Soleimani is dead and Bernie is rising
A Michael ISIKOFF chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News. And I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News and a quick reminder that you can follow us at skulduggery pod and and by the way. If you've got any questions thoughts ideas you wanNA share tweet right out us now. Let's get on with the show. There was an imminent attack. The orchestrator the primary motivator for the attack Wisconsin so the money attempt to disrupt that plot. You all been talking this morning about the history of Qassem souleyman is got hundreds of American lives blood on his hands but what was sitting before us was his travels. Throughout the region is efforts to make a significant -NIFICANT strike against Americans would have been many Muslims killed as well Iraqis people in other countries as well that was secretary of state. Mike pompeo describing the justification for president trump's extraordinary decision to launch a US drone strike the targeted and killed Iranian revolutionary. Guard commander General Qassam Soleimani. It was an action that immediately threatened to dramatically escalate tensions in the mid East Grand Supreme Leader Ayatollah. Ali Khamenei vowed a quote forceful revenge against what he called the criminals who have saw him on his blood and the blood of the other martyrs on their hands as he made those comments. The Pentagon revealed it is is rushing thousands of fresh troops to the region. What do we know about the intelligence that prompted trump to pull the trigger on Sulejmani? And how close are we to an actual war with Iran will discuss. The News. Is Ace intelligence. Reporters John McLaughlin and Zach Dorfman who is also of the Aspen Institute and and we'll talk to Bernie Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff. Weaver on the bombshell new fundraising numbers that have certified Vermont senator as a genuine front runner in the battle Donald for the Democratic nomination. All that and more on this episode of skulduggery because people have gotta know whether or not their president's cropped up I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostile my heart to my best intentions. Still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence it is not I did not have sexual relations with that one there there will be no lives. We will honor the American people with the Truth and nothing else. Michael ISIKOFF chief investigative reporter for Yahoo News and Clyde editor in chief of so quite eight and opening few days of twenty twenty things that have been a bit slow over the holidays and then wow Bam were back it. It looks like we're on the verge of military confrontation with Iran an impeachment trial that may or may not begin next week peak and this phenomenon of Bernie Sanders acing all his Democratic rivals in fundraising certifying him as a genuine threat to win the Democratic nomination. Not much going on no typical week in the Actually a typical week in some ways of the trump presidency. We don't necessarily know everything that's going to happen. But we know they're gonNA be fireworks all the time so much for. The impeachment lull by the away to our listeners. If I sound unusually sexy are not. I think we're already getting tweets coming in about about. Just how sexy you sound. Got Him cold. Probably about seventy percent of you guys have already had right. So I just let me all right onto more pressing matters. than your health. And that is the health and welfare of thousands of Americans in the Mideast right now in the wake of this a drone drone strike. You know I gotTa say we've had the raid. That Killed Bagdhad ahead of Isis at the end of October but we haven't had too many high profile L. drone strikes in the trump era. In fact this has to be and I know this is a subject that you are well versed than having written kill or capture. We haven't had a high profile drone strike since I think a Laki in Yemen in what was that two thousand eleven or so. Yeah Yeah you know. This is different than one really fundamental way. Then all of the high-profile throwing strikes that we witnessed and read. What about over the last couple of decades? You know so Amani was a pretty bad guy and Even call him a terrorist but he was also the number two person essentially the second most powerful person in the Iranian government. This is a country this state and he is a political leader. Some thought he might even one. They beat the head of the government in Tehran so to assassinate someone who is that high profile that core to the which came in Iran on the one hand is a big blow to the Iranian regime. On the other hand it is a hugely provocative. Act Now now. The question as to whether it was a legal strike is going to depend in large part on what Pompeo all the evidence that either supports or doesn't support Lord. What Pompeo said in that clip? That was just plan if there was the if money was plotting an imminent attack then under domestic law and international laws. Just just as important here that with the could be a justifiable strike. Well you know. Look the Obama folks folks wrote the The game book for this and they wrote the memos that justified the drone strikes that killed a Laki and lots of others. And what did they base. Is it on. This is something you and I both were reported on extensively back in the Obama years but if an individual poses what. US intelligence officials officials believed to be an imminent threat than a president is justified in launching a lethal attack. Protect Americans is but let me just add one other point and you know when we finally got the memo's or a memo that underlie. I'd say the the justified the lucky strike we saw just how squishy that eminent standard is in fact the memo drafted by Justice Department lawyers and turned into a white paper that was shared on a confidential basis with Congress said that imminent did not necessarily thoroughly have to mean that there was a strike about to happen perpetrated by the particular target. It could mean that there was general intelligence about a threat and that target based on past actions could be presumed to be intimately involved Alveda in ordering that attack. It was a very elastic standard and I think given the president sent by the Obama folks. The trump people have a lot of leeway here to justify at least on the basis of those memos. This sort of strike. I agree with you a hundred percent. In fact I remember when I was reporting to capture an Obama administration. Voyeur saying to be well. You don't have to be strapping on your suicide fast. Or getting on the plane with bombs or even anywhere near using those things if they much more general threat definition as you put it came much more elastic right issue. Here is that while this strike may have likely was legal under article. Go to the Constitution and the Self Defense Doctrine. The