The Paris Olympics Are Burning | Crooked Media
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June 20, 2023
What A Day
The Paris Olympics Are Burning

In This Episode

  • On Tuesday, French financial police raided the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics organizing committee as part of two ongoing investigations into the misuse of public funds. Prosecutors said they’re looking into potential conflicts of interest, embezzlement and favoritism.
  • President Joe Biden touted his administration’s historic record on combatting climate change during a recent trip to California. He recently won the endorsement of four major environmental groups for his re-election campaign – despite criticism from activists over the approval of new fossil fuel plans.
  • And in headlines: a federal judge has set a date in August to begin Donald Trump’s classified documents trial, Hunter Biden reached a deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to tax charges, and voters cast their ballots in Virginia’s primary election.
Show Notes:



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Priyanka Aribindi: It’s Wednesday, June 21st. I’m Priyanka Aribindi.


Juanita Tolliver: And I’m Juanita Tolliver and this is What A Day wishing all of our friends here in the Northern Hemisphere a very happy summer solstice. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Just remember, today is the perfect opportunity to tell anyone and everybody that you run into that you’re just you’re having a long day. That’s the reason for um anything. You look tired, anything. 


Juanita Tolliver: If anybody tells you, you look tired. You need to not know them. How about that? [laughter]


Priyanka Aribindi: Exactly. Yeah. Get rid of them. [music break] On today’s show, a federal judge has set a date in August to begin Donald Trump’s classified documents trial. Plus, we will reluctantly fill you in on some real news about Hunter Biden. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, corruption investigations in sports have now expanded to include the Paris 2024 Olympics organizing committee as their headquarters were raided by French financial police on Tuesday. It’s almost like there’s something in the water when it comes to international sports and criminal activities. Like what gives? 


Priyanka Aribindi: Seriously, it feels like it’s every international sporting event is like plagued by some kind of corruption. 


Juanita Tolliver: World Cup. Olympics, summer, winter, all of them.


Priyanka Aribindi: Right. We’re running out of fingers to count, but what prompted this particular raid? Tell us more about what’s happening here. 


Juanita Tolliver: According to reports, this raid was part of an ongoing investigation into the mishandling of public funds to finance Paris 2024 construction projects and the awarding of public contracts. Apparently, there may have been some favoritism at play, and the criminal police and the public prosecutor participated in multiple raids to collect documents and evidence as part of a probe that began in 2017. It’s giving that apparently investigators had questions from jump, especially when you consider that Paris was named host of the 2024 Olympics in 2017. Like insert bombastic side eye [laughing] like wow. In a statement, Paris 2024 officials said, quote, “A police search is currently underway at the headquarters of the organizing committee. Paris 2024 is cooperating fully with the investigators to facilitate their investigations.” And if you noticed earlier, I said raids, plural, because there were simultaneous searches also happening at Solideo, the public body in charge of the Paris Olympics construction sites, as well as at several private companies that had been awarded public contracts. I think it’s safe to say that these raids are going to put a dark cloud over the Olympic Games, which are only 13 months away and an even darker cloud over French President Emmanuel Macron, who’s been navigating pretty rocky terrain since pushing through an increased retirement age for French citizens. I’m sure this is feeling like a stressful pile on moment for what was supposed to be a reprieve. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, seriously. But considering corruption in interna–, I’m like, [laugh] it’s crazy. The Olympics are supposed to be fun. But anyways, considering corruption in international sports that we’ve heard about so far, is this like just par for the course now? Is this what we can expect from any [laugh] international sporting event? 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, yeah, sadly, at this rate, the past three Summer Olympics have all faced investigations. And don’t even get me started on the $30 billion dollars that mysteriously disappeared from the Sochi Winter Olympics accounts. Like just poof, magically. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Oh. Okay. 


Juanita Tolliver: Back to Summer Olympic Games, though. Girl, mess. In Japan, prosecutors filed charges just this year after indicting six companies and seven individuals over suspected rigging of bids worth $320 million dollars for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. In Rio, there were investigations into allegations of vote buying and contracts awarded. But what takes the cake in Brazil is that prosecutors believe the criminal conspiracy traces all the way back to the state government itself. So that’s an entirely different mess. Now when you consider that L.A. is set to host the 2028 Olympic Games, I need everything to be above board and truly beyond reproach. Like none of those corruption schemes, like the ones we’ve seen with the LAPD, for example, or corruption charges against leaders at City Hall, like just clean all that mess up before 2028. Please. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, please. And also, like a little bit of a bag because [laughing] I don’t feel like we can handle that. [laughter] Like please no. 


