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A podcast from Matthew Yglesias and Brian Beutler
18 Episodes
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This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmWith Matt on vacation this week, Brian hosts a conversation with Rebecca Roiphe, a New York Law School professor and former Manhattan prosecutor who enforced the very laws Donald Trump is charged with breaking in his first criminal trial. They discuss:* Why legal commentators who criticized District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s theory of the case were factually wrong about the laws at issue and how they are applied;* The importance of enforcing these laws, whether violators represent big businesses or small businesses, and whether their motives were financial, political, personal, or a combination thereof;* Whether it would’ve been a breach of duty for Bragg not to bring charges in this case.Then, paid subscribers hear a more abstract conversation about legal discourse and ethics. Why were so many legal and media elites, including many Trump critics, so eager to line up against Bragg, even as they lacked the subject-matter expertise to know whether Bragg had exceeded his mandate? Even if Bragg had gone fishing for a reason to try Trump on felony charges, would that be a violation of his ethical obligations or his oath of office? Should Trump’s status as an exceptionally high-profile political leader insulate him in any way from accountability for lower-tier felonies, even if law-enforcement officers understand him to be a serial scofflaw?We hope you enjoy the conversation, and if you’d like to listen to the whole thing, you can upgrade to paid for a private feed that gets you access to the complete Politix archive and all future episodes. Correction: Rebecca is a professor at New York Law School, not a New York University law school professor. Brian regrets the error.Further reading:* Brian on why Joe Biden should break his vow of silence and begin commenting on the hush-money case. * Mark Joseph Stern on why he was wrong, initially, to be skeptical of Alvin Bragg’s case and what made him come around.* There’s a new Stormy Daniels documentary on Peacock.
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian step back from the news cycle to examine Donald Trump’s policy agenda, and the weird extent to which he’s getting a pass on toxic ideas:* His plan for an across the board 10 percent tariff would make Americans pay more for virtually everything, including groceries;* A big immigration crackdown like the one he’s promised would raise prices further;* But since these ideas are coded as pro American-worker, he faces little pushback for the terrible consequences they’d entail.Then, paid subscribers get a deeper look at whether the threat of these consequences will eventually catch up with Trump, and hear an extended analogy between the politics of tariffs (which would cause more hardship) and the long saga of Medicare for all. Why did Medicare for all lose popularity over time? Might the same thing happen to Trump’s plan to raise banana and coffee prices? And if the key to selling policy is to cloak it in populist language (tariffs, Medicare) could Biden shake up the race by updating his agenda with ideas that unite the Democratic base and appeal to the public more broadly? We hope you’ll upgrade to paid so you can enjoy the whole episode, especially if you’re listening from the White House or Biden campaign headquarters! Further reading:* Matt on House Republicans’ (bad) plan for America. * Brian with a reminder that the 2024 election is about real things.* CAP: “Trump’s Tariff Would Cost the Typical American Household Roughly $1,500 Each Year.”
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Brian returns from a long weekend in real America (western Mexico) with some fresh insight on how Trump-stalgia works. He and Matt discuss:* Why fewer people disapprove of Trump lately and why more people seemingly think his sharpest critics have overstated their case;* How lag effects (the persistence of the pandemic and the overturning of Roe after Trump’s term ended) has insulated him from accountability;* Whether Trump’s unique responsibility for the loss of abortion rights and his status as a Florida resident mean this issue will eventually catch up with him.Then, we offer paid subscribers an in-depth look at how public opinion on abortion has changed in the past two years, even if it hasn’t (yet) dragged Trump down. We examine the roles paid and free media might play in making Trump synonymous with Dobbs, and think through ways both party leaders and activists could draw more public attention to abortion rights per se and Trump’s role in abolishing them. Do Democrats have a problem generating free media in general? And finally, a raging debate over which kinds of beach-side resorts are best for aging but young-at-heart millennials. It was a clarifying discussion across the board, and if you’re interested in fleshing all that out we hope you’ll upgrade to paid, and enjoy the whole episode! Further reading:* Matt on the new politics of abortion rights. * Brian on the broader political implications of changing abortion opinion—what if public-opinion polling on high-salience issues just isn’t that useful?* How long can Trump hide from weighing in on the DeSantis abortion ban in his home state, and on whether Florida voters should pass a referendum guaranteeing abortion access?
Trash Tok