question is was it. A wise thing to do was prudent thing to do breath. Is this going to end up getting into a war with Iran. A hot war we have been in a Cold War and proxy wars. This threat is is to put US really into a wheel or they could involve the deaths of thousands and thousands of people including many Americans who are vulnerable. Well not just in Iraq in other parts of the region but in Europe and in the United States GonNa talk with Zak and Jenna about the Iranian Wanian capabilities of actually striking Americans not just in the region but elsewhere as well right as if nothing else was going on We have the looming impeachment of the president looming impeachment trial of the president as we speak McConnell and Schumer we're have just had their cirillo sort of doing standoff about whether there's going to be a precondition for calling witnesses but I gotta got to say you know we've had lots of talk over the last year about all the analogies with the Clinton impeachment this Sulamani strike is a vivid reminder. That as Bill Clinton was being impeached he launched airstrikes against Saddam Hussein in Iraq which was widely scene or suggested by many Republicans as a wag the dog response to impeachment to divert public attention from the charges charges against the president and one does have to wonder if we are seeing a replay of that right now in fact I think. What did it multiple times? Take you around. The time that Monica Lewinsky was was the grand jury yes strikes against the strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan and look whack. The dog of course refers to bury length movie where a president essentially concocts awards from his own sex scandal. But look I actually think that what what trump has done here might actually do the opposite in some ways it could actually underscore some of the problems that were at the root of the Ukrainian scandal. Right you've got an utterly unsophisticated. Pregnant with another. We unsophisticated understanding of American foreign policy of bankrupt. National Security decision making process and a command surrounded by sycophants you don't salad on the most consequential life and death decisions so I don't know how effective this will be as a wag the dog strategy. Unless of course you end up in a full-scale war which I don't think will be helpful. president even as he goes into impeachment. Well lots of material due to Talk about their and I should just add one more we're going to have Jeff Weaver Bernie Sanders campaign manager on. We were originally going to make this show. I think primarily ah about Bernie rising all the indicia that he is becoming a genuine front runner if not the front runner certainly a top contender for the Democratic nomination. Even though so many of us inside the Beltway had kind of written him off for much of the last year but let's remember Bernie Sanders. This is the one guy who from the get-go has opposed higher military spending who voted against the Iraq war who has tried to reorient American priorities to the domestic front Healthcare and then sort of more widely I guess climate change. But how how he responds to this. And how that works in the context of a Democratic nomination. Does it help his chances or not. It'll be a good topic to explore with Mr Well last night for any sanders. I think thought it helped him not that he would cynically exploit though. What's your reaction to help us can't paint but he did? I will not cut an ad in the halls of a hotel room. Making all the points that you just made about him so at least in the short run the ethics thinks. It's going to help him right. And before we go to Zaken Jenna voter be worth just taking a look back at The many different positions that that Donald Trump has had about Iran. And we've got a bite here from trump speaking in two thousand eleven criticizing than President Obama on the grounds that he was going to get us into a war with Iran. Let's listen our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate he's weak and is ineffective. We have a real problem in the White House so I believe that he will attack Iran sometime prior to the election because he thinks that's the only way he can get elected. Isn't it pathetic. Well well this. From the guy who later became president and basically pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement showing his disdain in for negotiations with Iran and has now killed. Who was Perhaps the guy who is perhaps the second most powerful leader in Iran. So perhaps isn't it. Isn't it rich all right. Let's get on with our guests okay we now have with us two of the best intelligence reporters around right now. Both of whom happen to work for Yahoo News. Jenna McLaughlin and Zach Dorfman Jenna Anzac. Welcome back to skulduggery. Thank you and quite an auspicious day to do it For both of you guys Zach we have had you on before to talk about the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Hard core and all the aggressive actions the take against the United States spearheaded and led by General Sulamani Now the the late General Suleimani wanted to start out by telling us a little about just who he was and why he was so significant. Yeah I mean there is no analogous person to custom Sola money in the Iranian regime or I mean potentially in any other are there adversarial regime to the United States in the world so the money was the head for decades of the could force which was the Revolutionary Guards kind of covert operational wing. And you know they were kind of a hybrid a combination of If you took the CIA and maybe also the joint special operations commands a US special forces and they were also highly ideological entity so they were devoted to protecting and spreading the seventy nine revolution. And so they did things that other intelligence agencies do that other special forces organizations do but they were also involved directly in spreading the revolution and building connections with other radical Shiah movements all over the Middle East and beyond and most prominently that that was Lebanese is Lebanese Hezbollah which has been a a major. And and to this day now a dominant player in Lebanon's politics and and so the money was also directly involved in the post two thousand and three order in Iraq and the overwhelming Iranian influence and that has characterized Iraqi politics since the American invasion and also. I should point out that there had been according according to U. S. officials of a pretty steady uptick in attacks on US forces in US bases in Iraq. I think got something like eleven or the last few months. US contractor of course killed most recently. What was the sort of strategic calculus for Sumani if he was indeed behind these attacks for that uptick in aggressive actions? I mean we're speculating. A little bit. I imagine it was to keep the. US presence kind of unsure footing. The