In This Episode
- Former President Donald Trump surrendered on Thursday at the Fulton County Jail on felony charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. He was released on a $200,000 bond. Meanwhile in the criminal case over mishandled classified documents, a former Mar-a-Lago employee who monitored the security cameras flipped on Trump after switching lawyers.
- Japan released the first batch of treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, setting off huge protests in China and South Korea. A total of one million metric tons of treated water will ultimately be released.
- And in headlines: the Department of Justice sued SpaceX for allegedly discriminating against refugees and asylum seekers in its hiring practices, Virginia’s attorney general said local school boards must roll back accommodations for transgender students, and India became the first country to land a spacecraft near the lunar South Pole.
- What A Day – YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@whatadaypodcast
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Juanita Tolliver: It’s Friday, August 25th. I’m Juanita Tolliver.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What A Day the podcast that is hoping you all stay cool with this heat dome that is baking most of the country.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah it’s not really given the pumpkin spice vibes that we were talking about yesterday Pri.
Priyanka Aribindi: No, no, we need a pumpkin spice super iced to beat the heat and get the pumpkin spice. Why not? [music break]
Juanita Tolliver: On today’s show, Japan started to release treated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean, which set off huge protests in China and South Korea. Plus, your reactions to our interview on the country’s teacher shortage with the NEA’s Becky Pringle.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, as was highly, highly anticipated, former President Donald Trump surrendered yesterday at the Fulton County Jail on felony charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. He was ultimately released on his $200,000 bond. But you know what else was released?
Juanita Tolliver: Oh, God.
Priyanka Aribindi: That man’s absurd, insane, unforgettable mug shot. This is an audio medium, but like words will fail to describe what was shown to us.
Juanita Tolliver: It’s giving creepy. It’s giving uneven skin tone. It’s giving like–
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s giving the grinch.
Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. Yes! [laughing]
Priyanka Aribindi: It’s giving the Grinch, the eyebrows. I’m just astounded. It is the most sinister looking mugshot I have ever seen.
Juanita Tolliver: It’s going to give me nightmares.
Priyanka Aribindi: I thought it was going to go in like a cheery direction, like a little like–
Juanita Tolliver: Cheery?
Priyanka Aribindi: –smile and a thumbs up kind of vibe.
Juanita Tolliver: Oh no.
Priyanka Aribindi: No, no, that was not his vibe. It was a lot to take in. But Trump also spoke next to his plane as he was about to fly out of Atlanta afterwards. Take a listen.
[clip of Donald Trump] What has taken place here is a travesty of justice. We did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong.
Priyanka Aribindi: Same old shit, it appears. And also, as we record, law enforcement is investigating reports of a bomb threat at the Fulton County Courthouse, which is several miles from the jail where Trump was booked. Just no shortage of events yesterday.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, and I’m just like the way this chaos follows this man.
Priyanka Aribindi: Truly.
Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. Can you describe the scene at the county jail for us, though?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. So by Thursday afternoon, a crowd of hundreds of people gathered outside of the jail in the Georgia heat awaiting Trump’s arrival. The majority were Trump supporters in their MAGA gear, many of them there with signs. But there were also protesters, journalists and just regular people who wanted to watch this all go down. Who could blame them? It is not every day that a former president of the United States rolls up to jail. Before Trump’s arrival, several of his co-defendants surrendered and subsequently were booked and released on bond. That includes Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Kenneth Cheseboro, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and more. Though as of our recording time, seven of the 19 co-defendants still have not arrived at the jail to surrender. They have until noon eastern time today to do so. We will be watching that.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, we’ll be watching. I feel like this is also the opportunity to get your placard bingo card ready and just, like, arrange their faces for–
Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously.
Juanita Tolliver: –whenever they do outlandish things throughout the trial. But–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Juanita Tolliver: Speaking of the trial, what do we know about the timing in this case?
Priyanka Aribindi: Previously, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is overseeing all of this, proposed that the trial for all 19 defendants, should start on March 4th of next year, but it looks like that could get bumped up a little bit. Kenneth Cheseboro, an attorney who was advising the Trump campaign and was actually the first to suggest these fake pro-Trump electors got the bright idea to demand a speedy trial, as is his right. The judge said no problem. Signed off on his request. He’s scheduled an October 23rd start date for him. That is just two months from now. But after that DA Willis asked the judge to set that same date for all of the defendants.
