It's February 6, 2018. Don McGahn is back in the Oval Office with President Trump and the new White House chief of staff John Kelly. The New York Times has just published a story reporting that, back in June of 2017, Trump had directed McGahn to have Mueller fired and that McGahn had threatened to resign rather than carry out the order. The story doesn't look good. Trump says: "You need to correct this. You're the White House counsel." Trump wants McGahn to say it never happened. But McGahn knows that it did happen. The White House Counsel is sticking to his guns. He's not going to lie. The president asks again. Is McGahn going to do a correction? McGahn feels Trump is testing his mettle, seeing how far he can be pushed. And so he answers: No. He's not. [more inside]
"Radiolab creator and host Jad Abumrad spent the last two years following around music legend Dolly Parton, and we're here to say you should tune in! In this episode of Radiolab, we showcase the first of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton—but why? That simple question leads to a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America's great icons." Note: this episode contains an interview with Metafilter's own Paul Slade.
It's May 17, 2017. White House Counsel Don McGahn is in the Oval Office with the president. McGahn's job is to represent the office of the presidency, which isn't quite the same as representing the president personally. It's a delicate line to walk, and Trump hasn't made the job any easier. McGahn is supposed to act as the point of contact between the White House and the Department of Justice, to ensure all the rules are being followed. But the president has made clear, he's not interested in following the rules. Trump has already fired his FBI director. That's why McGahn is in the Oval that morning, they need to interview a new nominee for the position. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is there too.Sessions interrupts the meeting. He has an urgent phone call from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, so he steps outside to take it. Sessions returns a moment later and relays the message: Rosenstein has appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. It's the former FBI director, Robert Mueller. Trump slumps back in his chair. He says, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked." [more inside]
When he was only 10 years old, Jonathan Marshall was sent on a 240 mile bicycle trip. 3 days. Across 2 states. With no adult supervision. 45 years later, Jonathan can't stop thinking about the trip. Or the little boys he made it with. Credits: Hosted and produced by Jonathan Goldstein. Produced by Stevie Lane, along with BA Parker, and Kalila Holt. Editing by Jorge Just. Special thanks to Emily Condon, PJ Vogt, Anna Ladd, Haley Shaw, and Jackie Cohen. Mixed by Bobby Lord. Music by Christine Fellows, John K Samson, Edwin, Blue Dot Sessions, and Bobby Lord. Theme song is by The Weakerthans courtesy of Epitaph Records; ad music is by Haley Shaw. A new season from the inimitable godfather of self-deprecating samaritanism sets off in true form. [more inside]
It's March 7, 2017. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the nomination of Rod Rosenstein to be the Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein's whole career has been leading up to this moment. He's a non-partisan sort of guy. He's served under both President Bush and Obama. Now he's being elevated to the role of running the day to day at DOJ.But this hearing is about more than just confirming a new deputy attorney general. On March 2, five days earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had announced his recusal from all investigations involving the 2016 election, a recusal which included the Russia investigation. And so, the moment he becomes deputy, Rosenstein will also become the acting attorney general for the purposes of the Russia investigation.Rosenstein is confirmed and he's sworn in on April 26, 2017. But his oath is about to be tested, like never before. Less than two weeks later, President Trump says he wants to fire the FBI Director and Rosenstein decides to help. [more inside]
It's January 26, 2017. Sally Yates is the acting Attorney General; she's leading the Justice Department until Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate. Yates has just learned some alarming news. The new National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has lied to FBI agents. He's told them that he hadn't discussed sanctions in a call with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. But he had. And it looks like Flynn has lied to the vice president about it as well. Yates calls White House Counsel Don McGahn. She says they have to meet right away. Yates knows that the FBI has the tape to prove Flynn lied, which is a crime, but right now there's an even bigger problem: the Russians probably have the tape too. [more inside]
It's May 12, 2017. The FBI is still reeling from the sudden firing of Director James Comey. Andrew McCabe has only been the acting Director for 3 days. He's trying to talk to Rod Rosenstein about the issue weighing on his mind: how are they going to protect the Russia investigation? The FBI is already investigating whether the president has tried to interfere with that inquiry. But the Deputy Attorney General is distracted and upset; he can't believe the White House is making it look as if firing Comey were his idea. He says "There's no one I can talk to. There's no one here I can trust." McCabe urges Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel. The credibility of the FBI and DOJ are on the line; without a special counsel a firestorm threatens to destroy the nation's storied law enforcement institutions. It's five days later—Wednesday, May 17—when McCabe sits beside Rosenstein in the basement of the United States Capitol where they've assembled the Gang of Eight. Then Rosenstein announces that he's made a decision. He's appointed a special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation and the new inquiry into the president: Robert S. Mueller III. [more inside]
It's July 2016. Then-FBI Director James Comey gives a press conference explaining that, while he has recommended that the Justice Department not pursue charges against Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information, Clinton's conduct was "extremely careless." Evidence has never surfaced that Clinton's account was compromised. But a Republican political operative named Peter Smith becomes obsessed with the idea that Russia might have gained access. He spends the next year trying to get ahold of Clinton emails that he thinks Russia has hacked. But he never gets to see what Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes of his efforts—because a year later, he dies by suicide. [more inside]
It's April 18, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr summons reporters to the Department of Justice in Washington DC. Robert Mueller's report is about to be released. Before the press and the public finally see the document for themselves, Barr wants a chance to tell his own version of the story it contains. But is the bottom line according to Barr the same as the bottom line according to Robert Mueller? We'll let you decide. [more inside]
It's December 29, 2016. The Obama administration announces that it's imposing sanctions on Russia, as punishment for election interference. Michael Flynn has been tapped to become Trump's national security advisor when the new administration takes office in January, but it's still the transition period. Flynn is taking a few days vacation at the beach, when he sees the news. He grabs his phone and texts the transition team at Mar a Lago. He writes "Tit for tat with Russia not good" and says that the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak is reaching out to him today. Flynn calls Kislyak and asks that Russia not escalate in response to the sanctions. Apparently, it works. The next day, in a surprise move, Putin says that Russia won't retaliate. Trump tweets, "Great move on delay (by V. Putin). I always knew he was very smart." [more inside]
It's the morning of April 25, 2016. At a hotel in London, a Maltese professor meets with a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. The two have been in touch over the past few weeks; the professor has been helping the young man connect with Russian officials. Now, over breakfast, the professor lets him in on a secret. On a recent trip to Moscow, high-level government officials told him that the Russians have "dirt" on Trump's opponent. What was the "dirt" in question? "Emails," he says. They have "have thousands of emails."
