Krystal and Saagar discuss the Trump FBI Raid, his NY deposition, inflation numbers, special election numbers, Trump 2024 announcement, Ukraine war shifts, media strengthening Trump, defund the FBI, & the China-Taiwan situation!
Lyle Goldstein: https://www.defensepriorities.org/pro…
Timestamps: Trump: 0:00 – 30:35 Inflation: 30:36 – 44:50 Special Election: 44:51 – 56:05 GOP: 56:06 – 1:05:01 Ukraine: 1:05:02 – 1:14:01 Saagar: 1:14:02 – 1:24:53 Krystal: 1:24:54 – 1:33:38 Lyle Goldstein: 1:33:39 – 1:46:06
8/11 NEWSLETTER: FBI Trump raid, Inflation Numbers, Election Results, Taiwan Crisis, & More!
Former President Trump’s FBI raid was aided by an informant
from his inner circle. The confidential human source tipped off the FBI on what classified documents Trump was hiding and where they were in Mar-a-Lago. Anonymous government officials with direct knowledge of the FBI’s deliberations told Newsweek the raid was intentionally timed for when Trump was away. They thought that denying him the chance to grandstand or thwart the raid would lower the profile of the event. Officials believe the effort to keep the raid low profile backfired spectacularly and that the bureau did not have a political motive. The Trump world
is desperately searching for who the informant might be. Mistrust and paranoia is a feature of Trump’s orbit and now they are buzzing with speculation about who ‘flipped’ and gave information to the FBI. During the raid, the FBI broke through a locked storage unit in the basement of the compound to obtain the classified materials.
One day after the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid, agents seized the phone of Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) who is a close Trump ally. Perry told Fox News
that he was approached by agents holding a warrant for his cell phone in the middle of the day while traveling with his family. He criticized the DOJ for unnecessary aggression and refusing to contact his attorneys. Perry has boosted
Trump’s unproven election claims and is the first member of Congress to have his phone seized pas part of the DOJ’s January 6th probe.
Additionally, Trump was scheduled by New York Attorney General Letitia James for a deposition about his business dealings. Trump pleaded the fifth and declined to answer questions
invoking his Constitutional rights. The long standing civil investigation
of his business practices by the AG is being conducted alongside a criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney. Trump’s refusal to answer questions protects himself from self incrimination in the Manhattan DA’s criminal investigation. His decision stands against Trump’s behavior in most depositions throughout his business career. The former president typically relishes giving answers and avoiding lying in sworn testimony outside of court.
Inflation numbers for the month of July have come in
. Year over year inflation was 8.5% in July, down from the 40 year record high 9.1% in June. Noticeable decline in gas prices and airfare played a central role in the lowered inflation. The rise in grocery prices, rent, and electricity prices continued in July. The monthly change in CPI was zero
, a promising indicator that US inflation has peaked. It was the basis of President Biden’s talking point
that inflation was zero in July that was echoed by allies in the media. Housing prices have been slumping as well; evidenced by the drop
in prices in San Francisco. America’s most expensive housing market has seen declines because of rising interest rates, worries about crime, tech layoffs, and other economic concerns. The rise in electricity prices could be destructive
for the US manufacturing sector. Workers at the second largest aluminum plant in America were laid off because the company is struggling to afford an electricity tab that has tripled in the past few months.
A more modest inflation number adds to the Fed’s belief that America was in need of its dramatic interest rate hikes at the end of June. It’s unknown how the central bank will factor this data into their next moves on interest rates. More good news on the economy came from the July jobs report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payrolls rose 528,000 for the month and the unemployment rate stayed low at 3.6%, back to its pre-pandemic level. Wage growth surged 0.5% over the past month marking a 5.2% change year to year, below inflation over the same time period. Labor participation dropped slightly to its lowest this year. The July gains were well ahead of predictions and topped the last few months of sluggish job increases. The heated labor market was not received well by the stock market, because it provides impetus for more interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve. Forecasts have the Fed raising interest rates by .75% for the third straight session to continue combating inflation. With the interest rates rising, America’s poor could be hit by major job losses
before inflation cools down. Negative GDP growth and high unemployment caused by rising interest rates are most likely to hit the working class. An economic recession following a year of runaway inflation will further hurt America’s poor who were hit hardest by the pandemic.
