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Trump Inc – a podcast series from ProPublica and WNYC – #41 – Dirt

28/04/2020

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.” 

 

 

About this episode – Dirt

In 1996, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor and refugee to America sat down with an interviewer from the USC Shoah Foundation to recount what she had experienced.

“If we’re not going to tell now, in 20 years I don’t know who’s going to be to tell,” Rae Kushner said in her Yiddish-accented English. “And now we have still the strength and we have the power to do this and to warn the rest of the world to be careful who is coming up on top of your government.”

Rae’s grandson Jared is now one of the most powerful people in the U.S. government. President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, he is an influential voice on some of the nation’s most pressing issues, including immigration across the southern border. And to understand him, you need to understand his family story.

This episode is based on reporting from host Andrea Bernstein’s new book “American Oligarchs: the Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power.” Read more about the Kushner family at ProPublica and find an excerpt of Bernstein’s book at The New Yorker.

 

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