Juanita Tolliver: United States. Don’t want that smoke. 


Priyanka Aribindi: No, we don’t. We absolutely do not. And just let us enjoy one thing, please. Anyways, switching gears over to President Biden. Over the long weekend, he paid a visit to a nature preserve in Palo Alto, California. He was not relaxing, though. He gave a stump speech there highlighting his administration’s historic record on climate change and the need for the work to continue as we face what he calls the existential threat to humanity. Highlights of Biden’s accomplishments on climate in his first term in office include hundreds of billions of dollars in funding to fight climate change, reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, improve clean transit, support climate smart agriculture and so much more through the Inflation Reduction Act as well as keeping Republicans from clawing it back threw out the debt ceiling drama just a few weeks back. As a reminder, the Inflation Reduction Act is considered to be the most important climate legislation passed in the history of this country. It was a huge deal. Biden has also put new drilling bans into effect and designated new acreage for conservation. So really, just a lot has happened in the past few years since he has been in office on this topic. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, it’s almost like Biden gets it and he’s taking action to do something about it like go figure. I don’t know what this is. You know, it’s not given characteristic D.C. but let’s talk about the role that this issue is gonna play in Biden’s 2024 campaign. Break that down for us. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Climate change was a central part of Biden’s 2020 campaign. It is clear that it will be once again ahead of 2024. I mean, very clear throughout his administration’s first term that this is an issue he’s not only committed to talking about, but is taking and seeking action on. Just last week, four major environmental groups endorsed Biden’s bid for reelection. That includes the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund, NexGen PAC, the Sierra Club and the NRDC Action Fund. And according to the groups, not only has the administration accomplished more than any administration in history on this front, they want to see Biden finish the job, and they don’t want to risk Republicans undoing any of that progress, especially at a time when the stakes are just higher than they have ever been. We’re in this fragile balance and they just want to see the progress that we have been fighting for. And we have won at this point. You know, see that through rather than see it undone. This is the first time that all four groups have come together like this to issue an endorsement. And in doing so, so far ahead of the election. They’re hoping to remind Democratic voters, not all of whom I will note are so happy with Biden on this issue of the magnitude of his achievements with the Inflation Reduction Act. 


Juanita Tolliver: I mean, of course, no one is perfect. So break down why some Democratic voters have that kind of questionable negative sentiment. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yes. I mean, for all the progress on this front, this administration has certainly not been perfect. You are right. There are valid, legitimate reasons for these voters to feel this way. The Biden administration has approved several controversial oil and gas projects throughout Biden’s first term in office, including a natural gas pipeline from West Virginia and drilling in Alaska. They have angered many activists in the process, many regular people who voted for Biden, thinking that he was committed to not doing these things. 


Juanita Tolliver: Right. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And though these organizations were able to set aside their concerns over these projects in favor of seeing the Inflation Reduction Act through, it’s unclear if other voters, younger voters, many of whom consider climate to be a key priority for them, will do the same when it comes to the primary and general election season. But as a reminder, in terms of the field of you know GOP contenders that Biden is facing, the climate deniers, basically he is most certainly the best bet on this issue and several others come 2024, we will obviously continue to follow this topic and many more leading up to the elections. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads. [music break] 




Priyanka Aribindi: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Priyanka Aribindi: A federal criminal trial against former President Donald Trump over his alleged mishandling of classified documents has officially been set for August 14th. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over the case, set the start date in a filing yesterday. And if that sounds ambitious, especially for the federal court system, you are definitely right about that. One thing to note here, Cannon has only been a judge since 2020 when Trump himself actually appointed her. Politico looked at her track record so far and noted that she tends to set trial dates very quickly. Legal experts say that the August 14th date will likely be delayed anyway, in part because that has been Trump’s legal strategy for years now. And speaking of this genius, in an interview with Fox News over the weekend, Trump appeared to admit that he intentionally withheld the documents at the center of the case. So um I don’t know, maybe we could fast forward this a little more Judge Cannon. Feels like we’ve seen what we need to see, between that and the bathroom pics. What else do we want? [laughter] By the way, we do have a date set for Trump’s other criminal trial in New York. This is over the hush money payments he made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. How could we forget? I mean, I know there’s so much swirling around. That trial is set to begin March 25th, 2024. So just mark your calendars. We’ve got some things leading us along through primary season, I guess. 


