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Can He Do That?

Updated 1 day ago

Rank #3 in Government category

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Government
Politics
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“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring the powers and limitations of the American presidency, and what happens when they're tested. Led by host Allison Michaels, each episode asks a new question about this extraordinary moment in American history and answers with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and the implications when branches of government collide.

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“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring the powers and limitations of the American presidency, and what happens when they're tested. Led by host Allison Michaels, each episode asks a new question about this extraordinary moment in American history and answers with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and the implications when branches of government collide.

iTunes Ratings

3781 Ratings
Average Ratings
2135
612
304
202
528

Agreed

By an old vet, former Marine - Feb 24 2020
Read more
Right on! Minimal Spin approach! Refreshing!

One of the best

By Bert Coghill - Feb 19 2020
Read more
This is one of the best podcasts in the podcast universe.

iTunes Ratings

3781 Ratings
Average Ratings
2135
612
304
202
528

Agreed

By an old vet, former Marine - Feb 24 2020
Read more
Right on! Minimal Spin approach! Refreshing!

One of the best

By Bert Coghill - Feb 19 2020
Read more
This is one of the best podcasts in the podcast universe.
Cover image of Can He Do That?

Can He Do That?

Latest release on Mar 26, 2020

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“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring the powers and limitations of the American presidency, and what happens when they're tested. Led by host Allison Michaels, each episode asks a new question about this extraordinary moment in American history and answers with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and the implications when branches of government collide.

Rank #1: Will President Trump's immigration ban survive?

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Is President Trump's executive order temporarily barring entry into the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries within the bounds of presidential power? With Marc Fisher, Post senior editor and author of "Trump Revealed," we answer that and more.

Feb 03 2017

25mins

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Rank #2: Should Trump be spending weekends at Mar-a-Lago?

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President Trump frequents his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, has a triplex penthouse in Trump Tower in downtown Manhattan and has his last name blazoned on dozens of properties around the world. Does that change things for the office of the presidency?

Feb 10 2017

27mins

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Rank #3: Republicans’ defense of Trump grows frantic. Will it work?

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Reporter Toluse Olorunnipa explains what GOP lawmakers were trying to achieve Wednesday when they protested in the basement of the Capitol. What role do House Republicans play in defending the president and how much is White House guidance informing them?

Oct 24 2019

21mins

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Rank #4: Special episode: Trump’s lawyer got raided by the FBI. Now what will Trump do?

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This week, we talk with reporter Matt Zapotosky about the FBI raid on attorney Michael Cohen — and potential implications for President Trump and the future of Robert Mueller's investigation.

Apr 12 2018

24mins

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Rank #5: Presidents who faced impeachment: Bill Clinton

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President Trump is just the fourth president to face impeachment proceedings. In 2016, The Post’s Presidential podcast examined the three presidents in that category before Trump. We finish our series from Presidential with the story of Bill Clinton.

Dec 27 2019

50mins

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Rank #6: What Trump's rhetoric at his rallies can tell us about his approach towards policy and diplomacy

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In June, national political correspondent Jenna Johnson and producer Anne Li went to a Trump rally in Duluth, Minn. Johnson has been to dozens of Trump rallies, but this time, she and Li focused on something different - the crowd.

Jul 13 2018

21mins

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Rank #7: How much power does a president have to affect an investigation?

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As the fallout from Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey continues, we take a look at the limitations of presidential power when it comes to investigations. Plus, we assess how history measures up, with Bob Woodward and Marc Fisher.

May 12 2017

21mins

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Rank #8: What we learned from Michael Cohen's scathing testimony

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Marc Fisher wraps up this week's hearings, plus a look at what it was like for reporters experiencing the public hearing in realtime.

Mar 01 2019

31mins

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Rank #9: The Mueller report, unpacked

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After nearly two years, America finally gets its first look at special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's report. The Post's Justice Department reporter Matt Zapotosky explains new insights we've gained from an early look at the details.

Apr 18 2019

23mins

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Rank #10: A harrowing book, an anonymous op-ed and a White House in chaos

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After a week of revelations about what it's like to work for President Trump, White House bureau chief Philip Rucker offers insight into the state of the administration.

Sep 07 2018

19mins

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Rank #11: How to Flip the House: The takeaways for 2018

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Given what we've learned from the 1994, 2006 and 2010 midterms about how partisanship, divisiveness and polarizing presidents all affect affect both midterm elections and the powers of the presidency, we ask if Democrats can flip the House in 2018.

Jun 29 2018

40mins

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Rank #12: Will Trump ever release his tax returns?

