Transcribe your podcast

Welcome to Political. I'm Ron Suslow and this is our weekly roundup, where we bring in a rotating panel of experts to discuss the truth. You need to know behind the most important stories of the week and how they're transforming the political landscape in this country. And as usual, we have an outstanding panel today returning to the round up as Susan Perko, a political strategist and crisis communications consultant and MSNBC political analyst. Good morning and welcome back, Susan. Good morning.


Great to be with you. Also returning is Lucy Caldwell, a veteran political strategist and tech founder and a former senior political adviser at the Goldwater Institute. Lucy, it's always good to have you back. Great to be here again, you guys. And making his political debut is Michael Zeldin. Michael is a former CNN legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor with extensive experience in white collar crime, including money laundering. He is also the host of the podcast that said with Michael Zeldin.


Michael, welcome to the Roundup. Thanks so much for having me on today's show. We're going to discuss some new developments in the prosecution of the insurrectionists involved in the January 6th attack on the capital and the racism and revisionism Republicans are using to whitewash and memory. Hold the attack. We'll talk about the escalating humanitarian crisis at our southern border and how it's shaping the early days of the Biden administration. And finally, we'll examine how the prosecution is coming together for the case against Trump and his associates alleged financial and election related crimes.


So let's start with an update on the insurrection prosecutions. On Monday, The Washington Post reported that federal authorities have arrested and charged two men with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Cesnik during the January six insurrection at the Capitol. And Cesnik, as we know, died in the aftermath of the assault, though one of the biggest challenges in prosecuting the capital attack has been nailing down the cause of his death, as there has been no definitive ruling thus far on how he died or whether anyone would or could be held accountable.


And according to a Capitol Police statement from January 7th, Cesnik was injured while physically engaging with protesters, and he later collapsed after he had returned to his office following the riot. Now it's two months later and we still don't know the results of officer sickness autopsy. Nor do we have a publicly stated cause of death. And the indictment against these two individuals does not go so far as to say they caused his death, which would have allowed for even more significant charges to be brought against them.


And both of the arrested suspects have each been charged with nine counts, including assaulting three officers with the deadly weapon, civil disorder and obstruction of a congressional proceeding, charges that would carry up to 20 years in prison, according to the Post. So, Michael, I'd love to start with you here, because there's an interesting wrinkle to this civil disorder charge which prosecutors have brought against more than 60 of the capital rioters so far. And there has been sharp criticism from the defense lawyers and public defenders and progressives about the Justice Department's use of this same charge, which stems from, as I understand it, in 1968, statute to prosecute those accused of violence in connection with last year's racial justice process.


So can you help us understand this law and what its origin is and why it's being used against the capital rioters and why it's so controversial? Sure. So this law Section 230, one of the United States Code 18 U.S. code is what was referred to as the civil obedience law. It was put into the Civil Rights Act of 1968 by Russell Long, the Louisiana senator who was an avowed segregationist.


And it was intended to be a mechanism by which prosecutions could be made of civil disobedience, Dr. King and his followers and others. And it was never really thought to be a useful tool because no one would bring such a prosecution. But nonetheless, there it sits, this civil obedience law to charge civil disobedient people, people who are exercising their First Amendment right of free speech and assembly and redress of grievances against the government. Now, this statute is being resurrected.


It was not used much at all except in the anti-war demonstrations by the Nixon administration. And now they've resurrected it. The bar administration in justice resurrected it to use against the protesters in Portland, Oregon, the Antifa Black Lives Matter protesters. And so you can't miss the sort of irony or the the tragedy of using a law that was stuck in by a segregationist to the Civil Rights Act so that people like Dr. King and his followers could be prosecuted for interfering with the police who were interfering with their right to to protest.


And here we are with the statute being challenged as to its constitutionality. But nonetheless, charges have been brought against multiple people under this statute. And that's true not only for the Portland Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters, but similarly in the January six Resurrectionists cases.


So the language in the statute is aimed at preventing interference with any federally protected function in the cases from the summer established federal jurisdiction by claiming the crimes took place during protests that interfered with interstate commerce, according to Politico. So how strong is that claim compared to an attack on the Capitol to stop the certification of electoral votes?


Well, it's a great question. The way the federal law versus the state law overlays is that state crime is the first set of crimes that one would bring in the normal course. That is, if someone assaulted a police officer or destroyed property, then you would be charged. Under the state law, you're only chargeable under federal law. If that implicates interstate commerce, commerce between the states. Most people argue that these types of crimes were intrastate within one state and therefore only state law should be prosecuted in Portland.


I think it's a much stronger case that this was intrastate commerce and therefore this statute should not be constitutionally allowed to be used against the antifa Black Lives Matter defendants. In the insurrectionist case, it's a harder case to say that shutting down the federal government does not implicate interstate commerce because after all, the members of Congress are from all states, they gather in this one location. They are certifying the votes from their multiple states. And so I think it's a a stronger constitutional case in the January 6th than it is in the Black Lives Matter Antifa prosecutions.


So essentially, it's a stretch to think that this statute could be used effectively against the BLM and anti-war protesters, but it actually probably is quite suitable for the insurrectionist. Is that fair?


I think that's fair. And I think that what's important is to make sure that there is an understanding of these two categories of protesters. The Antifa Black Lives Matter versus the January six insurrectionist are not equivalent. These are not equivalent actors. And so it's harder to say, well, what's good for one is good for the other because of the nature of the activity that was being undertaken in each of the separate locations. So, yes, absolutely. This is a.


Appropriate use statute, if you want to use it at all, which I wouldn't use against the January six people, then against the Portland people.


So just one more follow up question to that. What do you think we will see in terms of how do you think this is going to play out the prosecutions against both of these groups, although, as you mentioned, they're not equivalent.


So the defense attorneys in the Portland cases, and this is being used against others in other jurisdictions where there were black lives matters, anti-apartheid protests, initially, the defendants will attempt to have the indictments thrown out on procedural grounds, meaning the statute is unconstitutional.


If they lose, then there'll be a trial on the merits where they'll have to defend themselves against the accusation that they engaged in civil disobedience in violation of the terms of this statute. All right, so speaking of the differences between these two groups, I want to talk about Ron Johnson, Susan and Lucy, it's been upsetting, though unsurprising, to watch Republicans and especially proponents of this big lie that the election was stolen and those sympathetic to the terrorists cause try to minimize and downplay our understanding of what happened on January 6th.


Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin who seems to find his way into this show with some regularity, talked candidly about how the insurrectionists make him feel on a radio show last week. Let's take a listen.


I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law. So I was concerned. Now, had the tables been turning, Joe, this could be in trouble had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and TIFA protesters, I might have been a little concerned despite admitting on the air this could get me in trouble, Senator Johnson said on Monday in a response to the backlash, quote, It has nothing to do with race.


It has everything to do with riots. I completely did not anticipate that anybody could interpret what I said as racist. It's not. He wrote an op ed in The Wall Street Journal making the same claim.