Trash Tok

2024-03-2746:22

This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Julian Sanchez joins Matt and Brian to discuss:* Donald Trump’s uncanny ability to evade justice;* Why a panel of New York appeals court judges let him mostly off the hook by staving off the seizure of his assets in his civil-fraud case;* What liberals and Democrats can do to make these civil verdicts a greater political liability for him.Then, paid subscribers get a lengthier debate over the merits of banning TikTok in the U.S. Are the privacy or propaganda concerns articulated by U.S. lawmakers valid? Is it hard-nosed realpolitik to engage in tit-for-tat social-media bans with China, or a naive own goal that will tarnish the example America’s open society sets for the world? Should we just be happy to see any major social media company lose its hold on American users, no matter the method? We hashed all of that out, and if you’d like to hear where we landed, upgrade to paid, and enjoy the whole episode! Further reading:* Julian’s forthcoming Substack, Non-Content! * Matt’s broad case against TikTok.* Brian on the liberal and right-wing psychologies driving Trump-impunity politics.
Blood Bath & Beyond

Blood Bath & Beyond

2024-03-2038:221

This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* Donald Trump’s warning of “a bloodbath for the whole country” if he loses;* The relative political value of exploiting Trump’s authoritarian appeals vs. his agenda of tax breaks for rich people and big entitlement cuts;* The potential risk of attacking Trump in scattershot fashion, rather than homing in on his biggest vulnerabilitiesThen, paid subscribers get a lengthier discussion of two potential pitfalls of resistance politics: First, does freaking out over Trump’s threats of violence come at a cost if it’s done in a way that conveys fear and weakness? Second, do liberals undermine their core values of reason and nuance by reading Trump’s provocations in the most menacing possible light? Is there any good way to make Trump accountable for his words without getting suckered into pedantic textual debates about whether his words were literal or figurative. If you’d like to hear us take a stab at those questions, upgrade to paid, and enjoy the whole episode! Further reading:* Matt admits it: The orange man is bad! * Brian and AOC discuss the disconnect between Democrats’ democracy appeals and their lackluster approach to accountability politics.* Trump runs to the safety of Breitbart to walk back his flirtation with Social Security and Medicare.
Trump Sells Out

Trump Sells Out

2024-03-1326:09

This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* The biggest political takeaways from Joe Biden’s State of the Union address; * Whether the press corps will do any soul searching after getting bamboozled by Republican special counsel Robert Hur;* Can Politix convince Merrick Garland to resign?Then, paid subscribers get a deep analysis of Trump’s apparent (and abrupt) decision to place Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, after years of insisting he’d never cut them. What precipitated the reversal? Does it have anything to do with his simultaneous reversals on the right-wing Bud Light boycott and the fate of TikTok, the Chinese-owned social-media company? Did he sell his position on entitlements to right-wing billionaires because he’s desperate for campaign and legal-expense money? And what can Democrats do to drive. If you’re interested in the answers to these questions, upgrade to paid, and enjoy the whole episode! Further reading:* Brian on how Trump’s Social Security/Medicare flip flop brings the nexus between his policy agenda and personal corruption into focus. * Matt on how Trump’s position on TikTok was correct, until he abandoned it corruptly.* What does Project 2025 have to say about Medicare?
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* How Donald Trump wriggled away from his disastrous pandemic response and the horribleness of 2020; * Whether Joe Biden’s pandemic response made voters more inclined to forgive Trump;* The extent to which the switcheroo was the product of rational thinking vs. the political strategies of the two parties.Then, paid subscribers get a prospective look at how Democrats persuade voters that their initial instinct to vote Trump out was correct. Can they raise the salience of the pandemic annus horribillis again after almost everyone has moved on? Will they ask the canonical question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Would they forgive Biden for a year of inflation if they understood it as part of the long, difficult process of fixing an economy Trump broke—and will break again? Upgrade to find out!Further reading:* The final report of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. * Brian on the political perils of always looking forward, not backward.* Evan Osnos on Biden’s defiant confidence in the face of losing poll numbers.
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmIn this special crossover episode, The Bulwark's joins Matt and Brian to answer burning questions like: * Why have most Never Trumpers have embraced liberalism and the Democratic Party to some degree or another, rather than remain conservative critics within the GOP?* If Republicans sincerely believe life begins at fertilization, why are they pretending to be the saviors of IVF?* How (and where) do Republican operatives learn to be remorselessly unconcerned with norms, fairness, and consistency?* Do Republicans have a good laugh when Democrats pass up opportunities to hold Donald Trump accountable, knowing how they’d react if the shoe were on the other foot?* What would it look like from the inside if Republicans discovered Joe Biden committed half a billion dollars in fraud, or teamed up with foreign intelligence agents to frame Donald Trump?If you’re enjoying the conversation and hit that paywall, we hope you’ll consider upgrading to hear the rest, along with all our past episodes and episodes to come.We also offered Tim the opportunity to quiz Matt and Brian about Democrats, the tensions and dysfunctions that complicate big-tent liberalism, and what they would change about Democratic politics to improve Joe Biden’s chances in November, if they could only pick one thing. You can listen to that half of the crossover on podcast.
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* The nearly half-billion dollar judgment Trump owes New York for engaging in fraudulent business practices; * Why MAGA spin that this his fraudulent practices were “victimless” is both bullshit, and irrelevant;* Similarities and differences between this scam and Trump’s other fraudulent schemes.Then, paid subscribers get a bigger picture look at where things go from here, and the significance for both the 2024 campaign and even national security. Are Trump’s latest entreaties to Vladimir Putin—on NATO, Ukraine, and the murder of Alexei Navalny—motivated by his renewed desperation for money? And will Democrats in Congress exploit this real risk of compromise the way Republicans exploited falsified allegations against Joe Biden? Will this be a watershed moment, or a(nother) missed political opportunity? Upgrade to find out!Further reading:* Brian encourages Senate Democrats, mainstream news reporters, law-enforcement officials, and Trump resisters to keep a close eye on whether Trump comes up with the money, and chase down the source(s). * Eight years ago, Matt broke down how Trump avoided financial ruin after failing in Atlantic City by ripping off shareholders. * Thirteen years ago Luis Zingales wrote, “Donald Trump’s announcement that he will not run in the Republican presidential primaries after all is great news for the Republican Party and for the country. The only thing more frightening than Trump’s running for president would be Trump’s getting elected president. From a party perspective, while losing an election is bad, winning one with the wrong candidate for the party and for the country is worse.”* David Brooks offers a “keep it simple, stupid” explanation of why Trump’s fraud was fraud, and why fraud is bad.
Joe Biden Is Old

