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.
Here's the Latest Episode from Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan:
Six of the remaining Democratic candidates met in Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday night for their final debate before the state holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses on February 3rd. With the state of the race still fluid, the top contenders were all looking for a moment that might help them to distinguish themselves from the field. In the runup to the debate, much of the media focus was on the apparent breakdown of the de facto non-aggression pact between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, with the latter claiming that Sanders had told her in a 2018 meeting that a woman couldn’t win a US presidential election. The two clashed over Warren’s claim during the debate; Sanders repeated his denial that such an exchange took place, while Warren declined to retract the accusation. Meanwhile, the moderators once again allowed Joe Biden to avoid serious or detailed scrutiny of his record in the Senate—in particular his vociferous early support for the Iraq War.
It’s been described as the worst human rights crisis in the world — the arbitrary detention in sprawling camps of a million or more Uighur Muslims in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province. The Chinese government has claimed that the camps are merely vocational training centers, but in November a trove of leaked documents, dubbed the China Cables, confirmed what the world had long suspected: the camps are Communist Party re-education centers in which Uighurs are forced to abandon their traditional religion and language. Nury Turkel is a U.S.-based attorney and Uighur rights advocate and he joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the situation in Xinjiang — and why so much of the world doesn’t seem to care about it.
The House Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing on Wednesday, with testimony from a quartet of legal scholars from major Universities. Republicans on the committee repeatedly attempted to slow down the proceedings using parliamentary stall tactics, and continued to focus on the perceived partisan motivations of the impeachment process rather than the facts of the case against the President — while Democrats used the hearing to build up the constitutional case for removing him from office. But while the minutiae of the legal case against Trump are important, so is the political history of the country’s three previous impeachment efforts. Princeton history professor Kevin Kruse joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss what the current congress can learn from the historical examples of Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Andrew Johnson.
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In the days leading up to the November Democratic debate in Atlanta, everyone seemed to agree that attacks on Pete Buttigieg would be the order of the night. The South Bend Mayor had lept to the top of the pack in the latest Iowa polls, and the conventional wisdom was that other candidates hoping for a caucus victory there — Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden — would be directing their fire his way. But the rest of field was surprisingly cordial to Mayor Pete, with the real fireworks coming courtesy of a heated exchange between Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard. Cory Booker also earned some good reviews for his joke that Joe Biden “might have been high” for opposing marijuana legalization. Intercept politics reporter Akela Lacy and Waleed Shahid of the activist group Justice Democrats join Mehdi Hasan to break down the debate.
Liberals across the West often imagine Canada as a progressive paradise — a tolerant land, welcoming to immigrants, where marijuana is legal and everyone gets free healthcare. But how accurate is that picture? In the wake of last month’s federal elections, in which Justin Trudeau held onto the Prime Minister's post but lost his majority in parliament, Deconstructed headed to Toronto for the HotDocs Podcast Festival. There, Mehdi Hasan talked to two of Canada’s leading politicians. Ahmed Hussen is the Immigration Minister in Trudeau’s cabinet, and is himself an immigrant who arrived in Canada from war-torn Somalia in the 90s. Jagmeet Singh is the leader of the New Democratic Party, or NDP, and the first Sikh to head a major political party in Canada. Hasan sat down with Singh and Hussen to discuss Canada’s reputation as a shining beacon of Western multiculturalism — and whether it’s truly deserved.
With three months to go until the Iowa caucuses, Bernie Sanders finds himself fighting to make headway against the other frontrunners in the Democratic primary. While he appears to have bounced back from his recent heart attack—putting in a convincing performance in the last debate and picking up a coveted endorsement from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—the democratic socialist from Vermont has struggled to recapture the old 2016 magic in a more crowded 2020 field. Mehdi Hasan talks to Bernie about his campaign strategy, what separates him from his chief progressive rival Elizabeth Warren, and whether he’d be comfortable with an all-white—or all-male—ticket in 2020. Then, Intercept DC Bureau Chief Ryan Grim stops by to discuss the prospects for the Sanders campaign.
Linguist, activist, and political theorist Noam Chomsky has been speaking out against U.S. interventionism from Vietnam to Latin America and the Middle East since the 1960s. He’s the most cited author alive, but you won’t see him on the nightly news, or in the pages of most major newspapers. On this week’s Deconstructed, Chomsky sits down with Mehdi Hasan to discuss the impeachment inquiry, the 2020 Democratic field, and why he opposed Trump’s Syria troop withdrawal.
