapons in the rebel-controlled city of Douma, Syria killed dozens of men, women and children and injured hundreds more. While there is no ironclad evidence yet, many are accusing the Assad regime of carrying out the attack against its own citizens, following a similar chemical weapons strike around this same time last year. President Trump and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley have stated over the last 36 hours that these atrocities are unacceptable. The president called for a missile strike on Syria the last time such an attack took place. How will he respond this time? Michael and Rick share their thoughts on how President Trump will and should respond to the chemical attack in Syria. Bill Scher, a contributing editor to Politico Magazine, talks about why Americans—especially Democrats—should forget about trying to impeach President Trump and why Robert Mueller should try to indict President Trump.
President Trump announced Thursday that he was considering leveling $100 billion in further tariffs on China. The first round of tariffs, set to the tune of $50 billion, aimed to punish China for violating World Trade Organization rules and dumping steel into both U.S. and international markets. Another reason President Trump cited in imposing these tariffs is decades of intellectual property theft carried out by Chinese businesses. China stated earlier today that it will not hesitate to respond with high tariffs of its own. Are we at the brink of a trade war? Gordon Chang, a Daily Beast columnist and author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” explains why he thinks what we're seeing isn't a trade war, but a struggle between two economic superpowers vying for technological dominance. EPA chief Scott Pruitt is in hot water following several recent scandals. Will he be able to weather the storm?
Democrats are celebrating this week in the wake of Judge Rebecca Dallet’s election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She is the first Democrat to win an open seat on the court since 1995. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker warned that Dallet’s win means we could see a “blue wave” in November's midterm elections that would give Democrats control of the House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a Kentucky newspaper earlier this week that Republicans know the wind is in their face, saying, “We just don’t know if its category three, four or five.” Could the Dems still manage to mess it all up? Jeff Greenfield, an award-winning television journalist, talks about how the Left’s unforced errors and “Year of Magical Thinking” could potentially ruin their prospects for a "blue wave". Jamie McIntyre, a senior writer for the Washington Examiner, discusses President Trump’s decision to reverse course and keep U.S. troops in Syria.
50 years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot by James Earl Ray while staying at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King gave his final speech—now remembered as the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech—at the Masonic Temple of Memphis, where King had been for a few days to support striking public sanitation workers. In the days that followed, riots broke out across the country. Many are wondering, especially in the wake of events like Charlottesville, where Dr. King’s legacy stands in our culture and public discourse. Are we any closer to achieving his dream or have we actually taken steps backwards? Andrew Young, former executive director of the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), former Ambassador to the United Nations and a friend and confidant of Dr. King, reflects on Dr. King’s last days, his legacy and why he feels his friend is still with us. Rick and guest co-host Rick Tyler discuss the potential political and economic impact of the $50 billion worth of tariffs China imposed on key U.S. goods.
Deadspin published a video on Twitter over the weekend that demonstrated the growing monolithic hold that Sinclair Broadcasting Group exerts on local TV news stations across the country. The video shows dozens of anchors reading the same script, mandated by Sinclair to be read on air, which lambasts “biased and false news.” Media watchdogs are concerned with Sinclair’s record of conservative bias and how its editorial content seems to be in-line with the talking points of the Trump White House. If Sinclair completes its acquisition of Tribune Media, it could reach 72% of U.S. households and could push even more “must air” scripts on its audience, giving them less coverage of local news and local politics. Pam Vogel, a research fellow at Media Matters, talks about Sinclair’s effect on local news and the difficulty in regulating the ambitious media behemoth. President Trump said he wants the military to guard the Mexican border until his border wall is in place. Michael and Rick examine what might be motivating the president’s heightened rhetoric on immigration and border security. Is he trying to act tough for the base, giving Republicans talking points for a tough election cycle or something else entirely?
As American military forces and its allies force ISIS to the brink of defeat, U.S. commanders are worried that their efforts might be wasted. An NBC News report says commanders and senior officials are concerned that a lack of guidance could potentially destroy their mission despite being "on the two-yard line." Career counterintelligence officer Malcolm Nance joined Rick and Michael to discuss how the chaos in the White House is jeopardizing the war against ISIS. Nick Tabor of New York Magazine explained how corruption, not Russia, might be President Trump's biggest political liability.
After two years of legal battles, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu prevailed and oversaw the removal of four prominent Confederate monuments in the city. The Kennedy Library Foundation announced this week that Landrieu will be awarded the John F. Kennedy Courage in Profile Award. The foundation's president, Jack Schlossberg, said, “In a year marked by continued racial injustice, in a moment of misguided national leadership and heightened division, Mayor Landrieu’s courage stands out brightly as an affirmative step in the right direction.” Mayor Landrieu talked with Michael Steele and Rick Ungar about the fight to remove the statues and his new book, "In the Shadow of Statues." Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters recently left his role as a contributor at Fox News. He joined the guys to discuss why he left and how we can and should try to overcome hysteria in the media.
Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin wrote an op-ed for Wednesday's New York Times and explained why he's against privatizing the VA. Before he was fired earlier this week, Shulkin was reportedly unhappy with scandals and infighting at the agency that undermined his agenda and credibility. Mere hours after his dismissal, Shulkin joined NPR's Morning Edition and blamed much of the recent turmoil in the VA on political appointees that believe "that we are moving in the wrong direction or weren't moving fast enough toward privatizing the VA.” Jeremy Butler, the Chief Operations Officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, discusses why he opposes the privatization of the VA. Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Calif. 17) talks about why he thinks the Republicans’ “Balanced-Budget Amendment” is nothing more than a political play in a fiercely competitive election year.
President Trump dismissed Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin this evening with a tweet. The president also tweeted his preferred replacement for Dr. Shulkin in the same series of tweets. Robert Wilkie, assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, will serve as acting director and Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the physician to Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump, will be the president's nominee to become the next VA Secretary. This shake-up at the VA comes amidst fierce internal debate over questions of privatization and outrage over wasteful spending. Former VA Secretary Anthony Principi, who served under President George W. Bush, reacts to Shuklin's ouster and shares his thoughts on what the VA needs to get back on course. Stephon Clark, a 23-year-old father of two from Sacramento, California, was shot 20 times by two police officers in his grandparents' backyard earlier this month. Michael and Rick discuss how we can address the root of these shootings in a more holistic way.
In 1979, Baptist minister Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority to represent and promote the values and viewpoints of the Christian Right. During the March for Our Lives this past weekend, Matthew Dowd, ABC News' chief political analyst, believed a new moral majority had formed, tweeting, "New Moral Majority in America. And it isn’t white evangelicals, or the supporters of Trump. It is the majority of the country who believe in integrity in government, compassion, the rule of law, and justice." Dowd joins Rick Ungar to discuss this new moral majority and how it is beginning to show itself across the political spectrum. The Supreme Court will begin hearing a oral arguments in a gerrymandering case about redistricting in Maryland. The guys discuss how the court's ruling could influence coming elections and change the balance of power in Congress.
This past Saturday, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organized the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. and rallies in major cities all over the country. People of all ages and backgrounds gathered to hear speakers, including some of the survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, share their stories and talk about why gun control legislation is so important. Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-Calif. 15) joins Michael and Rick to share his thoughts on the impact of the March for Our Lives and how it could affect the current and future political landscape.
John Tamny, the political economy editor at Forbes, joined Rick and Michael to explain how the national debt of the United States has now exceeded $20 trillion. How did we get to this point and what do we have to do in order to get our national debt under control? The guys also look at President Trump's threat to veto the omnibus spending bill, an act that would have shut down the government. Why does the president revel in this "contrived chaos"?