The White House Chief of Staff has little job security. He is unelected, unconfirmed and serves at the pleasure of the President. Obama had five in eight years; Trump has had two in less than a year. Chris Whipple, author of The Gatekeepers, tells Jim that a strong chief is essential to a successful presidency.
In 1993, Louis Rosetto, co-founder of Wired, the monthly magazine covering emerging technologies, observed that, “the digital revolution is whipping through our lives like a Bengali typhoon.” Wired Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson focuses on the Russian Facebook and Twitter election abuses, and tells Jim that technological advances may have outpaced our ability to cope with them.
In August, 2017, President Trump at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, promised to declare an “opioid crisis” to deal with the ever increasing death toll due to opioid overdose. On October 26, he got around to declaring a limited “public health emergency.” Critics say Trump’s program is a “band-aid where we need a tourniquet.” Dr. Andrew Kolodny of Brandeis has been all over this issue, and tells Jim we need a massive coordinated federal program if we are to save American lives.
With Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller hot on the trail of Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, and possibly others close to Donald Trump, many wonder what would happen if Trump fires Mueller or tries to pardon Mueller’s witnesses or members of Trump’s family—or even himself. NYU Law Professor Ryan Goodman tells Jim such a course would unleash a constitutional and political crisis.
Marty London had an extraordinary 50-year run as a New York trial lawyer with a spectacular success record that achieved the near impossible. His high-profile practice featured representation of Jackie Onassis, as well as Vice President Spiro Agnew. He prevailed against Roy Cohn and Donald Trump. Marty tells Jim that the way to win cases is to be on the right side.
The year 2016 was an unmitigated disaster for progressives, liberals and Democrats. Not only did Trump take the White House, but Republicans took both houses of Congress, most statehouses, and most state legislatures, endangering many programs on the top of the left agenda. Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the Nation tells Jim what can be done about it.
Trump has appeared to switch positions on North Korea, Russia, NATO, the Iran treaty, NAFTA, the climate change accord, Syria and dealing with dictators. Former Bush White House official and Deputy Secretary of State contender, Elliott Abrams, tells Jim Zirin that unpredictability in foreign policy is no vice, but inconsistency is no virtue.
Even before the election, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, in a provocative new bestselling book, saw an unstable world in disarray. He tells Jim that since November 8, Trump’s unpredictable approach suggesting a trade war with China, a hard line on immigration, tilting towards Putin in a dramatic revision of long standing U.S. foreign policies may have indeed made matters worse.
Obama thought he would “reset” relations with the Russians; yet they deteriorated to the lowest level since the Cold War. Can the U.S. salvage the relationship? Is the election hack an insuperable barrier? Tom Graham of Kissinger Associates, former Senior Director for Russia on the National Security Council of President George W. Bush, who may well be Trump’s choice as ambassador to Russia, tells Jim that our way forward with Putin should be a multi-pronged approach.
During the campaign, President-elect Trump evoked a seething anger among working class Americans, claiming that China had stolen American jobs, and had cheated on trade in the global economy. His answer, which would surely invite retaliation, was to impose a 45% tariff on China-made goods imported into the United States, . Former Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth Robert Hormats tells Jim that our economic relations are so intertwined that a China trade war would be only counter-productive.
The bloody civil war in Syria has spawned a refugee crisis of dimensions unknown since World War II. Nearly 5.5 million people have fled the conflict with only around 10,000 re-settled in the United States—less than 0.2 per cent of the total Syrian refugee population. Yet, during the campaign, President-elect Trump said he would close the door to Syrian immigration. International Rescue Committee President David Miliband tells Jim that the U.S. must open its doors to carefully vetted Syrian refugees, and do its part to avert a humanitarian disaster.
Can Carson edge out Trump? Did Bush stop bleeding? Did Rubio and Cruz make too many gaffes? Can any of them stop Hillary? Veteran political analyst Doug Schoen talks the strength and weaknesses of the candidates, and gives Jim Zirin some predictions for the future even though it is still early days.
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