In This Episode
- After leaving a trail of destruction in southern Florida, Hurricane Ian is expected to make a second landfall in South Carolina on Friday. Officials in Charleston are bracing for intense rain, higher-than-usual tides, and a storm surge across the state’s coast.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin today plans to formally annex separatist regions of Ukraine that supposedly voted to join the Russian Federation. Ukraine and its western allies have called it an illegal “land grab.”
- And in headlines: a group of Republican-led states sued the Biden administration over its plan to cancel some student debt, California made it easier for farm workers to join unions, and Ginni Thomas sat for an interview with the House January 6th committee.
- Vote Save America: Every Last Vote – https://votesaveamerica.com/every-last-vote/
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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, September 30th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi and this is What A Day, where we are avoiding CrossFit classes at all costs now that Marjorie Taylor Greene is single again and on the prowl.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, her husband filed for divorce, which means anyone lifting a monster truck tire over their head could end up dating her.
Priyanka Aribindi: And trust me, if it weren’t for this, I would be doing CrossFit all of the time.
Tre’vell Anderson: I would not. But I love that for you. [music break] On today’s show, Jenny Thomas met with the House committee investigating the January 6th riot. Plus, a new law will make it easier for farmworkers in California to join unions.
Priyanka Aribindi: But first, another update on Hurricane Ian.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. After making landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday, Ian weakened into a tropical storm as it crossed the peninsula before it strengthened back to hurricane status Thursday evening. At the time of our recording, it’s a category one storm, though it could very well be stronger as you all are listening to this. And it’s making its way toward my folks’ neck of the woods. It’s expected to make a second landfall in South Carolina on Friday. Officials in Charleston are bracing for intense rain, higher than usual tides and a storm surge across the Lowcountry. That’s what we call the region along the state’s coast.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Really hoping that it is it is okay and not not so bad. But we talked a little bit about Ian’s projected impact on Florida on Thursday’s show. But now that the storm has moved out of the state, we’re seeing some really scary pictures and videos of the devastation. What more do we know about the damage that this has caused so far?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, well, first we have an update to the number of folks who were left without power due to the hurricane. As of Thursday night, that number climbed to more than two and a half million people. Now, as we mentioned, first responders were having trouble reaching people who needed help. That, unfortunately, is still the case. And as a result, we still don’t have the most accurate idea of the storm’s impact, especially as it pertains to the number of lives lost, how many people needed to be rescued or how many homes were destroyed. The sheriff of Lee County, Carmine Marceno, told Good Morning America Thursday that thousands of calls from folks needing to be rescued were coming into 911. But due to the extent of the damage, it’s been hard to reach many of them. And in terms of deaths, he’s estimating that they could be in the hundreds. Now, that number is not yet confirmed, but even President Biden noted that Hurricane Ian could become the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. And for context here, it would have to top the hurricane that hit the state back in 1928 and killed more than 2500 people. Here’s President Biden speaking from FEMA headquarters in D.C. on Thursday.
[clip of President Joe Biden] The numbers of still are still unclear, but we’re hearing early reports of what may be substantial loss of life. My message to the people of Florida, the country is at times like this, America comes together. We’re going to pull together as one team, as one America.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, it’s just really devastating, especially to be in this limbo where we don’t quite know yet how how bad this has been.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And in a separate press conference, Florida’s governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, called the storm surge flooding a, quote, “basically a 500 year event”. As of Thursday evening, officials confirmed at least 15 deaths statewide. That’s according to reports from The Miami Herald. Again, officials are saying that it could be several days before we have a clearer picture of how bad things are there. We’ll be sure to have an update on Monday’s show. But in the meantime, y’all stay safe out there.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yes, please. Please do. We also have an update to some news about the war in Ukraine. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to formally annex separatist regions of Ukraine that supposedly voted to join the Russian Federation.
Tre’vell Anderson: This entire saga in story gets more complicated as it goes on.
Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely does.
