NDN Blog

Invite: Feb 16, 1pm ET - NDN Talks High Crimes with Glenn Kirschner

We are very excited for this episode of NDN Talks - an extended conversation with television commentator and former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.  Reserve your spot for Tuesday, February 16th at 1pm today. 

While we admired Glenn's commenator on television, what originally drew us to develop a working relationship with Glenn was this terrific legal analysis back in 2018.  In this NBC NewsThink essay, Glenn made a big argument, one which we think is particularly relevant today - that the Department of Justice needs to treat electoral crimes committed by the President as grave crimes, ones which cannot be subject to it's current "no prosecution" policy.  In this essay he wrote:

"If a president can act unlawfully to influence an election, he does not deserve the protections of his ill-gotten office. This incongruity encourages lawlessness in the quest for the presidency and then rewards that lawlessness by inoculating the criminal president against prosecution. Such a construct is dangerous....

We now find ourselves with a president whose crimes may outpace those of Nixon and Clinton. Failing to hold criminal presidents accountable in a court of law arguably emboldens, or at the very least does not dissuade, corrupt individuals from seeking the presidency. At some point, we must learn from our institutional mistakes. Department of Justice officials would be wise to reflect on American history lest we once again succumb to a governmental crisis."

What he is saying here, very clearly, is that if a President cannot be prosecuted for election crimes, then he has ever incentive in the world to cheat with impunity, which is exactly what we saw in both the Ukraine fiasco in 2019 and the months long effort to disrupt and cheat in the 2020 election.  Simon wrote an extended essay about Glenn's argument back in August, in the midst of what we called Trump's original electoral crime spree. 

With the 2nd Trump Impeachment trial starting in a new days we hope help to put Glenn's big argument back into the national debate, as a step we can take to ensure that these dark days don't return to America soon, or perhaps ever.

Glenn's Bio:

Glenn is a former federal prosecutor with 30 years of trial experience. He served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for 24 years, rising to the position of Chief of the Homicide Section. In that capacity, Glenn supervised 30 homicide prosecutors and oversaw all homicide grand jury investigations and prosecutions in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the DC U.S. Attorney’s Office, Glenn served more than six years on active duty as an Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) prosecutor, trying court-martial cases and handling criminal appeals, including espionage and death penalty cases. Glenn currently works as an NBC News/MSNBC on-air legal analyst and teaches criminal justice at George Washington University. He has a YouTube channel and Podcast, “Justice Matters with Glenn Kirschner.”

Glenn tried hundreds of cases in his 30 years as a prosecutor, including more than 50 murder trials, multiple lengthy RICO trials and precedent-setting cases.  His cases have been made into major motion pictures (murder conviction of a sophisticated con man who ran in elite DC circles, subject of upcoming film “Georgetown”, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Christoph Waltz and Annette Bening) and TV documentaries (defendant Andre Burno convicted of the ambush shooting of an on-duty police officer, subject of the Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary, “Thug Life in DC”). Glenn has lectured at Federal Bar Association seminars, judicial conferences and professional association events.  He has presented at the National Advocacy Center on the topic of homicide prosecutions and taught advanced criminal law at George Washington University School of Law as an adjunct faculty member. He traveled as a Department of Justice representative to address Ukrainian prosecutors and detectives regarding the U.S. Criminal justice system.   

As an Army JAG, Glenn served as prosecutor at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, where he handled dozens of court-martial cases and served as legal advisor to Army commanders on criminal justice matters. He then served as an Army appellate attorney at the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency in Falls Church, Virginia, where he handled death penalty and espionage cases, among others.

Glenn attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and was First-Team All American football player in 1983.  In 1987, he graduated with honors from New England School of Law in Boston, where he was named a Trustee’s Scholar. Glenn has received numerous awards, including: the Harold J. Sullivan Award for Fairness, Ethics and Trial Excellence; the John F. Evans Award for Outstanding Advocacy; the Metropolitan Police Department’s Chief of Police Medal of Honor; the United States Attorney’s Office STAR Award; U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal; Washington & Lee University Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee; and induction in September 2018 into the American College of Trial Lawyers.   