Iranians had a pretty good idea. that they could never get rid of the Americans entirely but they saw limiting or circumscribing. US influence as a primary goal of their activities in Iraq and ratcheting up the pressure slightly over time was a way to increase pre existing divide within Iraqi society which falls sometimes along along sectarian lines and also creating dissention within US policy naked communities about the the best path forward Lord arguably they've been pushing the limits over and over again over these last few months and they have been not really there hasn't been particularly strong US response. I mean even after there was an attack on Saudi facilities and that Calculus obviously changed quite radically in the last twenty four hours. Well Zach Janet. Jump in as well we talked about Sulamani Strategic Calculus but what about trump strategic calculus to the extent there is one here. Because as you point out reinforces were. Proxies have been killing American soldiers for a couple of decades now in Iraq and I think General David David betray us. Who oversaw the Iraq war? I think he said that that at least six hundred. America's soldiers were killed directly or indirectly by so Amani or it was given by Sulamani. So why now. Presumably the Americans would have had opportunities in the past under several presidents to do this and they did. Why didn't they and and what do you think trump should now? So it's not totally clear yet. It's been less than twenty four hours since the strike however we've seen some reports that there were imminent threats. It's potentially to American lives. There was at least one report that there could have been the potential of kidnapping The trump administration is going to hammer home that they prevented something something catastrophic. And we'll have to see what that evidence looks like. I mean potentially as early as next week. I think we'll probably see some of their legal. Justifications I'm not sure if those were prepared prepared in detail prior. It's it's unclear to me I think. Probably the most frequent refrain that we hear in this administration is what was the plan. Is there a plan. And that's it's not clear yet. I think in terms of looking back into the past some of the sources. I've been communicating with for. You know the last twenty four hours or so have pointed at the fact that of course the amendment administration and the Bush administration have looked at options lake this in the past however particularly with Obama who was perhaps fairmount more risk averse than president trump. He essentially came to the conclusion that we cannot determine what the actual operational consequences of. This decision would be and at the same time the amount of potential for collateral damage. It's just far too high to accept it and I think that's been the key point that has been driven to me from recently retired former. CIA officials national security officials. They say no one is sad. That Sulamani is gone. However this massive massive risk of escalation is something that's at the forefront of their minds and and they wonder if there could have been a different option? So let's talk a little about what the Iranians might do. Now you know they certainly finally have the strong militia presence in the region in Iraq and Syria. They're backing the Hutus in Yemen. But their potential to strike back Gaddis is quite wide ranging from cyber from economic sabotage going after the oilfields in in Saudi Arabia. They did a few months ago to even potential terrorist attacks in the United States. And I WANNA talk about that in a moment but give us the big picture Jenna on where you see the potential for an Iranian response here so I think you covered. Some of those options decently gently. Well I mean it. It could be a range of things. A lot of people have been talking to have said it would be hard without a crystal crystal. See exactly what they're going to do however still money favored avert sort of a symmetrical warfare. And it's likely that his allies that remain alive will continue that tradition cyber certainly one option when I speak to cybersecurity purity experts who are familiar with arena capabilities. They say that we should not underestimate them. We had reported back when the tanker's were struck in the Strait of Hormuz that Iranian officials are on top of this. They know where those ships are when they're transiting the Straits and they have full capability to do something destructive. We've already seen that they have. They target diplomats in the region they could target allies in the Gulf in Saudi Arabia. And Israel there are so many different options and they could combine several of them. It's it's really not clear yet what they'll choose you've got some I think you've got some reporting that. FBI FBI or former FBI officials are actually worried about the possibility of uranium striking out in the United States. And I think that also wrote a piece for us about all the ways that they could do that I mean they've got long rumored to have Hezbollah ourselves that could be activated in this country. What could they actually do on? US soil soil. And would they cross that line into say assassinations. I'll let Zach address that at more length but I did speak to at least one former. FBI special official. WHO said that? The first on their list of concerns is whether or not Some of these cells within the US would be activated written extensively about that. Yes I mean I think that AH obvious concern. I think that there there was. There has been a long running debate within the US intelligence community about whether they would actually resort to those kinds of measures measures because of the potential for a overwhelming catastrophic response by the United States. The thinking on that changed I think in two two thousand thirteen with the top of my head when the Revolutionary Guard did try to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in a Washington. DC restaurant apply supposedly ordered by Sulamani himself exactly by flu. And so by the way I'm starting might have killed hundreds it's or or dozens of Americans who is going to take place in arrested rock and I just note that I actually interview. John Brennan rented on the warning that that plot was an ounce. If you've been up all night dealing with it and he looked spooked you were just saying that that it kind of calculation changed at that moment. I think that really scares the shit. Out of intelligence officials in the United States really did and it made them think more seriously actually about the fact that the Iranians and their proxies particularly has blackouts. Might you'll beyond mere planning to actually execution of the DADS and you know there's been a few recent court cases that have bought this home. One was a conviction of of a man in New York City area in Holly Ronnie Zack. Let me