• Show Notes
  • Transcript

On this week’s episode of Stay Tuned, Preet answers listener questions about Attorney General Bill Barr’s final press conference, Barr’s refusal to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, and Preet’s now-famous misattribution of the 1971 America song “A Horse With No Name” to Neil Young. 

Then, Preet is joined by Rachel Maddow, the host of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, to talk about her new book Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House, which investigates the mostly-forgotten crimes of Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew. Maddow and Preet also talk about the state of TV journalism and the difficulty of covering the GOP’s hypocrisy. 

In the Stay Tuned bonus, Maddow discusses the controversy surrounding the Wall Street Journal op-ed piece criticizing Dr. Jill Biden for using the credential “Dr.”

To listen, try the CAFE Insider membership free for two weeks and get access to the full archive of exclusive content, including the CAFE Insider podcast co-hosted by Preet and Anne Milgram. 

Sign up to receive the CAFE Brief, a weekly newsletter featuring analysis by Elie Honig, a weekly roundup of politically charged legal news, and historical lookbacks that help inform our current political challenges.

As always, tweet your questions to @PreetBharara with hashtag #askpreet, email us at [email protected], or call 669-247-7338 to leave a voicemail.

Stay Tuned with Preet is produced by CAFE Studios. 

Executive Producer: Tamara Sepper; Senior Editorial Producer: Adam Waller; Technical Director: David Tatasciore; Audio Producer: Matthew Billy; Editorial Producers: David Kurlander, Noa Azulai, Sam Ozer-Staton.

REFERENCES & SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS

Q&A: 

  • Zachary Basu, “Barr refutes Trump on Hunter Biden, voting machines, Russia hack,” Axios, 12/21/2020
  • Aruna Viswanatha, “Barr Won’t Appoint Special Counsel to Probe Vote-Fraud Claims or Hunter Biden,” Wall Street Journal, 12/21/2020
  • America’s Dewey Bunnell reflects on his career, RockCellar TV, 7/20/2018
  • Marc Meyers, “On the Journey to ‘A Horse With No Name,’” Wall Street Journal, 7/16/2018
  • Preet’s Tweet on his “Horse” mistake, Twitter, 12/17/2020

THE INTERVIEW: 

BAG MAN

  • Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz, Bagman: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House, Crown, 2020
  • Terry Gross, “’Bad Behavior By People In High Office’: Rachel Maddow On The Lessons Of Spiro Agnew,” NPR, 1/9/2019
  • Mark Peters, “Steven Wright, Immortal King of One-Liners and Literalism,” McSweeney’s, 2/2/2016
  • Clip of plane crash from The World According to Garp (dir. George Roy Hill), YouTube, 1982
  • “Engineer Testifies on Agnew Kickbacks,” New York Times, 1/31/1974

AGNEW’S RISE 

  • “Streets of Fire: Governor Spiro Agnew and the Baltimore City Riots, April 1968,” Maryland State Archives, 2004
  • James K. Glassman, “Maryland Dems Pick Backlash Candidate,” The Harvard Crimson, 10/5/1966
  • Jerald Podair, Zach Messitte and Charles Holden, “The man who pioneered Trumpism,” Washington Post, 11/15/2018
  • Robert Mitchell, “‘Nattering nabobs of negativism’: The improbable rise of Spiro T. Agnew,” Washington Post, 8/18/2018

INVESTIGATING AGNEW 

  • “Concern Tied to Agnew Inquiry Got a Major Federal Contract,” New York Times, 9/9/1973
  • Charles Babcock, “Agnew Hit for ’73 Back Taxes,” Washington Post, 6/24/1977
  • Richard Sandomir, “George Beall, Prosecutor Who Brought Down Agnew, Dies at 79,” New York Times, 1/18/2017
  • “Testimony of George Beall before the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs,” Senate.gov, 3/3/1999
  • Beall Archives, Frostburg State University 
  • Ben Matthis-Lilley, “’70s Memo Indicates George H.W. Bush Had Role in Nixon Obstruction-of-Justice Scheme,” Slate, 12/5/2018

