Total chaos
51 min

Is the president a super spreader? President Trump’s doctors say he can resume public events soon — certainly what President Trump prefers, as he trails Joe Biden in the polls less than a month before Election Day — but is that really safe? Should Americans consider and judge Trump’s diagnosis and the fact that the virus spread among his staff and close contacts? Michael Brendan Dougherty says that’s fair.

This week, President Trump appeared trapped between doing things to please his base and doing the right thing — largely viewed as favorable by the public — about the pandemic. Jamelle Bouie says the president has set himself up to be in this position: unable to do the politically smart thing, and that includes responding to the cluster of cases and his own illness in a smart way.

Science journalist Christie Aschwanden discusses the cluster of cases at the White House and the treatments the president says cured him (though he also says he would have gotten better on his own), noting that even the limited information we have about the president’s condition and treatment points to a more severe case and that he may not be out of the woods yet.

At Wednesday’s vice presidential debate, Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence argued over the Trump administration’s pandemic record. But would a Biden administration handle everything so differently?

Finally, what’s with President Trump’s on-again, off-again push for a new stimulus bill. Does he actually want one, and why hasn’t he gotten it done, since it could help him get re-elected?

LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers
LRC Presents: All the President's Lawyers
KCRW
Pardon season
It’s pardon season. Last week, President Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, for the false statements charge to which he pleaded guilty, and he’s been pardoned for certain activity he was never charged with. If this pardon was corruptly issued, is it valid? Yes. Even if the president gets in political or legal trouble for it, is it still valid? Still yes. The power to pardon is pretty close to a power a king would have, and there is no precedent for curbing the president’s power to pardon. There may be more pardons ahead: ABC News and the New York Times report the president is considering pre-emptive pardons for some of his family members: his three oldest children (Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr.), his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his demented uncle Rudy Giuliani. There’s also news that prosecutors are looking into whether there was a corrupt scheme to offer political donations in exchange for a pardon. Ken and Josh talk about what is known based on an unsealed but heavily redacted order from a federal judge. Plus: Bill Barr makes John Durham a special prosecutor. How does that change John Durham’s work with the investigation into the other special counsel investigation? And what if the Biden administration were to expand the Durham investigation into other areas of the Trump administration Department of Justice? And about that full page ad Lin Wood took out that calls for President Trump to impose “limited martial law” so he could throw out the results of the election: is that sedition? And why couldn’t President Trump file just “one, big, beautiful lawsuit” alleging voter fraud?
37 min
Political Gabfest
Political Gabfest
Slate Podcasts
Sabotage for Christmas
It's conundrum season! Pass along your most pressing conundrums here: www.slate.com/conundrum. Our annual Conundrum holiday show is coming soon. This week, Emily, David and John discuss the Trump Administration's efforts to hobble the Biden transition; ethical problems in vaccine distribution; and how to deal with the damage of the election fraud lie. Here are some notes and references from this week’s show: Alex Kalman for the Atlantic: “The Letters That Outgoing Presidents Wrote to Their Successors” John Dickerson for The Atlantic: “Why You Don’t Mess Around With Presidential Transitions” The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: “A Framework for Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus” Kathryn Olivarius for The New York Times: “The Dangerous History of Immunoprivilege” Jeanna Smialek and Alan Rappeport for The New York Times: “Mnuchin Cites Principles in Clawing Back Fed Money. Democrats See Politics.” Kevin Roose, Mike Isaac, and Sheera Frenkel for The New York Times: “Roiled by Election, Facebook Struggles to Balance Civility and Growth” Colin Dickey for Medium: “How to Talk to a Conspiracy Theorist” To celebrate our 15th anniversary we'd love to know about your clever, politically themed, original cocktail! Please send us the details here: www.slate.com/cocktail Here are this week’s cocktail chatters:  John: W.E.B. Du Bois: Writings; The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry  David: Death, Sex & Money: “51 Years Loving A Man Named Sissy”; David’s twitter thread pitch for remaking Love Actually every year. Emily and listener Barbara Torrey Workman @thethirdbarbara: Twitter thread by United Farm Workers @UFWupdates featuring farm workers at work harvesting the ingredients in favorite Thanksgiving recipes.  Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on the Gabfest each week, and access to special bonus episodes throughout the year. Sign up now to listen and support our show. For this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment David, Emily, and John discuss the elements of pre-pandemic Thanksgiving that they won’t miss this year and don't plan to reinstate next year. You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. Tweet us your cocktail chatter using #cocktailchatter. (Messages may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)   The email address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.) Podcast production by Jocelyn Frank. Research and show notes by Bridgette Dunlap. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