In a live taping of The Intercept’s Deconstructed podcast, host Mehdi Hasan is joined by two of America’s leading progressive voices: first-term Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, and documentarian Michael Moore, whose latest film, “Fahrenheit 11/9", takes an incisive look at the 2016 election and the crisis of American democracy in the Trump era.
The twelve leading Democratic candidates met in Westerville, Ohio on Tuesday for the fourth debate of the 2020 primary season. The usual topics—healthcare, taxes, the impeachment inquiry—dominated the discussion, but the CNN moderators also asked the candidates to weigh in on a controversial proposal, gaining currency of late on the left, to expand the Supreme Court. So-called “court packing” is normally a taboo in U.S. politics, and predictably the top contenders were reluctant to endorse it. David Faris, professor of political science at Roosevelt University and author of It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics, believes that court packing is precisely the type of radical structural reform that Democrats and progressives need to pursue if they want a chance at defeating the right in years to come. He joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss what the left can do to overcome minority rule in Washington.
Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke became the Democratic Party’s golden boy in 2018 thanks to his near-miss campaign against Senator Ted Cruz. Yet since declaring his campaign for the presidency back in March, his poll numbers have steadily declined. In recent weeks Beto has earned glowing reviews for his fiery rhetoric on gun control and Trump’s racism—and for his support for the Democrats’ nascent impeachment effort—but will it be enough to reinvigorate his bid for the White House? Mehdi Hasan talks to the candidate ahead of next week’s crucial debate. Then, Intercept DC Bureau Chief Ryan Grim stops by to break down Beto’s campaign.
India’s clampdown on the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir is entering its third month, and while the right-wing government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has exerted tight control over the flow of information out of the region, a bleak picture has nonetheless emerged. Thousands have been imprisoned, including political leaders. Movement is tightly restricted. Phone lines have been cut off. Modi appears set on ending Jammu and Kashmir’s special semi-autonomous status and bringing it fully under the control of New Delhi, a move which residents of the Muslim-majority region strongly reject. Arundhati Roy, India’s most famous novelist and a passionate voice for Kashmiri self-determination, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the Kashmir crisis and India’s troubling rightward tilt.
It finally happened: on Tuesday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the beginning of a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The final straw was a July phone call in which Trump pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden, and appeared to suggest that US aid to Ukraine might be contingent upon his compliance. Nearly all of the 2020 Democratic candidates have come out in support of impeachment proceedings. On this week’s Deconstructed, one of those candidates, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the week’s developments. Intercept DC Bureau Chief Ryan Grim stops by to break down the political prospects for impeachment.
Israeli voters returned to the polls this week for the second time in five months to elect the 120 members of the Knesset, the country’s legislative body. The outcome remains too close to call, but it looks like Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest serving Prime Minister, may be denied a majority. His likely successor is former army chief of staff Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Party. Yet missing from so much of the international conversation is the fact that five million Palestinian residents of the occupied territories remain unable to vote in elections that could determine their future. Given that Gantz, like Netanyahu, has adopted bellicose rhetoric toward Palestine in the past, can they really expect things to change? Noura Erakat, Palestinian American legal scholar and author of Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss whether it’s fair to describe Israel as an apartheid state.
The Democratic candidates met in Houston on Thursday night for a third round of televised debates. This time the format was limited to a single night with 10 participants, which meant that for the first time, all the top-tier candidates were onstage together. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren defended their respective healthcare plans, but the center of attention was frontrunner Joe Biden, who spent the night fending off attacks from his rivals. As the evening wore on, Biden's answers became increasingly difficult to decipher. Intercept DC Bureau Chief Ryan Grim joins Mehdi Hasan to breakdown the latest debate, as do Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas and Pod Save the World host Tommy Vietor.
A whopping 20 Democratic presidential candidates met in Miami, Florida this week for the first in what promises to be a very long season of primary debates. Pre-debate buzz centered around frontrunners like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—or Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, who let the fireworks fly on the second night in a heated exchange over the ex-Vice President’s record on school bussing. One surprise standout was former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who made headlines on the first night for his radical immigration proposals and for clashing with fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke. Castro joins Mehdi to talk about his big night, and Intercept DC Bureau Chief Ryan Grim stops by to analyze the debates.