Tuesday night was another election night in America with lesser watched primary contests. Donald Trump’s strength in the Republican party remains strong but the predicted red wave in 2022 is looking smaller
. Traditional metrics such as Biden’s approval rating and the pessimism over the economy are still very favorable for the GOP. But a string of high profile, contested primaries and Donald Trump’s questioning of the 2020 election have hobbled the party. In a special election for Minnesota’s first congressional district, the GOP candidate was victorious
by four points in a Trump +10 district. He performed 7-8% worse than Trump in the district’s swing counties
and just as well in red counties. Elsewhere in Minnesota, progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar survived
a contested primary against a moderate former city councilman. Her opponent received endorsements from local Democratic leaders, labor unions, and leading newspapers for his presence in the district and support for law enforcement. Omar vastly out fundraised her opponent and celebrated her victory Tuesday night. She has made a name for herself in congress with her progressive issue stances and vibrant online presence as part of The Squad.
In Wisconsin, a Trump endorsed outsider defeated the former Lt. Gov backed by Mike Pence in the GOP gubernatorial primary. The winner will face off against incumbent Democrat Tony Evers in a fiercely contested swing state race.
Top Republicans are coming around
to the idea of Donald Trump announcing a 2024 presidential campaign before the midterms. Party officials have spent months trying to prevent a premature announcement, but the FBI raid on Trump’s compound has changed their minds. He had previously eyed Labor Day to make the announcement and now he is being urged to speed up the timeline to capitalize on the DOJ’s perceived overreach. The Justice Department’s bombshell has shaken up the midterm election landscape by putting Trump on the ballot and galvanizing the party base. Concerns about Trump stealing the spotlight from vulnerable Democrats have been abandoned. He has a $121 million war chest that would fund his campaign instead of being used to support Republican candidates in the midterms. Possible challengers to Trump’s 2024 campaign have leaped
to his defense since the FBI raid. Mike Pompeo, Ted Cruz, and others have decried the DOJ’s double standard as it pertains to Hunter Biden. Former VP Pence defended
his former boss and criticized the unprecedented nature of the DOJ raid despite their falling out over the 2020 election. The FBI’s raid on Trump’s residence has further entrenched his standing as the leader of the Republican party.
The war in Ukraine has been overshadowed by domestic turbulence and the Taiwan tensions. Newly minted NATO member Finland has led the charge
to issue travel bans for Russian nationals. Finland insists that Russians are crossing their large border and using its airports to fly elsewhere in Europe. To prevent this, Finland along with Estonia has urged the EU to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. It’s unclear how imposing this punishment on Russian citizens and travelers will derail Putin’s war effort. The Russians have been facing a major counterattack by Ukraine in the Southern part of their country. This new offensive marks a critical phase in the war that Ukraine hopes could result in Crimea being liberated. Ukrainian forces have been clawing back in the southern city of Kherson and have faith that continued US weapons shipments will bolster their might. Successful military strikes at a Russian airbase in Crimea mark the beginning of Ukraine’s counterattack and could be viewed by the Russians as an escalation. Ukrainian officials have hinted that Kyiv is behind the explosions and have renewed optimism that the war will turn in their favor once again.
In his monologue today, Saagar breaks down how Donald Trump became ‘Teflon Don’ and has been able to survive so many scandals. His apparent immunity is something that infuriates Trump’s opponents more than almost anything else. It began when he was asked in the first presidential debate about his crude remarks about women and came out stronger than ever. He once mused that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still get support. The reason why Trump’s supporters never go away is because of his opponents as much as it is about him. Liberals are cheering the FBI raid and NY AG investigation thinking the walls are finally closing in. They believe the raid must be about more than simply classified materials and there must be a larger plan. Throughout Trump’s political career, there have been dozens of scandals liberals deemed the end of his presidency that are practically forgotten. Getting MeTooed by dozens of women, Melania’s plagiarism, business dealings, Muslim ban, McCain insults, Access Hollywood, Khizir Khan, insulting political opponents, and so many more. Many of these happened before he became president and from there the scandals continued. The Mueller investigation, Mueller report, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, and so on. Every week in 2017 the Mueller investigation drew headlines
about the walls closing in
and Trump being hit with charges. People took Mueller investigating something as definitive proof and that Trump was dead to right, to the point where it was assumed he would have something on Trump. In the end, Mueller came out with nothing and the Russiagate scandal became infamous.
