So That Happened

So That Happened


An inside-the-beltway show that's truly for beltway outsiders. Each week the HuffPost Politics team offers an entertaining alternative to the Sunday shows you've stopped watching. Along with their outside the beltway guests, join Arthur Delaney, Zach Carter, and Jason Linkins as they analyze the news of the week and explain why it should matter to you.


Oh Donald Trump, What Is You Doing  

This week President Trump struck a surprising deal with congressional Democrats to fund the government for only three months. The move was a slap in the face to Republicans but Trump reportedly raved about the news coverage. HuffPost White House Correspondent S.V. Date joins us to explain if there will be more of Trump collaborating with Democrats in the future. The Trump administration announced it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama initiative that spared hundreds of thousands of innocent kids from deportation. Trump himself then suggested he supported the original policy, so HuffPost immigration reporter Elise Foley is here to sort this out. And a sitting Democratic senator is on trial for corruption. HuffPost Politics reporter Igor Bobic explains the surprisingly sordid allegations.

After Harvey  

In the wake of one of the worst storms in US history, Huffpost national reporter Roque Planas talks to Zach Young about what it was like to report from Houston during Hurricane Harvey and witness the destruction firsthand. Then, former Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis talks about how Texans are responding to the storm -- and how the state's politics make a bigger-picture reckoning with the dangers of unchecked urban sprawl difficult. Finally, Huffpost reporters Marina Fang and Jessica Schulberg talk about Mexico's offer of disaster aid -- and our commander-in-chief's perplexing response to the biggest natural disaster of his young presidency.

Trump Reads Fake Version Of Own Speech  

President Donald Trump read what he pretended was an excerpt of his own speech this week in order to claim he'd been wrongly criticized, except he omitted the part that caused all the criticism. You know, the part in which he excused white supremacists for domestic terrorism in Charlottesville. Journalist and former NFL veteran Donte Stallworth joined "So That Happaned," the HuffPost Politics podcast, to talk Trump and also the phenomenon of NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem. In light of our head of state's friendliness with Nazis and the KKK, is there any reason to think football players won't continue to bend the knee? And why hasn't an NFL team signed Colin Kaepernick? Also, Trump finally a new Afghanistan policy of... more war. But how much more? We asked foreign policy correspondent Jessica Schulberg to explain what might happen and why.

What Happens Now That The President Has Openly Embraced White Supremacists?  

President Trump this week spoke of "very fine people" among the Nazis and Ku Klux Klanners who staged a violent protest that resulted in the deaths of three people on Saturday. Trump's comments drew cascades of condemnation, but we already knew he had white supremacist tendencies. Jamelle Bouie, the chief political correspondent for, joins So That Happened to talk about what has really changed, and whether Nazis are now in a real position of power. Also, HuffPost reporter Christopher Mathias talks to Black Voices editor Lilly Workneh about what he saw reporting from the Charlottesville riot and Paul Blumenthal explains what's going on with Vice President Mike Pence's unprecedented fundraising campaign.

HuffPost Hits The Road  

This week, we turn the show over to the New York office and HuffPost reporters Jeff Young and Sam Levine. First, they’re joined by our editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen to talk about the HuffPost “Listen to America” bus tour. Starting in September a whole bunch of HuffPost reporters are going to be touring the country on a bus, starting in St. Louis, then heading through the South, up to the Midwest, over to Montana, down to Arizona, and finally back east to New Orleans. They’re going to be collecting interesting stories, they’ll have a mobile video studio, it’s going to be a fascinating project and Lydia is here to tell us all about it. Then, Sara Collins of the Commonwealth Fund talks with Jeff about why, in the midst of repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare, more and more Democrats are talking seriously about single-payer as an alternative to the present health care system. Finally, Sam and Jeff talk to Justin Levitt from Loyola Law School about the Department of Justice’s changing approach to voting rights in the Trump era.

LIVE From Politicon  

This week, we take a little break from things that happened this week to head to Pasadena, California, for Politicon! Over the weekend, So That Happened producer Zach Young attended the "unconventional political convention" and talked with Symone Sanders, National Press Secretary for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and Austin Petersen, runner-up to Gary Johnson in last year's Libertarian presidential primary. As Cenk Uygur and Ben Shapiro debated loudly in the adjacent auditorium, we had an insightful conversation on what it was like to be part of an outsider presidential campaign in 2016 and what lessons that year holds for the future.

Jeff Sessions Is A Great Attorney General... For Trump To Poop On  

Donald Trump rose to power thanks in large part to his fame from having done a TV game show in which he ceremoniously "fired" contestants. Candidate Trump vowed to shake up Washington with this hard-hearted business persona, and yet faced with an attorney general he seems to want to fire, Trump can't do it. Bok bok! Republicans in the U.S. Senate are on the verge of finally repealing Obamacare, but they're not sure if they really want to go through with it after seven years of promises. The Intercept's Ryan Grim explains why they might chicken out. Bok bok bok! Then: Democrats rebranded their agenda as "A Better Deal." HuffPost's Daniel Marans explains what's in the deal and why Democrats' usual critics are surprisingly pleased. Finally, HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Date joins us to explain why Trump wants to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and why he's afraid to follow through.