stop you. There are because I anticipated somebody bringing this up and it is a sober reminder that there's some reality behind Some of the talk. You're hearing from US today today. This is just last month a one month ago. December third two thousand nineteen a US citizen in New York resident whose spine for Hezbollah Hasbollah considered himself quote sleeper agent of the terror group and called his family. The Bin Ladens of Lebanon has been sentenced to forty years in federal prison. Ali Ali. Karani was recruited trained and deployed by Hezbollah's Islamic Jihad Organization to plan and execute acts of terrorism around New York City said Jeffrey Free Burma in the US. Attorney for the Southern District of York quote and this is the. US Attorney in New York speaking just last month after spending years conducting surveillance on the city's critical critical infrastructure federal buildings international airports and even daycare centers. He's now the first Islamic organization operative to be convicted and sentenced for his his crimes against the United States. That was kind of an eye-opener I remember when I read it just a few short weeks ago but now it sure looms pretty large. Yeah I mean he would he you know. He was assembling target packages. That you said for Federal Building He was also looking into assembly in arms caches and was doing research online for Jewish and Israeli businessman in the New York area who had been members of the Israeli military and that was a real serious cases another case recently of a conviction of two men one by the name of Bonnie and one. But anyway do starters both Iranian amen. One was a a dual citizen and one of them traveled to Chicago and was conducting reconnaissance on A Jewish community community center in Chicago and also Iranian dissident in Los Angeles in New York. So yes they do have the capability. This is something that. US intelligence community officials are very aware of especially in areas with large Iranian and Lebanese population in particular so Los Angeles San Francisco. Detroit Troy New York and it's something that I think over the coming days and weeks is going to give FBI counterintelligence particular a a lot of a lot of heartburn. And they're they're probably going to be particularly focused on this. Actually the only other thing I'd mention that it's not just the US I mean the Iranians and Hezbollah also have a very active presence. In in South America including in the Tri border region where Argentina Paraguay Brazil meet and they have successfully carried out very large terrorist attacks in the nineteen nyland particular in that region. What I wonder Zack? In Jeddah is you know talking about large terrorist attacks talking about the kind of terrorism that Americans are. You're familiar with all these years. Where civilians are targeted but given the fascination of Sulamani? I wonder if the Iranian thinking is that political assassinations that would be proportional to what the American suggested as opposed to going after civilians. Now that's harder but Zach. I think he reported that there were a number of fascination plots that were under way that I read a quote from story. Vote for us. Think this was US officials and Israeli. Maybe they were not in the US. Maybe they were in your but quote from your story was from from a source of yours. These cases where people have it's an assigned Griffin's caches were in place plants activists. It had gotten that far Yes this was. Something that occurred occurred in the last four or five years and was directly related to the defection of a foreign military official by the name of Monica wits. This was seen scene at the time according to the The former intelligence officials that I spoke with as another of very serious esscalation because they had successfully identified undercover defense intelligence officials and it appeared that they were ready to carry out what. US officials believed. were imminent minute assassination. They didn't take place. But this is something that used to be seen as a red line but now again so Amani whether you think so. The money is a terrorist or not you know and certainly he was an exporter of terrorism. He was a senior military official Iranian government. And I think that's very true that they might eam for something that they considered to be more proportional which is legal action against senior US military or intelligence officials instead of civilians. This this is sort of like Equivalent to the Iranians assassinating the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or somebody at that level. Which is why why? This is such a provocative action. Just one thought I mean I remember all the talk of post nine eleven about al Qaeda sleeper agents In the United States in the hunt to find them how many Hezbollah sleeper agents to US intelligence officials believe are actually out there here in the United States today Geno. That's a great question. I asked it yesterday of my source than they were not willing to share but they said what they're what they're more worried about is the ones they don't I don't know about yeah. Well that's always the case right a pretty sobering topic to start off the New Year but before we leave you guys did a great great piece about the new challenges for US intelligence agencies in the digital age which ran a few days before all this Iranian news broke Geno. Just tell us very briefly what you found in that report shirts so I mean it's a long story five thousand words or so but I'll try to summarize his his best to essentially we we wrote about the last couple of decades in. How Technology has fundamentally transformed the job of intelligence officers particularly those who go undercover to gather human intelligence and that work is becoming next to impossible to do? Intelligence officers have to operate under their real names. They work extremely closely with the private sector. Wittingly and unknowingly. In some instances the intelligence community has tried to address these problems albums in a couple different ways the first report that they had created a station of the future that was somewhere in Latin America where they wanted to re imagine in trade craft as it currently exists. They wanted to test out. New Technologies fundamentally transform how they do business but as often happens in Iraq or sees as it was reduced back in Langley to this expensive proposal to sort of create open office floor plans for stations around the world word is proposing for America office. It's funny that this came out around the same time. But essentially the story has many different revelations including that the F. B. I.'s program for cover operations called stagehand had a massive compromise within recent years. This this work is incredibly difficult and it will continue to be and the conversation about. Where do we go from here? Needs to start now