Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan
Summary: Journalist Mehdi Hasan is known around the world for his televised takedowns of presidents and prime ministers. In this new podcast from The Intercept, Mehdi unpacks a game-changing news event of the week while challenging the conventional wisdom. As a Brit, a Muslim and an immigrant based in Donald Trump's Washington D.C., Mehdi offers a provocative perspective on the ups and downs of American—and global—politics.
Donald Trump lies consistently, at all times of day. He even gets up in the middle of the night to tweet, and that tweet almost always turns out to be a lie. A lie is produced each time his lips move. And this serial, non-stop, 24/7, pathological lying is a danger to democracy because Trump, in classic autocrat fashion, wants us to just accept that the only truth we need worry our little heads about is the truth that comes straight from his mouth. Daniel Dale, the Toronto Star’s Washington correspondent, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss Trump’s top ten lies and his totalitarian obsession with controlling what his supporters in particular define as true or false — and why this is all matters.
Impeaching President Donald Trump is a pipe dream, many say. Nancy Pelosi, who’s expected to be the new House speaker, isn’t keen on going for impeachment, nor is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — and a lot of people aren’t either because they’ve been misinformed and misled. Contrary to common perception, the president does not need to commit a crime in order to be impeached. Allegations of collusion aside, Trump is guilty of impeachable crimes and misdemeanors, such as the violating the emoluments clause and tax fraud. Former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who played a key role in the impeachment of Richard Nixon, and author of the new book, “The Case For Impeaching Trump,” joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the case for impeaching Donald Trump.
The most important, historic, and consequential midterm election of our lives is over. It wasn’t quite a blue wave, but the Democrats, while unable to win the Senate, did, as predicted, take back control of the House for the first time since 2010. Mehdi Hasan is joined by Rep. Barbara Lee, MSNBC host Chris Hayes, and Women’s March Co-Chair Tamika Mallory to digest the election results and discuss voter suppression — and where the democrats go from here.
The midterm elections are almost here and they’re haunted by the spectre of loyal Trump voters. Two years ago, white, working class voters swept Donald Trump into office as a way of expressing their anger over economic injustice, but a range of studies published since then have found that it was racial resentment — not economic anxiety — on the part of white voters that put Trump in office. In his new book, “Identity Crisis”, John Sides marshals extensive evidence to show that it was white identity and racism that best predicted support for Trump, while economic anxiety played a smaller role. Briahna Joy Gray, The Intercept’s senior politics editor, differs, arguing that economic anxiety was voters’ primary motivation. They join Mehdi Hasan in D.C. to debate their opposing views — and how that will play out in the midterms.
Over the past few days, 11 people were massacred in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the country’s top Democrats have been targeted with pipe bombs, and two black people were executed in a grocery store in Kentucky. Contrary to Donald Trump’s warnings, terrorists weren’t coming from Mexico or Syria; they were here in America, and some of them attended his rallies. Trump, of all people, shouldn’t be shocked by the rise of white nationalism and antisemitism in America: he has repeatedly retweeted white supremacist Twitter accounts and praised neo Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” On this special episode of Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan is joined by former Department of Homeland Security senior domestic terrorism analyst Daryl Johnson and Christian Picciolini, a former neo Nazi who left the movement and devoted his life to peace advocacy and deradicalization, to discuss America’s descent into far right terror.
If the media is to be believed, the United States is about to be overrun by a horde of terrorists and criminals from Central America. It’s a distraction from what has really been an immigration crisis at the border: the so-called separation of migrant children from their parents by the Trump administration. According to the latest official numbers from the Trump administration, at least 66 children are still “separated” from their families and being held in detention centers. Mexican-American journalist Jorge Ramos joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss this story of theft, child abuse, and racism.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have been best friends since 1945, even after 9/11, when 15 of the 19 hijackers who brought down the Twin Towers turned out to be Saudi nationals. Their alliance still holds strong, despite the sudden disappearance and likely murder of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Much of this has to do with Donald Trump’s financial interest in Saudi Arabia, as well as the fact that he and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu are obsessed with Iran and are bent on going after Iran, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is their key ally in that aggressive endeavor. In this week’s episode, Mehdi Hasan is joined by The Intercept’s DC bureau chief, Ryan Grim, and the founder of the National Iranian American Council, Trita Parsi, to deconstruct the evil Justice League of Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mohammed bin Salman.