Joe Biden Is Old

2024-02-1401:12:17

This week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* The Robert Hur report, and the fire storm the special counsel ignited with his rule-breaking, partisan attack on Biden;* How Biden could in theory alleviate concerns that he’s too old to be both president and candidate simultaneously—and why his advisers haven’t really tried;* The extent to which Biden’s age really is limiting his ability to throw his weight around in the partisan mosh pit, even if it isn’t limiting his ability to govern at all;* Whether polls on this question, and on the question of how well alternate candidates would fare, are useful at all;* The Kamala Harris factor—is her consistently weak polling against Trump freezing a dysfunctional situation in place?* How Biden’s politics of restoring norms and magnanimity has compounded (and in the case of the Hur appointment, created) his old-man woes.Since this is a news-pegged episode about a consequential and unexpected development in the campaign, we’ve made it free to all subscribers. Further reading:* Matt says seeing more of Joe Biden would make his totally ordinary memory flubs seem unremarkable, and would remind Americans of his moderate instincts, but his advisers are worried that his moderate positions will make party activists angry.* Brian demands candor from the party and the Biden campaign about why they think things are going so much worse than they anticipated when they put their strategy in motion. * He also argues that most fears about what would happen if Biden stepped aside in favor of an alternate are misplaced. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.politix.fm/subscribe
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* How we reached the point where Republicans wrung a bunch of immigration-policy concessions out of Democrats, then reneged on their own deal.* What was actually in the deal and why?* Would the provisions of the bill have actually succeeded at the nominal goal of creating more order and better asylum screening at the border?Then, paid subscribers hear a more open ended conversation and debate over whether the concessions Democrats offered were wise politically and substantively, whether they needed to engage this issue on Republican terms in the first place, and whether the GOP’s turn to sabotage will allow Democrats to seize and hold the center on immigration in a way that lastingly hurts Donald Trump. Plus, Matt gratuitously slags Tracy Chapman, forcing Brian to take a brave stand on behalf of Good Music. Further reading:* Matt argues that bureaucratic obstacles to implementing a working border policy, like ineffective polygraph screening for would-be agents, should be done away with—and would make implementing a border deal before the election very hard.* Brian on how Biden can win the ensuing infowars over GOP border sabotage, but only if he browbeats mainstream news into covering Trump and the GOP’s dirty dealing forthrightly. * The Democrats should fully embrace both halves of the old border-security-for-Republicans/legalization-for-Democrats consensus.
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* The $83.3 million a New York jury ordered Donald Trump to pay E. Jean Carroll for sexually assaulting then serially defaming her.* The related GOP freakout that America’s most influential person (Taylor Swift) might not like Republicans very much!* Why Democratic Party leaders seem uninterested in pressing their “not led by a rapist” advantage.They also put a pin in the issue of immigration, and the simmering nullification crisis Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) is stoking along the U.S.-Mexico border. Then, paid subscribers hear a conversation with Leah Greenberg, cofounder of Indivisible, about whether it’s important to mobilize street protests against Donald Trump before the election (like the recent marches against the German far right), and the extent to which policy activism and policymaking contribute to the demobilization of the resistance. Further reading:* Dara Lind on how the Senate border security bill won’t actually fix the problem Republicans claim to want to fix. * Brian on how the judgment in the Carroll case explains Trump’s desperation to run Nikki Haley out of the GOP primary instead of letting her flame out.* Jonathan Chait on whether the anti-Trump coalition has irretrievably splintered.