Juanita Tolliver: She is clearly ready for this like–
Priyanka Aribindi: Oh, yes.
Juanita Tolliver: I don’t know if they knew, but she’s ready.
Priyanka Aribindi: One of them fell into the trap here. It hasn’t been approved yet. So far. Just Cheseboro’s request has the green light for October 23rd. There will almost certainly be pushback from the rest of the defendants on moving up the date. I mean, it’s a complicated case. There’s a lot of evidence and things for their legal teams to review and do before this trial gets started. But it is very clear here that Trump’s team wants this trial and the rest of his trials to be pushed back until after the 2024 presidential election. They do not want to deal with this. They are throwing a Hail Mary. They’re betting he’s going to be president and is not going have to face the consequences of any of his actions. But it really does not seem like DA Willis will let that happen in this situation, not what she is about. She wants to see this happen and see this happen soon.
Juanita Tolliver: 100%. And speaking of Trump’s legal woes, I know there was an update in the case over the classified documents that he’s also facing.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes.
Juanita Tolliver: Tell us what happened there.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So earlier this week, we learned via a court filing that a former Trump employee who monitored the security cameras at Mar-a-Lago actually flipped on Trump after switching lawyers. So originally, this guy had a lawyer that was paid for by a Trump PAC. He has since switched to a lawyer from the federal defender’s office in Washington. And what do you know? The minute he got a lawyer that wasn’t paid for by the Trump PAC, he also flipped on Trump. He originally told the grand jury in D.C. that he wasn’t aware of any effort to erase security camera footage at Mar-a-Lago. But right after he got this new lawyer, he retracted that testimony, said it was false, and instead described an effort to tamper with evidence related to the investigation in the handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. So very big deal.
Juanita Tolliver: Huge deal. And it reminds me of none other than Cassidy Hutchison, who the moment she got out of the clutches of Trump’s lawyers, had a whole lot more to say. So hopefully that’s what comes from this flip to.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. And as a reminder, Trump pleaded not guilty to all of the charges in that indictment, denied any wrongdoing, pretty much just as he has done here. The trial date in that case is set for May 20th, 2024. So between that between Georgia, we really have a lot on our plate for the next few months. We have our work cut out for us.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, the cadence of this week is your model so buckle up, y’all, because between GOP debates–
Priyanka Aribindi: Buckle up.
Juanita Tolliver: We’re going to get trial dates and hearings and more and more. So it’s going to be a long ride.
Priyanka Aribindi: Random shit on X. It’s a lot. It’s a lot.
Juanita Tolliver: [laughing] Right. All right. Let’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific now, because I got to ask y’all, do you remember the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan that went into a complete meltdown after a deadly earthquake and tsunami in 2011? Well, the first batch of treated radioactive waste water that was used to cool that facility during the meltdown is now being poured into the Pacific Ocean. A total of 1 million metric tons of treated water will ultimately be released. And it’s abundantly clear that people across the region are heated.
Priyanka Aribindi: Why is this happening? Why is the country doing this and why now?
Juanita Tolliver: So according to reports, the Japanese government signed off on the plan two years ago and it was given the green light by the U.N. nuclear watchdog last month as a key stage in the decommissioning process for the power plant. And Japanese officials say that the water must be released to make room within the plant and to prevent accidental leaks.
Priyanka Aribindi: What are the biggest concerns about the release of this treated wastewater? I can imagine there are plenty.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, there’s a few levels to this because locally Japanese fishing groups are worried that the wastewater release will further damage the reputation of their seafood. In China, customs authorities banned seafood from Japan with immediate effect, and that will apply to all imports of, quote, “aquatic products.” Considering that China is the largest importer of Japanese seafood, bringing in ¥128 billion yen worth of fish and crustaceans in 2022, this will undoubtedly impact the Japanese economy.
Priyanka Aribindi: This seems like really not good.
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. Meanwhile, in South Korea, even before the release pumps were opened, there’s been a split response. The conservative president maintains that its government’s assessment showed no problems with Japan’s plan, but a majority of people have expressed concerns about seafood and ocean contamination in recent surveys, with 62% of people saying that they would cut back or stop consuming seafood once the discharge begins. To make their discontent clear. Earlier this week, protesters stormed a building that houses the Japanese embassy in Seoul and local police arrested 16 people. Take a listen to this moment captured by Reuters.
