In This Episode
- The January 6th commission plans to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with the committee. Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers are advising all administration officials who have been subpoenaed to not comply while Trump, himself, fights with the Biden White House over the release of documents related to the event.
- The midterms aren’t until next year, but there is still a big race to watch – the fight to be Virginia’s next Governor. Crooked Media’s political director Shaniqua McClendon joins us to share everything we need to know about the highly important gubernatorial race that is currently underway.
- And in headlines: street clashes in Lebanon leave several dead and dozens injured, an FDA advisory panel recommended that the agency authorize a booster dose of Moderna’s COVID vaccine, and LinkedIn will leave China later this year.
- Vote Save America: Virginia – https://votesaveamerica.com/state/virginia/
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Friday, October 15th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi, and this is What A Day, where we’re advising any cargo ship captains who are stuck at ports to take up a quarantine hobby. Mine’s banana bread.
Tre’vell Anderson: Or maybe you want to just start your own podcast. Everyone else has one. Why don’t you get one too?
Priyanka Aribindi: Everyone! Yeah, we’d love to hear it. But. So on today’s show, what the tightening race for Virginia’s governor means for Democrats throughout the country. Plus, LinkedIn will be leaving China.
Tre’vell Anderson: But first, we wanted to give an update on Congress’s efforts to hold accountable those fools who attacked the Capitol earlier this year. The committee that is investigating the Capitol Hill riot that took place on January 6th has been sending out subpoenas to a number of folks involved and those who stoked the baseless claims that motivated the act of treason.
Priyanka Aribindi: OK, so we’ve mentioned on the show how a number of these folks have been trying to avoid all of this, and now all of it seems to be coming to a head. What has been happening?
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, yesterday the committee announced that it’s planning to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply. You’ll recall, probably traumatically, that Bannon served as the chief strategist for the Trump administration for a few months.
Priyanka Aribindi: What. A. Time.
Tre’vell Anderson: He was scheduled to sit for a deposition with the committee yesterday, but his lawyer sent a letter the day before saying that Bannon will not provide testimony or documents until the committee reaches an agreement with Trump over claims of executive privilege, or a court makes him.
Priyanka Aribindi: OK. So what are the proceedings to hold him in contempt look like?
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s actually an extended process of sorts. It’s a little boring, so don’t doze off while I go through this. The committee will hold a business meeting next week where they will adopt what is called a contempt report. That report is then sent to the House for a vote. If it passes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will certify the report to the U.S. Attorney for D.C., who is then supposed to bring the matter before a grand jury. The Justice Department also likely would get involved, too. And in case you’re wondering, anyone found liable for contempt of Congress is committing a crime that could result in a fine and up to 12 months imprisonment. That said, this full process is rarely invoked because it can take years to complete, and so it rarely leads to actual jail time.
Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. OK, but Bannon, isn’t the only Trump ally who’s been avoiding subpoenas, right?
Tre’vell Anderson: He is not. Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows has been subpoenaed. So has former deputy chief of Staff Dan Scavino, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clarke, and former Pentagon official Kash Patel. Trump’s lawyers have been advising them all to not comply as Trump himself fights the release of documents from the White House about his conversations regarding the insurrection and attempts to overthrow and further delegitimize the 2020 election. He’s claiming executive privilege for all of them, but some legal scholars say Trump legally can’t do that. The only person who can assert executive privilege is the sitting president and the executive branch. And the White House announced Wednesday that it was officially denying Trump’s request to do that and shield a set of documents related to the insurrection from the Trump White House.
Priyanka Aribindi: Honestly, that is kind of funny to me. They are just like, Nope, like, not for you anymore, get out of here. So what comes next from all of this?
Tre’vell Anderson: Well, the White House directed David Ferriero, who is the archivist of the United States—which I did not know there was an archivist of the United States—
Priyanka Aribindi: Didn’t know that either.
Tre’vell Anderson: —but they’ve directed him to turn over the docs 30 days after notifying Trump. So now we wait.