Juanita Tolliver: And you don’t hear his name on the show very often and for good reason. But Hunter Biden is in the news for real this time. The president’s youngest son has reached a tentative deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to a pair of misdemeanor tax offenses. The agreement would allow him to avoid prosecution on a separate felony gun charge. To bring you up to speed if you’re not familiar with the case, Hunter Biden was accused of not paying his taxes on time in 2017 and 2018 when he reportedly made more than $1.5 million dollars both years. As for the gun charge, Hunter was also accused of lying on an application for a handgun permit in 2018. The form asks if he had used drugs and he said no. At the time, the younger Biden was battling with addiction to alcohol and drugs. All of this being said, Republicans have zeroed in on Hunter’s personal struggles, arguing that he’s getting preferential treatment, which is fucking ridiculous. If you heard the last story we just told you about Donald Trump, like really Republicans fuck all the way off. There is no comparing the two here and that’s that. As part of the deal, Hunter will avoid jail time as long as he stays drug free for two years and can never purchase a firearm again. The agreement must still be approved by a federal judge to take effect. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Self-described misogynist Andrew Tate, his brother and two alleged accomplices have formally been charged in Romania with, among other things, human trafficking and rape. The group is accused of luring seven women to Romania, where they were sexually exploited and forced to make pornographic videos. Prosecutors say that the victims were held captive through, quote, “physical violence and mental pressure.” The Tate brothers and their two Romanian accomplices were first arrested last December and have been under house arrest since April. A judge will decide whether the case will move forward. In the meantime, Romanian officials are calling for the seizure of Tate’s assets, including his, quote, “very masculine car collection.” 


Juanita Tolliver: Yikes. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yep. Big yikes. You might remember that Tate tried to troll climate activist Greta Thunberg with a photo of him posing in front of one of those cars right before his arrest. He will live with those burn ruins for the rest of his life, as he should. He is a massive piece of garbage. 


Juanita Tolliver: Accurate, no notes. Violence has been intensifying in the occupied West Bank as Israel’s new right wing pro-settler government has loosened restrictions and expedited the process of building Jewish settlements. On Sunday, Israeli troops killed six Palestinians, including a 15 year old. And just yesterday, four Israeli settlers were killed by a pair of Palestinian gunmen. Next week, the Israeli government plans to fast track the approval of nearly 5000 new settler homes throughout the West Bank, a much higher number compared to last year. The plan is already raising concerns with the United States since the acceleration of so many new settlements makes it harder for foreign diplomats to step in to de-escalate. 


Priyanka Aribindi: And finally, yesterday was the last day of voting in the Virginia primary with new legislative districts. And things are going to get interesting. We can already report one big victory, a former state legislator, Lashrecse Aird, has defeated incumbent state Senator Joe Morrissey. Morrissey is a self-described pro-life Democrat and has indicated that he’d be willing to vote with Republicans when it comes to more abortion restrictions in Virginia. Okay, doesn’t sound so Democratic to me. 


Juanita Tolliver: Nobody is going to miss this dude at all, I promise. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, votes are still being counted in other races, but it’s worth noting that the latest redistricting process means that there are more seats up for grabs as many incumbents are retiring or being challenged by primary newcomers. In fact both Senate majority and minority leaders are retiring. Also worth noting, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin clinched an upset victory at back in 2021, even though Virginia appeared to be getting bluer and Republicans are now vying for control of the state legislature. Keep in mind that Virginia has a history of being a national trendsetter, especially when it comes to issues like abortion and gun control. So it might be giving us a preview, for better or for worse, of the 2024 elections. We’ll be watching very closely. So you do not have to expect to hear way more on this from us. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah, and I just got to shout out a couple of names like Louise Lucas and Alex Askew who won their primaries for reelection. And then you have some of my homies, Adele McClure, Nadarius Clark, Kimberly Pope Adams, Rae Cousins. Shout out to y’all kicking ass in these primaries. We love to see it. 


Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. Seriously. And shout out to you Juanita for being so well connected. I um wish I had friends doing this kind of thing. That’s very cool. And those are the headlines. 




Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Be careful where you throw your bombastic side eye and tell your friends to listen. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just all the reasons to dislike Joe Morrissey, like me, it’s a lengthy list. 


Juanita Tolliver: Mm hmm. 


Priyanka Aribindi: What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


[spoken together] And Happy Summer. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yeah. Shout out to all the summer babies. I see you. I know you. I am you. I love you. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: Me too. Wait when’s your birthday? 


Juanita Tolliver: I’m not going to say because I don’t want you all to know. [laughing]


Priyanka Aribindi: What!? [laughter] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our show’s producer is Itxy Quintanilla. Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf are our associate producers. Our intern is Ryan Cochran, and our senior producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.