[clip of protesters in Japan] [people shouting with someone speaking on a megaphone]
Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. So how have Japanese authorities been responding to all of this?
Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. They’re really maintaining that the treated radioactive waste water is safe. And they go so far as to say that it’s safer than international standards. Based on that notion, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan asked China to immediately lift its ban and engage in scientific discussions. Also, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings said that they are preparing to compensate Japanese business owners appropriately for damages suffered by the export ban. Though something tells me it won’t measure up to the typical Chinese spending levels. Even with all of these reassurances from Japan, though, some scientists say that the long term impact of the low level radioactivity that remains in the water needs attention because the reality is that no one knows exactly how this will impact the wildlife, the environment and people in the future. Of course, we’ll keep following all of this, but that’s the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines.
Juanita Tolliver: The plane carrying Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was likely brought down by an intentional explosion. That’s according to preliminary intelligence reports. And U.S. and Western officials said that a bomb or another device planted on board could have caused that explosion. Though other theories like adulterated fuel are also being looked into. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday made his first comments since the crash, saying Prigozhin was a man of, quote, “difficult fate” who made some, quote, “serious mistakes in life.” As we mentioned on yesterday’s show, Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner military group, was on a plane that crashed Wednesday just northwest of Moscow. Rescuers found ten bodies, but there’s been no official confirmation that Prigozhin was killed. However, the Associated Press reported that one U.S. and Western official said that Prigozhin was, quote, “very likely targeted” and that the explosion aligns with Putin’s, quote, “long history of trying to silence his critics.”
Priyanka Aribindi: Absolutely. This is the first thing that everybody thought when this news came out and–
Juanita Tolliver: Right.
Priyanka Aribindi: What really gets me are these comments by Vladimir Putin. It’s like we all know, we all know you did this and you’re going to be out there saying these things about this man that you killed!
Juanita Tolliver: Because he knows we know.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah he knows we know. He knows there are no consequences for him. It is wild. That is baffling to me. The Department of Justice sued Space X on Thursday and accused the rocket and satellite company of discriminating against refugees and asylum seekers in its hiring practices. According to court documents, the DOJ is arguing that Space X violated the Immigration and Nationality Act by allegedly refusing to hire or even consider refugees and asylum seekers for open positions, as well as discouraging them from even applying. The company is also accused of falsely claiming that federal export laws require it to exclusively hire U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, a lie that CEO Elon Musk himself touted to his millions of followers on X, formerly known as Twitter. The DOJ is seeking fair consideration and back pay for refugees and asylum seekers whose applications were rejected by Space X due to these discriminatory policies, as well as civil penalties to ensure that Musk’s company will comply with federal nondiscrimination laws moving forward. Space X has yet to comment on the lawsuit.
Juanita Tolliver: Virginia’s attorney general said yesterday that school boards in the Commonwealth must roll back accommodations for transgender students. That’s to adhere to new guidance finalized by Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin last month that states that trans students must use the bathroom based on their assigned sex at birth and they cannot participate in school sports programs that align with their gender identity. Also, teachers may not refer to students by any name other than the one printed on their birth certificate unless they have parental permission and they cannot conceal information about a student’s gender from their parents. Essentially, they’re saying teachers out the kids, literally potentially endangering the child if their parents are transphobic. But here we are. You may remember that Youngkin first proposed these anti-trans policies last year in a major reversal of former Democratic Governor Ralph Northam’s policies that protected trans children in the classroom. Some schools in red districts have already started to comply with the Youngkin’s new rules, but school board officials in blue counties have refused, saying they will not change their policies. The silver lining here is that it’s not exactly clear how Youngkin’s administration will enforce his new rules, as he has yet to announce any consequences for violators.
Priyanka Aribindi: Keeping with the bad news for the LGBTQ community, staff and faculty at Florida State colleges can be fired if they use a bathroom or change facility for the gender that doesn’t correspond with the one assigned to them at birth. This is part of new guidelines unanimously approved on Wednesday, the Florida State Board of Education said that employees can face a verbal and written warning with the first offense and then immediate termination of employment with the second, which is a wild escalation. These absurd rules build on the anti-trans law passed in the state this May, which restricted access to bathrooms for trans students and faculty in government buildings. The state college system in Florida serves 650,000 students on 28 regional campuses, and all seven of the state Education Board members are appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis, former state Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is now the senior policy adviser of LGBTQ rights group Equality Florida, said in a statement, quote, “These threats of bathroom investigations, force firing of personnel and restrictions on dormitories in the Florida college system will only worsen the current culture of fear and intimidation against the transgender community.” That is absolutely true.
