The Issue Is: Brian Tyler Cohen and Michael Knowles


This week, a fiery rematch of one of the biggest debates ever on The Issue Is.

On the right, Michael Knowles, host of his own eponymous show on The Daily Wire and co-host of Verdict with Ted Cruz. On the left, podcaster Brian Tyler Cohen, host of No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen.

The two face off on a number of hot-button topics, from the FBI raid of Former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to whether or not President Biden deserves more credit for recent legislative victories. 

The two also get heated during a discussion on abortion rights and what the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision may portend for access to gay marriage and contraception down-the-line.


KNOWLES’ CENTRAL TAKE: "I understand why he might mock his political rivals for taking the 5th in 2016, but once you find out that the FBI lied, fabricated evidence on a FISA warrant, FISA application, such that the FBI illegally spied on his campaign and then continued to go after him for years and years and years - I actually forgot to mention the $32 million, years-long Mueller probe, also based on absolutely nothing, turned up nothing. At that point, I think you have to realize if you've got even two brain cells to rub together, 'gosh, these guys seem to be after me.' The attorney general in New York, Letitia James, ran her campaign on destroying Trump, and it seems they're going to try to destroy him any way they can. Spaghetti at the wall, go after the Trump Organization, go after his documents, use the Presidential Records Act or whatever, and so I think Trump was wise not to play ball with these people who are politically motivated and simply out to stop him from winning another term…"

COHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "From the right, we're hearing every obfuscation in the book about how the DOJ and the FBI are politicized, how Biden personally signed off on all of this, how this is political retribution, a way to get Trump not to run... All of it is to distract from the fact that Trump is alleged to have broken the law. You know, he withheld boxes of classified nuclear documents. He, you know, all of everything that he was accused of in the New York AG's probe. That's it. Republicans won't mention that part because they wouldn't be able to wallow in perpetual victimhood, so instead they'll deflect and cry foul and promote criminal conspiracy theories, anything but acknowledge the reasons for the search warrant, for example, in this most recent case at Mar-a-Lago, and that's because the guy is a criminal who can't stop breaking the law…"


COHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Of course I think he deserves more credit - he's accomplished the most of any president in any of our lifetimes. Why he's not getting that credit is is obvious, there's a right wing media machine that's hell bent on the destruction of his presidency. Let's not pretend that's the case here. You know, Biden could cure cancer and you'd have Jim Jordan and the rest of the GOP complain that cancer has rights, too. But I believe that the American people aren't stupid, they're recognizing not only what this administration is getting done, but what's at stake if Republicans do take control, and that is attacks on reproductive rights, restrictions on interstate travel and contraception, overturning same-sex marriage, ignoring climate change, ignoring gun violence, and on and on…"

KNOWLES’ CENTRAL TAKE: "I do agree with one thing that Brian just said, which is that the American people are not stupid, they do know exactly what this administration is doing, that's why they overwhelmingly disapprove of it. A lot of those legislative achievements that you pointed out there, Elex, they fall under a bill that the Democrats have called the "Inflation Reduction Act," that even the majority of Democrats don't think will reduce inflation - a study out of Penn Wharton's budget model, showed that it actually will exacerbate inflation - even Bernie Sanders, who is one of the most left wing senators out there, Bernie Sanders refers to it as the so called Inflation Reduction Act, because it will not reduce inflation, it will actually increase it. You cite low unemployment, certainly after the economy is shut down by the government for two years, when you allow people to go back to work, that can have a nice looking effect on unemployment, but when you're talking about why people might disapprove of this administration, I think it probably has less to do with whatever those scary right wing talking points are and more to do with the 40-year record high inflation... the president has got no plan to deal with inflation, so what does he do? He just redefines inflation. He redefines a recession. We are now officially in a recession, he just tries to change the dictionary definition of that. Well, they can manipulate language all they want, the left loves to do that, they can't change the underlying reality of which the American people are well aware…"


COHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Here's the thing. Whether we're talking about abortion or gay marriage, you know, these, these are people's lives that you're messing with right now, all because you think that your religious beliefs are license to dictate how other people live. And what's craziest for me is how you guys shove this idea of limited government down everybody's throats, and yet the people constantly stripping others of their rights are Republicans. If you don't want an abortion, don't get an abortion. If you don't want a gay marriage, don't get gay married. If you don't want to read certain books from libraries, don't read those books from libraries. If you don't want to identify differently, then don't. But why should nobody get these things?…"

KNOWLES’ CENTRAL TAKE: "I don't think any of those platitudes mean much of anything. We just don't want babies to be killed in the womb.... There's one very important point to make, even beyond pointing out that the word 'fetus' is just Latin for offspring, the important point to make in responding to what Brian said... You said that because I'm a man, I do not have any right to have an opinion on abortion. I would notice, Brian, and I hate to assume your gender, that you are also a man and you are opining on abortion and more importantly, the Supreme Court that decided Roe v Wade, how many women were on that court that decided that issue?…"

COHEN’S CENTRAL TAKE: "It's not a matter of your gender, it's a matter of it not being my body. It's a matter of it not being your body. That's the point…

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