Catch Simon on That Trippi Show, In The Atlantic, Politico and More

So the insights in our big new strategy memo, Time for Dems to Come Together, has gotten some attention in recent days. Simon discusses the memo’s insights in Ron Brownstein’s smart new column on the 2022 midterms today and in this Politico article by Christopher Cadelago and Laura Barron-Lopez.  You can also catch him talking about the memo in this Newsy piece with Andrew Rafferty, and in Ian Masters’ new podcast.

But the highlight of the week is Simon’s sit down his with old friend, Joe Trippi, for his excellent weekly podcast, That Trippi Show.  The episode is called “3 Ways To In in 2022.” Simon and Joe go in-depth into the memo, and spend a significant amount of time discussing the reasons why Simon thinks 2022 can be a very good year for Democrats.  It is a wonderful conversation between two old friends, and they end sharing their optimism about our prospects next year – as Simon says, “I’d rather be us than them.

Video: Facebook After The Whistleblower (10/6/21)

NDN was pleased to host an extended conversation about what can be done about Facebook and Instagram on Wed, October 6th, 2021. Joining us was Zamaan Qureshi, the co-author of a recent Time Magazine essay, "Instagram Is Doing Grave Harm to Our Generation. We Need Help to Stop It." Zamaan's essay reflects on the recent Wall Street Journal expose, “Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show.” In what is a truly shocking set of revelations reported in this article, it appears internal, hidden Facebook studies have found that Instagram makes “body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.”

You can watch our spirited conversation by following this link.

For more on Zamaan, a very inspiring and courageous thought leader on the future of social media, follow him here on Twitter, watch his appearance on Morning Joe the morning of our event, and review his bio below. 

Our discussion was originally intended to focus on the damage Instagram is doing to the mental and physical health of American teens, but was expanded to look at the full set of issues, Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, is bringing to light

Zamaan Qureshi is a policy advisor and social media coordinator for the Real Facebook Oversight Board and a researcher for The Citizens where he focuses on Cambridge Analytica. Zamaan is also a privacy advocate, has written for TIME and Byline Times, and has been featured in Newsweek, Forbes, and Cybercrime Magazine for his work exposing Facebook’s data collection on its users. Zamaan is currently pursuing a BA in International Studies and Political Science at American University.

Video: With Democrats Things Get Better, Updated w/New Biden Data (9/24/21)

We are pleased to offer a recording of NDN's signature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better, from Sept 24th, 2021. It is the latest in our series of With Dems presentations celebrating the release of the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan and the big economic debate these important packages have kicked off.

You can sign up for a future showing and learn more about the arguments in the presentation here

We will be presenting With Dems 1 or twice a month through the end of the year, and we intend to take many of the arguments in our presentation to the public with op-eds, media appearances etc.

Thank you for your interest. 

Memo: After Texas Roe decision, Dems must lean into GOP radicalization

President Biden stated today that the Supreme Court decision on Texas “insults the rule of law." We agree, and send along a memo below we released in May about Dems needing to make the radicalization of the GOP a kitchen table issue.  We returned to this issue in a June memo, talk here about the need to lean into the GOP’s COVID extremism, and explain in a new thread why this Texas law and decision are yet another sign of just how radical and dangerous the American right has become.  

Learning To Talk about Democracy, Patriotism and the GOP’s Radicalization

By Simon Rosenberg

As I learned during my stint with the DCCC from 2016 to 2018, Democratic pollsters have felt very strongly that Democrats needed to steer away from conversations about Trump’s manifest illiberalism, and keep focused on “kitchen table” issues like the economy, health care, defeating COVID.  It’s hard to argue with this rationale, as Democrats have, in the last few years, won the Presidency and retaken the House and Senate. 

But with Trump’s illiberalism now becoming the politics Republicans have chosen, even after their significant electoral losses in recent cycles, it is time for Democrats to elevate the threat the GOP poses to our democracy into one of those kitchen table issues.  It is not just the right and necessary the thing to do, but a new paper from Stanford suggests there is significant electoral opportunity here for Democrats too. In this study weak Republicans and independents were able to be pushed away from the GOP brand when exposed to a better understanding of the GOP’s ongoing attacks on our democracy. 

