We Need To Talk About Kevin McCarthy | Crooked Media
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May 12, 2022
What A Day
We Need To Talk About Kevin McCarthy

In This Episode

  • The January 6th commission issued subpoenas to five Republican Congressmembers including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in order to gain information about communications they had with the White House leading up to the riot, during it, and after. These are critically being issued before the committee begins its public hearings next month.
  • Tomorrow is a nationwide day of action with Bans Off Our Bodies rallies. These demonstrations are meant to empower people to stand up for abortion access in a time when Roe v. Wade is poised to be overturned by the Supreme Court. Kelley Robinson, the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and an organizer for the marches, joins us to discuss her message to folks who plan on attending.
  • And in headlines: Finland’s leaders announced that their country would apply for NATO membership, Twitter fired two of its top executives and instituted a hiring freeze, and Spain is considering monthly medical leave to folks who suffer from severe menstrual pains.


Show Notes:



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Gideon Resnick: It’s Friday, May 13th. I’m Gideon Resnick.


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson, and this is What A Day, where we avoided taking losses in the cryptocurrency crash simply by having low financial literacy.


Gideon Resnick: That’s right. I invest solely in gold bars. Those will never depreciate in any sort of value.


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, you might want to look deeper into that, I believe.


Gideon Resnick: I will be taking no further questions. On today’s show, with Roe poised to be overturned, we talk with one of the organizers of tomorrow’s nationwide march to protect abortion rights.


Kelley Robinson: This is not a drill. This is not an alarm. This is the moment that we have been anticipating.


Gideon Resnick: Plus, we’ll hear the entry that will probably make Ukraine the winner of tomorrow’s Eurovision Song Contest.


Tre’vell Anderson: But first, some Trump and January 6th news. Yesterday, The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors convened a grand jury to investigate former President Trump and the possibility that he mishandled classified information. Already, that grand jury has issued a subpoena. Gideon, can you give us some background here?


Gideon Resnick: Yes. So as a refresher, the National Archives found out in January that Trump had apparently taken something like 15 different boxes from the White House to White House South, a.k.a. Mar-A-Lago, when his term ended. That is not typical. Federal law requires that records be turned over at the end of a term. And the committee investigating the January 6th insurrection has been requesting and receiving various documents from the National Archives over the course of their investigation. There have also been anecdotes about some records being torn up when the National Archives received them–again, not extraordinarily typical–not to mention that toilet flushing anecdote that someone reported where Trump had apparently maybe put some in the toilet, we don’t really know. But when these particular boxes were returned, the agency reported to Congress that there were some items in there that were, quote, “marked as classified national security information.” Fast forward a couple of months to April and we found out that an investigation was getting started about all of this.


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay. So that brings us to the news about that grand jury and the subpoena. What else do we know about this investigation?


Gideon Resnick: Yes. So the subpoena is to the National Archives, according to The New York Times sources. And also there have been some interview requests sent to people who worked in the White House towards the end of Trump’s term, presumably about why these things were taken, how they were selected–I don’t know. It’s a little too early to say what would come of this, if anything, and as this story notes, there are rarely charges and investigations pertaining to the handling of classified materials. Ironically, we have a very recent example of that with Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016–I will leave it there. Nonetheless, this is definitely something to keep an eye on as we go forward.


Tre’vell Anderson: And that is far from the only subpoena news of the day. In fact, there was a pretty big update on this from the January 6th Commission. What’s new over there?


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, they issued subpoenas to five Republican members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in these further efforts to gain information about communications with the White House leading up to the riot, during it, and after. The other members here, our representatives Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks. And as is the nature with subpoenas, these are coming now because these representatives did not want to get voluntarily interviewed. They are also critically being issued before the committee begins that round of public hearings in primetime next month. So this does mark a pretty big moment in the committee’s actions overall, because it is the first time it has tried to compel fellow lawmakers to testify. These are people they work with. It had been pretty reluctant to subpoena GOP members, and according to multiple reports, they have been talking about past precedent for taking such actions with sitting members. One of The Washington Post cites is an investigation from the House Ethics Committee into the finances of former Democratic Rep Charles Rangel. That involved a subpoena. So it’s unclear right now who of these gentlemen is going to comply with this. There’s already chatter about the possible dissolution of the committee if Republicans win the majority in November, as well as some members saying this sets a precedent to just subpoena Democrats in the future. And on and on we go. We’ll find out more soon and keep you all updated on this.


