🎧 Spy vs. Spy | On the Media | WNYC Studios

Listened to Spy vs. Spy by Bob Garfield from On the Media | WNYC Studios

A pattern of assassinations baffled Ukrainian authorities. Then an assassin came forward.

New York Times reporter Michael Schwirtz set out to investigate a series of assassinations in Ukraine with low expectations. Reporting on a homicide as a member of the foreign press is daunting enough to begin with. His assignment was formidable beacuse many of the murders were linked to Russia — a government hostile to the media at best and notorious for murdering foreign journalists at worst.

But when Schwirtz approached alleged Russian assassin Oleg Smorodinov to question him about a murder, the accused provided an unexpected bit of testimony: a confession. And on top of that, Smorodinov disclosed the specific role the Kremlin played in ordering and directing his crime.

Schwirtz published his findings in a New York Times feature last week. Bob spoke with Schwirtz about spies, state-facilitated assassination and the experience of following a true story that reads like a Russian mystery novel.

🎧 The Daily: A Russian Assassin Tells His Story | New York Times

Listened to The Daily: A Russian Assassin Tells His Story from New York Times

He was given a list of six people, each with the code name of a flower. One day, he got a text message: “The rose has to be picked today.”

🎧 “The Daily”: The Spy Who Provoked Putin | New York Times

Listened to "The Daily": The Spy Who Provoked Putin by Michael Barbaro from New York Times

Two intelligence officers were men of the same age and training. After the Soviet Union collapsed, one rose — and one fell.

🎧 ‘The Daily’: Why Believing Putin Will Be Hard This Time | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Why Believing Putin Will Be Hard This Time from New York Times

President Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin are meeting just three days after the U.S. charged 12 Russians for hacking the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.

🎧 ‘The Daily’: The (Misunderstood) Story of NATO | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The (Misunderstood) Story of NATO from New York Times

President Trump called U.S. allies “delinquent” on military spending and attacked Germany as “captive” to Russia. We examine the source of his frustration.

🎧 The Daily: The Other Russian Interference | New York Times

Listened to The Daily: The Other Russian Interference from nytimes.com
Hours after the presidential summit meeting in Helsinki, news broke of the arrest of Maria Butina, a Russian woman charged with conspiring to influence American politics.

🎧 The Daily: An Interview With George Papadopoulos | New York Times

Listened to The Daily: An Interview With George Papadopoulos from nytimes.com
The former Trump campaign adviser speaks for the first time about why he lied to the F.B.I.

🎧 ‘The Daily’: Trump Sides With Putin | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Trump Sides With Putin from New York Times
In a remarkable news conference, President Trump avoided criticizing the Russian president, and instead aimed his sharpest barbs at the United States.

🎧 ‘The Daily’: The World Cup’s Mysterious Path to Russia | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The World Cup’s Mysterious Path to Russia by Michael Barbaro from New York Times

The 2018 World Cup is now underway in Russia. How it ended up there involves some names you might recognize: Comey, Mueller and Steele.

👓 Trump Putin summit: John McCain and Republicans attack Donald Trump for trusting Putin, ignoring FBI | Quartz

Read “Abased before a tyrant.” Read John McCain’s scorching review of Trump’s meeting with Putin (Quartz)
"Our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad."

🎧 ‘The Daily’: Putin’s Grip on Russia | The New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Putin’s Grip on Russia by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

President Vladimir V. Putin has been elected to a fourth term, drawing support from more than three-quarters of voters. How is the most powerful man in Russia staying that way?



On today’s episode:
• Steven Lee Myers, a former Moscow bureau chief of The New York Times who covered Vladimir V. Putin’s rise to power and who is the author of “The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin.”

Background reading:
• The long-serving Russian leader has become a model for the modern autocrat.
• Russian voters gave Mr. Putin their resounding approval for a fourth term on Sunday.

A great, but brief overview of Vladimir Putin and his backstory leading up to his present position.

🎧 Masha Gessen | The Atlantic Interview

Listened to Masha Gessen by Jeffrey Goldberg from The Atlantic Interview
Author and activist Masha Gessen’s new book about Russia won the 2017 National Book Award for nonfiction. The Atlantic's editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg talks with Gessen about what Vladimir Putin wants, what Donald Trump’s election means, and how Americans should think about Russia's interference in 2016.

Transcript

A stunning interview on Russia and how it relates to world politics. I’m ordering Gessen’s book The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.

Mike Morell interview by Charlie Rose on World Politics relating to the Presidential Election 2016

Watched Mike Morell interview on Charlie Rose by Charlie Rose from Charlie Rose
Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, on Donald Trump and his recent op-ed endorsing Hillary Clinton.

First let’s start with the fact that I’m a big Mike Morell fan! If you want to know about world politics and know more about not only the big picture but the minutiae, and learn it from someone who can not only lay out an argument succinctly but with great depth, there is no better tutor than Morell. A former deputy director and a former acting director of the CIA, Mike Morell is about as good as it gets in understanding foreign policy. Morell is great at laying out simple facts and figures relating to incredibly complex and nuanced events and exploring a range of potential options, and then, only if asked, will provide any personal opinion on a subject. I love the fact that he appears frequently on Charlie Rose which is about as good as it gets in the interview game. Listening to their discussions will make you a better citizen, not only of America, but of the world.

Last week I was floored that Morell, a lifelong non-partisan due in great part to his decades long government service, broke ranks to endorse Hillary Clinton in an influential op-ed piece in the New York Times. I suspect (completely a gut reaction on my part) that despite not having registered with a political party, Morell leans more to the right and would generally vote Republican. Despite this, he laid out a scathing argument why Donald Trump should not be the next president. He was my foreign policy hero to begin with, but now I’ve got to build the pedestal even higher. I’m glad that despite the sacrifices he had to make to present such an argument, that he stood up firmly for what he believes is right for the country.

If you haven’t read his piece from Friday, I highly recommend it. If you prefer a video version with more discussion and elaboration, then last night’s Charlie Rose was fantastic.

Even better, if you want a scintillating and engaging primer on world politics, jump back into Rose’s extensive archives and watch all of Charlie Rose’s past interviews with Morell.