ELLIOT RICHARDSON 

  • Neil A. Lewis, “Elliot Richardson Dies at 79; Stood Up to Nixon and Resigned In ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’” New York Times, 1/1/2000
  • Barnet D. Skolnik, Russell T. Baker Jr. and Ronald S. Liebman, “We should demand high standards from William Barr. Spiro Agnew’s case shows why,” Washington Post, 2/13/19
  • “Nixon Hospitalized,” New York Times, 7/15/1973

THE 1973 OLC MEMO AND AGNEW’S FALL

  • “OLC Memo: Amenability of the President:, Vice President and other Civil Officers to Federal Criminal Prosecution while in Office,” FAS.org, 9/24/1973 
  • Walter Dellinger, “Indicting a President Is Not Foreclosed: The Complex History,” Lawfare, 6/18/2018
  • Andrew Glass, “House denies Vice President Agnew’s impeachment request, Sept. 26, 1973,” Politico, 9/26/2016
  • Matt Ford and J.T. Smith, “‘It’s High Time This Whole Matter Get Revisited,’” The New Republic, 6/17/2019
  • Helen Dudar, “Agnew: I Quit Because I Feared for My Life,” Washington Post, 4/20/1980
  • Cnaan Lipshiz, “Former VP Spiro Agnew in 1980 Asked Saudi Leader for Money to Fight U.S. ‘Zionists,’” Ha’aretz, 2/22/2019

CONTEXTUALIZING BARR 

  • Carrie Johnson, “William Barr Supported Pardons In An Earlier D.C. ‘Witch Hunt’: Iran-Contra,” NPR, 1/14/2019
  • “Understanding the Iran-Contra Affair: The 1992 Pardons,” Brown.edu
  • Norman Eisen and Donald Ayer, “William Barr’s resignation is a final, parting shot to the rule of law,” Washington Post, 12/15/2020

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW

  • Maddow’s Monologue on partner Susan Mikula’s COVID-19 recovery, MSNBC, 11/19/2020
  • David Smith, “Rachel Maddow on her critics: ‘Your hatred makes me stronger. Come on! Give me more!’” The Guardian, 2/2/2020
  • “How Rachel Maddow prepares those epic monologues,” Axios, 10/2/2017
  • Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow, “Why Is This Happening? Exploring history and scandal with Rachel Maddow,” MSNBC, 11/21/2018
  • David Folkenflik, “You Literally Can’t Believe The Facts Tucker Carlson Tells You. So Say Fox’s Lawyers,” NPR, 9/29/2020
  • Larry Parnass, “Maddow joins new program on MSNBC,” Daily Hampshire Gazette, 6/15/2005
  • Ron Elving, “What Happened With Merrick Garland In 2016 And Why It Matters Now,” NPR, 6/29/2018
  • “Trumptastic Voyage,” The Simpsons, YouTube, 2015

META-BUTTON 

  • Preet’s first Stay Tuned episode (with Leon Panetta), CAFE, 9/20/2017
  • Preet’s second Stay Tuned episode (with Vanita Gupta), CAFE, 9/26/2017
  • John Eligon, Alan Blinder and Nida Najar, “Hate Crime Is Feared as 2 Indian Engineers Are Shot in Kansas,” New York Times, 2/24/2017
  • Frank Morris, “Yoder Attending State Of The Union With Widow Of Immigrant Man Killed In Hate Crime,” KMUW, 1/20/2018
  • Amy B. Wang, “Shahid Khan, the Jaguars owner who stood with his team, has long espoused the American Dream,” Washington Post, 9/24/2017

Author and MSNBC journalist Rachel Maddow dives into a 1970s scandal that sounds awfully familiar. 

When Rachel Maddow started researching Nixon’s vice president Spiro Agnew, she assumed that his crimes had something to do with Watergate. What she discovered instead was far stranger—a reckless kickback scheme and subsequent cover-up with plenty to teach us about the GOP’s recent scandals. Her research first became a Peabody-nominated podcast and is now a rollicking book, Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House

Maddow joins Preet for an in-depth look at Agnew’s downfall, including her discovery of widespread GOP involvement in an attempted obstruction scheme. The two tick off the similarities between the misdeeds that came out of the White House in 1973 and those that we are watching unfold today. In the process, they arrive at new and powerful conclusions about the nature of corruption and the responsibility of journalists to uncover difficult truths.