Tre’vell Anderson: All righty, then. Turning to a big event in the fight for abortion rights, tomorrow is a nationwide day of action with “Bans off our bodies” rallies set to take place in 400 cities across the country. They’re happening in Los Angeles, in Austin, Texas, in Columbia, South Carolina, D.C., all over the place. These demonstrations are organized by the Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, Ultraviolet, and Move On. And they are meant to empower people to stand up for abortion access in a time when Roe versus Wade is poised to be overturned by the Supreme Court and following that, 26 states will surely or likely ban abortions.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, this feels like a pretty monumental moment is about to happen.


Tre’vell Anderson: For sure, and I had the chance to speak with Kelley Robinson. She is the executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and an organizer for the Bans Off Our Bodies marches. I started by asking her what her message is to people who plan on attending these rallies this weekend.


Kelley Robinson: My message is, it’s time. This is not a drill. This is not an alarm. This is the moment that we have been anticipating. Our opposition is trying to take away our access to abortion care and we’ve got to stand up, we’ve got to have our voices heard. And now is the time.


Tre’vell Anderson: So y’all are calling it a Day of Action. What are some of the specific actions that you want people to take after attending the demonstrations?


Kelley Robinson: By Day of Action, we mean that this is a start to a new phase of the fight. Our opposition has made their intentions very clear. Their goal is to ban abortion. Their goal is to control our bodies and our lives, and we’re not going to take it. So in addition to getting loud and showing up in the streets, we’re also going to be contacting our elected officials, from folks in Congress to your governor, to your state legislature, to your school board member–we are going to be contacting them all to let them know that no matter where you stand, if you are a decision maker, you have got to protect access to care.


Tre’vell Anderson: So now if Roe gets overturned, the nation would quickly become a patchwork of places with some access over here, some criminalization over here, a little bit of mix in between. What kinds of resources can people turn to in order to get kind of clear answers on how to get care or how to afford it?


Kelley Robinson: It’s a scary reality to me, right? Like this is the first time that the courts will actually be rolling back a constitutional right. For today, abortion is still your right. Abortion is still legal. And we want to make sure that folks have the information that they need to get it and that their rights are protected. Now, as we move forward and this opinion goes into law, that won’t be the case everywhere. We’ll be looking at 26 states that move swiftly to ban abortion access, so in those places, we’re really talking about giving folks information about telemedicine, making sure people do know what’s available in their state, and making sure that people have the resources to do the things they need to do to access care. That could look like driving hundreds of miles. That could look like finding health care outside the traditional system. We believe in care no matter what so we got to make sure people have the information to get there and the resources too.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. I like to remind people that 26 states is more than half of the entire country, just because sometimes, you know, the recognition of how widespread the impact of this all can be, I feel like sometimes isn’t tangible for folks. But a lot of the messaging that we’ve seen, particularly over the last week or so, is about electing more pro-choice candidates. I happen to be one of those people who feel like we’ve been doing that. We’ve been casting the votes for the people who are supposed to be right and not seeing much action come from it. So I’m wondering, like, how you respond to those types of folks who feel like maybe they just don’t know how to move forward with everything in front of us?