Many believed that the best way to confront the growing radicalization of the GOP was to defeat Trump and knock the GOP from power.  That strategy, however, has proven to be insufficient.  It is my belief that we must now take the illiberalism of MAGA head on, and not just defeat the party and its candidates but the argument itself.  Leaning into the radicalization of the GOP can bring several other benefits for Democrats: 

1)  It creates an opening to explain how radical the rest the GOP agenda has become – from the economy to guns to health care the GOP’s ideas are just as destructive as those about our democracy

2)   It creates an opportunity for Democrats to find a language grounded in patriotism and love of country, understanding that patriotism is a powerful, benevolent and perhaps necessary antidote to nationalism

3)   It is possible that creating more pain around their radicalization may be required to get the GOP to start taking an off ramp from MAGA – which has to be one of our goals now.  

There has to become a party wide effort to find the language and arguments required to make the dangers of the GOP’s current path understandable, salient. This will be particularly true for Democrats in swing states and districts where are just more Republicans and Republican leaners they have to talk. It is time, my fellow members of the great American center-left, to take on this battle, and recognize that defeating autocracy, perhaps the most intrinsically America project, begins this time here at home – and failure is not an option.  

More - Greg Sargent cites this memo in a new Washington Post column. 

NDN 2022 Election Briefing - Oct 22nd

Yes, it is a little early but we are reviving one of our more popular programs from the 2020 election cycle. – a live, Zoom based deep dive on recent polling and economic data.  These reviews take about 20 minutes and then are followed by what is often a spirted q and a session.   We are taking RSVPS for our next election review now scheduled for Oct 22nd, 2pm ET.  Hope you can join us – these are always fun romps through the mountain of data we all have to make sense of each week.   

In our election review we will be taking a look at the standing of Joe Biden and the Democrats 15 months out from the 2022 elections, and spend a bit of time looking at the impact the remarkably strong economic recovery may have on the elections next year. You can also find lots of new political analysis on the NDN website, and be sure to follow my far too frequent postings on Twitter.  

If you haven’t yet caught our other big presentation about US politics, With Democrats Things Get Better, we are now taking RSVPS for our next showing on October 15th at 2pm ET. 

Hope you are enjoying your summer and look forward to seeing you at one of these upcoming presentations!

A Good Week for Joe Biden

A Good Week for Biden, More To Do–This has been a good week for Joe Biden.  GDP came in at a roaring 6.5% annual rate for q2; the historic bi-partisan infrastructure bill made significant progress in the Senate; the House Committee on Trump’s attempted coup began its essential work; and the President began to putting in place a far more aggressive plan to counter the dangerous rise of the delta variant.   When you add in 3m new jobs, millions gaining health insurance, the tens of millions beginning to get their child tax credit it’s pretty clear Joe Biden is meeting the central commitment of his campaign – he is making things better for the American people.     

While there is much on the President’s plate, it is our hope that in the coming days the President does a prime time address to the nation about COVID and delta.  While the government acted this week, there is still a great deal of confusion about where we are and what we should be doing. Prior to kids returning to school the President should lay out in plain simple terms what we should be doing now and why; remind people of the very real progress we’ve made, and make clear the steps he and others are taking to counter delta. He should explain why global COVID has made supply chains harder to stand back up, and that some inflation is to be expected due to our rapid recovery.  He should announce an expansion of our work overseas to help bring COVID’s reign of terror to an end everywhere.   

The President needs, in our mind, to go back a bit onto COVID war footing, and offer a clear plan on how we are going to win the war.  Defeating COVID is and will remain job #1 for Joe Biden until it is defeated here and everywhere.   

NB: Simon is quoted in a new Politico story making the case for a Presidential prime time address on COVID.

Video: DNC's Tim Durigan on Countering Disinformation (7/20/21)

On Tuesday, July 20th we were excited to host a discussion about countering disinformation with one of the best in the business, Tim Durigan, who runs the DNC's countering disinformation program.  Tim's bio and some recent stories about him and his work are below.  Yiou can watch the discussion here.  For anyone wanting to learn more about this important subject, do watch - Tim did a terrific job. 

Background/Clips

Washington Post: The Technology 202: Online disinformation has changed. Now the DNC is updating its response unit.