So, Susan, help us think through. How does Senator Johnson literally saying the quiet part right into a microphone, help Republicans whitewash what happened on January 6th and the dangers members of Congress of both parties, mind you, faced? Yeah, it's there's an interesting point that you talk about when it switches from what Ron Johnson did as a racist and how what the legislature, the Republicans in legislature are trying to do to kind of whitewash the whole event of January six.


Ron Johnson, you know what? At this point, we know what he is. And I'm actually happy he basically admitted he was a racist on our we have it. We know what he is. You can't play around it when he speaks, you know, from which which voice he speaks from. And it's clear cut. I almost wish more more people would do that. So we knew exactly where they stood.


But what the Republicans are doing right now, especially in the House and I think we see it more in the House, is a legislative effort where they prevented honoring one of the officers the other day, a piece of legislation going forward that just simply honored the person who saved their lives because they didn't like the word insurrectionists in it. That to me. Is just disgraceful how they cannot honor the people that saved their lives and that's where the Republicans are going, they're trying to erase this part of their history.


You can't, but they will try because what what's happening right now? What are they doing? Nothing. If they're not talking about that, they're talking about Mr. Potato Head. Those are the only things they have. They're not delivering anything to their constituents. So they are trying to rewrite their history because they know how bad it looks.


So, Lucy, I want to look at this from a bigger perspective, because we see this double standard based on race frequently. What impact can it have when a sitting senator voices that a violent mob threatening to hang the vice president were people who love this country? But Black Lives Matter protesters were cause for concern. Like to Michael's point, we cannot we cannot conflate these two groups. How how do you think this will filter out to other people? I think that when you look at this, it's it's becoming increasingly difficult to make the case that the white supremacy strain or theme is becoming a much larger one within the Republican Party.


And I think that when people are trying to understand why have they gone all in with defending the January six riots, when that seems so out of step with the American people? I think there are a couple of political realities that we need to keep in mind. One, they're looking ahead to midterms. These members of Congress, I mean, there's probably a pretty good reason when you look at it, that some of the Republican members of Congress, unlike Republican senators, are really becoming the loud voices of this kind of insanity.


Louie Gohmert. Paul, ghosts are of course, you have people like Ron Johnson, who many, many people think will not run again. But you do have many, many members who are Republican members who are looking forward to redistricting overseen by Republican legislatures in their home states that will secure their their next 10 years in Congress, artificially draw their own power.


Right now, you have people like Louie Gohmert who people who won last term by like 70 some percent. And so when Ron Johnson says something like that, I think a lot of people think, well, he said, I'm going to say this, you know, this is going to get me in trouble. That wasn't a mistake. Yeah, right.


You knew exactly what he was doing and you knew why he knew what he was doing, because then the narrative becomes to his people, to his supporters around the country, he's being attacked. And he's just saying the thing that we all believe because we, you know, Republican rank and file voters believe that black people are violent thugs and white people are patriotic, God fearing, country loving Americans. And so I think that when you start looking at the things happening around the periphery, for instance, Paul Gosar, that crazy town congressman from Arizona who during CPAC went across town to speak at the American America First conference, where immediately after delivering remarks to this white supremacist cabal, Nick Fuentes, just sort of white supremacists to the stars, came on and said that the January 6th riots were awesome.


Right. Steve King, sort of the original white supremacist congressman who is just who was defeated in a Republican primary last year in Iowa, was their being vetted. And so you think this is out of step with the American people. But when you look at how people feel and I bring up the midterms for this reason, yes. The majority of Americans say that the events of January six were terrible and that Donald Trump, Donald Trump's enablers, were to blame for it.


But the majority of Republicans don't. They don't. They do not they they are living in an alternate universe in terms of what they either are being told or what they want to believe about the events of January 6th.


So, Susan, I love to get your take on something. How do you think we can talk to people who consider themselves Republican or Republican leaning but don't agree with this idea?


I'm going to go back to what Lucy was saying and roll right into that.


And just to add on to it is don't forget, there's also a huge void right now in the space of Donald Trump not being on Twitter and not speaking an awful lot. So I think we're seeing some of these elected officials either trying to fill that void for national reasons and filling that void, rather, or for political reasons to stay in good favor with Donald Trump in case they have a primary or they just want to be in good favor with Donald Trump because they want to be the successor.


And just a fair warning to all of them.


No one does Donald Trump except Donald Trump. He's the only one who gets away with it. So when we start talking about those Republicans who want who still believe in their Republican principles that they had when they became Republicans way before Donald Trump, they're lost. And how do you talk to them? I think you have to not take the personality of Donald Trump in the personality and a little bit of the culture out of the political and and bring it back to what we are as a society.


And I think the biggest thing that I'm focused on right now is stopping voter suppression. And I think there's a very basic argument there similar to how suburban women especially turned on Donald Trump during the time of the protests. And he started saying, like, oh, let's just go cut through them like butter and stuff that got them mad because that was adding fuel to the fire. I think the idea of people, elected officials trying to choose who votes for them is offensive and more offensive.


Is saying who can and cannot vote, and I think if you take that, there is a that's that's an issue that can move people. Yeah. And affect them.


So on Wednesday, the House passed legislation by a vote of 413 to 12 to award congressional gold medals to U.S. Capitol Police officers and other law enforcement who risked their lives protecting the Capitol on January 6th. And Politico had previously reported, and Susan just alluded to it, that some House Republicans opposed the resolution because they didn't like that. The bill calls the capital the temple of our American democracy and because it labels the attackers as a mob of insurrectionists. And also, according to Politico, Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert circulated a competing resolution that omits references to what happened on January 6th and also appears to downplay the sacrifices of officers Nick and Jeffrey Smith plainly stating that they, quote, passed in January twenty twenty one.


So to me, the efforts to rewrite history and gloss over this attack, specifically by members of the very institution that was attacked, is just so beyond the pale, even with the lowest standards we've come to expect from from some of these Republicans.


So, Lucy, what is the ultimate goal of these Republicans and how likely are they to achieve it?


Well, I think that their goal is to continue to consolidate power as much as they can among their core constituencies. So, you know, Mike, Madrid has talked a lot on this podcast about realignment of of constituencies and that we really have kind of misunderstood, say, the Obama Trump voter. Right. But that there really is this reorganization that these Republicans are trying to capture, which is capturing and the kind of energy of people who feel fearful that this country looks different, this white picket memory of what it was at one time.


And so you see this playing out in so many ways beyond just we've talked before about the Venn diagram of of thinking about the reach of something like Kuhnen versus Trump supporters, that it's actually the reach of these conspiracy theories is actually so much wider than just like, are you a Republican voter? Are you a Trump voter? So we can think about things like the Mr. Potato Head piece or Dr. Seuss or, you know, coming after first.


They're all really concerned about the Grammys now and are so upset about Cardi B as like the Grammys have always been like this really family friendly affair.


