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Politics and Government

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) (C) presides over a markup hearing on the proposed American Health Care Act, the Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 8, 2017 in Washington, DC.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes claimed Wednesday that intelligence agencies collected and “widely disseminated” information about members of President Trump’s transition team. In response, Representative Adam Schiff, the Committee’s top Democrat, denounced Nunes for not first sharing the information with other members. Meanwhile, House Republicans remain deadlocked over the GOP bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, and new revelations about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia surface. We discuss the latest political controversies.

Judge Neil Gorsuch listens during the first day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left on the court by the February 2016 death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, appeared for the first day of his Senate confirmation hearing Monday. Rejecting the notion that judges are “politicians in robes,” Judge Gorsuch, a George W. Bush appointee who sits on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, emphasized the importance of a neutral and independent judiciary. The judge’s comments followed four hours of speeches from senators and pointed references by Democrats to what they consider the unfair treatment of Obama nominee Judge Merrick Garland. We discuss Judge Gorsuch’s jurisprudence and the politics surrounding his confirmation.

FBI Director James Comey (L) speaks as National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers listens during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Russian actions during the 2016 election campaign on March 20, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

FBI Director James Comey testified during House Intelligence Committee hearings Monday that his agency has for months been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Comey also told the committee that after looking “carefully inside the FBI” he had no evidence to support President Trump’s allegation that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. We review the proceedings and discuss the questions remaining.

Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agencies and the National Security Agency.

“How does intelligence survive in a post-fact world?” That’s the question General Michael Hayden raised when reports surfaced last week that President Donald Trump relied on Breitbart, not U.S intelligence agencies, as the basis to claim that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower. Hayden, who led the CIA and the NSA under President George W. Bush, joins Forum to talk about the relationship between U.S. intelligence agencies and the Trump Administration, as well as the role of American intelligence in the fight against terrorism.

House Speaker Paul Ryan R-Wisconsin speaks at a press conference on repealing Obama Care and its replacement at the US Capitol on January 10, 2017 in Washington,DC.

House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, released a long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Monday. The new legislation, entitled the American Health Care Act, would keep intact the Obamacare provisions for pre-existing conditions, but would eliminate the mandate that all Americans have health insurance and would roll back Medicaid expansion. We discuss the proposed ACA replacement, which still faces some major challenges from both sides of the political aisle.

Read the American Health Care Act

U.S. Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) attends a meeting with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Capitol Hill, November 29, 2016 in Washington, DC.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with a Russian ambassador twice in 2016 when serving as a senator and adviser to then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. Sessions was asked about contact between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign during his confirmation hearing in January. Sessions did not disclose the meetings and responded that he had not “had communications with the Russians.” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has called on the attorney general to resign. We’ll discuss the latest developments in the story.

Donald Trump speaks during a rally in San Jose, California on June 02, 2016.

President Donald Trump has had a busy first three weeks in office, signing executive orders to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and to ban refugees from seven countries. We’ll talk with Bay Area Trump supporters to get their take on the president’s first few weeks in the White House. We’ll also hear what it’s like to be conservative in a predominantly liberal region.  And we want to hear from you: If you voted for Donald Trump, what grade would you give the president so far and why?

Rep. Ro Khanna poses for a portrait.

Freshman Rep. Ro Khanna is not wasting any time becoming vocal in D.C. The first-generation American has said that he would risk arrest to help prevent the deportation of undocumented immigrants in his district. And Khanna called Ajit Pai, the new Federal Communications Commission Chairman,”the poster child for everything that’s wrong with Washington” for scaling back a program that helps low-income households access broadband. Khanna joins us to discuss his priorities for California’s 17th District, why he thinks the Democratic Party’s future lies in a Bernie Sanders-style populism and President Trump’s new immigration rules.

Russian River Brewing Company customers clink their glasses in Santa Rosa, California.

State Senator Scott Wiener introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow bars, clubs and restaurants in California to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. The current cutoff time of 2 a.m. has been a longtime source of frustration for nightlife advocates, who say the rules disadvantage San Francisco against cities like New York, Chicago and Las Vegas. But critics of similar bills in the past have expressed concern about noise, and law enforcement officials have said that extended drinking hours could lead to more drunk driving. We discuss the proposed bill and hear from both sides.

Anthony Rendon

Several weeks after the election of President Donald Trump, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a speech to lawmakers that the state faced a “major existential threat.” Rendon has since taken vocal stands against the Trump administration’s immigration raids and travel ban, which is now on hold. We’ll talk to Speaker Rendon about the challenges California may face under President Trump and the Assembly’s priorities for this term.

U.S. President Donald Trump reads from an executive order he signed in the Oval Office of the White House February 9, 2017 in Washington, DC.

In the March issue of The Atlantic, senior editor David Frum imagines an America under President Donald Trump four years from now, when protests have foundered, the media have allied with the President and a weary public has grown indifferent to the loss of individual liberties. Frum says that all of this and worse could come to pass unless people exercise their “duty to resist” President Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. We speak to Frum, who was a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, about the vulnerabilities of democracy under the current administration and what we can do to protect it.

Read: How to Build an Autocracy by David Frum (TheAtlantic.com)

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