Happy Birthday, Dodd-Frank!  

This week on So That Happened: Zach Carter takes a break from book leave to return and host the show! He’s joined by ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger and Huffpost’s Alexander Kaufman to talk about why bankers never seem to go to jail. Then, Michelle Kuo stops by to talk about her book Reading With Patrick, a memoir about a teacher’s relationship with a gifted student who ends up jailed for murder. It's an exploration of race, class, justice, and coming of age in the South. Finally, Mike Konczal is back, this time to help Zach and Arthur celebrate the 7th birthday of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Will there be cake?

Donald Trump Junior Stepped In Deep Doo Doo  

For months, President Trump and his supporters said it was all just a political witch hunt, that his campaign had not colluded with the Russian government's interference in last year's presidential election. This week Donald Trump, Jr. revealed that he had, in fact, sought incriminating information on Hillary Clinton from a Russian government source. On this week's "So That Happened," HuffPost money-in-politics reporter Paul Blumenthal explains the several federal laws that Junior might have broken. Also, the Roosevelt Institute's Mike Konczal joins the podcast to explain a new policy from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that will allow credit card and other financial product customers to sue if they get ripped off -- unless Republicans in Congress stop the agency in its tracks. And nothing weird happened at the confirmation hearing for Christopher Wray, the totally normal career Justice Department official Trump nominated to replace the FBI director he weirdly fired. Is our Trumps learning?

The Battle For The Soul Of The Anti-Anti Trump Movement  

Did CNN screw up this week by seemingly threatening to reveal the identity of a Reddit user who made a silly gif that President Trump tweeted? The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney says the episode represents the kind of media excess that gives rise to Anti-Anti-Trumpism, a sort-of movement animated by the belief that Trump's critics somehow lie more than Trump does. The Anti-Anti-Trump argument loses credibility, Carney says, the minute it serves as an excuse to avoid criticizing the president. Meanwhile, Trump's in Europe, possibly altering the United States' role in the world. HuffPost White House correspondent S.V. Date joined us to talk about whether everything is truly as terrible as it seems and whether Trump could make it worse with his offhand tweets. And HuffPost labor reporter Dave Jamieson explains the Trump administration's recent moves to undo Obama's effort to restore overtime pay for millions of workers.

Zombie Senate Healthcare Bill Will Be Back To Eat Your Brains  

Republicans in the U.S. Senate completely boofed their health care bill, so this week on "So That Happened" we discuss the politics of their failure as well as how the underlying policy could change when the zombie Senate bill rises from the dead next month. President Trump continues to seem completely unaware of what's in the legislation, and even resigned to its failure. And we also take a look at the increasing concentration of corporate power and the failure of both parties in the U.S. to stand up to monopolies.

Republicans Could Really Pass Their Obamacare Repeal Bill  

Senate Republicans finally released their secret Obamacare repeal bill, so this week on "So That Happened" we explore the real possibility that this thing could actually pass and become law. We also take a look at Democrats' total fecklessness in special elections and the several high-profile acquittals of police officers who killed civilians for no good reason.

The Worst Week In Washington  

So, that happened. This week, we discuss the assassination attempt on members of Congress, which has left House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) grievously injured. Fallout from the shooting included efforts to blame political opponents, as well as a familiar debate over whether it's appropriate to question permissive gun laws for gun violence, which it always is. Still, we have two important takeaways that hold true whether or not you like your society heavily armed: 1) Don't shoot people, and 2) Don't kill people. Also, HuffPost suffered a round of layoffs occasioned by the merger of our corporate parent with another company, and we lost So That Happened host Jason Linkins. We will miss him. We're very glad we organized and negotiated a contract that provided for a relatively generous severance, but layoffs still hurt. On this show, we say goodbye to our fearless host.

James Comey Calls Donald Trump A Liar Because Of How Much He Lies  

So, that happened. This week, the White House celebrated Infrastructure Week. Or at least, they wanted to, but couldn't because this week was James Comey-A-Go-Go in the Senate Intelligence Committee. Yes, the former FBI director debuted his testimony in front of an eager gaggle of Senators and he seemed pretty bent on making sure everyone knew that President Donald Trump was a serial liar. The White House struck back, accusing Comey of leaking privileged information and telling falsehoods of his own. Everyone in DC apparently went to a bar to watch these hearings on television, because we're a sad bunch of drunks. And that's Infrastructure Week. Congratulations to infrastructure. Meanwhile, if you can even remember where the country was a handful of days ago, you might remember last week's hullabaloo, President Trump's decision to exit the Paris Climate Accords. There was a lot of doomsaying in the wake of the decision, but there were also several renewed commitments made by other American politicians to...