These are all culture wars. So they are going to continue to pursue culture wars when it does not necessarily the culture war piece in a moment does not necessarily have perfect overlap electorally. But the idea is to continue to move people around this kind of sphere of fear about our American way of life, even though a lot of us see changes coming, that we think this really is the realization of our American ideals. And so I think that because of that, they are and I I mentioned members of Congress, particularly before because.


If the Republican Party winds up becoming kind of a regional party, a regional nationalist party, but Louie Gohmert can continue to win by 70 plus percent every cycle, then that's fine for him. And they're there, all these individual actors thinking about their individual districts. And so as there's a race to the bottom and I kind of play to the lowest common denominator in terms of morality, decency, awareness, they're going to continue to do that. So I think that we really make a mistake in thinking that this is part of some grand plan.


I mean, when you look at the people running the Republican Party, I mean, it's just a complete clown car of people. I mean, but on an individual level, these Republican members of Congress are going to continue to pursue these ads that look very ugly to a lot of us, but in hopes that they will continue to pick people up based on this culture of fear about the American way of life. Right.


Michael, you've been nodding along and I want to go to you to sort of help us wrap up this topic and put the situation that we're in legally into sort of historical perspective. And what do you think the the dangers are that we face if we don't get this history right and if we don't get the consequences right?


I think that Isabel Wilkerson in her book cast pretty much nailed it, which is that we have a caste system in America. We've had it since the outset of our nation. The original sin of slavery and race has continued to inform the way we behave. I think these Republican voters are quite nervous about their standing in a multicultural society, which and I think 2034 will not be a majority white society.


And I believe that if we don't get this right as a matter of politics and as a matter of law enforcement, then the very fundamental premise of our democracy is in danger. And I think that it's incumbent upon. All right. Thinking people, irrespective of the political party that they belong to, is to to speak the truth of what this is really about, what is going on here. You know, when I hear Gohmert, it reminds me of Holocaust deniers.


You just can't deny reality. And people have to speak out against that in very direct terms.


It can't be that we just waffle and say, oh, well, he's Louie Gohmert and or he's Jim Jordan and, you know, they'll be who they'll be. No, we have to call out and say, this is who these people are. This is what the dangers of their thinking present to us as a country. And it has to be stopped. So well said. I'm glad you're enjoying today's episode so far. Many of you have reached out and asked how you can help continue the work we're doing at Politico.


And you should know we are an entirely independent organization committed to changing and expanding and evolving how we think about politics. So we do really need your support to keep it going. We love that. So many of you have been with us for such a long time through growth and change and renewal. And we love hearing that you're learning and growing with us. We have a lot of exciting stuff planned, like the redistricting series we recently started and an extended special series on the origins and consequences and future of KUNR.


We want this work to remain accessible to everyone.


So we're thinking through subscription options with episode transcripts and exclusive segments.


But in order for us to keep building together, we need your support right now if this show is valuable to you and you want it to continue and most importantly, if you want to be a part of making it happen, we would appreciate you pitching in. What you can just visit our website, Politico, Dotcom and click contribute. There's a link in today's show notes. And I want to give a special shout out to a few of you who have already generously contributed to keep the show running, including Roxann H and Richard F and Lauren W and Michelle Q.


On behalf of the political team, you have our sincere thanks and we're all thrilled that you're with us on this journey. All right, I want to switch now to what's happening at our southern border. So hundreds of thousands of people, including scores of unaccompanied minors, have arrived at or attempted to cross the US Mexico border in recent weeks. A Homeland Security official told CNN that border agents are encountering 4000 to 5000 people daily. And U.S. authorities arrested and encountered more than 100000 thousand migrants on the border over a four week period, ending March 3rd.


There are a multitude of factors playing into the surge of migrants seeking to enter the US, including violent and natural disasters and perceptions of a friendlier immigration policy from the new administration. But complicating all of this, of course, is the fact that we're still in the middle of a raging global pandemic and the Biden administration has allowed unaccompanied children to enter the US while their claims are processed. But that has led to what is being described now as a humanitarian crisis.


And we still have kids in cages. So, Susan, first, I want your help breaking down the perceptions of what's happening, because we all remember the twenty eighteen caravan and I put that in air quotes which which Fox and company used as a scare mongering tool, which was entirely manufactured. And that is different from what we're seeing now. That mythical caravan only had about four thousand people by the time it reached the southern Mexico border. And according to Vox, that's roughly equivalent to what border agents are seeing every day right now.


But also in what ways are conservative media spinning this to fit their existing narratives? Sure. Well, let's first start off with the Biden reaction versus the Trump reaction to unaccompanied minors. Donald Trump sought to imprison them and hold them accountable in a legal system, putting a two year old with a lawyer in a court, which is ridiculous versus the concept of the Biden administration, which is trying to at least do this is humanitarian as well as possible and get these kids out of these detention centers into better facilities.


The issue is immigration for the for the conservative media. I mean, that's that's all they have now because the Biden administration passed a covid relief bill. People are getting checks. The economy, the people are getting vaccinated. There's hope on the economy. The issue that's left for for conservative media to go after is immigration. It I just learned this about two hours ago. There's also been a somewhat change in the policy versus what the Biden administration was saying just recently is they are now letting families in from Mexico if they have children under six.


So they are not separating the families. And so that is adding to the crisis then. And Mexico is saying no, like we're done.


We can't we cannot handle more people. We will let them go. Like, we just can't handle it anymore. So this has become a serious crisis because there there is no answers and there's no way this country is going to work for serious immigration reforms. And the problem is there the administration is very concerned about it. They see right now the pictures that are coming out from the southern border are going to start eclipsing the tour that Joe Biden is taking on covid relief.


They see that in the news cycle. It's it's not there yet. But when Biden by the time Biden goes to Atlanta on Friday, mark my words, that will be the turning point. And that's what they're going to run with Friday night on conservative media. And I'm going to say. And then so and that's where the Republicans are going to go. And unfortunately, they're going to continue to use it, as they always have as a photo op to scare people.


And it's a fear tactic. That's all they've got going into what Lucy said. They don't want to see those other people coming into the country.


And when you say that the that the fact that they're not separating children six and under from their families is adding to the crisis, what do you mean by that?


Well, because those families now are coming in. They hit the Biden administration said they were only letting unaccompanied minors come in. So now they're letting unaccompanied minors and their family members, which is adding to the crisis in that the number of people. Correct. It's obviously the humanitarian thing to do, but it is increasing those numbers by a lot.


Lucy, can you tie together how all the layers of the border situation have been further compounded by the pandemic? Sure, I mean, I think one thing that Susan alluded to that's important to understand when she talks about the strain on Mexico is that many of these people are not Mexican immigrants. They are from Guatemala, they're from Honduras, they're from El Salvador. So at the point that they get to the border, they have made a very, very long journey.


And it is really fraught.