1 hr 16 min
The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast & Rick Wilson
The New Abnormal with Molly Jong-Fast & Rick Wilson
The Daily Beast
Does Trump Really Want Republicans To Win in Georgia?
Trump is headed to Georgia this week, where there’s about to be a pair of special elections to decide the balance of the senate. But don’t expect the president to really talk up his Republican, MAGA AF buds, George Conway says. “It's better for him and better for his ego if they lose.” Trump has a problem, George explains to Molly-Jong Fast and Rick Wilson on the latest episode of The New Abnormal. Well, two. First, “Republicans did better than he did” in the general election. Not only does “that undercut his claim of fraud… it means that there were significant numbers of Republicans who couldn't stomach him. And that's the reason why he lost and all these other people won.” So now Trump is hate-tweeting Georgia’s Republican governor and Republican secretary of state. And he’s doing his damnedest to tell his followers that their votes don’t count, that they’re sure to be stolen. “It was amazing to see [RNC chair] Ronna McDaniel desperately to explain to Republicans why they need to vote in an election that will decide the balance of the Senate,” Molly remarks.  “It was like watching a walrus trying to fuck a beach ball. It's so awkward,” Rick replies.  Then Baratunde Thurston—host of the new podcast How to Citizen—joins Molly for a frank discussion about what led to Trumpism, and how we avoid falling for it again. He’s got a number of structural reforms in mind, to take money out of politics and put in back on the street. But there’s more.  “I want a lot of tribunals, Molly. I want COVID tribunals because I think there are political leaders who have blood on their hands that they need to be held to account for it. And I want some kind of like media tribunals because a lot of the media establishments created this fiction that is Donald Trump,” Baratunde says. Speaking of media monsters, Rick and Molly has had it with a certain interview formally known as the “Money Honey.” “Maria Bartiromo was once considered a legitimate and serious journalist,” Rick says. “And now she's being fitted for a pink hanbok, much like the North Korean propaganda lady who sits at the screen and stares and screams about the glory of the Kim Jong Un family. She allowed Donald Trump to go on television this weekend on the airwaves of Fox and bleed out the craziest horseshit you've ever heard.” Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to newabnormal.thedailybeast.com to join now.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
58 min
The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
Vox
Best of: Frances Lee on why bipartisanship is irrational
There are few conversations I’ve had on this show that are quite as relevant to our current political moment as this one with Princeton political scientist Frances Lee. Joe Biden will occupy the White House come January, but pending the results of two runoff Senate elections in Georgia, Democrats either won’t control the Senate at all or will face a 50-50 split. In either case, an important question looms large over the incoming administration: Will Republican senators negotiate with Biden in good faith? Lee’s work is an indispensable framework for thinking about that inquiry. In her most recent book, Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign, Lee makes a point that sounds strange when you hear it but changes everything once you understand it. For most of American history, American politics has been under one-party rule. For decades, that party was the Republican Party. Then, for decades more, it was the Democratic Party. It’s only in the past few decades that control of Congress began flipping back and forth every few years, that presidential elections became routinely decided by a few percentage points, that both parties are always this close to gaining or losing the majority. That kind of close competition, Lee writes, makes the daily compromises of bipartisan governance literally irrational. "Confrontation fits our strategy,” Dick Cheney once said. "Polarization often has very beneficial results. If everything is handled through compromise and conciliation, if there are no real issues dividing us from the Democrats, why should the country change and make us the majority?” Why indeed? This is a conversation about that question, about how the system we have incentivizes a politics of confrontation we don’t seem to want and makes steady, stable governance a thing of the past. . Book Recommendations: The Imprint of Congress by David R. Mayhew Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time by Ira Katznelson Congress's Constitution: Legislative Authority and the Separation of Powers by Josh Chafetz Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
59 min
Trump, Inc.
Trump, Inc.
WNYC Studios
Midnight Regulations
