Podcast | How Washington’s attorney general keeps beating Trump

Bob Ferguson underestimated the president once. He tells journalist Emily Bazelon why that will not happen again. 

Bob Ferguson

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson gives some insight into his history of filing lawsuits against American presidents. (Photos by Sarah Hoffman/Crosscut)

In January 2017, Bob Ferguson became the first state attorney general to sue the Trump administration. That was in response to the president's attempt to ban travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Since then, the Washington state attorney general has filed 40 additional lawsuits against the administration.

He’s sued over the practice of family separation at the border, the administration’s ban on transgender people from serving in the military and, most recently, the proposal to add a citizenship question to the U.S. Census. 

So far, Ferguson’s office has won about half of those cases, and the Trump administration hasn’t won any.

For this episode of Crosscut Talks, we invited Ferguson to discuss all of these efforts and the changing role of attorneys general in American politics. Speaking with Ferguson is Emily Bazelon, a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and author of Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration

This episode was recorded on May 4, 2019, at Seattle University for the Crosscut Festival. 


Bob Ferguson
Ferguson says he feels passionate about his politics, but leaves partisanship at the door when it comes to his job: "The first president I sued was not Donald Trump. It was Barack Obama."


Crosscut Festival
An early-morning crowd packed Campion Hall for the discussion. 



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