Certainly, I think and we saw this kind of rhetoric from Greg Abbott a few weeks ago, this idea that these people who are so sick with covid his some of these Republican border state governors are suddenly really hyper aware of covid, which is hilarious, are going to increase the the kind of worries about covid spreading further, even though many of these people are crossing into states where we're covid is raging already.


But that has also set up this other kind of side battle where the federal government actually is offering aid to states like Texas to facilitate better covid testing, better kind of care opportunities for people who do test positive for covid who are in this population. But a lot of those governors, including Greg Abbott, have just rebuffed that because this is another opportunity for a sensationalist Fox story. Yeah.


So, Michael, I'd love for you to help us understand what the president's options are here, legally speaking, for what his administration can actually do when thousands of migrants show up at the border. What are their rights and what is President Biden weighing here from a from a legal perspective?


So it's not legal to enter the United States without authority to do so, there are ports of entry where you are supposed to enter and there are mechanisms for which legal immigration occurs.


There is a process which is what is going on here of asylum, which is people coming to the border and saying, essentially, I am in risk of injury, personal harm, and I have to flee that risk of injury and come to you and ask asylum.


And we've seen that in the history of our country forever and a day.


The process has to go forward by which they can assess whether or not these are true asylum seekers or people who are just looking for a better economic opportunity, which is not to belittle that desire, but but as a as a asylum matter, it's not exactly dispositive of of the result.


The problem that Biden administration faces is that because the Trump administration dismantled the asylum process, didn't bring in enough asylum, judges, didn't bring enough immigration court officers, they don't have an easy capacity to make assessments of these applications. And so they have to warehouse people. Terrible word to use next to the next to a person, but they are, in fact, warehousing people in Dallas and another centers while they try to figure out what to do about this surge.


And we have to be clear that this surge has been ongoing for years and years. I think in 2015, we had about 40000 unaccompanied minors. And in 2019, the last data I saw, there were 76000 unaccompanied minors.


And this is because we have had a horrible foreign policy with respect to Latin and South America.


You cannot for a moment turn your eye to the from the fact that these conditions that these people are fleeing from is in no small part the result of U.S. foreign policy with respect to destabilization of countries that we don't like and or just bad governments that we like and we are supporting that lead to the types of threats that people are fleeing from. So like with race and other things, it's really incumbent upon Congress to come up with a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill.


And for Kevin McCarthy to go down to the border for this photo op instead of remaining in Washington to address the comprehensive need for this reform is a sin. So I want to talk about also the political forces that that President Biden is is considering and weighing in. Susan, you started to get into this already, but do you have any sense about how the delay in the transition might have resulted in where we are right now? And what are the other political considerations that he's weighing as he as you mentioned, his stance on this covid tour next week?


So when it comes to the transition, obviously, every agency was hurt because they didn't have the time to get in there to understand where the country was at on certain policies. In this particular case, though, when it came to the immigration crisis, it wasn't I don't think time would have made a huge difference because the only thing that could have happened, nothing could have happened sooner as far as Joe Biden immediately signing some reversals of President Trump's executive orders.


So he came out with his own the the the thing that they probably weren't aware of and that they found out later that hurt was just how defunded the operation was that Michael's referring to that Lucie's referred to to take in immigrants, to have to have the judges, to have them processed and then housed properly.


That's what they probably found out late. But there is an argument that has been out there that people started to come or feel they can make it across the border when Joe Biden became president because they felt that it would be more compassionate, at least they would be treated better, not that they would necessarily come in and be welcomed, but they wouldn't be treated as badly as President Trump had treated them. But the transition alone, again, they could have been perhaps more prepared to move resources.


But they were also very focused and everyone was on how they were going to handle covid. They had no idea what to expect from the Trump administration. It was a lot worse than we thought. But politically now I don't think the administration saw coming this fast. I don't think they saw this problem for what it was 10 days ago. And there was also an issue and this may have played into it on transparency, because all the ride, along with border officials and other taking impress to view some of the facilities that were popular under the Trump administration, which is kind of second way.


But because they like to show how grotesque.


Yeah. Actually means grotesque it was. But then there was also because they at least allowed press, you got to reporters at least got to report from the border and go along and see what some of the problems were with agents. And so now they had suspended those or great many of them, which got the press very concerned as well because they felt they couldn't see they were being screened off from it.


So I think that also increased their desire to get, you know, to see what was happening and create that environment. But again, it comes down to the children, I think is what hurt that touches us as a country all over seeing children mistreated like this and that that tugs at you. And I think it really tugs at Joe Biden to I think he sees this and he knows this is unacceptable. This is America. We cannot behave like that.


I believe that that's how he is in his being. So I think his reaction is probably very stark and very quick in a response. Then obviously someone like Donald Trump would be.


So Lucy and then Susan, I'd love your take on this to the massive question here. Obviously, as Michael pointed out, is comprehensive immigration reform and whether or not this crisis is going to bring the the reality to the forefront sufficiently to, you know, for Congress to summon the political will to finally do something about it. So how I, I, I, I am afraid to ask this question because I don't know if I'm going to like the answer.


How likely is that to happen here?


I feel so emotional about this issue as a Westerner, as a person who grew up going to school, going to public high school with the dreamers who were just as American as I was, you know, as a person who lived in Arizona during some of the most draconian immigration legislation in the country, legislation like SB 10, 70, there is no question that this is a humanitarian crisis and it is a crisis in part because as we try to make adjustments to our policy at the border, we're creating bad incentives.


This must be the moment that we pass comprehensive immigration reform. This should be the the package that the filibuster has broken over. If it needs to be, we are we just this is unsustainable. Part of what's happening right now is that we have created terrible, terrible incentives. So I tend to think I tend to kind of be of the sort of Cato Institute school of thought on this. And they've actually done really interesting and compelling. Coverage about what's been happening, they came out with a new paper this week about really what exactly is happening with a lot of these unaccompanied minors at the border.


But if you could have envisioned America as this place where if you want to come here and work, we want you to come here and work and be a part of our economy. And, you know, I would support a path to citizenship. I'm almost as open borders as you can get. But when you have a scenario where the only way that people can get into the country is by seeking asylum and they're actually like looking for opportunities to be picked up, I mean, there are people being picked up who are thrilled because then they're going to make their asylum cases.


The asylum application system is obviously being abused right now. And of course, it is, because if we're not giving people other opportunities, what other choice do they have?


Because the system's broken, right.


So, of course, if you are a person who thinks I want to find a better life for my family, you're going to pursue these avenues or you find a way for your child.


We have a policy right now of trying to expel as many people as we can at the border, but we have a different policy for unaccompanied minors. Of course, the number of unaccompanied minors coming over at ports of entry and over the border has gone way up because we're creating incentives.


So these are just appalling and gut wrenching situations to the point where I think that when you we have to keep the drumbeat up about just how bad this is and will it be a perfect package? Probably not. But I do think that there is much more of an opportunity now than there ever has been. And there are Republicans who want to be a part of a solution like this, Republicans like Mitt Romney. So I think that if if breaking the filibuster is on the table, I think you get there.