The Trump Doctrine: Go %#&$ Yourself, Other Countries  

So, that happened. This week, we're going in search of a Trump Doctrine. President Donald Trump has returned from his first lengthy trip abroad. You've heard the speeches, you saw the photos, you know about the orb. Now it's time to consider the ways Trump's dealings with our European allies and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia point to a coming shift in American foreign policy, and illustrate the way Trump wants to reshape the world and the United States role in it. Buckle up, it's gonna get bumpy. After looking beyond our borders, we'll then come home to Capitol Hill, where the lives of Republican legislators have continued to get more and more complicated, and more and more frustrating, as the ongoing Russia probes steal time away from shaping a legislative agenda. We'll also try to find out what Democratic lawmakers are up to while their counterparts are mired in all of Trump's melodrama.

Draconian Budget Cuts And Fake News Conspiracy Theories: Just Another Week In Trump's America  

So, that happened. This week, while President Donald Trump was away on foreign business, the wider world got a look at the latest White House budget proposals and the experience was like staring into a moral void. Broadly targeted for elimination: just about anything that offers assistance to the poor and vulnerable. Cashing in big time: rich income earners. There are education cuts that could decimate profitable research, new burdens on food stamp providers that could result in fewer in the market. Joining us to marvel at the pure draconian nature of it all is Alexis Goldstein from Americans for Financial Reform. Meanwhile, the murder of Seth Rich -- a young DC resident and Democratic National Committee staffer -- was a tragedy for those who knew him. But the internet's conspiracy swamps and right wing media outlets have teamed up to further traumatize Rich's family and friends. It's weaponized fake news, and it's perfectly emblematic of the surreal world that Donald Trump has both ushered in and...

Donald Trump Is Taking His Clown Show To Europe  

So, that happened. This week, President Donald Trump had another one of those weeks where Donald Trump is president. By which I mean, total omnidirectional omnishambles. Building off the controversy of last week's controversial firing of James Comey, Trump revealed highly classified intelligence from a source in Syria to two high-ranking Russian officials, touching off yet another self-immolation. He's ended the week with more trouble from Comey, more indefensible deceptions, fewer allies willing to go to bat for him, and a newly appointed investigator nipping at his heels. We'll dive into the Trump black hole to try to rescue some light Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, fans of fixing the criminal justice system scored a major victory this week. Civil rights attorney and progressive-minded reformed Larry Krasner won the Democratic primary election for Philadelphia district attorney. It's a major shift in Philly, and it's also part of what seems to be a burgeoning trend of voters opting for reform champions at...

Donald Trump Is Lighting His Presidency On Fire  

So, that happened. This week, Donald Trump fired James Comey. And that's been the implacable news event of the week, so much so that we are just going to surrender to it entirely. This single decision is the apotheosis of Trump. It has everything: a stumbled over decision that landed with a kersplat on the news-cycle, constantly shifting rationales that change by the hour, massive leaks from the White House, the usual concerns over temperament, and the unalterable impression that the White House is either strategically engineering a cover-up, or too impulsive to govern in a sane way. Or both! We even have White House press secretary Sean Spicer hiding among the bushes on the White House grounds. It's well and truly bonkers. We'll try to piece through the most troubling aspects of this decision, beginning with the implausible reason we've been told guided Trump's decision. Former Department of Justice spokesman joins our own Sam Stein, to offer an insider perspective on the matter. And we'll deal with the...

Republicans Initiate Brilliant Midterm Strategy Of Kicking Tens Of Millions Of People Off Health Insurance  

So, that happened. This week, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a bucket of garbage, placing the lives of some 24 million people at risk. Quite a spectacle really. We'll have fifteen minutes of flabbergasted gasping for you to enjoy. Meanwhile, for some reason we'll also talk about other things. For example, just how populist is the Trump White House going to get? The new head of the SEC will be Goldman Sachs' bailout lawyer, Jay Clayton, so it's sure not looking good for that whole "drain the swamp" project. But maybe we're wrong. Joining us to figure this out is our pal Alexis Goldstein from Americans for Financial Reform. Finally, Donald Trump is hoping to appoint Tennessee State Senator Mark Green to the position of Secretary of the Army. This is his second attempt to place someone in that job, and based upon Green's litany of bizarre statements and strange positions, there is a not insignificant chance that he'll need a third. With that in mind,...

The 100 Day Deadline Has Trump Flailing  

So, that happened. This week, we've reached the end of Trump's first 100 days. How will it be remembered? In many ways, it's been like watching someone's body reject an organ transplant. Somehow, Trump has managed to hit the century mark at the threshold of a government shutdown fight with his own party. Nevertheless, some things never change, and 100 days into the Trump presidency we can report with confidence that everything remains really, really great for people who are really, really rich. Meanwhile, we are taking a look in at the mayoral race in Omaha, which would normally be a sleepy race focused mainly on things like potholes. But the Democratic nominee, Heath Mello, has become one of those totemic candidates in 2017 -- a test of post-2016 Democratic Party strength. And so Democrats made a big investment in raising his profile, only to discover that he was not with them on a key issue: reproductive rights. Finally, our guest today is Jonathan Taplin, a filmmaker and author who used to be a tour...

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