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Trump is the first major party nominee in decades to not release returns. What happens now that he's president? Does Flynn's resignation change things? Plus, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) on Democrats' efforts to make Trump's returns public.

Feb 17 2017

25mins

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Rank #13: Does Trump have the power to declare a national emergency to get border wall funding?

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Can a president choose to invoke emergency powers whenever he wants? Liza Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice explains the extent of Trump's power in states of emergency. The Post's Philip Rucker breaks down the challenges of border wall politics.

Jan 11 2019

24mins

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Rank #14: What can Michael Flynn's actions tell us about the Russia investigation?

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Harvard's Alex Whiting explains where former national security adviser Michael Flynn's actions might break the law. Plus, The Post's Greg Miller tells us how Flynn fits in the story of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

May 26 2017

26mins

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Rank #15: Trump says that even if there were collusion, there was no crime. Can he do that?

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What are the legal lines surrounding collusion? Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Carol Leonnig and white-collar defense lawyer Jacob Frenkel analyze the legal and political consequences of President Trump’s latest suggestion that “collusion is not crime.”

Aug 04 2018

17mins

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Rank #16: 100 days: Is Trump in violation of his contract with American voters?

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Post reporters convene in a round-table conversation about Trump's achievements and failures in his first 100 days and what it means for the next four years of his presidency.

Apr 28 2017

26mins

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Rank #17: Pelosi signals next step. Does anyone get what they wanted?

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After a long standoff, Nancy Pelosi announced that the House will finally consider a resolution to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. Reporter Karoun Demirjian answers questions about what’s been gained or lost in the process.

Jan 10 2020

22mins

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Rank #18: The longer the shutdown lasts, the weirder the consequences get

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Can Nancy Pelosi postpone the State of the Union address? Can Trump cancel Pelosi's travel? Can Trump and Pelosi find a way to reopen the government? The Post's Colby Itkowitz and Joshua Dawsey unravel details of our country's ongoing political standoff.

Jan 18 2019

19mins

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Rank #19: A whistleblower. A phone call. A tipping point.

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Reporter Matt Zapotosky on how this fast-paced news week unfolded, what we learned from documents, transcripts and testimonies, and what happens next now that House Speaker Pelosi has opened a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.

Sep 27 2019

32mins

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Rank #20: Do power struggles in the White House make Trump a more effective president?

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Do staff tensions interfere with Trump's ability to govern? And are these rivalries by Trump's design? White House bureau chief Philip Rucker talks to former Trump aide Sam Nunberg about what it's like to work for Trump -- and to get fired by him.

Apr 21 2017

30mins

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Rugged individualism vs. social distancing enforcement: Who can keep us home and how?

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Much of life as we know it in the United States has drastically changed over recent weeks. Local and state authorities have closed many businesses and mandated that residents stay at home or limit the size of gatherings.
Yet how these restrictions are implemented across the country varies widely. Furthermore, even in areas where restrictions can carry legal penalties, enforcement is rare.
The United States is, of course, set up this way: States have the power to work independently, in coordination with the federal government. But it means our country’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic is much more patchyc and localized than in other countries responding around the world.
The variations across state and local guidance have caused quite a bit of confusion about what exactly is allowed during this time — and where. It has also raised questions about the federal government’s role in instituting social-distancing measures nationwide.
How likely are we to see greater enforcement against breaking social-distancing rules? Can the president order the entire country to shelter in place? On the other hand, if President Trump wants the country to resume normal life soon — as he has both suggested publicly and offered guidelines for in a recent letter to governors — can he force local or state governments to make that happen?
On this week’s episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, we’ve answered these questions with national correspondent Griff Witte and Lindsay Wiley, director of the health law and policy program at American University’s Washington College of Law.
Additional coronavirus resources:washingtonpost.com/virusnewsletterwashingtonpost.com/coronaviruswashingtonpost.com/podcasts
Related episodes:The U.S. stumbled at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Can we make up for lost time?Does the president have much power to control a viral outbreak?

Mar 26 2020

32mins

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U.S. elections are being tested like never before. What comes next?