But this is fundamentally about what kind of country we want to be. So in the in the national dialog about how to handle immigration across our southern border, we need to get real and stop acting like there are going to be perfect solutions. Can we be certain that people who cross the border, who just want to come and work and establish their families in this country, that they will not, you know, benefit from entitlements programs or, you know, of course, they may write.


There's all kinds of data about how many types of immigrant populations for the first several years they're a net drain and that they become a net positive. So part of this has to be being honest about those kinds of things and thinking, who are we fundamentally as a people are we are people who welcome people in. And we think that some of those economic considerations are secondary, that the safety and well-being of children is very important, that the safety and well-being and that we are going to extend the right to pursue economic liberty to people who want to come here and make an honest living and be like proud patriotic Americans, or are we not?


And and I think that if we can get real and also eliminate those opportunities for the right wing media to kind of pigeonhole the moderates and the left by kind of putting them up against the wall over some tough realities, then there is much more of an opportunity. But I, I do think it will take breaking the filibuster.


Yeah, I think that the right wing media problem is that it creates such a toxic atmosphere for this conversation. And that's that's what I'm most afraid of. Michael, you you had something to say here?


Yeah, I wanted to just add one point, which is from my law enforcement perspective, which is when when Trump essentially tried to close the borders and defund the asylum processes. It's funny, we hear about defunding the police and how a terrible thing it is. Will he defunded the border and that's part of the reason we're in the mess we are in.


But you have to understand from a law enforcement perspective, when you shut down legal avenues for entry, when you essentially defund the asylum process, all who are empowered by that or the coyotes, the so-called coyotes who are paid mercenaries to try to smuggle people in across the border, those are the people who benefit most from bad border policy, because when you don't have a legal or accessible means of entry and you're desperate, you hire people who you pay ten thousand dollars a head for, who try to transport you illegally into the country, often leading to death in the desert and other places.


And so we have to be understanding that when you talk about creating a better circumstance at the border, you really are protecting children from abuse by these coyotes and other criminal gangs. That that. Benefit from bad Porter policy. I think you make a really important point, which is that this is a problem of Trump's creation, because if you don't fund the mechanisms to adequately deal with the surge and in human beings and people at the border, then it's no wonder that we have all of these images splashed across conservative media.


And I think that's that that only reinforces the narratives that that that they use politically. Susan?


Yeah, I actually disagree a little bit when you said that this is a result of Donald Trump, like the responsibility falls our guess maybe on the interim four year execution of what he has done. But immigration has been a longstanding problem in this country that has we I mean, we see things from time to time now. It's coming up again that just touches our heart. But want to go back to something that Lucy talked about with the filibuster. And to answer your question about is it possible to come to a conclusion on or reconciliation on immigration?


The last two pieces of big legislation passed were President Trump's tax cut and Joe Biden's covid relief plan. Both were done through reconciliation. If we're going to see infrastructure plan, it's going to be done with reconciliation, which means no one's gotten to 60. They're using it because they can't get to six.


Can you briefly, briefly describe what reconciliation means for our listeners? So basically, it's part of the budget process, which only requires a majority of the Senate to approve because it's budget related and it kind of gets folded into that process versus a piece of standalone legislation.


OK, so we've seen that. So that's basically we haven't gotten to 60 in a really long time. And as someone who was upset when Majority Leader Reid took away the filibuster on federal judges, certainly McConnell and Supreme Court justices, I have come to realize that we haven't done anything significant in our country for 25, 30 years. And you know what? That's also because of the filibuster. And I don't see how we get to 60. Yes.


We always look to, oh, can we get a couple of Republicans and make it look bipartisan hooey. That's not how you're going to get it done now. And we talk about voting rights and other projects. That must be number one if you're going to break the filibuster for I am hard to find what the how the filibuster stays in place. So you know what? We may go back and forth as a 50 50 country. We see legislation passed in one administration and it may be revised in the next.


But let me tell you something. The things that we're talking about will be very hard to vote against once they're passed.


And that's usually the problem when you have, like even the Affordable Care Act, it was hard to find people to vote against it once people had it. So I think if you look at immigration policies, for example, it's going to be very hard to vote against sound immigration policies, which is something that the American public has want.


So we typically kind of look forward to what happens at the end of the show. But I will say filibuster, filibuster, filibuster, meaning we should break it.


Yeah, I'm at the point where and it's going to be the conversation where everything goes to because with this coming up with the with the surge on the border now becoming so significant, they have to fix it. And if there's only one way to do it, it also allows the administration to go ahead with their other priorities. And that's what happens when you win. Elections have consequences. And you know what? Those consequences will be much greater in four years if the filibuster is broken.


Oh, that's so right. Because now people vote, they aren't going to say, oh, it's just gridlock. No, things happen because people don't care now because things don't happen. Yeah.


Yeah. So, Lucy, by the way, we should note that President Biden has expressed his support for returning to the talking filibuster, but he has not expressed any support for getting rid of the filibuster. And and, Susan, I want to align myself with everything you just said. I totally agree. Lucy, where are you on this?


I think that people were so mad at people like Kyrsten Sinema a few weeks ago and other Democratic members who voted against raising the minimum wage. That actually gives Democrats more cover to break the filibuster because it's a sign that they're they are not going to vote as a monolith. Right. That you have Democratic senators from purple states who are not aligned with Chuck Schumer. Right. And so in that way, that is actually, I think, a a talking point in the in favor of breaking the filibuster once once you if you make the assumption to return to immigration that you can get to that point, that you can get to the point of.


Outbreak. And by the way, Republicans are doing the best job ever of making the case for breaking the filibuster because they can't help themselves, because they can't stand to act like they're in the minority, which they are.


So every time that McConnell gives some statement about things he might be willing to do, like go, what the hell are you talking about? You just lost. But in terms of immigration, I think that once you have that stage set and this comes back to the sort of just sort of demographic and kind of survey responses that we see of Americans where most Americans are moving moderate. Right. They do take accountability for these things. They do want to see the country move to a kind of moral and humanitarian center.


Then you start being able to make the case just how fundamentally American a push for immigration reform is. If Michael was talking about some of the atrocities that we see because of our broken immigration system, the city of Phenix, it's like number two in the world for kidnaping Phenix, Arizona. Why? Because of cartels, right. It is not that, you know, like suburban white kids are getting kidnaped in Phenix, it's that there is a huge problem caused by our failure to address comprehensive immigration reform in American cities that are hours and hours from the border.


A couple of weeks ago, there was this horrible event where a car, a suburban, that it had all the seats ripped out that had something like dozens of people just trying to cross in Imperial County along the border was in a car accident that with with a semi. But because they were all the seats had been ripped out, virtually all of them died on impact. These are this is the kind of desperation that we're seeing. And these crimes, not crimes, but crimes related to it.


