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Chris Riback's Conversations

A News and Politics podcast featuring Chris Riback
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Engaging interviews and discussions of elections and the political issues of the day


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156 episodes
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Recent Episodes

Philip Mudd: Trump & the Attack on U.S. Intelligence
It was a perfect week to have Philip Mudd, CNN counterterrorism analyst, on the podcast. Phil spent some 25 years at the highest levels of the CIA – reaching Deputy Director of the National Counterterrorism Center – and FBI, where he was hired to be its first National Security Branch Deputy Director by Robert Mueller. So when you have Mueller’s Congressional Hearings nine days ago followed by President Trump’s tweets five days later announcing his intention to replace our top intelligence chief with a Republican House member who, as the Washington Post wrote, has alleged anti-Trump bias at the FBI and Mueller’s team, directly accusing Mueller of violating  “every principle in the most sacred of traditions” of prosecutors – when you have that and you want to know what in the world is the state of our national intelligence and law enforcement agencies, well, Phil Mudd is who you call.But truth be told, that timing was mostly luck. The real reason I wanted to talk with Mudd: He has written an important, first of its kind book: Black Site: The CIA in the Post-9/11 World. Mudd not only takes us inside the CIA, but inside one of the most hidden parts of the CIA, the part known internally as “The Program”: The secret Black Sites where the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and where our national debates on torture, waterboarding, counterterrorism, and the deep responsibility to prevent another attack were born.How were those decisions made? How were they justified? What did CIA officers, deputy directors, directors – even people who interrogated prisoners – think and feel about what they were doing? And how do they feel about it now?  For show notes & my newsletter, go to
Tim Alberta: How Trump Filled the GOP Leadership Vacuum
What happened to the Republican Party? You’ve heard of it: One of the two major political collectives in America… the one that counts Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan among its heroes? The modern GOP branded itself on ideals of fiscal responsibility, fighting dictators from the Soviet Union to Saddam Hussein, and personal morality. Today, of course, the U.S. deficit is more than $1 trillion. New age dictators are our friends. And personal morality? Well, not so much. The GOP change has been swift, stark, and you might be led to believe, all because of one person: Donald Trump. But is that true? Was Trump the cause or the most logical outcome? Perhaps more importantly, is there any going back? Is the GOP now the POT – the Party of Trump?  That’s what I asked Tim Alberta, Politico Magazine’s Chief Political Correspondent and author of “American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump.” For show notes & my newsletter, go to
Robert Tsai: Is Justice Possible? Your Supreme Court Questions Answered
You may have heard last week’s conversation on the Supreme Court. Well, there’s something about the Supreme Court that gets listeners’ attention. I received a lot of follow-up questions – so many, that I wished I had immediate access to another constitutional scholar. Turns out, I did. I already had recorded the second half of the conversation you’ll hear today with Robert Tsai. Tsai is Professor of Law at American University and a prize-winning essayist in constitutional law and history. Previously, he clerked for two federal judges and worked civil rights lawyer in Georgia. He has written three books, the most recent of which is Practical Equality: Forging Justice in a Divided Nation. When we consider remedies to the various inequalities that define these times – from voting restrictions and oppressive measures against migrants to the rights of sexual minorities, victims of police action, and even racism in the criminal justice system – existing laws to address equality are often incomplete. But in exploring the Constitution and reexamining important historical cases, Tsai explains how legal ideas that aren’t necessarily about equality at all — ensuring fair play, acting reasonably, avoiding cruelty, and protecting free speech — have been used to overcome inequality in the past and can serve as potent alternative tools to promote equality today. Simply, Tsai offers a distinct view and outlines the possible innovative legal measures to overcome injustice. But with all the comments from last week’s podcast, I asked Robert for a favor – would he be willing to do a quick update call where I could ask him some of the Supreme Court follow-ups I got from listeners. He agreed, so here it is. For show notes & my newsletter, go to
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Podcast Details
Nov 7th, 2013
Latest Episode
Aug 2nd, 2019
Release Period
No. of Episodes
Avg. Episode Length
32 minutes

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