Priyanka Aribindi: All right. Love a waiting game. But in the meantime, let’s turn to an important election that we haven’t talked about on the show in a while. So the midterms aren’t until next year, but there is still a big race to watch this Election Day in Virginia. The state is electing their next governor, and as of now, the race seems to be pretty close.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, Election Day is coming up and voting is already underway. What is happening over there in Virginia?
Priyanka Aribindi: So over the past ten years, Virginia has really become a blue state. Democrats have won every election for president, senators, governors—you name it. But this race, as I said, is still pretty close, and that is definitely a concern for people. Obviously, the race is important to people in Virginia. It’ll affect COVID policy, taxes, education, etc., but this is also the first big election during Joe Biden’s presidency, so there are a lot of eyes on the race and theorizing about what this will all mean for Democrats ahead of the midterms. So Tre’vell, I wanted to get more background about all of this, so I decided to talk earlier with one of the smartest people in politics and one of my personal favorites: Crooked Media’s political director Shaniqua McClendon. I asked her to set the stage for all of us about the candidates, and here is what she had to say:
Shaniqua McClendon: So the two candidates in the race are Terry McAuliffe, who is a Democrat, and Glenn Youngkin, who’s a Republican. And right now, Terry McAuliffe is up by three percentage points in recent polling with likely voters, which is really, really close in a state that has statewide voted for Democrats several times over the past decade. Terry McAuliffe is actually a former governor, and he actually was a really good governor. He was pretty popular. He’s still popular. And the person who he’s running against is Glenn Youngkin. He used to be a top executive at an investment firm, and now he’s using all his money to pay for his campaign.
Priyanka Aribindi: Love that.
Shaniqua McClendon: But the primary, he like went all the way to the right and was like, basically like a mini Trump. But now he’s trying to not be Trump. While Terry McAuliffe is focusing on COVID and vaccines and the economy, Youngkin and is more interested in being anti-woke, trying to make the case that he’s not the crazy liberal.
Priyanka Aribindi: So this is obviously, like this is for Virginia’s governor. Why should we, if we are not in Virginia, be invested in this race?
Shaniqua McClendon: Narratives do matter and people will be able to take that and I think whatever party comes out victorious in Virginia, they’ll be able to make the case to voters in other states to say, Hey, we did it there, like, why can’t we do it in these other places?
Priyanka Aribindi: Exactly. So I know there’s like, definitely punditry, and you don’t want to give too much importance to poll numbers all the time, but Joe Biden beat Donald Trump pretty easily in Virginia just last year, and now it seems a lot closer than that. Do you know, like what has changed, or what are the issues there?
Shaniqua McClendon: Virginia has an off-year election. It’s like one of our first big opportunities to kind of see how voters feel after presidential. And so it’s their first time to kind of like vote on Joe Biden, even though Joe Biden is not on the ballot, but his policies are. You know, Terry McAuliffe, he can run on his old record, but someone needs to be making the case why Virginians should elect another Democrat, and that can get hard when they live right outside of D.C., they see a bit of the dysfunction that’s going on within the party. And so like, he needs to be able to make the case for that. And then unfortunately, like Trump is kind of out there. Youngkin is sticking to some of those Trump talking points, and that gets people excited on the, on the right. So if they are very enthusiastic, that could be why.
Priyanka Aribindi: What do you make of, you know, people trying to extrapolate from this particular race? I know it happens kind of everywhere when there is a race, like someone is always trying to make a national conclusion or put it into a larger story about Democrats or Republicans or the next year or whatnot. Do you think that this race has national implications, or is that kind of noise we shouldn’t really be listening to?
Shaniqua McClendon: First and foremost, like every state is different. Virginia is not a portrait of the whole country, and I don’t think it’s a portrait of any other state, either. But I do think it can give us a glimpse into what will be kind of up against next year. For instance, if Terry McAuliffe, you know, if he were to lose to a Trumpy Republican, I think that that would say a lot about how voters are feeling. And it also means that we need to think through how we’re talking to voters in the actual states that we know are swing states in trying to win there.