This story was co-published with ProPublica. Sign up for email updates from Trump, Inc. to get the latest on our investigations. Six days after President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture notified food safety groups that it was proposing a regulatory change to speed up chicken factory processing lines, a change that would allow companies to sell more birds. An earlier USDA effort had broken down on concerns that it could lead to more worker injuries and make it harder to stop germs like salmonella. Ordinarily, a change like this would take about two years to go through the cumbersome legal process of making new federal regulations. But the timing has alarmed food and worker safety advocates, who suspect the Trump administration wants to rush through this rule in its waning days. Even as Trump and his allies officially refuse to concede the Nov. 3 election, the White House and federal agencies are hurrying to finish dozens of regulatory changes before Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The rules range from long-simmering administration priorities to last-minute scrambles and affect everything from creature comforts like showerheads and clothes washers to life-or-death issues like federal executions and international refugees. They impact everyone from the most powerful, such as oil drillers, drugmakers and tech startups, to the most vulnerable, such as families on food stamps, transgender people in homeless shelters, migrant workers and endangered species. ProPublica is tracking those regulations as they move through the rule-making process. Every administration does some version of last-minute rule-making, known as midnight regulations, especially with a change in parties. It’s too soon to say how the Trump administration’s tally will stack up against predecessors. But these final weeks are solidifying conservative policy objectives that will make it harder for the Biden administration to advance its own agenda, according to people who track rules developed by federal agencies. “The bottom line is the Trump administration is trying to get things published in the Federal Register, leaving the next administration to sort out the mess,” said Matthew Kent, who tracks regulatory policy for left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen. “There are some real roadblocks to Biden being able to wave a magic wand on these.” In some instances the Trump administration is using shortcuts to get more rules across the finish line, such as taking less time to accept and review public feedback. It’s a risky move. On the one hand, officials want to finalize rules so that the next administration won’t be able to change them without going through the process all over again. On the other, slapdash rules may contain errors, making them more vulnerable to getting struck down in court. The Trump administration is on pace to finalize 36 major rules in its final three months, similar to the 35 to 40 notched by the previous four presidents, according to Daniel Perez, a policy analyst at the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center. In 2017, Republican lawmakers struck down more than a dozen Obama-era rules using a fast-track mechanism called the Congressional Review Act. That weapon may be less available for Democrats to overturn Trump’s midnight regulations if Republicans keep control of the Senate, which will be determined by two Georgia runoffs. Still, a few GOP defections could be enough to kill a rule with a simple majority. “This White House is not likely to be stopping things and saying on principle elections have consequences, let’s respect the voters’ decision and not rush things through to tie the next guys’ hands,” said Susan Dudley, who led the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget at the end of the George W. Bush administration. “One concern is the rules are rushed so they didn’t have adequate analysis or public comment, and that’s what we’re seeing.” The Trump White House didn’t respond to requests for comment on which regulations it’s aiming to finish before Biden’s inauguration. The Biden transition team also didn’t respond to questions about which of Trump’s parting salvos the new president would prioritize undoing. Many of the last-minute changes would add to the heap of changes throughout the Trump administration to pare back Obama-era rules and loosen environmental and consumer protections, all in the name of shrinking the government’s role in the economy. “Our proposal today greatly furthers the Trump administration’s regulatory reform efforts, which together have already amounted to the most aggressive effort to reform federal regulations of any administration,” Brian Harrison, the chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services, said on a conference call with reporters the day after the election. Harrison was unveiling a new proposal to automatically purge regulations that are more than 10 years old unless the agency decides to keep them. For that proposal to become finalized before Jan. 20 would be an exceptionally fast turnaround. But Harrison left no doubt about that goal. “The reason we're doing this now is because,” he said, “we at the department are trying to go as fast as we can in hopes of finalizing the rule before the end of the first term.” Read Isaac Arnsdorf's full print story at ProPublica. Track more of the Trump administration's midnight regulations here.
18 min
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