The Issue Is: Peter Hamby, Mark Takano

A big week in politics. Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) lost her primary to a Trump-backed challenger. Despite objections from the Justice Department, a judge ordered that a redacted version of the affidavit that justified the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago be released. Meanwhile, President Biden signed the climate and health care bill known as the "Inflation Reduction Act" into law.

To break it all down, and more, Elex Michaelson is joined on "The Issue Is" by journalist Peter Hamby.

Hamby, of Puck News and host of the Snapchat show "Good Luck America" also breaks down recent polling that shows California voters want President Biden to step aside in 2024, maybe to be replaced by Governor Gavin Newsom, and how political messaging is changing in an increasingly digital age.

Michaelson is also joined by Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA).

Earlier this month, Takano joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a small Congressional delegation on a tour of Southeast Asia, including a much-debated stop in Taiwan, the island nation China claims as their own.

Following that trip, a show of force from China, who carried out military drills in the air and sea around Taiwan.

Takano describes the goal of the trip, takes viewers inside the meeting between Pelosi and Taiwan’s President, and reveals a scary moment in which the delegation feared the Chinese military may be interfering with their plane.

He also discusses the recent passage of the PACT Act, a bill he sponsored, that enhances health benefits for some 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during military service.


HAMBY’S CENTRAL TAKE: "There's a term in Washington called 'Strange New Respect,' when someone from the other team, the other party, suddenly turns around and you agree with them, and Liz Cheney embodies that. When she voted to impeach Trump, when she joined the select committee in the House to investigate January 6th, suddenly Democrats loved her. This is the daughter of Dick Cheney; a lifelong Republican who voted with Trump 96% of the time, and yet she became a fixation in Washington for the press, for Democrats... She, as you heard, talked about the party of Lincoln, she created a fundraising PAC to travel the country, keep her name in the news, maybe run for President, but look, at the end of the day, right now she's a fixation of Democrats and maybe MSNBC and resistance people on Twitter. But she's a woman without a party, I mean, the Republican Party is fully owned by Donald Trump at this point, or his disciples - Ron DeSantis, Kari Lake, etc. - and Democrats, at the end of the day, wouldn't vote for her for president, even though they might send her money, as a lot of Democrats did in the primary…"


HAMBY’S CENTRAL TAKE: "First of all, I don't think it's fundamentally good that Donald Trump is under investigation on multiple fronts and maybe broke the law, like I don't think that helps his chances of winning a general election the next time around. But, in a Republican primary, you know, he's like a superhero where you attack him and it makes him stronger. He needs something to run against, like he defines the term negative partisanship in American politics - they're out to get me, they're out to get you, the deep state is investigating me. And because remember, he's de-platformed, he's not on Twitter or Facebook, all these all these platforms anymore, he needs some kind of oxygen to get the mainstream media to talk about him, and this investigation is a perfect example of that. And to your point, I mean, even Mike Pence, who's turned on Donald Trump, is now coming out and defending him against this FBI investigation…"


HAMBY’S CENTRAL TAKE: "[Newsom's] made this sort of gamble that we live in a very combative, partisan, polarized atmosphere, and unlike President Biden, who wants to make a phone call to Mitch McConnell and who wants to pass some bipartisan legislation, Newsom is running ads in Florida, he's throwing punches at Republicans - and the base really seems to like that. And Newsom, I wouldn't say he's the smoothest dude in the world, he can be a little stiff, but he gets social media, like he's he's dropping video clips all over TikTok and YouTube, and you don't see that from President Biden very much, again, because those formats are not his place. He likes to read David Brooks columns and, you know, like watch NBC Nightly News…"


REP. TAKANO’S CENTRAL TAKE: "President Biden could have been more forceful, if that's what his position was. You know, Presidents of the United States, especially with members of their own party, can be far more direct and forceful. President Biden never told Speaker Pelosi, 'don't go,' he never said that - there may have been others in the administration who disagreed with our going, but President Biden did not. We flew on a blue and white plane and, you know, very ably, ably piloted, by the way, I can't get into much of the details, but the Chinese were, there were messing with us, and I can't get into details of that, but they were they were doing things to interfere with our getting [to Taiwan]. But, you know, 260 or 250,000 Taiwanese were following us, they were following our trajectory... the Taiwanese, I think, were overwhelmingly welcome to us regardless of what was going on in D.C…."


REP. TAKANO’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Enormously, enormously proud moment for me.... If I do anything equal or greater than getting something like The PACT Act signed into law, I'll feel very fortunate in terms of a legislative career. This is the biggest piece of legislation that I've been behind, but more than that, I think about the 3.5 million veterans and the victory this is for them, the anxiety they no longer have to feel about whether their families are going to be taken care of if they should get a debilitating illness associated with these burn pits, whether they actually may die and whether their families will have benefits. There is so much more to this bill than the burn pits... This is a big, big healing moment for a country that's been through 20 years of conflict, both in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and the global war on terror extends beyond that, so this bill actually reaches to all who participated in the global war on terror up until this point…"

The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to