Juanita Tolliver: Right. I was like not a single lie detected. And finally, we are over the moon for India.
[clip of India’s Mission Control] [cheering and speaking about the moon landing]
Juanita Tolliver: That’s the sound from Mission Control, when earlier this week the country became the first to land a spacecraft near the Lunar South Pole and only the fourth country ever to touch down on the moon. India’s Chandrayaan-3 landed in the region Wednesday, and just yesterday, Indian space officials said a lunar rover from the spacecraft successfully slid down a ramp and took a walk on the moon. The region where the spacecraft landed is intriguing to scientists because it’s believed to have large amounts of frozen water, which, if attainable, could be used for rocket fuel and as a source of drinking water for future space explorations. The landing was also a huge triumph for India and happened just days after a failed Russian lunar landing. Following the landing, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was, quote, “confident that all countries in the world, including those from the Global South, are capable of achieving such feats.” And I’m here for it. Take that Russia, rise up global south. Yes.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. This is a really, really exciting achievement. Congratulations. Only fourth in the whole world is very cool. It’s definitely something to be proud of.
Juanita Tolliver: And those are the headlines we’ll be back after some ads with what the WAD squad had to say about our interview this week on teachers shortages.
Juanita Tolliver: It’s Friday WAD Squad. And for today’s temp check we wanted to shout out some love we got for this week’s episode on the nationwide teacher shortage. On Wednesdays show, I talked with Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association. NEA is the largest educators union in the country, and Becky gave us this thorough explanation of why this shortage is happening.
[clip of Becky Pringle] In this moment for educators all over this country. It is a moment of reckoning for them in many ways, because they’re asking themselves, can I still do this job without the supports that I always needed, but with more and more that’s required of me?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, I this is a phenomenon that I feel like is happening in so many professions, but especially for teachers throughout the country. So important to hear that articulated in this context. What I also really loved about this interview, though, is how she pointed out the parts of the American education system that she’s also hopeful about, which I feel like is so important, especially for these educators who are being stretched so thin right now.
Juanita Tolliver: Exactly. And we love some of your responses and discord about this episode. This one from Lauren H. says, I was approached by North Carolina Public Schools about being a teacher. I literally have zero qualifications, no teaching degree or anything, just a general B.A. degree. It’s absurd. And this is exactly what President Pringle was talking about.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Juanita Tolliver: She’s talking about how teachers aren’t supported, don’t have the baseline understanding of the job, but schools want to push them in to try to fill spots all to the detriment of the individuals and the students.
Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. And feels like we have learned absolutely nothing from the pandemic and all of these experiences where I would think that the importance of education and trained educators was so highlighted and it was so sorely missed. This one goes from a user who goes by “Tabicat.” I work in secondary and post-secondary education adjacent. Even in liberal safe havens like Massachusetts, the shortage is incredible and the lack of support for students, especially those that need accessible education and teachers, is mind boggling.
Juanita Tolliver: Mm. Yeah, that’s real. It’s, I think, something that just hits all 50 states, no matter how much investment they make, no matter how much effort they make, because understanding the strain on individuals who stand in front of that classroom with y’alls kids every day is intense. And so more and more people are leaving. And of course, our political climate doesn’t help that either. We love to hear from you parents, teachers and students. What are some education stories you think we should be talking about? You can join the conversation and subscribe to the discord at Crooked.com/friends.
Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Stop messing with teachers and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you are into reading and not just collecting all the Georgia mug shots like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver.
[spoken together] And India, take us to the moon too.
Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously? Not like in the billionaire way, but like–
Juanita Tolliver: Would you really go?
Priyanka Aribindi: No, absolutely not. [laughter] In theory, it would be nice to be away from this planet for a while.
Juanita Tolliver: Let me do a couple rounds of the, you know, zero gravity nosedive flights to see how I feel, and then we can decide. [laughing] [music break]
Priyanka Aribindi: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.