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The novel coronavirus pandemic has presented some serious challenges to the American electoral process.
To solve these new public health challenges, some states have delayed primary voting. Other states have implemented social-distancing measures at polling locations, with mixed results. Others yet have geared up to increase mail-in ballot capacity.
Each of these circumstances raise different issues for how voters can choose a candidate in this year’s primary election.
Some Democratic primaries, for example, are now scheduled for after the deadline previously set for choosing a Democratic candidate — and only weeks before the Democratic National Convention.
Plus, all of these now-complicated primaries lead up to a nationwide voting day in November. Could these primary delays somehow delay America’s choice for the next president? More specifically, can the president himself delay, cancel or change the circumstances of November’s election?
And as our electoral process is tested by all of these new voting measures, what new issues might emerge when it comes to ensuring everyone’s vote is counted?
On this week’s episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, national politics reporter Isaac Stanley-Becker explains what’s been happening at the state primary level, and election law expert Ned Foley of The Ohio State University lays out what can-- and legally can’t-- happen in the general election.
Additional coronavirus resources:Related episodes

Mar 19 2020

31mins

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The U.S. stumbled at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Can we make up for lost time?

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The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The virus has spread in the United States, with new cases reported daily, deaths totaling more than three dozen, and an expanding list of large-scale cancellations, including the NBA, the NCAA tournaments and Broadway shows.
In response, the Trump administration has taken various steps to limit the spread of the virus and to help a suffering economy.
But those steps haven’t always gone so well. The administration was initially slow to take the virus seriously: The U.S. had an inadequate number of tests available; at times, messages out of the White House conflicted with experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and there’s been a lack of centralized guidance around social distancing and other potential public health measures that could help contain the virus.
In light of some of these issues, President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office on Wednesday night. The president signaled the seriousness of this growing crisis and proposed new ways to curb it — among them a 30-day ban on flights from most of Europe.
And yet despite this speech, many questions still surround the administration’s handling of this public health crisis. Why has testing for the virus gone so poorly in the U.S.? Will the president’s travel restrictions work to slow the spread of the virus? And what other solutions or measures could be taken that we haven’t seen action on yet?
On this episode of the “Can He Do That?” podcast, The Post’s health policy reporter Yasmeen Abutaleb covers some of the problems with the administration’s response so far and some of the measures we may see in the coming weeks.
Related episodes:

Mar 12 2020

20mins

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Does the president have much power to control a viral outbreak?

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Since it was first detected on the last day of 2019, coronavirus has infected tens of thousands of people around the world and has killed more than 3,000. The outbreak has triggered unprecedented quarantines, stock market upheaval and dangerous conspiracy theories.
Most cases are mild, but health officials say the virus’s continued spread through the United States is inevitable. As the country and our health-care system prepares, a lot is still unknown.
President Trump has repeatedly sought to reassure the nation about coronavirus and organized a communications effort to downplay risk. He has appointed Vice President Pence to run a task force and tried to boost an economy faltering in response to fears.
He has also suggested closing the Southern border, falsely said a vaccine could be available very soon, falsely suggested the virus could be gone by April and disagreed with the World Health Organization’s mortality rate of 3.4 percent globally.
Trump’s overall response to this public health crisis presents a series of questions: Does the president actually have that much power when it comes to controlling a viral outbreak? What exactly has Trump done, what else can he do if he chooses, and which of these things really makes a difference?
On this episode of the “Can He Do That?” podcast, our team navigated The Post newsroom, asking expert reporters for their insights on everything from Trump’s economic response to quarantine protocols to the president’s relationship with pharmaceutical companies.
Related episodes:

Mar 05 2020

26mins

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The delegate math questions you were too embarrassed to ask

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The Republican Party’s 2020 primary season has been pretty straightforward. President Trump has no serious competition for the Republican nomination. But for the Democrats, it’s far less clear who will become their party’s nominee for president of the United States.
With so many candidates competing to define the future of the Democratic Party and running on a range of ideologies, it’s been a heated presidential primary season.
Candidates have tried to boost their potential and their profile by winning early voting states. But those states offer a very small portion of the total delegates needed to secure the nomination.
Things change a bit on Super Tuesday, which falls on March 3. On Super Tuesday, the most states at a time hold nominating contests, the most voters have a chance to go to the polls, and the most delegates will be allotted to candidates. More than a third of all delegates for the Democratic National Convention are up for grabs on this day alone.
Despite recent dropouts from Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer, the Democratic primary field is still quite large and therefore delegates may be broadly split among candidates. So what happens if no candidate wins the majority of delegates needed to become the nominee at the party convention in July?
On this episode of the “Can He Do That?” podcast, “Primary Politics” author Elaine Kamarck answers questions like: How are delegates allocated? What’s a superdelegate anyway? And why is it all so complicated?
Related episodes:

Mar 02 2020

24mins

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Hacks, chaos and doubt: Lessons from the 2016 election revisited