Calls for military action against Iran grew louder this week in response to the Trump Administration’s claims that the Islamic Republic was responsible for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Many analysts and politicians, both in the US and abroad, expressed skepticism of those claims. But the US media appears to be falling into a familiar pattern, providing a sympathetic platform for the administration without fundamentally questioning its premises. What can we learn from the last push for a war in the Middle East 17 years ago? Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Chief of Staff to then Secretary of State Colin Powell during the runup to the Iraq War, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the lessons of recent history.
The Democratic candidates have introduced a raft of radical progressive proposals on the domestic policy front, from Medicare for All to free public college to universal basic income. Yet that appetite for radicalism has been sorely lacking on the foreign policy front, with the candidates mostly mouthing the same noncommittal platitudes we’ve come to expect from cautious presidential contenders. Why is it that the policy area in which American presidents have the most power and the most freedom to shape world events is so often overlooked in our political campaigns? Atlantic contributor and CUNY professor Peter Beinart joins Mehdi Hasan to talk about why Democrats are so timid on foreign policy.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a 44-year-old former businessman and philanthropist, has garnered a devoted fanbase (dubbed the “Yang Gang”) for his unique raft of progressive and technocratic reform proposals. His signature policy, the “freedom dividend”, would see every American receive $1000 every month, no strings attached. Yang has garnered enough support to secure a spot on the Democratic debate stage later this month, in spite of his total lack of political or government experience. On this week’s Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan sits down with the candidate to talk about his platform, his qualifications, and why he seems to have attracted online interest from the alt-right.
This week’s EU Parliament elections sent political shockwaves across Europe, with far-right nationalist parties racking up major victories in France, Italy, and even the UK. Established parties in Britain took a pounding as voters flocked to Nigel Farage’s newly-founded Brexit Party. Only days earlier, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May resigned in the wake of repeated failures to secure a deal on Brexit. Where does all this leave the UK’s effort to withdraw from the European Union? And what can the US, in the midst of its own anti-immigrant populist moment, learn from the turmoil across the Atlantic? Guardian columnist Owen Jones joins Mehdi Hasan to talk about the rise of British Trumpism.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has jumped to a surprisingly large lead in the Democratic race. But in an era when Democrats are increasingly young, racially diverse, and socialist-leaning, are they really about to nominate a 76-year-old white male from the establishment wing of the party? The bigger problem with Biden of course is his political record—from his role in the Anita Hill hearings to his vote for the 1994 crime bill to his cozy relationship with the credit card industry. On this week’s Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan is joined by author and political commentator Rebecca Traister to discuss the trouble with “Uncle Joe”.
U.S. officials this week accused Iran of orchestrating “sabotage” attacks on Saudi tankers near the Persian Gulf, escalating an already tense situation between the two countries. President Trump ramped up his own rhetoric, telling reporters that “It's going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens… they're not going to be happy." With the notoriously hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton whispering in Trump’s ear, are these signs that the administration is putting the U.S. on a path to war? On this week’s Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan discusses the prospects for another illegal and bloody regime change war in the Middle East with National Iranian American Council president Trita Parsi, and with Rob Malley, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group.
The F-word gets thrown around a lot these days. But with the president fear-mongering about immigrants, turning a blind eye to political violence from the far right, and embracing white nationalism, is it time to ask the question in earnest? On a daily basis Donald Trump can be heard dismissing the legitimacy of judges or the press, praising authoritarians like Kim Jong-Un, or trying to undermine congressional oversight of his administration. On this week’s show, Mehdi Hasan speaks with Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley about the history of fascism and what it can teach us about our current president.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election didn’t provide the smoking gun on collusion with Russia that many were expecting, but it did paint a picture of a President willing to repeatedly, brazenly, and unashamedly obstruct justice at every opportunity. It also suggests that Trump was restrained from more serious criminality only by the timely intervention of underlings and cabinet officials determined to save him from his own worst impulses. So where does all this leave the conversation on impeachment? With Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, calls are escalating for action to remove Trump for office. While some see a moral imperative for Congress to act, others point out the unlikelihood of a Republican-controlled Senate taking such action seriously. On this week’s Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan talks with Tom Steyer, the hedge fund Billionaire who launched the “Need to Impeach” campaign in 2017, and with Vox.com editor Ezra Klein, who thinks political considerations make impeachment a bad idea.
This week AIPAC came to town for its annual policy conference in the capital, with speakers including Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But the biggest name at this year’s event wasn’t even in the room. Speaker after speaker took turns taking veiled (and not so veiled) jabs at freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar for comments she made on Twitter in February about the nature of AIPAC’s influence in Washington. Yousef Munayyar of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Debra Shushan of Americans for Peace Now join Mehdi Hasan to discuss AIPAC’s obsession with Rep. Omar and its Islamophobia problem.
Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is not a traditional candidate for the nation’s highest office. But recently, he’s turned heads with a slate of radical political reform proposals, including expanding the Supreme Court and eliminating the Electoral College, that may help differentiate him from the crowd. He also earned plaudits for a statement addressed to the South Bend Muslim community issued in the wake of the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shootings, which contrasted sharply with President Trump’s equivocations on the subject of Islamophobia and white nationalism. “Mayor Pete” joins Mehdi Hasan on this week’s Deconstructed to talk about his path to the White House. Intercept D.C. bureau chief Ryan Grim follows with thoughts on an increasingly crowded Democratic field.
Erik Prince, the founder and CEO of the world’s most notorious mercenary company, Blackwater, landed in hot water during an interview with Mehdi Hasan at the Oxford Union in the U.K. Prince repeatedly claimed to have disclosed an August 2016 meeting at Trump Tower to the House Intelligence Committee—a claim not backed up by the official transcripts of his testimony before congress. On this week’s show, Mehdi Hasan speaks with Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, and to Congressman Joaquin Castro, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, about the possible fallout from Prince’s contradictory statements.
Many have attributed Bernie Sanders’ loss to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries to a poor showing among black voters. Bernie has since worked hard to make inroads there, incorporating theme racial discrimination and inequality into his campaign message. Yet questions persist about whether or not Bernie Sanders has a “race problem”. One of Sanders’ most prominent African American surrogates in his last run for the white house was philosopher and political activist Cornel West, who continues to argue that black America should embrace "Brother Bernie". On this week’s show, Mehdi Hasan and Dr. West discuss Bernie Sanders’ presidential chances and how he has progressed on race issues.
Earlier this month, Rep. Ilhan Omar, freshman House Democrat and one of the first two Muslim American women ever elected to Congress, found herself mired in controversy over tweets about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, and the influence of money on congressional support for the Israeli government. Omar apologized after condemnation from right and left alike, saying she would step back and think through the criticism that she received from Jewish figures. Nevertheless, her tweets kicked off a massive debate about the limits on public criticism of Israel and the role of money in politics.
Donald Trump’s rose garden speech last week announcing his emergency declaration over the “crisis” at the southern border was rambling, incoherent, and unhinged: in short, everything we’ve come to expect from the 45th president of the United States. And yet journalists treat him like a normal politician instead of stating the obvious: Donald Trump is mentally unfit for the presidency. Almost half the country agrees, and plenty of republicans, including Sen. Bob Corker and Jeb Bush, have expressed concern about his mental stability. To discuss the situation and where we go from here, Mehdi Hasan is joined by Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine, and by Trump’s biographer, David Cay Johnston.
Hundreds of millions of Muslims the world over live in democracies of some shape or form, yet a narrative persists in the West that Islam and democracy are incompatible. On this week’s show, Mehdi Hasan is joined by the man expected to become Malaysia’s next Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, and by Dalia Mogahed, the Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, to discuss Islam, Muslims, and democracy.
“Tonight,” proclaimed Donald Trump in his State of the Union Address, “we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” The line received a standing ovation from Republicans and Democrats alike, yet recent polls show that socialism is growing in popularity in the U.S., with a net positive rating among Democrats. To discuss America’s long-held resistance to socialism and its current rise in popularity, Mehdi Hasan is joined by Washington Post columnist Elizabeth Bruenig.
Since getting elected to the senate, Kamala Harris has become one of the most progressive voices in the chamber, supporting Medicare for All and debt-free college. However, as California attorney general, Harris opposed a bill requiring her office to investigate shootings involving police officers, and threatened to imprison the parents of truant children. When questioned about her record at a CNN Town Hall this week, Sen. Harris evaded the questions and argued instead that her record has been “consistent.” Mehdi Hasan is joined by Jamilah King of Mother Jones and Lara Bazelon, a professor law at the University of San Francisco, to discuss Sen. Harris’s record and whether it will hurt her presidential chances.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins Intercept reporters Ryan Grim and Briahna Joy Gray for an in-depth conversation about her approach to politics and social media, her thoughts on 2020, and her out-of-nowhere congressional campaign. As a new member of the House Financial Services Committee, she’s already shaping the conversation with her call to raise the top marginal tax rate to 70%. Former North Carolina congressman Brad Miller, a progressive Democrat who served for years on the Financial Services Committee, joins the conversation to talk about the challenges Ocasio-Cortez will face there.
