Don't Manchin It | Crooked Media
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June 17, 2021
What A Day
Don't Manchin It

In This Episode

  • President Biden had his first one-on-one meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Geneva, yesterday. The leaders discussed recent cyberattacks and the state of human rights in their respective countries … and allegedly, things stayed basically cordial.
  • Next week, the Senate has a scheduled vote on voting rights legislation, and a memo put out yesterday by Senator Joe Manchin laid out the kind of bill he would be willing to vote for. Manchin said he’s in favor of voter ID requirements and other stipulations that progressives oppose, but even for his watered-down version of the bill to pass, it would require the support of 10 Republicans.
  • And in headlines: the Education Department says Title IX prohibits discrimination based sexual orientation and gender identity, lots of rules at next month’s Tokyo Olympics, and a litter of gray wolves is born in Colorado for the first time since the 1940s.




Akilah Hughes: It’s Thursday, June 17th. I’m Akilah Hughes


Gideon Resnick: And I’m Gideon Resnick, and this is What A Day the podcast Link plays on his ocarina in Breath Of the Wild Two.


Akilah Hughes: Yeah, that’s just speculation, of course. But we think the new game will introduce both an ocarina, and the ability to play podcasts.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, we’re basing this on the best source that we have: instinct.


Akilah Hughes: Yeah. I mean, if you look at the trailer, it seems like they’re just trying to tell us about it. On today’s show, some movement on voting rights legislation ahead of an expected initial vote next week. Plus, we’ll have headlines.


Gideon Resnick: But first, the latest:


[clip of President Biden] I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia, or anyone else. It’s for the American people: fighting COVID-19, rebuilding our economy, reestablishing relationships around the world our allies and friends, and protecting the American people.


Gideon Resnick: That is President Biden summing up his first one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva yesterday. It was one the world was watching because of all that was on the line. As to how Putin himself walked away from the meeting. Here he is:


Gideon Resnick: [speaking in Russian].


Gideon Resnick: The gist of what he’s saying there from my own translation: he doesn’t believe there was any hostility during the meeting and they both came together to lay groundwork on issues like cybersecurity. But I think there was more going on here. So Akilah, let’s break down what actually happened, starting with cyber-attacks. Was there common ground there?


Akilah Hughes: I mean, a little bit. So they agreed to consultations. No one really knows what that means exactly. But as Ben Rhodes told us earlier this week, Russia agreeing to even the littlest thing on cybersecurity is a really big step. But Putin continued to deny that Russia was involved in recent cyber-attacks targeting a major U.S. pipeline and a global meat processing company. Biden wasn’t swayed by Putin’s grandstanding about hacking and said, quote “I pointed out to him, we have significant cyber capabilities. He doesn’t know exactly what it is, but he knows it’s significant. If, in fact, they violate these basic norms, we will respond, he knows, in a cyber way.”


Gideon Resnick: Oooh.


Akilah Hughes: So [laughs] cyber threats out here.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, he is going to clap back on Twitter. We also knew that Biden was going to press Putin on the issues of democracy and human rights. So what came out of their meeting on that front?


Akilah Hughes: There, Biden got tougher and said that there would be, quote “devastating” consequences if the jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, were to die in prison. Putin dismissed those questions, though—he didn’t even say Alexei Navalny’s name—and redirected the convo to issues in the U.S. like the Black Lives Matter protests and the January 6th insurrection. Which, you know, he’s not wrong,. America has its own problems. So . . .


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, overall, there weren’t any major breakthroughs to speak of. But on that issue of cooling tensions, both of them claim their meeting was cordial. What are observers saying, though?


Akilah Hughes: So The Washington Post noted that Biden called the U.S. and Russia “two great powers,” which was noticeable because in the past, President Obama called Russia a, quote “regional power”—real big dig there. [laughs] Both leaders seemed to be on their best behavior, with Putin saying that there were, quote “glimmers of trust again.” What does that mean? You kind of trust something? That means you don’t. Anyway, things may be less frosty in a ‘negotiating with a dictator’-sort of way. So that was the big focus of the Bush administration on the international front, but of course, there was a lot happening domestically, too—namely more movement on critical voting rights legislation. So Gideon take us through what went down.


Gideon Resnick: Ugh. This is a doozy. OK, so on the one hand, next week, the Senate has scheduled a vote on voting rights legislation. And for a while the choice had appeared to be: you can either try to get Republicans on board with something they have vocally said they hate, or get rid of the filibuster and just pass the For the People Act—the more sweeping bill that’s on the table—with just Democratic support. Then yesterday, there was some added intrigue with our dear friend, Senator Joe Manchin. As a reminder, if people needed it, he has been under massive pressure to join other Democrats to support the bill. And earlier this month, he wrote that Op-Ed about opposing it as it was written.