before we have you know the next note in revelation thank well. I think it's fair to say especially as it story. Say It is a part of a series of stories that this dynamic duo you have Ported and written for Yahoo News all about how our spying capabilities secrets have been compromised by evolution up technology very very important stuff. My question after having read this last installments series is what his job with Corre- with an x ekstrom career. What are they gonNA do with? There's no longer human spies so we'll have to see how inventive by VAC. And then thanks. Thank you so much to the perfect for this show and this story so wa thanks for coming on. That will have both back on against looking forward to it. Thank thank you. We're now going to switch gears Abid and talk Democratic Party politics and we've got a special guest here. In the studio one of the top contenders for the Democratic nomination. Senator Senator Bernie Sanders senator. Welcome to skulduggery Mike. Thank you for having me here to discuss this existentialist threat to our country. Too many podcasts. They're all about true crime and the true crime podcast. Coming in Americans from the corporate media right podcasts. Spur billionaires that's what we like to view skulduggery as actually it's not Senator Sanders colleague Hundred Walker. Who does one of the better Bernie? Sanders enders imitations around hunters. Give Larry David. We want you on Saturday night live. That's that's my goal for for twenty twenty but we do have a good alternative to the senator and that is his campaign manager. Jeff Weaver calling in Jeff Welcome. Welcome to skulduggery. Hey how you doing and just this for complete on a senior adviser on this campaign I was the campaign manager in two thousand sixteen but I am a senior adviser on this campus. Okay we stand correct and no problem. Do you want to rate hunters burning invitation. There it would agree. I'd give it give it a b Plus p Plus bless you jared greater. I'm GonNa talk better. I've also heard that most people on the campaign have their own Senator Sanders impression. Are you you want the people who can do it. I can't I can't I can't come on over tonight. It's it's class Jeff. I want to tell you why I wanted to have you on this week on this podcast. Which is over the holidays? Goes over my sister's in New Hampshire all her Kids were there. twentysomethings and man did I get a mouthful Of Bernie Mania they were talking about Bernie nonstop them their friends their significant others and it made me wonder if those of us sort of beltway insiders who had been sorta discounting your guys candidacy or chance of going all the way has made me rethink that that and then of course. No sooner does bad happen. Then I bam politico says democratic insiders say Ernie could take the nomination and then you announce your fundraising numbers. Thirty four million dollars you know mopping the floor with all your arrivals give us your take on where you stand right now. His Bernie the front run. Well Look I. I think that the campaign has moved forward quite a bit since the summertime. I think in the summertime. There was a lot of folks who were kicking the tires tires on the other candidates. I think those folks have started to come home to Bernie and the kind of excitement that you heard during the holidays. It's something that we encounter on the road all the time when we look burning so it is true that folks inside the beltway I think really sort of missile but they missed it in two thousand sixteen certainly and I think they're missing it now but you know I think did you see was fundraising numbers. I think you see the events of the turnouts. I think you're seeing that sort of groundswell support. That's going to be critical to him winning. So as you look at it right now we are exactly exactly one month away from Iowa and then five weeks away from New Hampshire. How does it look in these early states right now? Do you expect you're going to win in Iowa and if you don't you have to finish in the top two or three and then take it from there state by State State New Hampshire South Carolina Nevada. How's it looking? Yeah well what. We've got strong Brown Games and every one of those states You know in these early states or smaller states and and and so having a an operation on the ground is incredibly important you know we had over two hundred people on the ground in Iowa. Eight people have thousands of volunteers. So we're doing the kind of organizing nizing that one does the caucus state like Iowa and Nevada. You know we're turned out so much lower. And so you know the kind of grassroots organizing that you do a really pays off off in terms of increasing. Your percentage total on Hakka snake Hampshire operates strong South Carolina. He's running second in South Carolina and things it's You know different about this campaign at least the acknowledgement that that what is going on is your Bernie really is building a multi-racial coalition multiracial movement. that it happened last time you know wants to campaign was in swing but there was this terrible false narrative about the lack of support among people. Are you know we've seen now the bowling Bernie's running second with after after Americans that crowded field. He typically runs I with Latino voters all across the country. So you know. It's a really opened up a lot of opportunity to win and places like adopter auto and and Jeff does things differently this time around right in two thousand sixteen there were a lot of really big rallies and generating a lot of excitement. Not to say that you can't still draw big crowds but senators seems to be Has Been in in a grassroots approach smaller smaller groups. That's something that that you decided long time ago. How did that strategy kind of evolve? Well look this campaign is very different than the last campaign. They don't well into the fall of Twenty fifteen. There are a lot of states. Were our polling. Showed that forty percent of people that didn't know who he was or didn't have enough information to make opinion about him and so it was important to do big rallies at least demonstrate the broad base of support that he has all across the country. You know those became national headlines and cable news stories that went into everybody's living room and I think really validated validated. The campaign of somebody again. Who was not universally known like he is now so it's a very different posture campaign and people do not we we is is the name? Id as well over ninety five percent most places that ninety nine percent And people have a sense of what his positions are. You know the price of a working class. People for Medicare Medicare for all and some of their signature shoes. And so you know this. This time around is more of a conversation with voters who already know who is and and you know Meeting dominant different way. So yes