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#144: The Origins of the Internet Ft. David Kushner
June 20, 2019 08:10 AM PDT
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The internet continues to expand and grow in complexity, yet many people are unaware of its origins. Understanding the internet’s roots could be beneficial when looking toward the future of the web.

David Kushner, award-winning journalist and author, joins Julian E. Zelizer to talk about his new book, “The Players Ball: A Genius, A Con Man, and the Secret History of the Internet’s Rise.” The book tells the relatively unknown story of Gary Kremen, creator of Match.com, and his fight for ownership of Sex.com against Stephen Michael Cohen. Kushner demonstrates how the Internet has evolved as a commercial platform through communication and business.

Kushner is a contributing editor of Rolling Stone and has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, New York Times Magazine, New York, and GQ. He has also written “Masters of Doom,” “Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids,” and more.

#143: The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson Ft. Brenda Wineapple
June 13, 2019 07:59 AM PDT
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As the country debates whether President Trump should be impeached, many are making comparisons to past presidencies like Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Less attention, however, is paid to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the first president to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation,” joins Julian Zelizer to discuss the components of the impeachment process of Johnson. Having begun “The Impeachers” six years ago, Wineapple talks about her book and demonstrates Johnson’s impeachment as a significant event in American history.

Wineapple also wrote “Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877,” named a “Notable Book” by The New York Times and “White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson,” a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

#142: Normalizing Chaos Featuring Jennifer Rubin
June 07, 2019 08:06 AM PDT
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Many in the media argue that the Trump administration is challenging democratic norms. Are they right or overstating the case? Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin joins Sam Wang to discuss the role of the fourth estate, the danger of “normalizing chaos,” and how Rubin transitioned from a passionate Reagan conservative to a never-Trumper who left the GOP.

Rubin’s column covers politics and policy and provides insight into the conservative movement, the Republican and Democratic parties, and threats to Western democracies. She is also a contributor to MSNBC. Previously, Rubin worked at The Weekly Standard and Commentary magazine, and practiced labor law for two decades before becoming a journalist.

Rubin will be visiting the Woodrow Wilson School as part of its Leadership through Mentorship Program Oct. 16-17, 2019.

#141: All About Electability?
May 30, 2019 08:12 AM PDT
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Of the 23 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president, who is the most electable? How does one define “electability,” and how does the media drive its relevance?

As the initial Democratic primary debates approach, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss what the early “horserace” polling numbers tell us, as well as the influence of communication media such as live television and Twitter.

#140: The Mueller Report Book Club Ft. Marty Lederman
May 23, 2019 09:21 AM PDT
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Following the release of the Mueller Report, much of the media and the public’s focus has been on potential obstruction of justice. Yet, argues Georgetown University’s Marty Lederman, more attention should be paid to whether President Trump’s conduct violated his Constitutional oath of office and undermined the counterintelligence investigation into Russian election interference.

As Democrats continue debating whether to file articles of impeachment, Lederman joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang to discuss how the report transcends Mueller’s decision-making on obstruction of justice. Lederman was deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) from 2009 to 2010, and an attorney advisor in the OLC from 1994 to 2002.

#139: The Mueller Report Book Club Ft. Quinta Jurecic
May 16, 2019 07:45 AM PDT
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Last week, former White House Counsel Don McGahn — a key figure in Volume II of the Mueller Report — reportedly was instructed by the Trump administration not to comply with a subpoena from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler for documents and testimony related to the Committee’s obstruction of justice investigation.

Continuing our Mueller Report book club, journalist Quinta Jurecic joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang to give listeners a roadmap to Volume II. They examine the elements comprising obstruction of justice, instances of the President’s conduct Mueller weighed against the criminal statutes (including previous orders he gave McGahn), and why Mueller felt barred by existing Justice Department policy from indicting Trump — yet explicitly states the report does not exonerate him.

Jurecic is the managing editor of Lawfare and a contributing writer to The Atlantic. She writes about politics, legal issues, and the rule of law. She previously served as an editorial writer for The Washington Post and as Lawfare's associate editor.

#138: The Mueller Report Book Club Ft. Marcy Wheeler
May 09, 2019 08:48 AM PDT
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Hundreds of former federal prosecutors asserted in a recent statement that, were Donald Trump not the President, he would have been charged with obstruction of justice based on findings contained in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s (Class of 1966) report. As the aftermath of the report continues to unfold, what should Americans retain and understand from the document itself? In part one of a three-episode series, independent journalist Marcy Wheeler joins Professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang in a deep-dive look at Volume I — which examines whether there was conspiracy or coordination between Trump’s associates and the Russian government on its election interference efforts, and describes in detail activities not deemed criminal but likely to be considered political graft. Marcy Wheeler writes about national security and civil liberties at her eponymous blog, emptywheel. She also publishes at outlets including Motherboard, the New Republic, and Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. Blogging full-time since 2007, Wheeler was declared an internet human rights hero by Access Now. She serves on the advisory committee for the House Fourth Amendment Caucus and as a senior fellow at GWU’s Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. She holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Michigan.

#137: Era of Ignition Ft. Amber Tamblyn
May 02, 2019 10:09 AM PDT
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Has feminism changed in in recent years, particularly with the #MeToo movement and presidential elections as the backdrop? A new book by author and actress Amber Tamblyn explores "coming of age in a time of rage,” showing how self-reflection can lead to personal upheaval and, ultimately, positive change.

Tamblyn discusses her book, “Era of Ignition,” in this episode with co-host Julian Zelizer. She discussed the book during an April 23 visit to the Princeton University campus.

Tamblyn is known for her work on "General Hospital," "Joan of Arcadia," "Two and a Half Men" and "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." In June 2018 Tamblyn released her first novel "Any Man." "Era of Ignition" is her second book, published by Penguin Random House.

#136: The Politics of the Mueller Report
April 25, 2019 07:55 AM PDT
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A redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released April 18, giving politicians time since to respond to its findings.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the politics of navigating the report, particularly for the Democratic Party. The pair discuss some of the various reactions of several leading primary candidates, especially Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Zelizer also makes the case for why embarking on impeachment proceedings in 2019 might not yield the same consequences as the Republican-led effort in the 1990s.

#135: Reproductive Rights Ft. Cecile Richards
April 18, 2019 07:35 AM PDT
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Reproductive rights have been a contentious issue for decades and have come into particular focus during the Trump presidency.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer discusses possible future for reproductive rights in the United States with Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood.

In their conversation, they talk about the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict reproductive rights in the legislature and in the judiciary. Richards discusses state-led efforts to limit reproductive rights and the wide-ranging implications of the Kavanaugh confirmation. She also explains several of the interconnections among reproductive rights, women’s rights, health care rights, and more.


Richards is a national leader for womens rights and social and economic justice. She was the president of Planned Parenthood for twelve years and previously served as the deputy chief of staff for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Richards is also the author of The New York Times’ bestseller “Make Trouble: Stand Up, Speak Out, and Find the Courage to Lead.”

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