There are signs that U.S. opinion might be shifting on Israel and its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. But the defenders of the Israeli government aren’t going to just give up without a fight. Angela Davis recently had a civil rights award revoked for her support of the BDS movement, and Dr. Marc Lamont Hill was fired from CNN for a pro-Palestine speech he delivered at the UN. He joins Mehdi Hasan along with Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace who is a liberal supporter of Israel but also opposed to the criminalization of BDS.
In the wake of the 2018 midterms, the Democratic party in congress is looking a lot more diverse—not just in terms of gender and ethnicity, but in ideology as well. One prominent newcomer is Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who joins Mehdi Hasan to kick off season 3 of Deconstructed. They discuss Palestine and the BDS movement, her plans for 2019, and the impeachment of Donald Trump.
Introducing Murderville, a new investigative podcast from The Intercept. Episode 1: Murder at Taco Bell. A murder in the small southern town of Adel, Georgia, sent Devonia Inman to jail 20 years ago. He was accused of robbing and shooting a woman named Donna Brown in a Taco Bell parking lot. He swore he was innocent and there were good reasons to believe him. And while he awaited trial, three more brutal killings took place in Adel. Did police get the wrong man?
The full seven-episode Murderville series is available now on Stitcher Premium, or free on all platforms starting December 20. To subscribe, go to theintercept.com/murderville.
The presidential primary season kicks off next year and there is one big question hanging over the Democratic party: the rust belt. For the last quarter century, it was solid blue, but Donald Trump changed that. And as 2020 approaches, the Democrats find themselves wondering, is there a candidate who can take it back? Could Sen. Sherrod Brown, a left-wing, pro-labor Ohio senator who won a third term these past midterms, be the Democrats’ answer to Donald Trump in 2020? Mehdi Hasan is joined by Sen. Sherrod Brown himself to discuss his presidential ambitions, and then with The Intercept’s DC bureau chief Ryan Grim and Bernie Sanders’ former organizing director Claire Sandberg to analyze the rust belt and the 2020 electoral field.
U.S. media have been busy painting a very rosy picture of former president George H.W. Bush since his death last week. While he did stand up to the gun lobby, sign the Americans with Disabilities Act, and peacefully end the Cold War, he also ordered the Desert Storm operation in which 88,000 tons of U.S. bombs were dropped on Iraq, killing tens of thousands of Iraqis and destroying civilian infrastructure. The Intercept’s co-founder Glenn Greenwald joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the difference between hagiography and journalism — and to produce a more accurate and fair obituary of the late former-president George H.W. Bush.
The United States Senate voted Wednesday afternoon to advance a resolution withdrawing all unauthorized U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen, which has created, according to the UN, the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe and killed more than 50,000 people. It’s the first time a majority in either chamber of Congress has endorsed a bill which calls for an end to U.S. involvement in the Yemen war, a war which would not be happening if it weren’t for U.S. involvement. Mehdi Hasan is joined by Senator Chris Murphy, one of the big drivers behind this resolution, Yemeni-Canadian activist and academic Shireen Al Adeimi, and The Intercept’s national security reporter Alex Emmons to discuss what the Senate’s vote means and the next steps forward.
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.
This week Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to meet with a North Korean head of state, raising the prospect that the repressive dictatorship might finally take steps toward dismantling its nuclear program. But there’s something missing from the conversation: the fact that the United States itself is sitting on the world’s most powerful stockpile of nuclear weapons. Beatrice Fihn, the director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, join Mehdi to discuss the nuclear threat closer to home.
Between appointing his daughter and son-in-law to senior White House positions, engaging in business deals with foreign governments, and “encouraging” diplomats and dignitaries to book rooms in his hotels, Donald Trump’s administration is setting new records for executive malfeasance. When corruption is so widespread, so pervasive, so ingrained in the political culture in Washington, D.C. and the executive branch, how do you push back? Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren joins Mehdi Hasan in an exclusive interview to discuss her anti-corruption legislation and how she plans to pull corporate money out of Washington.
The Trump administration is targeting migrant and refugee children to achieve its policy goal at the border, crack down on immigration, and placate its far right base. More than 700 children have been forcibly separated from both parents at the border and more than 100 of them have been under the age of 4 since last October, according to official figures obtained by the New York Times. Democratic representative Pramila Jayapal, an immigrant herself, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the Trump administration’s immigration policies and the unprecedented danger they pose to immigrants and people of color.