In this special, live-recorded episode of Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan is joined by a panel of leftist lawmakers and advocates, Sen. Jeff Merkley, California Congressman Ro Khanna, CNN political commentator Symone Sanders, and Nina Turner, the founder of Our Revolution. Together, these panelists discuss whether the Democrats will take a left turn and use their impending House majority to not just restrain or even impeach Donald Trump, but to push for a bolder, more progressive agenda?
Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed today as Supreme Court Justice of the United States in a 50-48 vote in the Senate, despite three different allegations of sexual assault and misconduct and wide opposition. The message of today’s vote is clear: If you’re a rich, white, conservative man in America, you will not be held accountable for your actions. Mehdi Hasan is joined by The Intercept’s Senior Politics Editor Briahna Gray and D.C. Bureau Chief Ryan Grim, the former advisor to Al Gore and Bill Clinton Naomi Wolf, and senior adviser to the Women’s March Winnie Wong to discuss what this means for women in America and what the Democrats can do to stop a Supreme Court dominated by the hard right from rolling back everything progressives have fought for.
Riz Ahmed became the first actor of South Asian descent and the first Muslim to win an Emmy last year when he picked up the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in A Limited Series for his starring role in the HBO drama, The Night Of. In the brand-new Marvel movie Venom, he plays the villainous Carlton Drake opposite Tom Hardy’s titular anti-hero. Off the big screen, he uses his unique platform to bring attention to issues from the lack of minority representation on T.V. to Islamophobia and racism. He’s also an old classmate of Mehdi Hasan’s, and this week on Deconstructed the two discuss their complex identities and the difficulty of being the only muslim in the room.
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by three different women, one of whom said that she witnessed his efforts to inebriate girls so they could be “gang raped.” His first accuser, Christine Ford, recalls thinking that he may “inadvertently” kill her while trying to attack her and remove her clothing. Deborah Ramirez, his second accuser, says she had felt “mortified.” The Intercept reporters Ryan Grim and Naomi Klein join Mehdi Hasan to discuss the implications of Kavanaugh’s nomination and what this mess says about America.
After decisively beating five other candidates in last month’s primary race to represent Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional district, Ilhan Omar is on her way to becoming the first African refugee and hijab-wearing Muslim woman to serve in Congress. She joins Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib in a wave of progressive women taking the Democratic Party establishment by storm. Before coming to the U.S., Omar spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp, having fled the civil war in Somalia. She immigrated to America at the age of 12. Ilhan Omar joins Mehdi Hasan to explain how she went from those humble origins to a congressional seat.
Since a Saudi-led coalition began bombarding Yemen in March 2015, more than 10,000 people have been killed and over 2 million displaced. While most U.S. politicians would prefer to pretend otherwise, all of this is happening with the cooperation and direct support of the United States. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy is one of the few lawmakers who has taken a loud and consistent stand against the war. He joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the ongoing conflict — and whether it can be ended.
On Tuesday the Supreme Court handed the president a huge victory in Trump v. Hawaii, the case challenging the legality of his executive order barring citizens of five Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The verdict upholding the ban generated a wave of condemnation across the country. On this special episode of Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan speaks with Keith Ellison, the first Muslim-American ever elected to Congress, as well as Yemeni-American community organizer and anti-ban activist Debbie Almontaser.
Barack Obama was one of the most polarizing presidents of the modern era. To the right, he was a weak, feckless leader and to the left, he was the Deporter in Chief and Drone President who bombed villages in Pakistan and assassinated Americans without trial in Yemen. While Obama did embrace the U.S. empire — killing civilians and selling weapons to some awful regimes — he also pulled some of the biggest diplomatic breakthroughs of our time, negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, getting the U.S. to sign up to the Paris Climate Accords, and re-opening ties with Cuba. With Trump now in office, is it time to recognize that Obama wasn’t as bad as we thought, or did Obama’s excesses, whether in the Middle East or at the Mexico border, lead the way to Trump’s? Ben Rhodes, Obama’s national security adviser, joins Mehdi Hasan on this week’s episode to discuss the Obama legacy and whether it seeped into the Trump administration.