it was decided you know a while back that we were going to try to have these more say more intimate but still. There's still many hundreds of people if these quote go smaller events but you know we're trying to create opportunities for burning interact with people the more personal way quick tactical questions because a big difference between twenty sixteen and and this election is California which moved up and could be you know really important state for For Sanders particularly if he comes out of New Hampshire with a win and I had a scheme and then into Super Tuesday eventually. At what point did you realize the importance of California California to immediately you know he did very very well there last time even though the AP had called the national race to make before they California primary in two thousand sixteen. He's incredibly whether he has a tremendous support in California. And as you know as you know it has the largest number of delegates of any state in the process and so having that a move early was incredibly important for his the prospects that there's also a big state and very expensive to operate in and you know that does favorite candidates from have access to more resources and so we have the largest the operation on the ground in California right now we have over eighty people in California on the ground. You know we plan on having a paid media campaign as well so California's critical to us. Listen and we're industrial all the time and resources in California for sure so yeah. Ranked among Latinos is GONNA help him immensely in California right. I'm jeff look at the top of the conversation. Today is the events in the Middle East in the aftermath of the US strike that killed general so Amani and the Prospect that we could be having a military confrontation with Iran. Now Your Guy Senator. Sanders has been the most outspoken critically of US military adventurism overseas. He famously voted against the Iraq war the only Democratic candidate to have have done so but we have the information or at least the claims from US ficials in the trump administration that General Sulamani was planning an attack against us a personnel in the region. And that this was a preemptive strike so just to be clear if Bernie Sanders were president of the United States and he was presented with the intelligence that money was planning an attack against military the US personnel in the region. Would he not take the kind of strike that president trump ordered or would he do so. Well I look I. I don't I haven't seen the intelligence obviously none of us have and You Know Bernie has been speaking on this issue and I think it's going to be speaking more on issues. I don't want to get ahead of them on this particular front fronts. All at him you know. Speak on this critically important foreign policy. I think he's better do it himself and have me sort of pining but you can give us a perspective On how he views issues such as this because it is critical. If you want to be commander in chief to be clear about how how you would respond to protect. US interests around the world and he's been very clear that you would use military force to protect American lives American interests. He has no secret to anybody. Gasden bury a critical of foreign adventurism of wars that he perceives as unnecessary. You know we all know the Iraq war longest war in our history was yeah predicated on a faulty information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And you know our involvement there today and this this incident that we're talking about today you know. Has Its roots back in. You know the those votes took place to authorize the Iraq war. which as you pointed out voted against so you know? I think he would find somebody who unlike trouble you know would try to make alliances and work with countries of goodwill as opposed to hanging out with dictators and we try to create an environment we resolve conflicts without war. I mean but you know just that'd be an understanding. He has been very clear that would not hesitate to protect Americans. I just want to follow up with one question and then I want to let hunter. He's got some questions and this is on senators historical record on boys. And you know you pointed out. It's not a inch or candidates that I think for military action Costa though I think he voted to the or Ah Ghanistan. He's supportive not Iraq but one or that he voted against was the the Gulf War back in nineteen ninety one. And that is I look back at that war. They hold out w Bush and his administration for putting together the kind of coalition that you just mentioned and I guess my question. And what is his against that or after all that was a This Coalitions With Force Ignores vindicate the principle that other countries really movers. Why wasn't that just wars issue? Well look you know majority of Democrats. It's in the Congress voted against the first of the Gulf War including Joe Biden with he was in the. US Senate voted against the question. was that of a stick to vote against it in hindsight. No no no look the question you know. Did they put together a multinational mission. Yes they did and you can look at statements of at the time from a number of people again including then senator under Biden. You know I think there was a strong sense among Democrats but not every step. Short of war had been taken in order to resolve that conflict. So you you know about the issue. The question is how quickly you go to war at other other options that you can employ short of war that will achieve your ends which is always preferable and in that case so I think the opinion of a majority of Democrats and Senator Sanders. Our Congressmen Sanders at the time. was that not every step had been taken by the administration to resolve that conflict short sort of war so jeff. I'd I'd love to pivot back to the race for a second so much of the conversation about the Democratic primary has been focused on these national. Polls where you know nationwide Shen Wide Joe Biden does have about a ten point lead over Senator Sanders but the picture in the early states looks much different. And you know in Iowa New Hampshire Biden's running third in both of those IOS behind sanders and Pete Buddha. Ge You guys have said there was a quote Unquote Bernie blackout in the media But as we've been discussing it seems like there's a lot more mainstream in recognition that he's a front runner now. Why do you think it's taken so long for that to be recognized? And what do you think you know when you say there is a quote unquote blackout. What do you think is behind that obstacle substation? The polling Is absolutely corrected. You know as you all know who have you know watched presidential politics before in primaries you know or early state. Success tends to change the the polling and later state so you know a success by Senator Sanders states will