The theme of all this is that Trump’s invincibility is about the mediocrity and idiocy of his opponents rather than any particular genius or skill Trump has. The opposition party in lockstep with the media set the expectation that Trump was a once in a lifetime evil for whom norms and rules do not apply. They looked to Mueller to save themselves from a political reality they created. By overreaching and corrupting higher institutions like the FBI & DOJ, causing them to become politically polarizing, the condition is now set that no matter what his opponents will never be satisfied. If the FBI ends up finding something on Trump that proves to be of minor consequence, the right will feel persecuted and liberals will come away vindicated. Confidence in the justice system will erode on both sides and institutional decay will continue. Instead of looking for scandals or loopholes
to beat Trump with, Democrats should simply try to beat him again. Trump is only in a position to win again because of the weakness of the Democratic party that spurred his rise to begin with.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar come back to the view of Trump as a symptom rather than a cause. His opposition played such a big part in Trump’s win to begin with, but there is a difference between Russiagate fan fiction and January 6th investigations. Political impact now that Trump is not in office, he’s off social media, and he’s lost is more difficult to predict than it was before. Looking at the facts as they are can help much more than snap judgments of the politics. Liberals have always desired a white knight and one cool trick to bring Trump down from Mueller and now Merrick Garland rather than just beating him. The FBI and DOJ should be looking at the facts as if he was an ordinary citizen rather than trying to psychoanalyze what the American public can handle.
In her monologue, Krystal looks at how conservatives are now embracing a long time progressive position to abolish the FBI. Right wing commentator Candace Owens tweeted that the FBI must be formally dissolved
. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said to defund the FBI
and a former Trump official called for it to be torn to bits
. The Church committee, established after decades of power abuses by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover first brought deep state abuses to light in the 1970s. The FBI went after black radicals, anti-war groups, gay rights activists, and other leftists under the COINTELPRO program. The bureau originated
as a corporate watchdog during the Theodore Roosevelt administration and quickly descended into a nest of corruption. Agents were hired as political favors, bribes were rampant, and pardons were auctioned until there were investigations in the 1920s. Hoover was brought in to clean up the agency and made the FBI into a lawless personal kingdom for decades leading to the Church committee. These abuses have continued to this day with racial profiling, mass surveillance, and entrapping young Muslim men during the War on Terror. With their new focus on domestic terrorism, they manufactured a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) where jurors let off
two men indicted for the plot due to bureau abuses.
So another Church committee to expose the abuses of power of the FBI would be a great thing for the American people. The issue with the FBI and the criminal justice system is that it works in two separate tiers. Elites are routinely let off and protected while the working poor are criminalized. Law enforcement agencies have put themselves above the law and violated people’s civil rights. Nobody should be above the law and the right might be coming around to that.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar take interest in the right’s new hostility towards the FBI that could lead to something like a new Church committee. There is no trust in the FBI from the right or left, and since the Patriot Act they have much more unchecked power. Questions about confidential informants, mass surveillance, FISA abuses, and whether the FBI’s power is making America safer are enough to spurn new congressional investigations. Mishaps from the US Gymnastics case to the Whitmer kidnapping have brought the failures of the FBI to light more than ever before.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by foreign policy expert Lyle Goldstein, the Director of Asia Engagement at restraint oriented think tank Defense Priorities. They bring Lyle on to better understand the seriousness of the situation with China and Taiwan. Beijing responded to Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan trip by imposing new sanctions, cutting off diplomatic channels, and engaging in unprecedented military drills. China views this as a blow to the One China framework that Taiwan rightfully belongs under the Chinese Communist Party’s umbrella and bringing it back is a project of national unity. Over the past five years, US-China relations have been escalating over trade practices and China’s threat to American hegemony. They now have the military to respond to American gestures in Taiwan with force that was not present a generation ago. Chinese leaders believe that force is the only solution to deal with the Taiwan situation and America will not be able to persuade them otherwise. They are very sensitive to the issue of territorial integrity because of the imperial behavior by Europe, the US, and Japan during the 19th and 20th centuries. The Japanese conquest of much of China during the early 20th century began with Taiwan in 1894-95, which is why it is a focal point of Chinese nationalism. If America enters a war with China over Taiwan, the geographical advantage and overstretched American military would make conditions very favorable to them. The Chinese military always wins war games against the US because they will be able to sustain their firepower over Taiwan. The archipelago is much smaller than Ukraine and concentration of firepower even smaller. Compared to Russia, China is a much more powerful foe and they will have learned the lessons from Putin’s difficulties. The possibility of nuclear escalation and the lack of Cold War diplomatic safeguards makes escalation an extremely dangerous act. The best way to prevent a destructive war from breaking out is to pursue diplomacy instead of crossing China’s redlines. Pelosi’s grandstanding
does the opposite and risks military escalation that could accelerate buildup to a war.
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