Aug 19, 2022 - Podcasts

Trump's Reset?

We got big developments this week from Trump world and ongoing investigations into the former president and his inner circle. And Liz Cheney was the latest Republican to lose to a Trump-backed challenger in a primary. Meanwhile many Trump supporters feel like the former president has had a kind of reset, especially since the search of Mar-a-Lago.

  • Plus, Democrats try to head off disinformation targeting Latinos.
  • And, one family’s reaction to the new FDA hearing aid rule.

Guests: Axios' Mike Allen and Alexi McCammond.

Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Alexandra Botti, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Alex Sugiura, and Ben O'Brien. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

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NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!

It’s Friday, August 19th.

I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Here’s what you need to know today: Democrats try to head off disinformation targeting Latinos. Plus, one family’s experience with the gap in that new FDA hearing aid rule.

But first, has former president Trump had a reset? That’s today’s One Big Thing.

NIALA: It's the middle of August, but political news doesn't seem to be taking any summer breaks. We got big developments this week from Trump world and ongoing investigations into the former president and his inner circle. And Liz Cheney was the latest Republican to lose to a Trump-back challenger in a primary. Axios co-founder Mike Allen has a smart brevity week-in-review for us. Hey Mike.

MIKE ALLEN: Hey, Niala.

NIALA: Mike, we learned yesterday that we might get a look at a currently sealed affidavit that was at the heart of the FBI Mar-a-Lago search. What would it mean for the public to get access to this?

MIKE: Niala I can tell you from my reporting, Democrats are queezy about this. They say Marrick Garland, the Attorney General is very cautious and they trust him. But they think that out in America, especially with centrist independent voters, there's gonna be a very high bar for what people think was reasonable cause for this extraordinary search. So there's a lot of burden on the Justice Department, not only now to show what they knew when they knew it, why they did it, but also what's gonna come next. I think that's ultimately what's gonna matter. What are the results for the former president?

NIALA: Mike, also yesterday, the former CFO of the Trump organization, Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to 15 felonies and admitted to helping the Trump organization run a tax scheme. What does this mean for the former president's company?

MIKE: We have to pause and say what a big deal Allen Weisselberg was in that world. I went and visited President Trump at Trump Tower right before he was inaugurated after he had been elected back in 2016. And you go in that office and it was stuffed with his mementos, a model of the Trump shuttle, which believe it or not, once was a thing. And it was just a tiny space where there were just a couple of trusted aids and Allen Weisselberg was one of them. He saw everything. There was something going on with the books, or if there were more than one set of books or whatever there was, he would know. And so this was an amazing, turn amazing witness, for prosecutors to have.

NIALA: Finally Mike, we did get some more information about the former president's political power, especially when we think about what happened in Wyoming's primary. What to your mind is the significance of that story this week?

MIKE: I think it's obvious that Congresswoman Liz Cheney plans to run for president. along with an, I think increasingly active Republican field. And I can tell you the Trump supporters feel he's gotten a reset, feel that he is stronger now than before the Mar-a-Lago raid. The Mar-a-Lago raid has really galvanized Republicans, but then you have the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis out there. You have Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina out there. You have former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. You have former Vice President Mike Pence. It's a crowded field already.

NIALA: Mike Allen is Axios co-founder and author of AM, PM and Finish Line. Thanks Mike, have a good weekend.

MIKE: Niala have the best summer weekend.

NIALA: In a moment, fears about disinformation aimed at Latinos in the midterms.

Democrats try to head off disinformation targeting Latinos

NIALA: Welcome back to Axios Today. I'm Niala Boodhoo.

Yesterday, we talked about the mis- and dis-information that affected the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. Today, we wanted to zoom in on a piece of that: Latino voters. As Latino support for Republicans has grown, Democrats are increasingly blaming that on misleading political messaging. A 2022 poll by the grassroots left-leaning political organization Voto Latino found that 66% of the more than 2000 Latinos they surveyed reported seeing false information about Democratic officials tampering with ballots. Now as we approach the midterm elections, Democrats are trying to get ahead of this kind of risk in four battleground states in particular: Texas, Florida, New Mexico and Arizona. Politics reporter Alexi McCammond has been working on this story. Hi Alexi!

ALEXI MCCAMMOND: Hi, thanks for having me.

NIALA: OK so Alexi we’re talking here about both misinformation, which is false information, and disinformation, which are lies intended to mislead people. And there’s a lot of polling saying Latinos have been affected by these across a number of areas – COVID-19, 2020 election results. So what are Democrats most worried about now?

ALEXI: Well, one big thing that Democrats are focusing on lately is messages around the economy because of how harmful they have been with Latino voters in particular and given really just the scope and frequency of political misinformation really flying around the country but in those four states that you mentioned. And that's in large part because polls continue to show that voters across the board continue to think Republicans handle the economy better than Democrats. They don't necessarily attribute or credit Democrats and president Biden with positive economic things like low unemployment and higher wages and job growth. There's a disconnect Democrats say between what Latino voters credit Democrats with and what they actually want to see happen.

NIALA: So how are Democrats trying to combat this?

ALEXI: You know, there are a lot of different efforts from across the party, but one of the most recent and significant efforts comes from the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. They're working on a six-figure campaign to really try to not just fight against this misinformation, but educate Latino voters about the issues they care about and try to strengthen Democrats support with those voters along the way. This past week, they just launched this entire new YouTube channel that is literally only dedicated to fighting miss and disinformation. Folks are really focused on YouTube and on WhatsApp and that's because studies and polls show that Latino folks spend most of their time on those platforms compared to other groups. And also because of the ways in which folks have seen misinformation spread really easily on a platform like WhatsApp. Another thing they're trying this cycle is for every single English digital ad that they put out, they're also creating a Spanish language version of that ad. Because of, again, the volume of political misinformation that's flooding, you know, the radio airwaves TV ads online, and they really need to try to combat that by stepping in and filling these holes with Spanish language ads that otherwise will not exist.

NIALA: Alexi McCammond is part of Axios politics team. Thanks Alexi.

ALEXI: Thank you so much.

One family’s reaction to the new FDA hearing aid rule

NIALA: One last thing before we go today. We told you earlier this week about an FDA change that would make hearing aids available over the counter this fall. But one listener – Rachel H in Ohio – sent us a note to explain why it wasn’t good news for everyone with hearing loss.

RACHEL H: Hi Niala. I was instantly crushed. When I heard you mention that it was only for patients 18 years and older. My daughter who's- actually her first day of high school was today,, was diagnosed with conductive hearing loss this summer, before she went into kindergarten.

I was absolutely floored and infuriated when I was told that hearing aids are not a covered benefit because they are “not medically necessary.” I just can't get my head around why it is not medically necessary for a child to be able to hear, especially when you think about like a school setting.

My husband and I have been able to cover the thousands and thousands of dollars in hearing aids over the years. But they are really expensive. And as kids grow, they outgrow their hearing aid and they have to get new ones.

And so I am certain, there are families who are not able to cover that cost in kids who go without hearing aids.

NIALA: Thanks Rachel for raising this. Remember you can always tell us your thoughts about a story by sending a voicememo to (202) 918-4893.

That’s all for this week. Axios Today was produced this week by Lydia McMullen-Laird and our supervising producer Alexandra Botti. Our sound engineers are Alex Sugiura and Ben O’Brien. Sara Kehaulani Goo is Axios’ editor in chief.

I’m Niala Boodhoo. Stay safe, enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

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