move those national numbers as well once we get into the voting of. He's you know in terms of the Bernie blackout. Look I I think that if you went around to editors at various news and to the Around Washington DC and said. Do you personally really believe that Bernie. Sanders can get elected president states. The most of them would say no because he doesn't speak to them right. He's not speaking to the needs of newspaper editors right they're much more comfortable with Elizabeth Warren. Or somebody who's more of a traditional political figure you know Bernie Sanders speaks to working class. People speaks marginalized communities breath. And that's not who is running news entities. And so. I think there's a lot of personal by it was an article. I read recently about centrist bias and in the media in general sort of idea. Yeah that fair coverage means essentially cover things right down the middle of one side clearly rider one side clearly wrong and I think at the players as well. Jeff Look I leave aside side sort of beltway pundits such as us you got to you have to make the case that you can beat president trump trump which really is the top priority for most Democratic voters. And then you look at say the latest Mason Dixon polls out of Florida and Virginia. Yeah they show. In Florida Biden beats trump's forty seven forty five but sanders loses to trump forty nine forty four and in Virginia enya which has been a pretty reliable democratic state in last couple of Elections Biden beats trump forty nine forty five and sanders loses loses to trump forty five fifty one so with numbers like that and a democratic base. That first and foremost just wants to get get donald trump out of the White House. How do you make your argument? That people should vote for Bernie Sanders pulling in other states. That obviously shows him doing better there was only Texas of trump and Texas not long ago so there's polls all over the place but this is the key to this like the way that we're gonna be trump because something fact is a very formidable opponent. And you know strong likelihood you'll be reelected frankly but the way you're going to beat him by bring out people have given up on the book of processed us by reengaging working fast people young people people young people of Color who uh sat out the race in two thousand sixteen so we need to inspire and excite a whole new. You Group of voters we're going to swell the ranks of people going to the polls and when we do that we'll be trump and take this country back. Well one you know. There's been a ton of discussion about about how much youth support you guys have. And I think that's a key component of the strategy you're talking about but something you said to me earlier that I found quite interesting. Was You keep pointing to Bernie support among Latinos. What are you seeing there? And what do you think it's coming from. Well actually fairly early in the last campaign that you know polling our polling seventy show that we won the Latino vote in and in Nevada in twenty sixteen which was the the third contest. You Know Bernie's personal immigrant story I resident resonates with the Latino voters inexperienced. You know many ways I think or any talks about the America that Immigrant communities thought they were coming to and so the sort of aspirational Vision that he puts. What's out there? I think is very appealing communities the flip side of the lifting of the so-called perky blackout. Is You'RE GONNA START GETTING A lot. More more. Scrutiny from the national press obviously does through this and another presidential election. But I just have a couple of questions that I wanted to ask you about. Let me address that. Let me help. Beauty director specific questions addressed that premise. For a second you know this notion that sort of Bernie Sanders is not cutting scrutiny. Yet is absolutely ridiculous. I you know it has less now but I used to be good and read an article and then a mainstream newspaper Wealth Social Security Fifteen Times David Brock put out every possible attack brings in his about time for his age to everything under the Sun. So this thing this notion that brings does my God scrutiny. Really is a little bit a little bit ridiculous. Just I'm happy. I'm the specific question. You had to start getting the again. I didn't know that you've got a lot of four. But in any event I have two questions one over the weekend. Senator told Robert Costs of the Washington. Post that the quote is this is about whether he's GonNa put out a funding plan for Medicare parole which Elizabeth Warren. When did that apparently has not helped very much? But the quote that Senator Centers to Robert Costa was. I don't give it number and I'll tell you why it's such a huge number and it's so complicated and if I give you a number you and fifty other people go through it and say oh spleen that what what does he. What is he saying there? Well what are you saying thing. There is a new see the attack on the debate. Stage people like Vice President Biden where he recounts his thirty two trillion dollar number. You know well not telling any then he says well Oh my penalty call seven hundred and fifty billion because Bernie Sanders is paying for the entire healthcare system. Joe Biden not telling people actually the his plan cost fifty trillion and seven hundred fifty billion billion because people are still paying all the cost of currently paying out of their pockets for healthcare. So you know it is a long and complicated discussion. That is very liberal. A very short interview. Timespan to sort of compare apples to apples between Health Care Plan so I think there are certainly been our experience that there's a tremendous amount of up suspicion on the part of folks who are putting forward the sort of half measures which are really not going to address the problem of people having access to health care and I get that point a a hard thing to do on the debate stage not advisable. But there's isn't their own way that this is something that you're thinking about putting out a more detailed plan pretty together. There's some economic columnists how do it and laying it out. Well he has. He has put forward a list of pay. fors that in the aggregate would pay for Medicare for all so you know that list of papers exists in the format but some people like but you know he and he has discussed what it's GonNa cost you know individual people in terms of payroll roll taxes. So you know he's been I think he's been very clear about. This is the only one who's honest enough to sell people that that they're going to pay for healthcare under Medicare for all. It's going to be way less than they're paying now now. But they're actually are going to have to pay for everybody else on. The debate seems to be promising. A folks that they're going to get something for absolutely nothing you're GONNA you're GonNa pay