Priyanka Aribindi: Got it. OK, so if you are sitting here, whether you’re in Virginia or not, you’re listening to this and you’re like, OK, this seems like a big deal. What can I do to help? Where should we be going? What should we be doing? Tell us everything.
Shaniqua McClendon: Wherever you are, you can go to VoteSaveAmerica dot com/Virginia. And if you are in Virginia and still need to vote, we have information about voting in Virginia, so get that done as soon as possible. But then if you want to volunteer, we have three organizations that you can volunteer with. Some of our Pod Save America hosts are participating in that. Tommy’s going to kick off a volunteer call and then on October 17 Jon Favreau will. So you can go to VoteSaveAmerica dot com/Virginia to sign up for those events. And you can also donate to the legislative candidates that we have listed on that page as well, because I feel good about him winning, but he’s going to need a Legislature to really have an impact.
Priyanka Aribindi: OK, that’s awesome. Shaniqua McClendon, thank you so much. This is so helpful. I feel very educated on the state of this race.
Shaniqua McClendon: Well, thank you for having me, and it was good to see you.
Priyanka Aribindi: Tre’vell, that was my conversation with Shaniqua, and we will have links to everything that she just mentioned in our show notes. That is the latest for now. It’s Friday, WAD squad, and today we’re doing a segment called The Solution, where we propose a fix to a news story that has created chaos in our world. Guiding us through today is our head writer, Jon Millstein. Jon, welcome to the show.
Jon Millstein: Thank you guys so much for giving me a platform.
Tre’vell Anderson: Any time, OK? All right. So more people are doing violence by making bad visual analogies. A large Republican donor used a swastika made of syringes as her Twitter profile picture, and in doing so caused a scandal for the Trump-backed Senate candidate in Georgia whose fundraiser she was set to host. The candidate in question is Herschel Walker. He’s a former running back for the NFL, who has already raised $3.7 million to unseat Raphael Warnock next year. Walker was set to host an event this weekend when it was revealed that the event’s host was using one of history’s most hateful symbols to represent herself to the entire internet. Walker’s campaign initially stood by the donor, saying the profile picture was, quote “clearly an anti-mandatory vaccination graphic.” Yes, and, it’s still not something we encourage. The Walker campaign later canceled the event. But surely this won’t be the last story from this very bad genre. So for people like this lady who makes swastikas out of syringes, here’s Jon with the solution:
Jon Millstein: We need to go back in time to kill Hitler, and also the person who gave conservatives the information they needed to learn graphic design. Killing Hitler is a no-brainer, it would save millions of lives and prevent one of history’s greatest tragedies. Another benefit, which is way less important but should still be noted, is that it would take away the symbol used by the least Jewish people of all time to say, When you make me take safe medicine, you’re being like that mass murderer. Of course, there will always be horrible evil men in our history, and as long as anti-vax conservatives can access their grandson’s computer, they’ll invoke the legacy of those men to make JPEGs that are as offensive as they are low resolution. Even in a world with no Hitler, we can imagine a cruel blond woman from Beverly Hills protesting at a masks-required Wolfgang Puck with a printed sign that says “Dr. Fauci is Finster.” In this alternate reality, Finster is a guy who’s as bad as Hitler. All this means that to really solve the problem, we also need to use our time machine to take out whichever guy showed conservatives how to get a free trial of Adobe Photoshop. I’m a pacifist, so I’d like to avoid violence against this guy if possible. I’m assuming since we have a time machine, we have other cool technology which we can maybe use to just shrink him down until he’s smaller than a jelly bean.
Priyanka Aribindi: I didn’t expect that final turn, the like, “Honey, I shrunk the kids” of it all.
Tre’vell Anderson: I appreciate the reference. I really do.
Priyanka Aribindi: A turn, unexpected kept me on my toes. A-plus. A-plus solution.
Jon Millstein: Yeah, I mean, time machines don’t develop in isolation, you have to imagine some of people who make them can do other things. Yeah.
