Rank #1: U.S. policy towards Israel
Tommy and Ben Rhodes talk with former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro about his time in Israel, why the Middle East Peace process failed, Trump's approach to Israel, the BDS movement, whether support for Israel is getting politicized, Netanyahu's legal jeopardy, and Jared Kushner managing our relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Rank #2: Ronan Farrow
Tommy talks with Pulitzer Prize winning author Ronan Farrow about his new book War on Peace and the militarization of American foreign policy.
Rank #3: Ilhan Omar’s tweets spark a debate about anti-semitism
First, Tommy talks with author Peter Beinart about the controversy around Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's tweets, which many viewed as anti-semitic. Then, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman joins to talk with Tommy and Ben about the time she spent negotiating with Iran and North Korea.
Rank #4: Syria strikes and North Korea talks
Tommy talks with foreign policy expert Kelly Magsamen about Trump’s strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons site, his lack of a broader strategy, and her attempt to “red team” the policy options during the Obama administration. Then they talk about CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s trip to North Korea.
Rank #5: The CIA's tortured history
Tommy talks with ACLU political director Faiz Shakir about the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA despite her role in the Bush-era torture of terrorism suspects. They also discuss the politics of national security in the Trump era, and whether Obama did enough to hold the CIA accountable for its actions.
Rank #6: Who is President of Venezuela?
Tommy talks with Anthony Faiola, the Washington Post bureau chief for South America and the Caribbean, about the dire situation in Venezuela. Then Ben Rhodes joins to discuss the Trump administration's approach to Venezuela's leadership struggle, the Worldwide Threat Assessment hearings in Congress, a potential peace deal in Afghanistan, Ebola, Jared's security clearance (again) and bumbling spies.
Rank #7: Revoking John Brennan's security clearance
Tommy talks with former acting CIA director Michael Morell about President Trump's decision to revoke his opponents' security clearances. They discuss why the politicization of intelligence is so dangerous and why many former spy chiefs decided to speak out on Brennan's behalf.
Rank #8: Right-wing radicals and CIA secrets
Tommy talks with former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about her efforts to combat right-wing extremists. Then he is joined by former Deputy CIA Director David Cohen to talk about what it was like to learn the world’s most closely guarded secrets, how the CIA works, and hear his David’s views on North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs.
Rank #9: Emergency North Korea update then Putin’s #1 enemy
Former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes talks through Trump’s promise of “fire and fury” if North Korea threatens the US and today’s reports on advances in North Korea's nuclear program. Then Tommy is joined by Bill Browder, a businessman who became Putin’s #1 enemy after exposing corruption in Russia. Browder was the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act sanctions to punish Russian human rights abusers.
Rank #10: 8 Years in the Situation Room with Ben Rhodes
Tommy and Obama’s former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes discuss Ben’s career path, Obama’s Cairo speech, the damage Trump is doing, counterterrorism, restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, Wikileaks, Snowden, Israel, Syria and more.
Rank #11: Foreign lobbying and what Bob Woodward taught us about Trump's foreign policy
Two part show this week! First, Tommy talks with the Wall Street Journal's Julie Bykowicz about new and insidious ways foreign countries are lobbying the Trump administration. Then, Tommy is joined by Vox's Alex Ward to discuss North Korea, revelations in Bob Woodward's book, new theories about what harmed diplomats in Cuba, and Burma.
Rank #12: Owned by Russia but itching to bomb Iran
First, Tommy and Ben discuss two stories about the Trump administration agitating to attack Iran. Then they discuss several unnerving reports about Trump potentially being compromised by Russia, followed by Brexit, the World Bank, and our Twitter troll ambassador to Germany. Then a Sudanese-American activist named Wafa May Elamin joins to discuss the ongoing protests in Sudan.
Rank #13: Brexit breakdown
First, Tommy and Ben talk with David Lammy, a member of parliament from the UK, about the slow-rolling disaster that is Brexit. Then they discuss Trump's announcement of a second meeting with Kim Jong Un, recent Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria, and the latest from Afghanistan.
Rank #14: "Space Force all the way!"
Tommy talks with defense expert Katherine Charlet from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace about President Trump's plan to create a Space Force!!! How much is the military currently operating in space? Is this proposal smart, necessary or a gigantic waste of taxpayer money. Listen to this episode (which includes lasers) to find out!
Rank #15: Snowden and Surveillance with Glenn Greenwald
Intercept editor Glenn Greenwald joins to respond to criticism of Edward Snowden and to discuss his views on intelligence collection.
Rank #16: Infiltrating al Qaeda
Tommy interviewed undercover FBI agent Tamer Elnoury about his work penetrating and disrupting an al Qaeda cell plotting attacks in Canada and the United States. They discussed what it was like to live with and pretend to become a terrorist, including having to visit the Ground Zero memorial with a man who took pride in the 9/11 attacks and wanted to repeat them. His book, AMERICAN RADICAL, is great - read it!
Rank #17: Wanted by Putin and rage tweeting at Iran
Two part show today! First, Tommy talks with Ambassador Michael McFaul about Vladimir Putin's request to interrogate him and Trump's shocking refusal to immediately rule it out. Then Tommy talks with the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian about Trump's late-night rage tweet at Iran and the future of US/Iranian relations.
Rank #18: 544 days in an Iranian prison
Tommy and Ben talk with the Washington Post's Jason Rezaian about his book Prisoner, which details the 544 days he spent in an Iran's notoriously brutal Evin Prison. Jason was held hostage by the Iranian regime and held as leverage in the nuclear negotiations. Jason details his experience while Ben explains what the negotiations were like from his perch in the White House. It is a hell of a good episode.
Rank #19: Is the Mueller investigation doomed?
Tommy talks with The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand about how the potential departure of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein would impact the Mueller investigation and operations at DOJ. Then they discuss what we've learned about Russia's efforts to influence our elections over the past two years, and the shady right-wing characters that link Trump to Wikileaks.
Rank #20: Trump's disastrous European vacation
Tommy talks with Julianne Smith, a former Pentagon official and advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, about Donald Trump’s truly awful trip to Europe, and why his terrifying press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki is only a piece of the lasting damage it might cause to some of America’s most critical relationships.