for twenty percent of the economy which is what healthcare consumes assumes painting. I mean that's a little bit ridiculous so I think he in fact has been the most honest about the healthcare crisis in this country. And how we're going to tackle it. And it will mean ended up folks are GonNa have to contribute something through their taxes but it will be far far far less than they're paying now just really quick question which is seventy years old. Take me out a heart attack He has not put out all his medical records. That is true if other candidates as well we'll put out all of his medical records. Kurt's some at some point during the campaign. Well I think he thought he put out a three actually three Letters from doctors cardiologists who have been monitoring him as as well as his. You know his primary doctor who's here seen for decades at the US Capitol. And you know those cardiologists noted he's fully capable woollen ready to be president states in terms of physical and mental ability. And I'm a little bit. There's more to say about it other than you know. I encourage onto walkers out there on the trail with him to try to keep up with them on the campaign trail. What does it do to your Bigger Jeff what are you. What does it do to your campaign glands if you have to spend much of the next month if the center has spent much of the next month sitting in the US Senate In the trial of Donald Trump. Yeah well obviously the complicating factor and we are developing contingencies. To deal with that if that's what an indeed happens and that includes increase a reliance on surrogates to make appearances insist on his behalf and As well you know when the seedings get over in the late afternoon getting on a plane flying having an event and getting back on the plane and flying back to Washington DC we'll be there for the proceedings estate and also on weekends so You know you'll be able to go. Certainly the Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina's are easily reached from Washington in DC. Full Harvard California because of the distance and the time change but I'm sure he'll make it. Look you know right now. The Senate is at loggerheads over this issue of of witnesses and you have Democrats and Sort of liberal liberal pundits and the media attacking Mitch McConnell Lindsey Graham for others saying they They are. They've clearly bias. They clearly can't take an oath of office promising to be an oath For the Senate trial promising to be impartial for that trial now your Guy Senator Sanders as just in the last couple of weeks called president. President Trump The most corrupt president in the modern history of this country the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country pathological liar. A racist sexist homophobic how could Senator Sanders take the oath that he will be impartial in a Senate trial of Donald Trump. Well look everybody who who is in WHO's GonNa be there is a US? Senator elected from one of the two political parties. And what you have to do. Is You have to sit there. And listen to the evidence and render a judgment about whether weather conduct that The President has done is such that he should be removed from office. And that's but I guess my point is is with comments like that. You really can't go after Mitch. McConnell for being partial in this trial not even talking about his personal by a few was talking about you know working with the White House in order to set up the process. So you're not even going to have a fair process. Never Mind you know Mitch. McConnell personally only believe whatever he wants in his capacity as senator will be part of this people proceedings to boat Harib wants to vote but you know he basically he was talking about rigging the process on the front end. You know to help in short comer to help restore press outcome. In terms of an McDonald McConnell made the point today that Schumer has been consulting with Pelosi the and so therefore Pelosi's the prosecutor was if they can consult. Why can't he consult with the defendant in the trial but I think we got one more question for you from uh-huh Hunter? Yeah Jeff I knew I know your time is short but I just really want. You mean that only on this. We're I'm not questioning your health records Jeff but you know obviously you guys would say you see Bernie. Sanders is a front runner in this race. How many candidates do you think we're down to? And you know with the prospect of potential escalation with Iran. Do you think that dynamic. How do you think that will play Out between him and Joe Biden to judge some of the centrists and the field. Well I mean we'll have to see you know how that plays out of the predicament. Now one hundred in terms of how many hunters are clearly. There are four candidates. Who are you know? Poke poling relatively close to one another. And they're always states. But you know you've seen the Andrew gangs moving up a little bit obviously raised took money so You know these things. Are you know the Iowa caucuses. Give me a tremendous amount of humor in the last couple of weeks before people go to the caucus. So you know I. I hate to say that anybody's out. You know obviously has supported. I was well thought like I'm not GonNa rule anybody out we take all of our opponents seriously we I don't want anybody off real discount. Anybody because they can you know you can do quite well in Iowa Koksal again like I said it moves while the last couple of weeks so well thank you jeff. As we've we've been speaking I just got in in my email box A statement Senator Sanders has put out about the events in the Mideast now. And I'll just read you a couple of Crates I have. This is sanders speaking. I have consistently personally opposed this dangerous path to war with Iran. But we need to do more than just stop the potential the war we need to firmly commit to ending the US military presence in the Middle East just in an orderly manner not through a tweet and we must understand that these wars have caused us so much in blood and in treasure. So I guess that gives us some idea Of where Bernie Sanders is coming from on this issue. Jeff thanks for joining us and we hope to have you back as the campaign progresses presses. Copy do it anytime. Take care all right. Great thanks Jeff and hunter thanks again to you for being on skulduggery. Thank you very much for having me are Ya. Con DIOS thanks to Yahoos Own John McLaughlin Zach Dorfman and Hunter Walker as well as Jeff Weaver for joining us on this episode of skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on Apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think. We've reviewed latest episode is also on Sirius. Xm On the weekend. Check it out on police channel. One twenty four on Saturdays at three PM Eastern time with replays on Sunday at one. AM and and three P._M.. Sure to follow on social media at skulduggery pod talk to you soon.