And also tragedies are happening within the US because of the failure to do something along the border. So I think that the more that we can tell these stories, not as like rogue actors, but as people who are doing a thing that is so and so American is so in keeping with sort of the American identity, like whatever I do, I'm going to get up today and do whatever I can to make a better life for my family. I'm going to pursue work.


I'm going to pursue safety. Those are all core American values. So once the filibuster is broken, that is the kind of messaging that needs to be employed to to get to something that makes sense.


Michael, I saw you not in closing thoughts on this topic. I think the most fundamental piece of legislation before immigration and and other things is the passage of S-1, H.R. one, which are those bills which will promote democracy through the failure to allow voter suppression for automatic voter registration, for a fix to gerrymandering and other types of things that create the type of divided society in which we live. If we had a society in which congressional districts were drawn logically instead of in a gerrymandered place, then Louie Gohmert type districts and they exist on the Democratic side, too, would be much less common.


And when you have much more purple in the middle, you have the possibility of passing comprehensive legislation. So I'm grateful for the the cinema's tester's mansions in the Democratic Party because but for them, those seats would be held by Republicans and then the Democrats would be in the minority.


And so we have to just figure out a way to get more people sort of like them to get to Lucy and your point of the need for a comprehensive immigration solution.


All right, finally, I want to look at a few updates from the offices that are probing Trump's finances and looking into possible election fraud. So Cy Vance, who is the Manhattan district attorney whose office recently won the Supreme Court battle over Trump's tax returns, officially announced he won't be seeking reelection. And this comes just after President Nixon's White House counsel, John Dean, tweeted that he believed Vance's office could issue indictments against Donald Enco, as he put it, in a matter of days in response to reporting that Michael Cohen had his seventh meeting with the district attorney.


And as a quick refresher, Michael Cohen was Trump's personal lawyer and fixer from twenty six until May of twenty eighteen during special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. And Cohen pleaded guilty in August of twenty eighteen to eight counts, including campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud. And he made the extraordinary claim in court that he violated campaign finance laws at the direction of Trump himself. So, Michael, in previous episodes, our listeners have heard a primer on what the Manhattan D.A. is looking at.


Thank you, Susan. Can you dove deeper for us into how Trump and his associates may have allegedly committed financial crimes? And also help us understand the significance of both Vance's announcement that he won't seek reelection and of Cohen's half dozen plus meetings with the DA's office. So it's complicated because we're we're guessing why Cy Vance's decided not to run. It's an exhausting job. Anyone who's been in a public prosecutor position knows that these are seven days a week, 20 hour days.


And maybe he just wants to do something else and they'll be there, I think seven or eight candidates who are who are running for his reelection for his seat. And so I think there will be no break in that process. As to the case against Trump Co., mostly what we hear is that this is a financial crimes investigation. That's why the DA's office has hired a third party financial consulting firm to help analyze the documents and have brought in additional people with specialized skills.


The thought is that Trump has played around with the values of his property, inflated for one purpose and then deflated when taxes were due on those properties. So you inflated to get a loan and then you deflate it when you have to pay taxes on that, you cannot do that lawfully in most scenarios. And so I think that there's going to be a hard look at whether or not he has engaged in bank fraud and tax fraud in respect of his properties and the valuations of them.


I consider John Dean a friend, a good friend, and I love John Dean.


However, as a former prosecutor, relying on Michael Cohen as my star witness would make me incredibly nervous because he has all sorts of credibility issues in my estimation.


And so I think that the fact that he's been there seven times is indicative of something. But as a prosecutor, I want to have so much more in the way of documentary evidence as to which Cohen, if he has personal knowledge, can validate me. But I would never want to bring a case where Michael Cohen is the alligator, if you will, the one who makes the allegation and upon whose testimony I have to rely, just like we saw in the Manafort case.


Gates was a very sort of compromised witness. And I wouldn't have wanted to bring a case on the basis of Gates testimony alone. You needed a lot more in the way of corroborative evidence.


And we haven't seen anything yet in the public domain about what is corroborating Cohen. And so I'm not so sanguine that that we have an indictment that stays away is because Michael Cohen is talking to the D.A. a lot. Just want to add to that.


It's my understanding that one of the reasons why they wanted to see Michael Cohen the last couple of times is they have the documents and to do it, not sitting there with him because he knows how to where the information is in which pile, if you will. So it made more sense for him to do this in person with the investigators so he could really walk them through the tax records and the documents he submitted that that's what makes the difference today, having those documents and reviewing them.


So I think that's also one of the reasons Cohen went in there is just you don't want to do that over a resume call.


It's just too hard.


It's not his testimony as much as his ability to know kind of where the skeletons are buried. That's right, Suzanne.


It is a documents based case and individuals can then supplement what the paper says. But if the paper is fraudulent and someone can explain how it's fraudulent and then the the bankers and the tax authorities can further corroborate that, then you have the basis to bring a case. You can't flip the other way. We'll know.


What I was just saying is that there's millions of pages for them to flip. And Michael, it's just like No. 52, 52, like, you know, they like to show them where he falsified the records. Right. He's their Pathfinder internal documents. Exactly.


I think that was what Michael said about Cohen. And his credibility is so interesting, because when I've seen some of the comparisons this week between John Dean and Michael Cohen, it is in several articles. It has kind of made me cringe. And and this happened, of course, after John Dean commented on some of this. But John Dean is, I think, an American hero. Michael Cohen is a person who seems to now trying to be doing the right thing, but is really, really trying to get his pound of flesh.


He wants revenge on Donald Trump. I read a Vanity Fair profile of Michael Cohen from December by Emily Jane Fox.


And it's really worth reading. Because it speaks to the Trump operation and he even admits that the the Kool aid kind of influence of Donald Trump on these people and so now the blinders are off. But it's so personal for Michael Cohen, right, that there is there are just years of sort of layers of relationships that that I think it's super interesting to hear Michael's take as a legal professional.


It could get very messy in it in a courtroom with Michael Cohen, as everything does.


That's right.


We saw it in his congressional testimony. He was he was not a coherent witness because to this point, he's got so much personal stuff at stake.


Whereas John Dean, who I agree is is a hero for calling out what was going on in the White House. He just made a straightforward, linear narrative of what he was aware of. And then we got the tapes.


It validated everything. He said that he was a teller of truth and the rest is history. That's not the that's not the same narrative or not the same, you know, sort of.


I guess through line with Michael Cohen, right? So, Susan, speaking of Cohen's revenge, right, so in any other time, a president's longtime lawyer saying under oath in a courtroom that he was directed by the president to commit crimes would have been the story of a century.


Right. So but but instead, this wasn't even the story of twenty eighteen. What do you make of him turning on the former president, especially when we know that Trump values loyalty higher than just about anything else? And what do you think? What do you think Cohen probably faced? What choices did he face that led him down the path to where he is right now?