As the Russians were engaged in operations to hack and dump emails, the Trump campaign and its associates were in communication with Wikileaks about the distribution of stolen materials. But that's far from the whole story of the Trump campaign's connections to Russia during the 2016 election. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller began to piece together the rest of that story, his investigation came to focus on two Trump Towers. The first is Trump Tower Moscow. Beginning all the way back in 2013 and through the spring of 2016, the Trump organization is pursuing a project to build a skyscraper in Russia. For a long time, the plans for Trump Tower Moscow had gone nowhere. But when Donald Trump announces he is running for president, things start to get interesting.
It's July 27, 2016. Donald Trump has just given a press conference during which he suggests that Russia hack Hillary Clinton and release the 30,000 allegedly missing emails from her private email server. The Russians, unbeknownst to people in the United States, appear to take the request seriously and hour later begin cyber-attacking Clinton's private office for the first time. Privately, Trump has instructions for his top aides: He repeatedly asks individuals affiliated with his Campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails too. His national security adviser, Michael Flynn, says Trump made this request repeatedly. And so Flynn acts on it, teaming up with a shadowy Republican political operative in an ill-fated attempt to track down a trove of Clinton emails from Russian hackers
It's March 2016. John Podesta is sitting at his computer. He opens an email. Something's wrong with his password, it says. It looks a little fishy, but IT says it is legit. And so he clicks. He follows the prompt. inputs his old password, resets a new one. And just like that hackers from a Russian military intelligence unit are in. It barely takes a minute, one click and a few keystrokes and there is no going back.This is Episode 2 of The Report: Hack. Dump. Divide
It is 2014 in St. Petersburg, Russia. In the heart of the city, a small nondescript office building sits beside the Bolshaya Nevka River. Inside, workers stare at computer screens open to Facebook and Twitter, furiously typing. Their task: Sow discord, disinformation, and doubt. Their target: The United States of America. Through fake social media accounts and armies of bots, they are flooding online media with disinformation. This is a Troll Farm. It's name: The Internet Research Agency. [more inside]
Scott is always listening.
This week, an epic Yes Yes No spanning an entire galaxy of internet fights. Plus, Alex Goldman reveals a dark personal secret. And an update on Sal's quest to get into college in Canada. [more inside]
Sebastian, Alex, and Alex get to know each other, inside and out. [more inside]
Ben loves podcasts, but he has a problem. When he tries to listen to one podcast in particular, his car stereo completely breaks. This week, Super Tech Support takes on one of its strangest cases — Roman Mars versus a 2016 Mazda sedan. [more inside]
Petey's just trying to stay on top.
The Case Against Adnan Syed: Parts 1-4 Season 1, Ep 0
Directed by Academy Award-nominee Amy Berg, four-part documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed explores the 1999 disappearance and murder of 18-year-old Baltimore County high school student Hae Min Lee, and the subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed — a case brought to global attention by the hugely popular Serial podcast.
Kate finally talks to that cute guy at the bowling alley, and he even asks her out on a date. It's just like a movie romance until something unexpected happens... Written by Becca Schall. Performed by Ariel Gitlin, Amy Lynne Berger, Billy Bob Thompson, Jimmy O'Connell, Susan Jacks, Meredith Burns, Davy Gardner, Taylor Curtis, Mary McDonnell, and Stefan Schuette. Produced by Jonathan Mitchell. Our associate producer is Davy Gardner.
Alligator is a stuffed animal, and things are about to get different.