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In 2016, as the Democratic Party officially selected its nominee, then-candidate Donald Trump saw an opportunity to deepen the schisms that had emerged among Democrats.
Four years later, President Trump seems to be embracing a similar opportunity.
In tweets, at rallies and in interactions with the press, Trump has suggested that this year’s Democratic primary is rigged against Bernie Sanders.
Trump’s assertions about a flawed Democratic primary are just a piece of the story. He’s stoking divisions based in part on information Russia weaponized to highlight those divisions in the first place. And as we confront another election year, recent reports show Russia hopes to interfere again.
So, how is Trump strategizing for 2020 in light of recent news? And how are things different this time around, when a president with sizable power over intelligence and election security is seeking to win reelection himself?
In this episode of the “Can He Do That?” podcast, Washington Post campaign reporter Sean Sullivan and Laura Rosenberger, who leads the Alliance for Securing Democracy, reexamine what election interference looked like in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, and how the ghosts of that experience are reappearing today.
Related episodes:

Feb 28 2020

28mins

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The problems with pardon power

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Only a few presidential powers are very clearly outlined in the U.S. Constitution. One of those is the president’s power to pardon.
We’ve seen President Trump exercise his pardon power at several moments during his tenure in office - sometimes to much controversy.
Tuesday, the president continued this trend. He pardoned or commuted the sentences of several convicted white-collar criminals at the center of federal anti-corruption and tax fraud cases.
Trump’s choice to grant clemency to this group, combined with a reported desire from the administration to issue more pardons in the coming months, raises questions about who else Trump might pardon. Among them is his longtime adviser and friend Roger Stone, who was sentenced Thursday to serve three years four months for impeding a congressional investigation of 2016 Russian election interference.
Trump left this door open when he said at an event in Las Vegas Thursday that while he wasn’t going to grant clemency to Stone right now, Stone “has a very good chance of exoneration.”
What do a president’s decisions about who to pardon say about his agenda? How unusual is it really for a president to pardon those close to him? And how much power does the Justice Department have to push back on a president who seeks to pardon for political gain?
On this episode, White House reporter Toluse Olorunnipa helps us boil our questions down to this: If a president has sweeping pardon powers — are there really consequences to using them? And … should there be?
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Feb 20 2020

28mins

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Trump’s view of a unilaterally powerful president goes unchallenged

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Since President Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial, there has been a lot of action out of the White House.
From firing people in his administration who testified against him in the House Inquiry to compromising the Justice Department’s independence, Trump's actions seem to paint a picture of a president who feels emboldened by the resolution of his months-long impeachment battle. 
So does this post-acquittal moment reflect a president more emboldened than before? White House reporter Ashley Parker offers insight into President Trump’s perception of power and what we can expect to see from him in an election year.

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Feb 13 2020

25mins

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A president acquitted. The balance of power tested.

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The United States Senate acquitted President Trump on charges — brought by the House of Representatives — of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The vote fell largely along party lines, with one exceptions. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah historically voted with the Democrats to convict the president on the first article: abuse of power. That marked the first time in American history that a member of the president’s own party has voted to remove him. Romney voted with Republicans to acquit Trump on the second article: obstruction of congress.
This moment is only the third time in U.S. history that the Senate has held an impeachment trial. The Senate has never voted to convict and remove a president.
An impeachment trial in the Senate means Congress is deciding where to draw lines around presidential conduct: What’s acceptable, what’s inappropriate and what rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors?”
Over the course of the Senate trial, House managers and Trump’s lawyers engaged in arguments for their respective positions. Trump’s acquittal can be interpreted as a reflection of the Senate agreeing with those arguments.And if that’s case, which of the Trump team’s arguments have established new precedent? How might this acquittal embolden not only this president, but future presidents? At the end of this partisan impeachment process, has the balance of power shifted in this country and can the pendulum ever swing back toward equilibrium?
Related episodes:

Feb 05 2020

22mins

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Will the Iowa caucuses clarify anything? Lessons from history in an unpredictable year

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The 2020 Iowa caucuses present unprecedented challenges for some top Democratic contenders. Several candidates polling highest in Iowa have been unable to physically spend much time in the state in the final weeks before the vote. Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet have been back in Washington serving as jurors in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.
Having a presence in those final weeks in Iowa can be the key to wooing any remaining undecided voters. And this year, there are quite a few.
What’s more, at least one candidate won’t even appear on the ballot in Iowa. Businessman Michael Bloomberg is opting out of the first four primaries and caucuses, making his entry on Super Tuesday ballots.
So, given these new complicating factors, does Iowa matter in a different way than in past elections? How important is this state to the final outcome of the primary? How might the Senators’ scaled-down presence in Iowa the final weeks before the caucuses, affect the results? And really, how much does winning Iowa matter for who eventually earns the nomination .. and the presidency?
To answer that question, we set out to learn from the past. Iowa elections expert Cary Covington and campaign reporter Holly Bailey lay out the complex landscape as we head toward the first state’s vote.
Read more:
Subscribe to The Post's "The Trailer" newsletter for dispatches from the campaign trail https://www.washingtonpost.com/thetrailer/