If you want to know what I think about Michael Cohen, he's a man who said women cannot be raped by their husbands because they're married. So right there, you lost me forever. Yeah, OK. And that happened before Donald Trump was president or even looking to seriously run for president. All Michael Cohen has ever done is for Michael Cullen. Don't forget, he was also brought in for potential other crimes where he was. And that's why he didn't get queen for a day treatment.


He was worried about his father in law's taxi business and the medallions and what he was doing to finance them. So he was kind of caught up in something and said, huh, instead of that, look what I'm going to do.


You think this is fraud? Let me tell you about fraud. And I think that's in part what he did to get himself out of a situation that could have led him to for many more years in prison. Michael Cohen is someone who has made his now life story about redeeming himself. I personally don't think that there's enough that he can do to redeem himself for what he's done to this country. He will turn on the president. The president was furious.


But you know what? He's also not the only one who the president got mad at it. Some of its you know, President Trump turned on so many people so quickly now. Yes, this was his attorney. But now look again at Rudy Giuliani, who is his former attorney, who is now facing a lot of serious allegations for things he probably did for Donald Trump. This is a habit of what Trump does to the people who he works for.


He compromises them. He fails to pay them, and then he turns his back on them.


Susan, I also want to get your take on Vance's decision not to seek reelection, because I think it could be easy for those of us who aren't in Manhattan to think about the DA's office through the lens of this investigation. So what are some of the other factors that would have gone into his decision? And what what do you make of that in general? I know we're speculating, but does it matter?


I don't read a whole lot into it. I think he's going to be the guy who got the indictment. I think he'll make it through that. As we discussed, I think last week, last week with Mike Madrid, I think there will be a delay tactic used for as long as possible. And I think Cy Vance is like, well, if I run for reelection, I may have to run for reelection again to actually see this thing go to trial.


So I think he will be happy with a happy but satisfied with the indictment and it is time for him to pass it. Don't forget, Cy Vance is also had a troubled record. He has not always come home with the big win. So I think, again, taking the indictment and not necessarily have the burden of the way to to go after the president in court is something he he won't be too upset with.


OK, so let's turn to Fulton County and what's happening there. So Fannie Willis, who is the the newly elected Fulton Fulton County district attorney, indicated in letters to top state officials last month she may use Georgia's RICO law. That's the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, as she investigates allegations of election fraud against former President Donald Trump and his advisers. And now we know she's hired John Floyd, who is an Atlanta litigator, widely considered to be the state's leading RICO authority.


That's according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Now, there are a lot of ifs here, I think, and it's worth noting that a spokesperson, quote, insisted Floyd was hired as an adviser and not specifically for the Trump case. But if charged and convicted of racketeering, which is a felony, Trump and his associates would face a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment in Georgia. So, Michael, can you walk us through racketeering? What it what it is, what that word means, what has to be demonstrated in order to prove racketeering and what Trump's exposure might be under a RICO statute, at least vis a vis the Fulton DA's investigation and and into election fraud?


Sure. So Rico was a statute. It was passed federally in order to go after organized crime families. And what? They wanted to do is to say that the organization, the Gambino family or another crime family was engaged in multiple types of crime, two or more crimes committed by individuals in the organization for the benefit of the organization.


Now it's been expanded from its origins. And now essentially what it is, is sort of a conspiracy among people who've engaged in two or more crimes. In this case, the possible crimes in Georgia would be solicitation of election fraud, false statements to state and local officials, some sort of conspiracy. And so I'd be surprised if they brought a RICO case in in respect of Donald Trump's telephone calls and his associates telephone calls to Georgia to try to find the missing votes.


But in theory, you can say that Trump had an organization of people, a cohort who were engaged in multiple criminal acts to influence the outcome of an election and therefore it can be shoehorned into Rico. And Rico, of course, is a statute that carries a very hefty penalties, 20 years under the federal statute and twenty five thousand dollars or more times the pecuniary gain.


But I think like in most of the cases that come up, the best way to proceed is with the most straightforward, provable crime and that it gets you what you need. Look, no one needs, it seems to me from a law enforcement perspective, no one needs 20 years in prison for Rudy Giuliani or former President Trump or anybody else.


What they need is a conviction, period, a mark on the permanent record that this person committed a a serious crime, a felony. After that, everything else is secondary. I wouldn't actually like to see Donald Trump or Rudy Giuliani necessarily in jail, but if they did engage in criminal acts that are provable, that they should be forced to carry that scarlet letter of of of being a felony.


So, as I said, I in the Antifa prosecutions and in the January six prosecutions in the Fulton County, I think Simplist is best to establish if there is a crime, what that crime was to prove it and then move forward for the sake of winning the case, essentially.


Yeah, for the sake of of winning the case and making it known that these people, especially the president and his cohort, if they committed a crime and it's not clear that they did, if they committed a crime, that they can be convicted of that crime. The point I'm trying to say is that the the sentencing aspect of it is quite sick, in my estimation, quite secondary to the conviction.


I say, OK, so even as these investigations have ramped up Lucy and Susan, we're still seeing Donald Trump hold a tight grip over the Republican Party. So how do you think these investigations are going to impact his influence over Republicans over the next several years? However, however long they take, are they going to be cheering him on? Are they eventually going to as they pick up steam or are they going to recognize the wrongdoing? How do you think this is going to impact, you know, his his whole LUSI the case of the Georgia potential for a criminal prosecution in Georgia?


I say this as a layperson. I was interested in kind of two components, and Michael really touched on some of these. One is that this is obviously a PR calculation by the Fulton County attorney. I mean, she has said that Floyd has been hired for sort of a broader advisory purpose. But if they wanted to make it clear that they were not pursuing RICO against Donald Trump, they probably would have just said that's not something we're looking at. Right.


And so it goes into something that I think is related to what the approach of the Trump cabal as a whole is, because and I understand that they're specifically looking at Georgia's RICO statute and legal experts have said that the provisions of that make it even harder to bring a RICO case under that state statute. And so so I thought, well, what's the move there? And is it to strike fear into the hearts of people like Lindsey Graham and Rudy Giuliani?


I don't know the answer to that, but it certainly seems to get at this at least an approach that forces some of these Republicans to go on the record about what is or is not appropriate. I think that again, though. That approach and the messaging around this, that is existing in a world where we think that these are sane, rational actors. And so I think that it is actually unlikely to have an impact on their behavior, their behavior as politicians would be candidates, conservative media would be hardcore Trump base and Republican voters, because we're not going to see, for instance, the disavowing of Trump by Republicans that we've seen, say by Democrats of Andrew Cuomo in recent weeks.


There's not going to be a kind of reckoning where it's like, wow, we really need to address this. And you're not going to see suddenly a whole bunch of powerful Republicans come out and say, this is unforgivable. You will just see, I think, further and further kind of down the rabbit hole of the cult, that this is a politically motivated investigation, that he is innocent and that this is just more of what kind of Jesus sort of figure he is that he is sacrificing for us.


So that's cynical, but I think that's what we'll see.


Susan, last words on this one.