Kelley Robinson: Yeah. I mean, the first thing I say is there are some bright spots. We got to look to the helpers, right? And if you look at places like Maryland, where we have elected a lot of pro reproductive health and rights champions in that state legislature, they not only passed laws to expand abortion access in the state, they overcame the governor’s veto who was on the wrong side of freedom, right? In California, they’ve passed outstanding laws to protect access. In Illinois, they’ve done the same. There are so many states are actually moving towards doing the right thing that we have to tell that story too, because actually a greater world is possible. And in so many ways, you know, we talk about this, but Roe was always a floor for access and not the ceiling. Like even with Roe in place, it allowed so many states to put in barrier after barrier, right? Requiring folks to wait days to get access to care, requiring age parental consent, not having sex education–like that was still happening even though Roe was in place. So I only want to say that there are some bright spots where because we have voted, people have moved to action to put laws in place that actually expanded care. Now, at the same time, we’ve got some work to do at the end of the day. The system is rigged. These folks, they have been packing the federal courts with folks hostile to reproductive rights. They have been gerrymandering the states. They’ve been suppressing our rights to vote. They have been trying to take away the rights of trans kids just to be seen–like these people are doing so much to tear our communities apart, we got to call it for what it is. And we got to tell them, Hey, you are no longer going to represent me because you have been doing that all along. It’s an important moment for us to really hold elected officials accountable to the things that they have said and they have done.


Tre’vell Anderson: I wonder if there’s, in your mind, anything more or more specific you would like to see, whether it’s the democrats or like elected officials more broadly speaking, do to protect access to reproductive rights.


Kelley Robinson: We have to get to a place where this access doesn’t depend on where you live, where you work, how much money you make, or your immigration status. And I think that what we’re seeing now is such an erosion of our rights because they’re not like fortified in the Constitution to begin with. As a queer Black woman in America, it is so clear to me that I’m fighting for my rights every single day because at the start of this country, I wasn’t thought of as a person, right? So a lot of what we’re trying to do is, yes, address this crisis that we’re facing right now, but acknowledge that abortion is the tipping point. They are in a position to roll back so many of our rights because fundamentally we weren’t baked into the Constitution from the beginning. We have to correct that. So I think that what we’re actually looking at is a generational fight, a fight that’s going to take us the next 10 or 15 years to fix the foundation of this country, for it to start living up to the promise that it made to us. A promise that it’s never fulfilled.


Tre’vell Anderson: Definitely. There’s so much energy, so much momentum, particularly over the last couple weeks around this. How do you keep the momentum going? How do you keep the hope going, as you know, everyone waits for what will be the eventual ruling next month?


Kelley Robinson: I mean, we have work to do to keep people engaged and give them meaningful actions to take that can actually make a difference. So moving forward, we’re going to be making sure that people have the opportunity to tell their story, because at the end of the day, this isn’t about laws and policies, this is about real people’s lives. That’s the way we’ve got to stay engaged, telling our stories to one another and not letting this be an isolated experience.


Tre’vell Anderson: And Gideon, that’s my conversation with Kelley Robinson, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. We’ll have links to info on tomorrow’s nationwide protests in our show notes.


Gideon Resnick: Yes. And our producers will be going out to cover the march in L.A. But WAD listeners, if you are going out yourself to one that is nearest to you, we want to see it. You can tag us in your pictures and videos if you’d like on Instagram @Whataday. You can also make a voice recording to tell us what is at stake for you with Roe being overturned and then email it to us. We may feature it on the show. Our email is WAD@Crooked dot com. And that is the latest for now. Let’s get to some headlines.


[sung] Headlines.


Gideon Resnick: Finland’s leaders announced yesterday that their country would apply for NATO membership, quote, “without delay” amid the continuing violence in Ukraine. Sweden is also expected to apply in the coming days, after its prime minister said it would consider joining the alliance last month. Finland’s announcement has drawn strong condemnation from the Kremlin, and United Nations Russian Ambassador Dmitri Polyanskiy said on Thursday that if Sweden and Finland were to join NATO, the two countries would become, quote, “part of the enemy” and quote, “a target or possible target for a strike”–yikes. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to join Finland and Sweden’s foreign ministers in Berlin tomorrow, where they’re likely to discuss the matter with other NATO leaders. This all comes as the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to deepen its probe into Russia’s potential war crimes in Ukraine. Yesterday, the council passed a resolution urging investigators to focus on Russian occupied areas near Kiev, where over a thousand civilians were found dead, several of whom were executed by Russian forces. The resolution also calls for investigators to examine the regions of Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumi that were occupied by Russia between February and March.