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* Ron DeSantis’s humiliation.* What policy literalism and pandering to base activists (as opposed to grassroots voters) has to do with both DeSantis’s failure, and the underperformance of some high-profile Democratic Party politicians.* Is there an optimal middle ground between detailed policy laundry lists and Donald Trump-style bullshitting?Then, paid Politix subscribers get to hear Matt’s mea culpa for setting progressive politics on its course to litmus testing Democratic candidates, Brian’s theory that the Democrats’ policy-forward appeals are sometimes necessary—particularly after long stretches of Republican rule—and what Democratic activists can learn about politics from rich, greedy tax-cut seekers like Jamie Dimon. 
This is a free preview of a paid episode. To hear more, visit www.politix.fmThis week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* Donald Trump’s predictable, big (but not actually all that big) victory in Iowa* Why leading Republicans (who know Trump is an electoral liability for the party) are trying to end the primary as quickly as possible, even with a semi-viable alternative who could make it a real race. * Whether the media screwed up by calling the caucuses for Trump minutes after they opened, or whether it marks a return to the ratings and profit-driven mania of their 2016 Trump coverage.Then, paid Politix subscribers get an in-depth look at a report by Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, which proves Trump accepted payments from foreign governments (including millions from China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) throughout his presidency. Matt and Brian debate:* The political significance of Raskin’s findings.* Why Democratic leaders seem uninterested in flogging or building on the report. * What’s changed between 2006, when Democrats saw political value in exposing Republican corruption, and the Trump era, when they have more often than not downplayed it.
This week on Politix, Matt and Brian discuss:* Was Joe Biden’s January 6 speech a good speech? (No spoilers.)* Was Joe Biden’s January 6 speech good politics? (No spoilers.)* Was Joe Biden’s January 6 speech true? (Spoiler: Yes.)* How the truth of what Biden said affects the question of whether liberals should support Nikki Haley in open-primary states.* Glenn Greenwald’s imputation that Haley is worse than Trump, and only Democratic party hacks would prefer her to him.Plus, a Politix first: Twitter’s Will Stancil joins Matt and Brian as the show’s inaugural guest to discuss and debate the role of vibes in politics, and what if anything liberals, progressives, and Democrats can do to improve public opinion given the fractious nature of the center-left coalition. Further reading:* Brian on Biden’s pivotal speech.* Matt on how Trump will make material conditions (and thus maybe vibes?) worse.* Will on the social layer of politics (vibes). This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.politix.fm/subscribe
How We Got Here

How We Got Here

2024-01-0301:26:211

Thank you for listening to Politix. (Or for watching it, if you’re some kind of eccentric.) In our pilot episode, we discuss: * The state of the race as we kick off the new year: A dead-heat rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and a greater-than-usual level of uncertainty, given the candidates’ ages and Trump’s legal issues; * Why the early race is so tight, given how disastrously Trump’s single term ended;* Republican buy-in on Trump’s corruption, how it insulates him from what would otherwise be terminal scandals, and what more Democrats could do to exploit it anyhow;* MERRY CHRISTMAS/ROT IN HELL-GHAZI and whether Biden’s made a safe bet that Trump’s looming nomination will upend the race, as Americans remember just how unpleasant he is;* Nikki Haley’s SLAVERY-GHAZI scandal—does it say more about her or the party she wants to lead?—and whether Democrats in open-primary states should cross over and vote for her;* Our New Years resolutions.We hope you enjoy it, always appreciate constructive feedback, and look forward to bringing you more (slightly shorter?) newsy episodes every week. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.politix.fm/subscribe
Introducing: Politix!

Introducing: Politix!