Akilah Hughes: Yeah, he is not my favorite person. But what’s changed?


Gideon Resnick: OK, so basically Manchin puts out this memo that details what he’s actually looking for in a bill like this, which had been a constant question from other Democrats in the Senate. They were saying: what do you actually want here? So here is what we know about what Manchin is talking about would work to get his vote. Manchin said first what he liked in this bill that can stay: provisions like creating at least two weeks of early voting and banning partisan gerrymandering. Some of that would actually be an antidote to some of the bills that we’ve talked about that are flying through Republican-led state legislatures at the moment. He also brought up making Election Day a public holiday, and automatic voter registration via the DMV with the ability to opt out. But—pretty large one at that—at the same time, he also said that he is in favor of voter ID requirements, and allowing for some wiggle room for how and when local officials can purge their voter rolls.


Akilah Hughes: Yeah, well be more specific, Joe. Anyway. [laughs] Alright, what was the reception to all of this among the Democrats?


Gideon Resnick: OK, so it’s a mixed bag. In an interview with Politico, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn called the memo from Manchin a, quote “great first step.” Although Representative Mondaire Jones also told Politico, quote “I want him to understand that voter ID laws disproportionately exclude people of color from the franchise and civil rights groups will tell him as much.” Manchin is pretty likely to get strong pushback on that part, even though he has talked about a, quote “allowable alternative” like bringing a utility bill, for instance, to the polls.


Akilah Hughes: Yeah. So if you live with several other people and you’re renting and your name is not on that bill, I don’t know what you’re going to do. But I haven’t been in the Senate for a million years like some of these folks, but isn’t the question still, like how would you get the support of 10 Republicans to break a filibuster even for something that is a watered-down version?


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I mean, that is the exact question. And, you know, on the filibuster part, we got another look at Manchin’s position yesterday via this leaked call that he had with donors—it was obtained by The Intercept. We can link to that so people can hear the full thing. But basically, he said to these donors that he needed help flipping some Republicans to vote for the January 6 commission in order to take away an argument that the, quote “far left” has for eliminating the filibuster. I.e., he would try to prove that there’s bipartisanship by having Republicans agree to a commission that would investigate a day that they were attacked. That’s interesting.


Akilah Hughes: He’s so naïve. [laughs]


Gideon Resnick: Yep. And at one point during this, he seemed to even suggest that Republican Roy Blunt could e persuaded to vote yes by being offered a job when he retires. So . . .


Akilah Hughes: Come on, the bribing them?


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, basically. That’s what it sounded like. So crazy, crazy stuff in there. You know, as to where this all goes in the Senate, the Post reported that it’s not clear if Majority Leader Schumer is actually going to try to reach some agreement with Manchin or not before moving forward here. But Schumer did say recently, quote “The idea that this can have some kind of bipartisan solution befuddles me, because every action taken in the legislature is done just with Republican state senators, Republican assembly members, with no Democratic participation or input.” So he’s not thinking the B word—bipartisanship—is going to be a thing. We’ll follow the bills all of next week when we’ll also have Crooked’s political director, Shaniqua McClendon, here to break it down for us. But that’s the least for now.


Akilah Hughes: It’s Thursday, WAD squad, and today we’re doing a new segment where we run down some stories that were almost too edgy for our relatively edgy show. The segment is called “No Parents” because the stories are R-rated. So if you’re a parent who’s going to respond to them by calling our moms, or naming and shaming us on NextDoor, I suggest you skip the segment and instead go to Sherwin-Williams to price shop for paints for the dining room. Cool parents can use your discretion. This is No Parents.


Gideon Resnick: It was ‘raining meds’ in New York earlier this month when a drug dealer threw a trash bag containing 19 pounds of marijuana off an apartment roof after his buyers tried to rob him. Sad for the guy, but exciting for three pedestrians who experienced the event as free drugs falling from the sky—they grabbed handfuls and ran away.


Akilah Hughes: If any parents are listening, we’re still in the No Parents zone. OK, please fast-forward or go to the nearest Lowe’s and throw tantrums in the self-checkout area until the segment’s over


Gideon Resnick: A cat was born with no butthole in Toronto. This condition is very dangerous and obviously not fun, but the ‘happily ever after’ is that the kitten was successfully treated by veterinary surgeons last week, thanks to cat lovers who raised thousands of dollars to foot the bill.


Akilah Hughes: Parents: even if you thought that story was cute and not exactly R-rated, the next one could be so bad it makes you move your children to a different school district. Please hit fast forward, and we’ll catch up with you all in the pillow aisle at a HomeGoods.