I think when it comes to Georgia, his supporters think he won, so he can't be found guilty in this case. It doesn't matter what what happens. And in New York, perhaps if there's some real like you could show that he stole money, like taxes isn't going to cut it. He's got to do something really bad, which I'm not sure if they will or they will not. What I think what will influence his voice is how much his lawyers have to tell him to be quiet.


If he is quiet, if you notice, he's been silent. The longer he's silent, the less of a grip he has, because I kind of believe that Donald Trump needs his base more than the base needs him, meaning the base is going to go for whoever gets them. And if Donald Trump's not out there kind of ginning them up, someone else will start to. So I think that's the that's where he kind of loses his potential base, lose it, but it dissipates because he's not out there speaking.


All right, now that we are up to speed on the major stories of the week, I just have one more question to close us out, and that is, what stories are you following that may have flown under the radar or our listeners might have missed, but also that will influence our politics in a way we might not be expecting. Lucy, do you want to start? Sure, so as a lot of people know, Rob Portman, the senator from Ohio, has announced that he will not seek reelection, which has meant that it's now open season on the race to the bottom five Republicans vying for Portman's seat.


Now, I think that's actually a seat that could easily end up going to a Democrat who could go to someone like Tim Ryan. But what you're seeing play out on the Republican side is a really, really odd thing. So one of the players is a guy named Josh Mandel, who was the state treasurer, has become kind of like a perennial candidate loser who has cast himself as sort of like America first for the ages, really xenophobic kind of racist rhetoric.


But the more interesting candidate who's emerging is J.D. Vance, who people may remember was the author of Hillbilly Elegy. It really came on the scene a few years ago. And and after writing Hillbilly Elegy, he said know came from nothing in Ohio, sort of very compelling personal story. Became a Yale Law educated guy after Hillbilly Elegy. He became a venture capitalist. He was part of a really lauded tour called Rise of the Rest, which was about bringing economic activity to these forgotten areas like Ohio and Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


And so JD Vance had this story that was very much the story of someone who was kind of in the mold of what you would want of a free market Republican guy to look like. And during the Trump era advance, Vance has taken a very, very different direction. He has shed a lot of that. And he now this week, 10 million dollars was won by Peter to put ten million dollars into a PAC backing Vance. And Vance has really made clear that in his bid for Senate in Ohio, he is going to pursue an antique market protectionist bent.


So yesterday there was news that the UAW, the United Auto Workers, very powerful union was sending letters to Ford because Ford has said that they'll be moving a plant in the future for a next gen car to Mexico. And JD Vance, in reacting to this, of course, valid to think about, what's the implication for Ohio workers, for American workers? He put out this pronouncement that if American markets want access to American, if American companies want access to American markets, they cannot do this as though he is going to pursue a policy where we would ban Ford from selling their cars because they put one.


They is just great in Mexico. But it is just so odd. It is like the future of conservative thought leaders. And I give all the background of defense. It's a highly educated, Ivy League educated venture capital, you know, backed Peter Tiel backed guy, these people whose whole shtick has been, you know, generating economic activity. Free markets are now actually a protectionist anti market people. So it goes to that thing that we've talked about a lot here, about the realignment, about Republicans pitting themselves against companies, about that that who that base of voters is, as both Mike Madrid and Susan have talked about a lot.


And so I would encourage everyone to start paying attention to that race in Ohio, because it's really revealing some very odd stuff. And I think it will really be ground zero for a lot of what we see in the future of Republican messaging over the near term.


That's a very great story. I'm going to be watching that now. Michael, how about you?


So I live in the District of Columbia and we are a colony and I am keeping my eye on him right there with you.


Michael, same about our license plates, as you know, say taxation without representation.


We're not the Empire State or something proud like that.


And so in the House of Representatives, a bill for D.C. statehood is winding its way. And I think they'll be here hearings upcoming and perhaps even a vote on it.


And it'll be very interesting for me to keep an eye on how statehood is pitched as as a sort of fundamental right, as we talked about earlier with S1 and everyone, the voting rights bills, D.C. statehood, the colony status that we suffer under fits into that narrative.


And I'm hoping that somehow all of this, you know, we are in favor of democracy.


Narrative can be woven together. And I should add, Puerto Rico sits in the same situation as the District of Columbia. Nice to have four new. Senators from those from those colonies, and so that's that's what I'm keeping on, how is it that we're going to promote democracy and, you know, you can't not see the types of crimes that Asian Americans are are suffering, and that's part of this narrative. And so I'm looking from for Biden in the Biden administration to create a compelling narrative around this.


It relates to what we're talking about on the on the border, but fundamental democratic rights of which the D.C. statehood is an integral part.


Terrific. Susan, what do you got for us? I am looking forward to Joe Biden's first press conference. It's a he is the president who's gone the longest without holding a press conference since being inaugurated. He'll be at, I believe, sitting at roughly 63 days.


And what I'm just curious about is how what he's going to answer. I just I mean, there he is. He's going to have to take the press corps questions. And the press corps is now very frustrated with with the fact that he hasn't had a press conference. He's answered questions like Andrew Cuomo on the fly. He's talked about his press secretary. He's talked about the immigration issue. He's going to be faced with a lot of really, really hard questions.


And he's going to have to sit there and give good, solid answers or acceptable answers, I should say.


You don't have to agree with them or not be straightforward, at least straightforward. He is not going to be able to duck and kind of go in and out. So I'm sure he's going to work very hard to be quite prepared on some of anything he can. But with Joe Biden, you just never know.


So, yeah, that's what I'm just curious about his answers. I think that be really good to watch.


OK, so I just have one thing to mention, which is actually a shout out to Susan's NBC think piece called Rescue California Recall Effort is a warning to Gavin Newsom's fellow governors. But for me, the biggest takeaway here was that fully one third of all Americans are represented by one of these four male, very politically challenged governors. Susan, what's the punch line here?


The punch line is, is that the covid response for one third of our population is in the hands of four governors from Texas, California, New York and Florida, all which are dealing with political issues at one form or another that are very, very distracting. And it just seems unfathomable to me that in a time of crisis, we look at these four governors and say, wow, you're going to have to deliver. So it is.


And it is just in the bigger picture. Think about four men controlling one third of the country.


Yeah. On anything. Yeah. Before I let you go, where can everyone find you on the Internet, Lucy?


I'm on Twitter at Lucy Caldwell, Michael at Michael Zeldin on Twitter. Susan Twitter Del Persia's.


And I'm at Ron Cecilio on Twitter, Susan Lucci. Michael, thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation. And I want to thank everyone at home or on the go for listening. If you have questions or advice for us or if there's a topic you'd like to see covered in a future episode of the round up, you can reach us at a podcast at Politico Dotcom and you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram at Political Jeopardy.


If you learn something in today's episode, make sure to follow or subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. It would also help us tremendously if you could rate and review the show because this helps new people find us. I'm runs Denslow. I'll see you in the next episode.