2023-12-2002:54

Politix will be a weekly podcast about the 2024 election hosted by Brian Beutler of Off Message and Matthew Yglesias of Slow Boring. We'll bring you good-faith disagreement, points of consensus, brilliant guests, and do our best to maintain a consistent focus on what's really at stake in November. Subscribe for new episodes each Wednesday. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.politix.fm/subscribe
What's up Positively Dreadful fans, it’s me Brian.I know this feed has been quiet for a couple months now, as I’ve been getting my new venture Off Message up and running. (Come check it out!) But I’ve got something exciting in the works, and I want all of you Dreadheads to be the first to know about it. So hopefully you can stay put just a little bit longer. Keep your eyes and ears on the feed. And I’ll share more details here in the coming days. Until then I also want to thank you all for listening every week, and for staying subscribed even after we posted our last episode. So more to come very shortly. Thanks again for listening. This is a public episode. If you’d like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.politix.fm/subscribe
Comments (25)

Joe A. Finley II

There are PLENTY of "unauthorized border crossings" under BOTH Democratic and Republican administrations in the modern era. Democrats lose control of the narrative when they let Republicans and Right-wing Media hijack the narrative (as usual) to equate granting increased rates of asylum/amnesty/TPS with "open borders."

Apr 8th
Reply

Saba Shehzadi

💚CLICK HERE Full HD>720p>1080p>4K💚WATCH>ᗪOᗯᑎᒪOᗩᗪ>LINK> 👉https://co.fastmovies.org

Feb 4th
Reply

Joe A. Finley II

This clown of a "professor" lost me at Progressives tying up the court system! Try suburban Moderate NIMBYs. And the Big Dig and California HSR are polar-opposite projects: one ADDED over 30k more automobile trips to the Boston Area , making it the most congested metropolitan area in the country; the other is designed to REMOVE tens of thousands of automobile trips and REVERSE decades of car-centric planning for the perpetual parking lot that is LA traffic. #dobetter.

Nov 7th
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Joe A. Finley II

With all due respect to this formerly Conservative Texan mom, she should feel right at home, literally and figuratively, with all the racist, classist NIMBYist people in New England. Don't GAF about social/socioeconomic issues until it affects them and only them.

Jul 28th
Reply (1)

Joe A. Finley II

If, in her scenario, she gets home at 6 pm if she goes straight home, or 9 pm if she "has a drink," that's THREE FULL HOURS of off-work socializing,where plenty of people who don't make NEARLY as much as her are attending to a second job/side hustle. But she's complaining about downtime 🤦🏾🤦🏾 Also, what's wrong with making running "a hobby," especially in a city with an ENDLESS supply of people-watching, sidewalks and pathways, and eclectic architecture??

Feb 25th
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Ian Plumlee

"Legislate our way to a safer, freer country..." Safer and freer using who's measuring stick? Yours and the other people that think like you? What about the rest of the hard working, law abiding, normal citizens of all races, creeds and cultures who don't? What about the women and minorites and others who have used guns to legally defend their lives against unlawful assaults and other forms of violence? Is it somehow unacceptable to think that guns are not toxic? That they are not evil? Why make guns toxic? They aren't going anywhere anytime soon, so to what end are you striving? To pry one side of society further apart from the other? To convince others to think the way you do because of your own political bent? I've been raised around firearms my whole life and I've been an avid shooter for years. I've never even remotely considered pointing a gun at someone much less shooting anyone. The first weapons safety rule is "treat every weapon as if it were loaded" and the second is "never

Jul 28th
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Andi-Roo Libecap

Great episode -- very informative!

Feb 20th
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V

Really excited about the second season! This is really interesting and insightful

Feb 5th
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OHIOsimpleman

the Trump administration was only a disaster to liberals. it was the exact opposite of a disaster to me n most in heartland

Jan 24th
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Accordionbabe

Looking forward to the next journey.

Jan 16th
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Bluebagger 126

Acquitted for life!!! NOT GUILTY !!!

Feb 6th
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beedos08

This podcast questions whether the 2016 election was valid in episode 1. No offence intended but you are not worth listening to. How can I take you seriously if you are still upset over what has been investigated for 2 years and nothing damning was found. Also, they are not even claiming obstruction of justice as a reason for impeachment, it's obstruction of Congress which is not the same thing.

Jan 24th
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Accordionbabe

Great episode. Sobering and well explained.

Dec 13th
Reply (1)

kevin jobe

what a load of crap

Dec 3rd
Reply (1)

Frank Dusek

what the hell is up with the audio? I feel like I'm listening to the guy from the old school FedEx commercials. Unlistenable.

Nov 30th
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Tatyana Noyb

I've spent days watching every minute of hearings, i don't even think I get to work this promptly, and was there for every waking second of the Mueller times. But nobody polled me. :)

Nov 23rd
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daisy

audio is messed up at 4:21. maybe it's a joke? idk

Nov 15th
Reply

Atradies Inc.

seems like this is a democratic podcast not biased

Nov 7th
Reply (1)

Chase Shanks

never gonna happen

Nov 5th
Reply (2)
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