Gideon Resnick: Production shut down an NBC show called “Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide” earlier this month due to a giardia outbreak affecting up to 40 crew members. Giardia can cause terrible GI symptoms, the ones you would guess, which affect the mouth and butt. It spreads easily in water so it’s no mystery how it could derail a show centered around a 65-foot tall water slide.


Akilah Hughes: All right. All parents can come back now, because we’re leaving the No Parents zone. We’ll be back after some ads.


Gideon Resnick: [ad break]


Akilah Hughes: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.


[sung] Headlines.


Gideon Resnick: The Department of Education announced yesterday that Title 9 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Title 9 is a landmark law that bans sex based discrimination in federally-funded schools. The Trump administration previously decided that trans students were not entitled to protections under this law, but yesterday’s guidance completely overturns that. In a press release, the department said the new guidance was based on the Supreme Court ruling last year, which establishes that federal civil rights law protects queer and trans workers. Some advocates are kind of skeptical as to whether or not this new interpretation will change the minds of local officials that seek to pass more anti-trans bills. But the administration ensures that schools receiving federal funds will be punished if they discriminate against trans students.


Akilah Hughes: That’s what’s up. A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that North Carolina’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is unconstitutional. The ban was originally passed in 1973, which is the same year the Supreme Court issued its ruling on Roe v. Wade, making abortion a constitutional right. Since then, state lawmakers have kept the law, arguing that it is largely symbolic because no abortion providers were prosecuted under this law. The federal court’s latest ruling reflected that it was not just symbolic and that the state’s argument was totally not reasonable. The law has been blocked since it was struck down by a district court judge in 2015. The ruling comes as the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a challenge to a Mississippi abortion law. And we’ll be following up with that hearing in a later episode.


Gideon Resnick: Next month’s Tokyo Olympics is shaping up to be the least fun of all time, with a metric ton of COVID rules for athletes and consequences that include disqualification and deportation for people who break them. Oh, my gosh. An International Olympic Committee playbook distributed this Tuesday contains all the guidelines that we’ve come to expect for pandemic era contests: daily testing, social distancing and masks—but it also has some more creative ones, like a requirement, for instance, that participants not speak to drivers when writing in official Olympics vehicles. A personal—


Akilah Hughes: That would be so hard for you.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I was going to say, a personal issue for me. I am a friend to all. The Olympic Village is known to be one of the most romantic places on Earth, and the organizers of this year’s event will distribute about 150,000 condoms to athletes. But a spokesperson told Reuters that condoms are not for use in the village, since that would violate social distancing. They are for taking back to athletes’ home countries—no way or maybe protecting athletes’ cell phones, if their event involves swimming. Of course, over 10,000 athletes will be in Tokyo, along with nearly 80,000 journalists, officials and staff, so extreme precautions are warranted. Even holding the Olympics was opposed by most of Japan until recently. But as the country’s vaccination campaign has ramped up, opposition has waned.


Akilah Hughes: Happy early Father’s Day to a wolf in Colorado who recently became the parent of the first litter of gray wolf pups to be seen in the state since the 1940s. Gray wolves used to live all over the country, but were nearly hunted to extinction—that’s a real sad one. Conservation efforts reintroduced them to Wyoming and central Idaho beginning in the 1990s, but they’ve only started popping up in Colorado in the past two years. This particular wolf and his co-parent have had the attention of Colorado wildlife officials for a while. The officials believe both wolves to be male—then they saw the pups, spent a long night with their advanced wolf textbooks and realized that they were wrong. Last year, Colorado voters approved a measure to reintroduce gray wolves in the state by the end of 2023. So hopefully this litter is the first of many. I’m doing my part in California by raising a wolf at home, only is shy and frozen in baby form, and his wolf credentials are a subject of dispute in the animal science community.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, we have to get that fixed ASAP.


Akilah Hughes: Yeah, I trust Fauci. He knows what he’s talking about. [laughs] And those are the headlines.


Gideon Resnick: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, be a parent to a wolf pup, and tell your friends to listen.


Akilah Hughes: And if you’re into reading, and not just Olympic rules about who’s off limits for talking like me, What A Day is also a daily newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Akilah Hughes.


Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.


[together] And look out! It’s weed raining!


Akilah Hughes: It is a, you know, sativa with the chance of more indica.


Gideon Resnick: Cloudy, some indica in the forecast. Be careful out there.


Akilah Hughes: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media.


Gideon Resnick: It’s recorded and mixed by Charlotte Landes.


Akilah Hughes: Sonia Htoon and Jazzi Marine are our associate producers.


Gideon Resnick: Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran, Akilah Hughes and me.


Akilah Hughes: Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.