Rank #1: The World View of James Mattis
Dexter Filkins joins Evan Osnos to discuss Secretary of Defense James Mattis, his view of the Middle East, and what this means for U.S. foreign policy.
Rank #2: Who Killed Jean McConville?
In 1972, the I.R.A. abducted and “disappeared” Jean McConville, the mother of ten children, most of whom were teen-age or younger. Her case became one of the most notorious unsolved murders of the long period of unrest in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles. Patrick Radden Keefe wrote about McConville for The New Yorker in 2015. “On the one hand, it’s a story about a terrible murder that happened in 1972,” Keefe tells David Remnick. “On the other hand, it’s about how that history, far from being remote . . . was incredibly politically explosive.” While researching a book about the murder, Keefe stumbled across an overlooked clue. Now, Keefe tells Remnick, he’s pretty sure he knows who murdered McConville. Keefe’s book, “Say Nothing,” is available on February 26th.
Rank #3: David Remnick Talks to Ezekiel Emanuel about Health Care
Ezekiel Emanuel advised the Obama Administration on the A.C.A. Now he’s meeting with a new White House, to try to keep health as the focus of a new health-care bill.
Rank #4: Should Democrats Become 'The Party of No?'
Ryan Lizza joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how Democrats can exploit Trump’s vulnerabilities.
Rank #5: James Comey Makes His Case to America
In a long career in law enforcement, the former F.B.I. Director James Comey aimed to be above politics, but in the 2016 election he stepped directly into it. In his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” Comey makes the case to America that he handled the F.B.I. investigations into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and Donald Trump’s campaign correctly, regardless of the consequences. Even after being fired by President Trump, the former F.B.I Director says he doesn’t dislike the President; he tells David Remnick that what he feels is more akin to sympathy. Trump “has an emptiness inside of him, and a hunger for affirmation, that I’ve never seen in an adult,” Comey says. “He lacks external reference points. Instead of making hard decisions by calling upon a religious tradition, or logic, or tradition or history, it’s all, ‘what will fill this hole?’ ” As a result, Comey says, “The President poses significant threats to the rule of law,” and he chides Congressional Republicans for going along with the President’s aberrations. “What,” he rhetorically asks Mitch McConnell and others, “are you going to tell your grandchildren?” Nevertheless, Comey remains hopeful about the resilience of American institutions. “There isn’t a ‘deep state,’ [but] there is a deep culture,” he believes. “It is [about] the rule of law and doing it the right way,” and it serves as “a ballast” during political turmoil. David Remnick’s interview with James Comey was taped live at New York’s Town Hall on April 19, 2018.
Rank #6: Fire, Fury, and North Korea
The week, President Trump issued aggressive statements to North Korea, promising to meet the North Korean nuclear threat “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that these remarks didn’t constitute a change in policy toward Pyongyang. John Cassidy joins guest host Jeffrey Toobin to discuss the President's alarming rhetoric, and what the administration's mixed messages mean for the country’s national security and foreign policy.
Rank #7: Scaramucci's Scare Tactics
On Wednesday, the New Yorker staff writer Ryan Lizza received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the White House communications director. In obscene language, Scaramucci expressed his displeasure about leaks coming from inside the West Wing, singling out Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus. Lizza joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss his conversation with Scaramucci and how Trump’s obsession with loyalty is wreaking havoc on his Administration.
Rank #8: Bob Woodward and an Anonymous New York Times Op-Ed Show Trump Isolated and In Peril
Bob Woodward's book about life inside the Trump White House won't be published until next week, but an excerpt published in the Washington Post this week portrays Trump as erratic and ignorant, and quotes top officials describing measures they've taken to limit the President's destructive impulses. Similarly, an Op-Ed in the New York Times this week, written by an anonymous senior official in the Trump administration, describes a cabal of "unsung heroes" that acts to thwart parts of Trump's agenda and his worst impulses. In response, Trump reportedly worried to a friend that he could trust no one but members of his own family. Susan B. Glasser joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the revelations of Woodward's book and the perils facing a President who values personal loyalty above all else.
Rank #9: David Remnick Talks Spy Novels with a Former Spy
Jason Matthews spent over thirty years in the C.I.A., working in the former Soviet bloc and other hot spots, and when he retired he turned to the next best thing: writing spy novels. While they’re contemporary —Vladimir Putin appears as a character—they have more in common with John Le Carré’s tales than with the action thrillers of the post-9/11 era. In many of today’s stories, Matthews says, “a former F.B.I. guy is being chased by crazed colleagues, and with the help of a bipolar girlfriend does something amazing. I wanted to tell a more basic story about the classic Cold War struggle of East and West.” The forthcoming third volume in his trilogy is called “The Kremlin’s Candidate,” presumably with a nod toward current events. Whatever we may eventually learn about Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence, Matthews thinks that we ought not to be surprised: in matters of infiltration and compromise, he says, the Russians are always way ahead of us. Note: In his interview with David Remnick, Jason Matthews misspoke in defining the acronym MICE used by the CIA. It is usually rendered as Money, Ideology, Compromise (or Coercion), and Ego.