Tre’vell Anderson: Can you can you give us the background on what’s happening here?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. So earlier this week, Russia staged these, quote unquote “referendums” in four key areas of Ukraine. Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. These regions are on the eastern side of Ukraine to border Russia directly, along with some territory that has been held by Russian backed separatists since 2014. This would amount to Russia taking over 15% of Ukraine’s total landmass. That is about the size of Portugal. Just like huge. Catastrophic. Really bad. These referendums are widely considered to be a sham, they are illegal under both Ukrainian and International law. You can’t just march into a country, set up a voting booth, and then claim that everybody wants to be part of your country now, that’s just really not how it works.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: But anyways, the results supposedly showed that more than 95% of voters wanted to join Russia. So nobody except maybe inside Russia um is buying it. And for some historical context, back in 2014, this is the exact same way that Russia annexed Crimea. Anyways, Putin is trying to make it all official. He is signing what the Kremlin calls accession treaties to annex these regions. And there are celebrations and rallies planned in Moscow and all of these occupied areas.
Tre’vell Anderson: There have been lots of talks by, you know, folks on the West about you know, just kind of preempting what we knew would happen here.
Priyanka Aribindi: Right.
Tre’vell Anderson: Tell us more about what they’re saying and why this is considered illegitimate by the international community.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, the U.N. has said this has no legal value. The EU is planning more sanctions against Russia. The U.S. is calling it a land grab. And of course, that’s in part because of how it happened. These referendums were thrown together with just a few days notice. There were plenty of allegations of intimidation as well. Apparently, so-called election officials reportedly went door to door accompanied by armed guards. So.
Tre’vell Anderson: Wow.
Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely not happening in a fair way. But, you know, not only that, not only is this incredibly illegal, Russia will now use these results to claim that any attempt by Ukraine to regain its territory will now be considered a direct attack on Russia. So it’ll probably make negotiating any peace settlement between Russia and Ukraine much more difficult now, because to Russia now that this isn’t just occupied territory, this is their country. Putin has even made veiled threats to use tactical nuclear weapons if Russian territory is threatened, which they’re now considering this. The U.S. thinks he’s bluffing for now, but I mean, it’s terrifying nonetheless.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And this is happening, right, as Russia’s partial military mobilization calling up reservists to serve in the Russian army is underway. What is happening there?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I mean, that was deeply unpopular when it was announced last week. Still incredibly unpopular. There have been protests around the country, Russian men fleeing any way that they can because they don’t want to serve in this war. The whole reason Putin even ordered this mobilization was because there have been so many setbacks in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They are short on troops. Ukraine has been really successful in their counter offensive. They have lost a bunch of people. And, you know, speaking of Ukraine, they are not taking any of this lightly. President Volodymyr Zelensky promised a very harsh response to this annexation. He even called it a, quote, “Kremlin freak show that does not make legal sense”. That’s fact.
Tre’vell Anderson: Mmm hmm.
Priyanka Aribindi: In any event, it is clear that Putin is really digging in his heels here, even though his losses in Ukraine are really piling up.
Tre’vell Anderson: You know, I shouldn’t be surprised at Putin’s behavior at this point because–
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: –He has, you know, shown his disregard, you know, time and time again. Um. But this story, it continues to baffle me for sure.
Priyanka Aribindi: Wild. It really is wild.
Tre’vell Anderson: More on all of this very soon. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads.
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: A group of Republican led states sued the Biden administration over its plan to cancel billions of dollars in federal student loan debt. Arkansas is leading the lawsuit, along with Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina. They argue that Biden doesn’t have the power to cancel this much debt, which is expected to cost about $400 billion dollars. The Biden administration also changed who is eligible for that debt relief plan. The Education Department said it would exclude borrowers who went through private lenders to take out federal loans. This disqualifies over 700,000 people, but that is out of 40 million others who still stand to benefit from the plan.
Priyanka Aribindi: Brazil’s presidential election is on Sunday and we can say for sure already it will be messy. Brazil’s former left wing president, known to his supporters as Lula, has made a wild political comeback after he was sentenced to 22 years in prison on corruption charges back in 2018. He was released last year after Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled that he didn’t get a fair trial. Lula is up against right wing incumbent president and varsity COVID patient Jair Bolsonaro. The latest polls show Lula is currently leading. And if neither of them capture at least half of the vote on Sunday, which experts expect will happen, there will be a runoff on October 30th. In the meantime, Bolsonaro has already claimed without evidence, that Brazil’s electronic voting system can be manipulated. Where have I heard this story before?