Tre’vell Anderson: No one ever said having your company acquired by a Mars-crazed billionaire was easy. Yesterday was a day of chaos at Twitter, the company that’s being bought by Elon Musk, which fired two of its top executives and instituted a hiring freeze. To be clear, these changes aren’t officially related to the looming Musk era of Twitter. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said he was shaking things up because Twitter hasn’t been hitting its goals in audience and revenue growth. Agrawal wall fired Twitter’s general manager for revenue and its general manager. The latter exec posted on, where else but Twitter soon after, writing quote, “The truth is that this isn’t how and when I imagined leaving.” The question of whether Agrawal has job security as CEO himself is also up for debate. Last week, CNBC reported that Musk would briefly serve as temporary CEO after he completes the take-over, but the timeline for that is not known. In the meantime, Twitter execs are advising workers to keep their heads down to ensure uninterrupted posting. At a company meeting last week one said, quote, “We don’t know what the future is going to hold, but what we’ll know is we left it all on the field for the people who rely on us every day.” I love the commitment to the work that they’re doing.


Gideon Resnick: I genuinely feel for them in this moment for sure, but I also am thinking about the app that gives me brain disease every morning that I look at it. Oh my goodness. Okay. Society may be finally coming around to the idea that period cramps are in fact real because Spain is gearing up to offer medical leave to folks who suffer from severe menstrual pains. According to a draft bill leaked to the country’s media outlets, Spanish lawmakers are working on a measure that will allow folks to take up to five days of sick leave per month as long as they have a doctor’s note. The bill is still in its early stages, but if it’s passed into law, Spain would join a handful of countries that already offer menstrual leave, like Japan and Indonesia, and become the first European country to adopt such a measure. The proposed rule is part of a larger effort within the Spanish government to expand reproductive health care and abortion access. In the same leaked draft bill, lawmakers also propose allowing women over the age of 16 to get an abortion without parental consent, reversing a law that was put in place by the country’s Conservative Party in 2015. The bill is set to be presented to the country’s cabinet early next week. They are intentional, it seems, with the timing.


Tre’vell Anderson: You know? Yes. If you responded to the work of Albert Einstein by saying “pic or it didn’t happen” the National Science Foundation has some news for you. Astronomers supported by the foundation unveiled the first image of the black hole that is at the center of the Milky Way galaxy yesterday, further validating the theory of general relativity that Einstein posed all those many years ago. If I could draw you a mental picture, the image looks like if you squinted at a tire that’s gone up in flames.


Gideon Resnick: True.


Tre’vell Anderson: Though what you’re seeing isn’t literally the black hole itself, but instead it’s the light that escapes from superheated gas that the black hole pulls into its gravitational field. This black hole is called Sagittarius A, and with mass equal to more than 4 million suns, it’s classified as supermassive. The scientists who were able to characterize the black hole won a Nobel Prize in 2020, but it took an array of observatories positioned all around the world to provide photographic evidence. That array is collectively known as the Event Horizon Telescope, and processing and analyzing the huge amounts of data it recorded of Sagittarius A took years. Now the Sagittarius A knows how good it feels to be photographed, she’ll definitely want the scientists to go faster. Black holes are thought to occur commonly at the center of galaxies, though it’s not known whether the black hole gives rise to the galaxy or vice versa.


Gideon Resnick: I will say the picture is very cool. I want to start with that. But it looks a little bit blurry. I understand there’s limitations when we’re talking about when taking a picture of a black hole, but I’m just going to say it.


Tre’vell Anderson: You know, it’s super far away, Gideon. We can’t get you an iPhone-quality photo just yet, but give us time.


Gideon Resnick: I respect all of the effort, again. I just say what we all thought when we looked at it. It is very cool. I’m afraid of staring at it for too long. And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads with some of the greatest songs written for competition in all of Europe.