Rank #10: Trump Asks, “How Did We End Up Here?” We Suggest: “Follow the Money”
On Tuesday, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, was convicted on multiple counts of tax and bank fraud. Also on Tuesday, Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, pleaded guilty to violations of campaign-finance law, which may directly implicate the President as an unindicted co-conspirator. Adam Davidson joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss what Manafort’s and Cohen’s legal troubles tell us about Trump’s history of corrupt business deals, and how to anticipate the disclosures to come.
Rank #11: Inside Trump's Dirty Deals Abroad
What does the Trump Organization's unorthodox business conduct reveal about the Administration's political troubles with Special Counsel Robert Mueller? Adam Davidson joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how the Trump family's financial ties to Russian oligarchs led to extraordinarily risky behavior during the campaign and the current questions about obstruction of justice and collusion with Putin's Russia.
Rank #12: How Long Will Trump's Economic Boom Last?
President Trump has taken to boasting about overseeing, as he said recently, "the best economy in the history of our country." But trade wars loom and the deficit continues to grow. John Cassidy joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the good news and bad news about the American economy, and how the Administration's policies may affect the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election.
Rank #13: Bernie Sanders Enters the Democratic Field, But He’s No Longer Alone on the Left
On Tuesday, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders announced that he would once again run for President. When Sanders ran in 2016, he was viewed as an insurgent candidate challenging the Democratic mainstream from the left flank of the Party. This time, among Sanders’s opponents for the Democratic nomination are several other self-proclaimed progressives, including the senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Benjamin Wallace-Wells joins Eric Lach to discuss how Sanders’s entry into the 2020 Presidential campaign reflects how the Democratic Party has, and hasn’t, changed since 2016.
Rank #14: Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Dossier
The dossier—a secret report alleging various corrupt dealings between Donald Trump, his campaign, and the government of Russia, made public after the 2016 election—is one of the most hotly debated documents in Washington. The dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, is a former British spy working on contract, and went into hiding after its publication. “The Man Behind the Dossier,” Jane Mayer’s report on Steele, was just published in The New Yorker. She reports that Steele is in the "unenviable predicament" of being hated by both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin—and that he documented more evidence than he put in the dossier.
Rank #15: When Carl Icahn Tried to Control Trump
Two weeks ago, Carl Icahn announced that he was leaving his position as President Trump’s special advisor on regulatory reform. A few hours later, The New Yorker’s Patrick Radden Keefe published a story documenting how Icahn used his influence to attack regulations that hurt his business interests at oil refineries. Keefe joins guest host Jeffrey Toobin to discuss what Carl Icahn’s short, strange stint as an advisor and what it tells us about the Trump administration’s relationship with Wall Street.
Rank #16: Will the Midterm Elections Produce a Women's Wave?
As of this week, five hundred and twenty-nine women are running in 2018 for Congress. Another seventy-eight are pursuing governorships. Margaret Talbot joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the surge in female candidates, and how the sexual scandals surrounding Trump may affect the elections in November.
Rank #17: Can President Macron Outwit President Trump?
This week, President Trump hosted his first state dinner, in honor of Emmanuel Macron, the French President. Macron spoke with Trump about the Iran nuclear deal, and gave a speech before a joint session of Congress explaining his differences with current U.S. policies on the Middle East and on climate change. Lauren Collins joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how Macron set out to disarm Trump, and to persuade him to think more like a European.
Rank #18: Cambridge Analytica and the Dark Arts of Voter Manipulation
This week, new stories emerged about how the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles to shape Trump's culture war. Cambridge Analytica is almost wholly owned by the family of Robert Mercer, a billionaire donor with a far-right vision of America. Jane Mayer joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how dark money and data mining are being used to influence elections and undermine democracy.
Rank #19: Trump's North Korean Missile Crisis
Last Friday, the regime of Kim Jong-un tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that may be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to U.S. soil. Evan Osnos joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how the Trump Administration is facing its greatest foreign-policy challenge: a hostile totalitarian regime with nuclear weapons. What can be done to avoid a calamitous showdown?
Rank #20: Why China Loves Trump
The Administration is withdrawing from commitments abroad. Evan Osnos joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss how China is vying to supplant the U.S. as the world’s most powerful economic and political power.