In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we speak with Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who made headlines when he pulled out of an Israeli government-sponsored trip to Israel for NFL players. We are also joined by Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine. The two discuss the role of sports in politics, including Olympian John Carlos, as well as Colin Kaepernick’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement that inspired players throughout the country at all levels to take similar actions.
We compare President Donald Trump’s attitude toward the media to that of President Richard Nixon with Nixon’s former counsel, John Dean. "The big difference is, Trump is doing this right out and challenging the First Amendment, one of our most important because it involves freedom of the press and freedom of speech," Dean says. "Anything that he doesn’t like, any reporting, he calls being an enemy of the people … It’s just ludicrous. And it’s troublesome that he would try to sway the press by using the bully pulpit of his office to intimidate them."
President Trump has been in office for only 36 days, and there is already a growing chorus of voices calling for his impeachment. This comes as CNN and The New York Times report White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus sought unsuccessfully to have the FBI refute news reports that Donald Trump’s campaign advisers were in frequent contact with Russian intelligence agents ahead of November’s election. The allegations have drawn comparisons to former President Richard Nixon’s 1972 discussion with aides who used the CIA to push the FBI away from investigating the Watergate burglary that later led to his resignation. We speak to someone who has been at the center of the unraveling of a presidency and a vote for impeachment: President Richard Nixon’s White House counsel, John Dean. He is the author of several books, including "The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It," "Conservatives Without Conscience" and "Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches."
In Madison, Wisconsin, attorneys for the family of an American-American teenager who was shot dead by a city police officer have reached a $3.35 million settlement. Nineteen-year-old Tony Robinson was unarmed when officer Matt Kenny forced his way into an apartment following a "disturbance" in 2015. He was shot seven times. Prosecutors declined to charge Kenny, and he was cleared by the Madison Police Department’s Internal Affairs unit. This week’s settlement is the largest ever for an officer-involved killing in Wisconsin.
Thousands of pages of newly released emails reveal how EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt closely collaborated with oil, coal and gas companies backed by the Koch brothers to roll back environmental regulations during his time as Oklahoma attorney general. The documents were released just days after Pruitt was sworn in as the new head of the EPA, the agency tasked with curtailing pollution and safeguarding public health. Last week, Senate Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to postpone Pruitt’s final confirmation until the emails were released, but Republicans pressed forward and confirmed him in a 52-46 vote, largely along party lines. As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times. The trove of new documents shows how energy companies drafted language for Pruitt’s Attorney General’s Office to use to sue the EPA over environmental regulations. We speak to Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which successfully sued for the emails to be released.
In North Dakota, the main resistance camp set up by Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline has been largely vacated after protesters were ordered to leave the camp on Wednesday. Police arrested around 10 people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor had imposed a noon eviction deadline for the hundreds of water protectors still living at the resistance camp. Prayers ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on unceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. A couple dozen people remain at the camp. The ongoing encampments in North Dakota were the largest gathering of Native Americans in decades. At its peak, more than 10,000 people were at the resistance camp. Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River. We go to Standing Rock to speak with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and Linda Black Elk.
The Trump administration has rescinded key protections for transgender students in public schools. The move reverses President Obama’s landmark decision last May to order public schools to let transgender students use the bathrooms matching their chosen gender identity. The Obama administration had threatened to withhold funding for schools that did not comply. According to press accounts, there was a split in the Trump administration over the issue between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The New York Times reports Devos initially resisted signing off and told Trump that she was uncomfortable because of the potential harm that rescinding the protections could cause transgender students. At a meeting on Tuesday in the White House, the president sided with Sessions and pushed DeVos to drop her opposition, which she did. We speak to Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project.
As President Trump prepares to issue a new executive order barring all refugees and visitors from seven majority-Muslim nations, we speak to Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. He reflects back on how FDR twice denied permission for the Frank family to come to the United States as refugees to escape Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has revealed the number of anti-Muslim groups in the United States tripled last year, from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. The Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups have said hate groups have been energized by the candidacy and then election of Donald Trump. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer dodged a question about why Trump has not spoken out against anti-Muslim attacks. We speak to Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Eleven Jewish community centers across the country were hit by another wave of bomb threats Monday. It was the fourth wave of nationwide bomb threats against JCCs in the last five weeks. In total, 69 threats have been reported against 54 JCCs. Meanwhile, at a cemetery in University City, Missouri, the gravesites of more than 100 Jews were vandalized over the weekend. For weeks, President Trump has faced increasing criticism for failing to denounce anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim threats. On Tuesday, Trump briefly addressed the recent wave of anti-Semitic threats. We speak to Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. The group posted a statement on Facebook titled "Mr. President, Your Too Little, Too Late Acknowledgment of #Antisemitism Today is Not Enough."
The White House is moving to greatly expand the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and to increase the number of immigration and Border Patrol agents by 15,000. We look at how President Obama’s deportation practices set the stage for today’s new crackdown. During his time in office, Obama deported a record 2.7 million people. In 2014, the head of the National Council of La Raza, Janet Murguía, called Obama the nation’s "deporter-in-chief." We speak to former Department of Homeland Security attorney Margo Schlanger and attorney Cesar Vargas, co-director of DREAM Action Coalition.
The White House is moving to greatly expand the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and to increase the number of immigration and Border Patrol agents by 15,000. Under rules issued on Tuesday, almost any undocumented person in the country could be detained and deported, even if they have never committed a crime. A traffic violation or mere suspicion of committing a crime could now be grounds for deportation. Any immigrant who cannot prove they have been in the United States for over two years could be deported without a hearing. Any migrant, regardless of their nationality, who crosses the southern border will be deported to Mexico while they await deportation hearings. The memos also call for the prosecution of parents who seek to reunite their family by using smugglers to bring their children into the country. We speak to University of Michigan Law School professor Margo Schlanger, who served as the head of civil rights and civil liberties at the Department of Homeland Security, and Cesar Vargas, co-director of DREAM Action Coalition. He is New York state’s first openly undocumented attorney.
Nearly 2 million Brits have signed a petition calling on President Trump’s official state visit to be canceled. On Monday, thousands of protesters gathered outside Parliament in London as British lawmakers debated whether to deny Trump a formal state visit. We speak to Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth International. He spoke at the protest in London yesterday.
President Trump is doubling down on his false claim that Sweden is struggling with immigration-related security problems, after he faced widespread criticism and ridicule for appearing to invent a terrorist attack in Sweden. Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt responded to Trump’s claim by tweeting, "Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound." There has been one recent terror attack in Sweden: Three neo-Nazis attacked a Gothenburg asylum center in January with a homemade bomb. One person was seriously injured. According to The Independent, the suspects were members of the Nordic Resistance Movement, which opposes non-white immigration to Sweden. We speak to Mattias Gardell, professor of comparative religion and head of the Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism at Uppsala University in Sweden.
According to a Bloomberg investigation, the general counsel for Steven Cohen’s infamous investment firm oversaw some of the Trump transition team’s staff picks for the Justice Department in November. Cohen’s firm, SAC Capital, was the subject of one of the biggest insider trading investigations in Wall Street’s history. This fascinating history is chronicled in New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar’s book "Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street."
As the Trump administration enters its second month, Republican lawmakers have begun a legislative attack on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created in response to the economic crisis a decade ago. The bureau was created under the Dodd-Frank legislation, which is also coming under attack by Republican lawmakers and the White House. Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to repeal a Dodd-Frank anti-corruption measure requiring oil and mining companies to disclose payments to governments. He has also vowed to chip away at other parts of the legislation. We speak to Sheelah Kolhatkar, a former hedge fund analyst who is now a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of the new book "Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street."
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