Priyanka Aribindi: You’re right. That was the solution. We will be back after some ads.
Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Priyanka Aribindi: In Lebanon, a contentious political fight prompted the worst violence that the country has seen in over a decade. At least six people were left dead and over 30 were injured yesterday after hours of gunfire and street clashes. The fight emerged over a probe into the massive port explosion that took place in Beirut last year. Hezbollah, which is the country’s largest political party, and the Amal Movement organized a rally demanding the dismissal of the judge leading the investigation, accusing him of political bias. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Beirut Palace of Justice, but shots fired by gunmen on rooftops forced them to take cover and spurred hours of clashes in the streets. In a statement yesterday, the Lebanese Army said that nine people were arrested in connection with all of the events. Lebanon has a history of political violence. The country was mired in a highly destructive civil war between 1975 and 1990, and the country is currently facing an economic crisis and a largely dysfunctional political system. Because of all of these circumstances, many people are worrying about the potential of this escalation of violence to push the country over the edge.
Tre’vell Anderson: Ay, yi yi. In COVID news, an FDA advisory panel yesterday unanimously recommended that the agency authorize a booster dose of Moderna’s COVID vaccine. The panel said that it should mirror Pfizer-BioNTech’s third shot, it should come at least six months after the second dose, and it should be for people 65 and over, or for adults with underlying medical conditions whose jobs or living situations put them at high risk. The panel also recommended Moderna’s booster should be half the dose of the initial shot used in the first two rounds. But Moderna isn’t facing all good news right now. Earlier this week, White House officials warned the company to quote “step up” and provide more vaccine doses for the rest of the world. We recently reported that the drug maker has been supplying its shots almost exclusively to the world’s wealthiest countries. The Biden administration requested that the company provide doses to lower-income countries too through the World Health Organization-backed initiative COVAX. Moderna has yet to respond.
Priyanka Aribindi: You know, the White House saying like a “step up” is really like a big yikes. Like, you know, you’re fucking up if they’re calling you out like that. There is a new scandal from the school that brought us Varsity Blues: A former dean of the University of Southern California was indicted on federal charges Wednesday, along with siting L.A. City Council member, for running a multimillion dollar bribery scheme. The accused are City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and former Dean of USC’s School of Social Work, Marilyn Flynn. Ridley-Thomas allegedly steered county money to USC in exchange for a grad school admission with full-time scholarship and a paid professorship for his son between 2017 and 2018. The charges against the former Dean and City Council member carry up to 20 years in prison. Also in sentencing, the subject of HBO’s “The Jinx,” Robert Durst was sentenced to life in prison without parole yesterday, after being found guilty last month of first-degree murder. He shot his best friend, Susan Berman, in 2000, hours before she was set to talk to investigators about the still-unresolved disappearance of his first wife.
Tre’vell Anderson: LinkedIn users in China may have endorsed their friend’s project management skills for the last time, because the site will be shutting down in China later this year. Microsoft, who owns LinkedIn, said it is pulling the plug because China has quote “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements.” It is worth noting here that China’s internet is heavily censored and closely controlled by the government. By pushing out LinkedIn, they’re even infringing on the rights of their citizens to network unsuccessfully like the rest of us. The decision ends a seven-year run for LinkedIn in China. The company was really the last American app running there as Google left more than a decade ago, and Facebook, Twitter, and others have been blocked by the government years ago. LinkedIn also said it would offer a new app in the Chinese market that would focus solely on job postings in the future, but it won’t have social networking features like the ability to share posts, which are a critical aspect of LinkedIn in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Priyanka Aribindi: Pour one out for the LinkedIn influencers. This is a tough day.
Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, endorse us on LinkedIn, and tell your friends to listen.
Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading, and not just USC balance sheets 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.
[together] And enjoy your flight time, freighter captains.
Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t even know. Banana bread? That was like an early quarantine hobby of mine. Sure.
Gideon Resnick: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lance. Jazzi Marine is our Associate Producer. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and myself. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.