[ad break]


Gideon Resnick: It’s Friday WAD squad and today we are reflecting on the event that unites a whole continent through the power of songs you can forget in 1 second: the Eurovision Song Contest. If you are not familiar, Eurovision is a songwriting competition that was first held in 1956, and helped launch the careers of artists like ABBA and Celine Dion–heard of them. The performances are big, loud and beautiful, and this year it’s being held in Italy, with representatives from ten countries set to compete in the finals tomorrow. Odds-makers have Ukraine’s act heavily favorite to win, partly reflecting the way viewers and judges want to show support for the country. Next in line are the UK and Sweden, according to a quick search on the worldwide web. But we wanted to make some judgments of our own here and put on a sort of Eurovision WAD contest between the countries currently predicted to fill out the top three. So Tre’vell, are you ready to listen to and judge some clips of Eurovision songs?


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, yes, I’m ready to get my Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson on. Let’s do it.


Gideon Resnick: Okay beautiful. Let’s start with the act betting markets put in third. Here is Sweden’s Cornelia Jacobs with her song “Hold Me Closer”.


[song plays]


Gideon Resnick: I like it.


Tre’vell Anderson: You know, it sounds like a song that would play on a radio station that I don’t listen to, and so I love that for Sweden and Cornelia. But yeah.


Gideon Resnick: It’s giving me a little bit of Ellie Goulding energy, which means it’s also giving me lift-song energy.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes! I see the reference. I see the reference.


Gideon Resnick: Okay. Okay, good. Oh, next is the UK’s Sam Ryder with “Space Man”.


[song] “. . . space man, I’ve searched around the universe. Been down some black holes. There’s nothing but space, man . . .”


Tre’vell Anderson: Black holes.


Gideon Resnick: Okay. Relevant, right?


Tre’vell Anderson: You know. I could listen to that, you know, a couple times. Why not?


Gideon Resnick: It’s in the zeitgeist. Sam was involved in taking the photograph, clearly. We apologize to Sam. And finally, it is the predicted winner. Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra performing “Stefania.”


[song plays] [raps and sings in Ukrainian]


Gideon Resnick: Wow.


Tre’vell Anderson: Hmm. That was interesting. You know, I just, I did not expect that sound to come out of the speakers, but I’m intrigued. I’m very intrigued, Gideon.


Gideon Resnick: This one is decidedly different than the other two. The most different.


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh, for sure, Yes.


Gideon Resnick: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So, Tre’vell, it’s time. What do you think? Obviously, we want Ukraine to win on Saturday, just like the rest of the world does. But based purely on the 15-second clips you just heard from Sweden, the U.K., and Ukraine, which song is your topic?


Tre’vell Anderson: You know, I think I’m going to go with Ukraine’s. I feel like I can do a little twerk to it if need be. I feel like I could just experience it in so many different environments. And the other two songs give me very specific energies. What about for you?


Gideon Resnick: Right. The other two are like, you’re at Duane Reade or something.


Tre’vell Anderson: Very that. Mm hmm.


Gideon Resnick: You’re checking out, and that’s, that’s what’s playing. My pick–if I don’t pick Ukraine, I’m in the international doghouse, so I’m going to, I’m also going to pick Ukraine. I do like it. I think my bias also here is that I heard a little bit more of it than just the 15 seconds. Dear listeners, I’m leveling with you. And you’re right, there is a lot of different stuff in the song. So different moods, different twerk opportunities, different chiller opportunities within it. It’s great. That was our Eurovision WAD contest. Good luck to all you rock stars, tomorrow. That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, strike a pose for the Event Horizon Telescope, and tell your friends to listen.


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading, and not just the lyrics to Space Man by Sam Ryder like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.


[together] And happy birthday to Josie Duffy Rice!


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.


Gideon Resnick: We’re sending her a hamburger and she’s going to try it for the first time.


Tre’vell Anderson: It’ll change her life. It’ll be amazing. We’ll have some magic spoon on the side. She’ll love it.


Gideon Resnick: Yep. And what’s the other thing? She hasn’t eaten a hot dog, or, there’s another weird one. Anyway, it’s all coming in one order. What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzy Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.