Jan 30 2020

32mins

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How Bolton’s allegation — no, not the one you’re thinking of — could change the impeachment trial

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Details of former national security advisor John Bolton’s unpublished book manuscript became public Sunday.These details suggested that Bolton could provide firsthand evidence that President Trump directly tried to deny security assistance to Ukraine until they announced investigations into political opponents, including Joe and Hunter Biden. That assertion from Bolton’s book has renewed the call by Democrats for witnesses in Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.
And yet, that interaction between Trump and Bolton, though potentially the most explosive, wasn’t the only conversation alleged in the leaked details of Bolton’s book. Another, was a key interaction between Bolton and Attorney General William Barr shortly after Trump’s now infamous call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky.
On this episode Matt Zapotosky, The Post’s Justice Department reporter, focuses on that Bolton-Barr conversation: What the purported exchange between Bolton and Barr might tells us about the Attorney General’s role in Ukraine-related events, where it leaves a Justice Department designed to maintain independence from the president and uphold the rule of law, and of course what it all means for Trump’s impeachment trial.
Related episodes:

Jan 28 2020

21mins

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How Trump’s impeachment lawyers could undermine him in court

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Trump is fighting impeachment-related battles in both the Senate and the court system. His lawyers have conflicting strategies in each arena. The Post’s Ann Marimow explains why these cases matter for the future of presidential power.

Jan 23 2020

16mins

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Watchdog says the hold on Ukraine aid violated the law. Will it matter in the Senate trial?

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Economic policy reporter Jeff Stein answers key questions about what legal weight a decision from the GAO carries and how likely this ruling is to be considered by the Senate, as House Democrats and the Trump team make their cases.

Jan 21 2020

16mins

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Block witnesses? Allow evidence? The battles ahead for the Senate impeachment trial

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Congress reporter Rachael Bade offers insight into how the Senate trial process may get thrown off course, how new revelations factor into the trial, and whether the final outcome actually as inevitable as it seems.

Jan 16 2020

22mins

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Pelosi signals next step. Does anyone get what they wanted?

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After a long standoff, Nancy Pelosi announced that the House will finally consider a resolution to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. Reporter Karoun Demirjian answers questions about what’s been gained or lost in the process.

Jan 10 2020

22mins

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Trump and Iran: The president's broad authority to strike

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Where do a president’s powers begin and end when it comes to issuing a strike to kill? Can presidents decide how much force to use against an adversary? National security correspondent Karen DeYoung breaks down the administration’s decisions in Iran.

Jan 08 2020

22mins

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Presidents who faced impeachment: Bill Clinton

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President Trump is just the fourth president to face impeachment proceedings. In 2016, The Post’s Presidential podcast examined the three presidents in that category before Trump. We finish our series from Presidential with the story of Bill Clinton.

Dec 27 2019

50mins

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Presidents who faced impeachment: Richard Nixon

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President Trump is just the fourth president to face impeachment proceedings. In 2016, The Post’s Presidential podcast examined the three presidents in that category before Trump. Here’s the second of their stories from Presidential, on Richard Nixon.

Dec 25 2019

44mins

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Presidents who faced impeachment: Andrew Johnson

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President Trump is just the fourth president to face impeachment proceedings. In 2016, The Post’s Presidential podcast examined the three presidents in that category before Trump. Here are their stories, beginning with Andrew Johnson.

Dec 23 2019

38mins

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A divided Congress and a presidency on the line

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President Trump is the third U.S. president in history to be impeached. Chief correspondent Dan Balz analyzes how this impeachment compares to others, what happens if an impeached president runs again and how Trump’s ability to govern could change.

Dec 19 2019

26mins

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iTunes Ratings

3781 Ratings
Average Ratings
2135
612
304
202
528

Agreed

By an old vet, former Marine - Feb 24 2020
Read more
Right on! Minimal Spin approach! Refreshing!

One of the best

By Bert Coghill - Feb 19 2020
Read more
This is one of the best podcasts in the podcast universe.