Incredible, true, love story of Canadian Meg and Russian Elena who find each other online and meet in Kiev in 2006. Their love is very real, but now Elena is in danger. They decide to flee Russia together. Meg mortgages her home back in Canada and buys a sailboat in Turkey. They head out to the Atlantic and hope to eventually reach Vancouver, halfway around the world, in order to live a life together. Kismet, From Russia with Love. [more inside]
Former President Barack Obama — along with key advisers, mentors, and rivals — tells the story of his climb from Chicago to the national stage. A six-part podcast from WBEZ. [more inside]
Keisha's wife is dead. Or she's supposed to be. One day, Alice shows up in the background of a TV news story, staring directly at the camera. And then again. And again. Already riddled with anxiety, Keisha abandons her old life to become a truck driver, looking for the wife she no longer believes is dead and investigating the clues she left behind that may point to a larger, more sinister mystery. Based on the podcast of the same name by Joseph Fink (Welcome to Night Vale).
The Staircase: The whole series Season 0, Ep 0
The high-profile murder trial of American novelist Michael Peterson following the death of his wife in 2001. [more inside]
This week, the return of YYN: from a deranged mascot to the top of the FBI [more inside]
From the creators of the #1 podcast Limetown, an explosive prequel about a teenager who learns of a mysterious research facility where over three hundred people have disappeared—including her uncle—with clues that become the key to discovering the secrets of this strange town.
This week, a new Super Tech Support: after Lizzie's Snapchat gets hacked, things start getting really creepy. Alex investigates.
A teenager decides to cooperate.
God Friended Me: Season 1 Discussion Season 1, Ep 0
An atheist's life is turned upside down when he is "friended" by God on Facebook. [more inside]
Annie is a jack o' lantern, but she doesn't want to scare you.
The Good Place podcast is great and adds a ton of cool detail to the show. It comes out on Friday morning after the Thursday night episode. But is it okay to post about it in the episode Fanfare? [more inside]
"If you listen closely to the trash-talking, you start to get the message." Follow up on the cases of Jesse Nickerson, who feels he's continually harassed by police after winning a lawsuit against them, and Erimius Spencer, beaten by a cop subsequently fired for excessive force. [more inside]
Chioke is a grain of sand. He's not as small as he looks.
God Friended Me: The Good Samaritan Season 1, Ep 2
Miles gets the opportunity of a lifetime when a satellite radio company wants to put his podcast on the air, and the God Account suggests that he befriend a single mother. Also, Cara tries to build a relationship with her estranged mom, and Rakesh is crushed when he spots Jaya on a date. [more inside]
This episode deals with two separate murders of young children in Cleveland. It’s not an easy listen. [more inside]
The smell of raw marijuana + acting nervous + hands in pockets = ? [more inside]
Following a string of mysterious deaths in Burns, Alaska, Special Agents Sally Pierce and Tad Marshall arrive to investigate. They soon find there’s more going on than meets the eye. Marvel's first scripted podcast is about one of its most famous characters, but takes its time bringing his voice to the forefront. The Long Night originally came out in early 2018 as a lure to sell Stitcher Premium subscriptions, but was released for free in September.
A telephone scammer makes a terrible mistake. He calls Alex Goldman. This episode originally aired in July of 2017.
A woman in New Jersey is getting strange phone calls to her office from unknown numbers. Every time she picks up, she finds herself eavesdropping on the life of a different stranger. Unsure what else to do, she calls in Super Tech Support. This episode originally aired in September of 2017.
Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn't be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they're anything but. How do you define hate speech? Where's the line between a joke and an attack? How much butt is too much butt? Facebook has answered these questions. And from these answers they've written a rulebook that all 2.2 billion of us are expected to follow. Today, we explore that rulebook. We dive into its details and untangle its logic. All the while wondering what does this mean for the future of free speech? This episode was reported by Simon Adler with help from Tracie Hunte and was produced by Simon Adler with help from Bethel Habte. Special thanks to Sarah Roberts, Jeffrey Rosen, Carolyn Glanville, Ruchika Budhraja, Brian Dogan, Ellen Silver, James Mitchell, Guy Rosen, and our voice actor Michael Chernus. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.
So Walter Knott went from nothing to owning a 170 acre safety net. As he took the road west, he tried his luck in Orange County. He started growing Berries on another rented lot in a town called Buena Park and sold them in a stand by the road.
John Ball, Shane Smith and Terri Mintz share true stories about Jobitron of Azeroth, an irresponsible father, and a friend of the friendless.
DC Benny, Ria Spencer, and Dylan Patrick share stories about a crazy cruise ship, a college application, and a woman who loved elephants.
Taylor Nicole Dean was a self-described shut-in, a teenager who lived in her parent's home, surrounded by exotic pets. And then she started making videos on YouTube. Taylor's Youtube Channel
An ambitious plan to help people goes off the rails, and a man from Florida tries to fix things the only way he knows how: with prank phone calls.Further reading:Cat Ferguson's reporting on Google and Rehab (The Verge) - Part ICat Ferguson's reporting on Google and Rehab (The Verge) - Part IIDavid Segal's series on the business around addiction (New York Times)Ryan Hampton's American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction CrisisPalm Beach Post's Reporting on the Sober Home Crisis