Social Media's Misinformation Mismatch | by Timothy Durigan | DNC Tech Team

CNN: Frustration and bewilderment: Emails show tension between Facebook and Biden campaign

Vox: How fake news aimed at Latinos thrives on social media

Tim Durigan Bio

Timothy Durigan leads the DNC's Counter Disinformation Program, where he oversees the DNC's efforts to track and combat online mis- and dis-information, build resilience within Democratic campaigns & state parties, and advocate for reform at social media companies. Prior to his work at the DNC, Tim supported Democrats' efforts to win a House majority in 2018 as a Deputy Director of Data and Reporting at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and lives in Washington, DC.

Video: Briefing On Biden Climate Agenda w/WH's Kieve, Flegal (7/13/21)

NDN is excited to share with you an in-depth briefing on President Biden’s climate agenda with two people working on it every day in the White House, David Kieve and Jane Flegal.  Our discussion took place over Zoom onTuesday, July 13th at 1pm ET.  You can watch it here.

We’ve asked David and Jane to come talk to our community about the important climate and energy related items in the Senate bi-partisan infrastructure framework, and the other parts of the President’s agenda we hope to see enacted in the years ahead including in the fall’s reconciliation process.  David is the Director of Public Engagement at the White House’s Council of Environmental Quality, and Jane is the Senior Director for Industrial Emissions there.

NDN is very excited with the far-sighted leadership President Biden and his team are providing on climate, infrastructure and in modernizing our energy systems.  It has been many years since NDN has advocated for making infrastructure investment central to our politics again, including a big commitment to climate friendly clean infrastructure.  NDN was also an early supporter of a carbon tax and of reforms that would make it easier for American utilities to make the transition to a low/post carbon future.   

It was a really terrific event, and hope you will take the time to watch. 

Video: NDN Talks w/Norm Ornstein About Defending Democracy, GOP Radicalization (6/22/21)

Few have been writing and talking more about the decline of the GOP and the increasing threat it has become to our democracy than Norm Ornstein.  Among the most influential scholars of the Congress and America's democracy more broadly, Norm joinied us for an important conversation about the threats our democracy faces today as the Senate debate HR 1/S 1, the legislation designed by Democrats to defend our democracy this year.

You can watch our conversation with Norrm here and catch some of his commentary on these matters here, here and here.  Here is a link to the Brookings essay Morley Winograd discussed during during the Question and Answer session; and you learn more and register for the NDN presentation we discussed, With Democrats Things Get Better, here

For more from us about defending our democracy feel free to watch our recent interviews with Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Ari Berman and Glenn Kirschner; and read Simon's recent essay on what Democrats need to be focusing on this summer. 

Norm Ornstein's Bio

Norman Ornstein is an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a contributing editor and writer for The Atlantic and has been an election eve analyst for CBS News and BBC News. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Campaign Legal Center. His family foundation, the Matthew Harris Ornstein Memorial Foundation, www.mornstein.org, sponsors a summer debate institute for public school kids in the Washington area through the Washington Urban Debate League, and created and funded the documentary The Definition of Insanity, that was broadcast on PBS in April 2020 and tells the story of how a remarkable judge in Miami-Dade County, Florida, transformed the way its criminal justice system deals with those with serious mental illness, saving lives and saving money at the same time.

He serves as a senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission and co-directed the AEI-Brookings Project on alternatives to the Independent Counsel Act. Mr. Ornstein led a working group of scholars and practitioners that helped shape the law, known as McCain-Feingold, which reformed the campaign financing system. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. His many books include Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy; The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, with Tom Mann; and The New York Times bestseller, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, also with Tom Mann (2012, named Book of the Year by Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog, one of the ten best books on politics in 2012 by The New Yorker, and one of the best books of 2012 by The Washington Post. An expanded edition, retitled It’s Even Worse Than It Was, was published in 2016. His latest book, with EJ Dionne and Tom Mann, One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate and the Not-Yet-Deported (2017) was immediately on the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists. Ornstein has a BA from the University of Minnesota and an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from his alma mater in 2007. Ornstein was spotlighted as one of 2012’s 100 Top Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine.

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