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Trump Inc – a podcast series from ProPublica and WNYC – S02 E17 – Who Was Behind the Plan to Give Saudi Arabia Nuclear Power, and What Was Their Agenda?(Feb 28,2019)

18/03/2019

Adam came across this series recently (H/T New Yorker)

About the series

Podcasts are a good form for presenting the surreality of this era, Eric Umansky, an editor at ProPublica, told me recently. “You can capture the absurdity in ways that you can’t in text,” he said. The excellent investigative podcast that he works on, “Trump Inc.,” from WNYC and ProPublica, began in February and concludes next week. Its premise is at once straightforward and audacious: it asks big, specific questions about Donald Trump’s famously mysterious business dealings, including those concerning possible connections between his Presidency and his profits; investigates them; and encourages listeners to pitch in and help. It features several personable, savvy-sounding reporters: Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, of WNYC, and Jesse Eisinger and Heather Vogell, of ProPublica, and it has a collaborative spirit. Reporters from other outlets (including The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson) offer additional information and insights. One episode features David Fahrenthold, of the Washington Post, answering listener questions; another was inspired by a comment that Fahrenthold made about Trump suing local municipalities in which he had businesses; a listener tip resulted in a mini-episode about Trump commissioning golf-tee markers with the Presidential seal on them. Umansky told me that one “superfan” listener “went to the courthouse in Westchester to look up cases for us.” Everybody gets to be a detective. Or, as the show’s Web site puts it, “Help Us Dive Into the Swamp.” 

https://audio.wnyc.org/trumpinc/trumpinc022219_cms917442_pod.mp3

About this episode – Who Was Behind the Plan to Give Saudi Arabia Nuclear Power, and What Was Their Agenda?

For a year, “Trump, Inc.” has been digging into the 2017 inauguration. That reporting led us to look closely at the man Donald Trump picked to run the event, Tom Barrack, a wealthy businessman who’s been friends with Trump for decades.

As we were finishing our Barrack episode — just out this week — the House Oversight Committee released a report detailing how the Trump administration pursued a plan to export nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

The plan had been championed by then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, who could have profited from it. The efforts continued despite warnings from ethics officials and staff at the National Security Council.

And who was in talks to lead the initiative? Tom Barrack.  

The House investigation confirmed some reporting by one of our ProPublica colleagues, Isaac Arnsdorf, that goes back to late 2017. So we decided to bring Isaac in for this podcast extra to help us understand who was behind the plan and what they wanted.

Barrack has declined our requests for an interview, and Flynn’s lawyer and the White House have not responded.

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