November 12th, 2021: The January 6th Investigation, Economic Inflation, and Veterans Day
This week, White House Correspondent Paul Brandus shares his insights as the Jan. 6th Commission picks up steam, inflation is back, and we celebrate Veterans Day. Featuring special guest, Presidential Historian Barbara Perry.
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The January 6th investigation
Inflation ripples across the economy
And Veterans Day 2021…
I’m Paul Brandus — you’re listening to West Wing Reports— it’s Friday, November 12th…
It has been a year now since Joe Biden was elected president. That means it has ALSO been a year since Donald Trump began spreading what has since become known as quote “the big lie.”
He and his supporters don’t see it that way — but Republican state officials, Republican-appointed judges, all the way up to the Supreme Court, which is dominated by conservatives — including three justices hand-picked BY Trump — disagree with Trump — they’ve rejected claim after claim — dozens of claims in fact — that the election was tainted.
Trump maintains that he did NOTHING wrong — and yet this week has gone to court to try and stop federal investigators from accessing his White House records relating to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Trump has claimed executive privilege — though he’s no longer an executive — but federal Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia shot that down — saying — quote — “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President. He retains the right to assert that his records are privileged, but the incumbent President ‘is not constitutionally obliged to honor’ that assertion.”
Translation: President Biden doesn’t have to protect Trump’s records here and he won’t.
But Trump’s lawyers have won a delay in releasing those records — and that’s where things stand right now.
The bipartisan commission in Congress that’s investigating the attack on the Capitol — YOUR Capitol — wants this records to find out just what Trump was up to on January 6th. Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney is ON that commission:
A former president who is at war with the rule of law and the constitution. An extraordinary statement — from Wyoming’s Liz Cheney.
We’ll have a bit more on this later.
Inflation has been low for a ling tine — but that’s changing — at least for now. The Labor Department said the consumer price index has risen six-point-two percent over the past year. That’s the biggest in three decades.
That’s a problem obviously — unless your wages are going up that fast, you’re losing ground.
This is the kind of thing that immediately becomes a partisan issue. President Biden admits it’s a problem — he was in Baltimore this week:
So what’s happening here? Inflation is up around the world — not just here — and the president thinks the pandemic and resulting supply chain slowdown is a key reason why prices are up. Goods are scarce — there’s a huge shortage of truck drivers to deliver things to market for example — and when demand exceeds supply, prices rise. That’s Econ-101.
But Republicans aren’t having it — THEY say Biden’s big spending — is driving prices up. Here’s Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
Whatever the reason — inflation is a nasty economic problem — and that means for the party in power, it’s a political problem too — exactly the kind of thing that can nail Biden abd Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.
The ancient sound of Taps — playing at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year. Veterans Day. There are 155 national cemeteries in 42 states and Puerto Rico — the most prominent is Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia — just across the Potomac from Washington.
Arlington is always a special place — a hallowed place — this year it marked the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknowns.
To those citizen warriors — past and present — who have worn the uniform in service of our country — thank you. Thank you for your service.
Other news this week:
Some people say we can’t afford to fight climate change— but what’s the cost of INACTION? A survey of hundreds of municipalities around the Great Lakes says damage from climate change is already costing about 400-million dollars a year.
What’s in your wallet? Maybe not as much — it seems debt is on the rise again — the Federal Reserve says Americans are spending freely — perhaps too freely — household debt is at a record 15-and—a quarter trillion dollars.
And bet you’ve seen videos of airline passengers behaving badly — well, the federal aviation administration is making them pay. Ten particularly violent passengers have been hit with nearly a quarter-million dollars in new fines for shouting, spitting, screaming, shoving and throwing punches onboard commercial flights. There’s also talk of adding these jerks to the no-fly list.
More on the investigation int the January 6th attack on YOUR Capitol in just a moment. First though, lets hear about ANOTHER Evergreen podcast — that I know you'll enjoy”
Earlier — we were talking about the January 6th attack on YOUR Capitol — this was really, to quote Franklin D. Roosevelt, a day which will live in infamy. A bipartisan investigation into this is underway — and a big part of THAT involves determining the actions of that tragic, fatal day — of then-president Trump.
The office of the presidency has come under scrutiny like never before — a new book with chapters by various scholars provides some really interesting historical and constitutional context. It’s called: The Presidency: Facing Constitutional Crossroads — published by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. One of its editors is Barbara Perry. She tells me that the rise of Donald Trump is NOT all that surprising — because we have always had demagogues in this country — Huey Long and Father Cough-lin in the 1930s, Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s. But in Trump — one of them made it all the way to the top. Here’s a part of our conversation:
So Trump supporters break the law — smash it, in fact, while claiming they’re law and order people. An incredible disconnect. But beyond that — and beyond how demagogues like Trump can rise to power — what if he runs in 2024 — there are TWO giant questions. First: WILL our democracy hold — and second: What does history suggest about where we are right now? I’m going to save that for next week. You’re not going to believe it. So my thanks to Barbara Perry — for a fascinating — albeit alarming discussion.
Now let’s open up the West Wing Reports archives — and take a look at what made history this week in the past:
Everybody knows that Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in 1865. But did you know they met face-to-face at that same theatre a year and a half earlier? Lincoln — who was a regular theater-goer — attended a play at Ford’s - in which Booth was the star.
play was called "The Marble Heart" - and during the play Booth, in
character as the play’s villain Raphael, twice wagged his finger in the
president’s face and threatened him. Mary Clay, with the president that
night, said "Mr. Lincoln, he looks as if he meant that for you." Lincoln
responded: ”He does...doesn’t he?”
With America at war in Europe and the Pacific, Franklin D. Roosevelt won an unprecedented FOURTH term. His death the following April put Harry Truman - VP just THREE months - in the White House
"You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore," Richard Nixon said, announcing his political retirement after losing the California governor's race. Of course that bitter performance was NOT his last press conference — Nixon would be elected president six years later - probably the most amazing political comeback in American history.
I like to end each week with a quote — something you might find thoughtful: This week: it’s from Dwight Eisenhower — our 34th president — also of course a five-star general. The quote made just days before he left office in 1961 — is rather appropriate for Veterans Day.
Here’s Eisenhower, the conservative Republican, the five-star general, the commander of D-Day, warning against the military and defense industry having too much influence — it was harmful for society he said — and harmful for our individual liberties, he said.
What’s interesting is that one of our other great generals who became president warned of the very same thing — his name? George Washington.
Want more history? Check out my books on Amazon — I’ll sign ‘em for you too — just shoot me an email: [email protected].
That’s p-b-r-a-n-d-u-s. [email protected][podcasts.com. And need a speaker for your event? I do that too — current events, economics, analysis — history — I connect the dots — would love to hear from you.
Special thanks to CSPAN for the audio clips.
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Our producer and sound designer and engineer: Noah Foutz
Executive producers: Michael D’Aleoia and Gerardo Orlando.