Five years ago this week Edward Snowden absconded to Hong Kong with a trove of documents detailing the extent of the U.S. government's global and domestic surveillance programs. Snowden’s leaks helped expose the astonishing reach of the U.S. government's global and, crucially, domestic surveillance programs. More recently we’ve discovered it isn’t just big government that poses a massive threat to our privacy, but also big tech. On this week’s episode of Deconstructed, Edward Snowden joins Mehdi Hasan from Russia to discuss surveillance, tools that can help protect people’s privacy, and the likelihood of a Trump-Putin deal to extradite him.
Two Palestinians join Mehdi Hasan to discuss U.S. coverage of Jerusalem and how to get prominent Democratic politicians to take the Palestinian struggle for freedom seriously. Rula Jebreal was raised in East Jerusalem and is an academic and foreign policy analyst. Linda Sarsour, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Occupied West Bank, is the co-chair of the Women’s March and the former director of the Arab American Association of New York.
The president announced withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, citing Israeli intel purporting to show that Iran has resumed its nuclear weapons program. Does this move us one step closer to war? Has John Bolton taken the helm of U.S. foreign policy? On this week’s Deconstructed podcast, Tommy Vietor, who served as spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council under President Obama, breaks down Trump’s latest and scariest political gambit.
Comedian and Hollywood director and producer Judd Apatow joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the U.S. media’s cozy relationship with politicians. Rather than defending Michelle Wolf as she ridiculed the brazen dishonesty of the President and his equally deceitful staff, journalists at the White House Correspondents Dinner threw her under the bus and stood for the people in the White House who abuse them every day instead. The U.S. media’s friendly relationship with politicians was bad enough under previous administrations, but it’s inexcusable under Donald Trump — a president who, according to James Comey’s memos, jokes in private about having reporters locked up and raped behind bars as a way of getting them to give up their confidential sources.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are demonstrating and calling for their right to return to their ancestral lands for the fifth Friday in a row. Israeli forces have been responding with force, killing at least 40 demonstrators and wounding thousands. On episode 6 of Deconstructed, two Israeli activists join Mehdi to speak out against Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians. Hagai El Ad is the executive director of B’Tselem and Avner Gvaryahu is a former Israeli paratrooper and current executive director of Breaking the Silence.
Comedian Hasan Minhaj is best known for his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show and his acclaimed stand-up special "Homecoming King." This year he’s slated to host his own talk show on Netflix, and on this week’s podcast he and Mehdi Hasan discuss comedy and free speech in the Trump era.
The war in Syria has seen seven long years of bloodshed, terror, and foreign interventions. And now, once again, the alleged use of chemical weapons has prompted president Donald Trump to threaten bombing the Assad regime. But on what authority, and with what plan? This week on Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan speaks to Rep. Barbara Lee, one of the most consistent voices against U.S. military interventions on Capitol Hill. And with former Obama adviser Ilan Goldenberg about whether Trump is following in Obama’s footsteps by going to war without congressional approval.
In her first national interview, Stephon Clark’s fiancée Salena Manni speaks out on his death at the hands of Sacramento police. She calls on President Donald Trump to take action on police violence, and responds to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who last week called Clark’s death a "local matter." And Professor Ibram X. Kendi of American University joins Mehdi to discuss how America’s history of racist ideas creates the law enforcement environment we see today.
By now you’ve heard about John Bolton’s bluster, warmongering, and disregard for international law. What you probably don’t know is that Trump’s new national security advisor made implicit threats against a diplomat and his children. On this week’s show, Mehdi talks to José Bustani about that experience with Bolton 16 years ago. He also talks to State Department veteran Thomas Countryman, who served with Bolton and worries that we’re now a step closer to war with both North Korea and Iran.
The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan sits down with independent senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to discuss why the mainstream press ignores so many of the economic issues that affect the lives of average Americans: poverty, homelessness, and inequality. Fresh off a Facebook town hall with Elizabeth Warren and Michael Moore that was viewed live by nearly two million people, Sanders warns Democrats: “Anyone who thinks Trump cannot win a re-election is just not looking at reality. He can.”
A new podcast from The Intercept that cuts through the political drivel and media misinformation to give you a straight take on one big news story of the week. Hosted by Mehdi Hasan. Coming March 23.