Tre’vell Anderson: Not this again. No thank you.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. The sequel. The sequel’s never as good, you. I mean, the first one wasn’t even that good. The first one was a flop. So [laugh] why are we making it?
Tre’vell Anderson: California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill this week that makes it easier for farm workers in the state to unionize, granting a long overdue victory to labor advocates. The new law will allow workers to join a union simply by signing a card. Supporters of the bill say the measure will prevent employers from intimidating workers during the voting process. Newsom faced immense pressure to sign the bill for months, the United Farm Workers Union organized a 335 mile march from California’s Central Valley to Sacramento back in August, urging Newsom to sign it into law. And President Biden publicly endorsed the bill earlier this month.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, you know, I’m just trying to calculate in my head how many marathons that is. That is not mental math I can do this quickly. Someone please respond with that. That is, seems like a lot. One day the only pollution coming from New York City cabs will be sound pollution and lots and lots of it. In a step toward that glorious future, the state’s governor, Kathy Hochul announced that New York will ban the purchase of gas powered cars by 2035. This announcement follows California’s pledge in August to hit that same deadline. And like California, New York’s regulation will go into effect in phases with a greater proportion of electric vehicles required to be sold each year. Expect Texas to react to this news by making it illegal to buy cars unless hot gas is pouring out of the tank at all times. [laughter]
Tre’vell Anderson: A quick update on this year’s most compelling boxes of paper based legal drama. U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon overruled a demand from the special master assigned to the Mar-a-Lago documents saga. Special Master Raymond Dearie asked Trump’s lawyers to provide a sworn statement by Trump himself, describing the documents he claims were planted in his Florida residence by the FBI. The lawyers were also asked to back up Trump’s claims that he had declassified the documents. But Judge Cannon, who is a Trump appointee, overruled this decision. The Justice Department could still appeal.
Priyanka Aribindi: And the old ball and chain that has been bludgeoning the scales of justice, Jenny Thomas, sat for a five hour interview with members of the January 6th House committee on Thursday. As you probably know, Thomas is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas by day and by night she is an election denier and a right wing, quote unquote “activist”, a term that I don’t think she should be allowed to use. The panel had been interested in speaking with Thomas for months, specifically about a plan to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to reject the 2020 election results. The details of yesterday’s meeting haven’t been released yet, but committee chairman Bennie Thompson did say she repeated her belief that the election was stolen, playing the hits that her very powerful husband likely hears dozens of times a day.
Tre’vell Anderson: Here’s the thing. It is very clear that anyone who believes, you know, that the election was stolen or whatnot, you know, they’re they’re absurd. However, I recognize in this situation that she probably has to commit to the story.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah she’s committed to the bit.
Tre’vell Anderson: In order to like protect herself. You know?
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: Cause we’ve seen the emails, right, that she’s been sending people.
Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, no. She’s been pecking away on that on that little iPhone and going a little crazy with it. She can’t back down from this now.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. And those are the headlines.
Priyanka Aribindi: One more thing before we go. Crooked is bringing you the election coverage you love to hate, but hopefully you still love it with Crooked radio every weekend in October on Sirius XM Progress and on the Sirius XM app. Join our lineup of podcast hosts, candidates, experts and more, including all of us here on What A Day. We’ll break down all the issues that matter this November. Dive into the conversations that are shaping our current political climate and give the only 100% correct opinions in politics. You don’t want to miss this. Subscribe now and get up to four months free of Sirius XM. You can check out offer details at SiriusXM.com/crooked. [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Charge an electric car and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just boxes of papers like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[spoken together] And keep those monster truck tires away from us.
Priyanka Aribindi: Far far away.
Tre’vell Anderson: We don’t want it.
Priyanka Aribindi: We want no part in that. [laugh] [music break]
Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz and Charlotte Landes. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.