"Trump O'Clock" came particularly early today, so after shuffling things around at the last minute again, several times, we cover reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington DC, which has issued subpoenas as part of the probe into Team Trump and various charges of collusion with Russia. At the same time, several Republicans in the US Senate are reportedly filing legislation meant to prevent Trump (and/or future Presidents) from being able to fire a Special Counsel established by the Department of Justice without judicial review.
Also, getting lost once again in the "Russia" panic, as we explained on yesterday's show, there is a good reason Bernie Sanders voted against the bill slapping sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran, as approved almost unanimously in both chambers of Congress, and signed reluctantly by the President on Wednesday. Specifically, as Sanders explained, new sanctions may give Iran justification for dropping out of the long-negotiated nuclear deal signed by them and the US, UK, Russia, France, China and Germany in 2015. Not long after we got off air last night, Iran declared that the new sanctions "violated" the deal.
Then we're joined by Dave Johnson, founder of the "Seeing the Forest" blog and formerly a Senior Fellow at the progressive policy organization People's Action, to discuss the remarkable leaked transcripts, published Thursday by the Washington Post, of Trump's phone conversations just after taking office with the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Australia.
The documents offer a fascinating — and often troubling — look at how Trump dealt with two of our closest allies on topics such as his proposed border wall with Mexico (and Trump's insistence that President Enrique Nieto NOT state publicly that Mexico won't pay for the wall), and the agreement, struck during the Obama Administration, to consider U.S. entry for as many as 2,000 economic refugees who were, at the time, being held in detention camps on islands off of Australia's coast (a conversation that ended with Trump abruptly terminating the call with conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.)
Johnson offers his thoughts and insight on the apparent strong-arm tactics employed by Trump with the two heads of state, as well as what appears to have been a rather alarming lack of preparedness for the conversations and a startling lack of policy knowledge revealed by the published transcripts.
We discuss the policy implications as well as the political ones for both Trump and Republican in Congress who will have to run for office next year under this President, his broken promises, and the often gob-smacking revelations of his infamous "deal-making prowess"…
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