ALAN: Welcome to Empire Report. I’m Alan Nuevo.
BECK: And I’m Beck Russum. We begin with political intrigue in New York City where a surprise press release announced that Chakir Cubero, Imperator Addison’s senior advisor to the Senate, will be leaving the administration effective immediately. His sudden departure surprised many, including a panel of Senators who adjourned their press conference without comment when a reporter broke the news.
ALAN: With decades of experience working with the Senate and navigating its political waters, Chakir Cubero was considered a key advocate and ally for the administration, especially after his recent success working with Senators to expedite the release of regen tech across the empire. No explanation has been given for his departure.
BECK: Irma Adey is here to discuss how Cubero’s departure might affect the Addison administration and its relationship with the Senate. What have you been hearing out of New York City?
IRMA ADEY: Officially, not much. There’s been radio silence for the administration and Mr. Cubero personally. Administration officials have gone on record to confirm the news but refused to provide any further comment. There are plenty of rumors floating around, but I haven’t been able to confirm any of them yet.
BECK: So people are clearly abuzz about this. What can you say about it?
IRMA ADEY: Well, it’s pretty clear that not many people knew this was coming. Everything I’ve heard is either confusion over exactly what happened or concern for what comes next.
BECK: Since the specifics behind Cubero’s departure are murky, let’s focus on the concerns. Why is Cubero’s departure concerning for some?
IRMA ADEY: It’s seen as a sign of a deteriorating relationship between the Addison administration and the Senate. Cubero was well liked in the Senate and worked those halls for decades. He spent years as an advisor to Senator Alisa Lee before joining the Costigan administration as its top Senatorial advisor; a position he maintained when Imperator Addison entered office.
BECK: He was one of the highest-ranking members of the Costigan administration to stay on with Imperator Addison, if I recall.
IRMA ADEY: Believe so. The move made sense for both sides. Cubero has friends and confidants from across the political spectrum and is considered an honest yet shrewd political operative. He was seen as someone who could potentially build a coalition of senators to support the Imperator’s agenda,
BECK: He definitely had a knack for bringing people together. In an interview I did with Imperator Costigan, he said that Cubero was essential to getting HuXa passed by the Senate.
IRMA ADEY: That’s right. Cubero sat down with every senator, even ones openly hostile to the idea, and discussed the HuXa deal in excruciating detail with them. Many saw Imperator Addison’s decision to keep Cubero around as a sign that she was serious about finding ways to work with the Senate.
BECK: How does the decision look to you now?
IRMA ADEY: Honestly, it’s too early to tell. Cubero was essential to getting senators on board with rapidly expanding regen tech but failed to rally much support for other aspects of the Imperator’s ambitious agenda, including the votes needed to confirm Nyahuoaōng T.yi as the next UEE Ambassador to the Xi’an Empire.
BECK: With Cubero out, is there any word on who might manage the relationship with the Senate for the Addison administration?
IRMA ADEY: From what I’m hearing, Jesse Baigent, Imperator Addison’s Chief of Staff, will be assuming those responsibilities for now.
BECK: Mr. Baigent, of course, is also Imperator Addison’s husband and one of the architects behind her successful Imperator campaign.
IRMA ADEY: He’s also become an extremely polarizing member of the administration. Some have described him as inflexible and easy to anger. One person told me that Baigent’s someone who’d rather burn a bridge than compromise on its design. Meanwhile, his defenders argue that his hardline tactics are needed to achieve Imperator Addison’s agenda and shake up the political norms that favor the powerful.
BECK: You’ve previously reported that Baigent and Cubero clashed frequently, including over how to handle the nomination of Nyahuoaōng T.yi.
IRMA ADEY: That’s right. Cubero wanted to consult the Senate on the controversial nominee and build a coalition of support before officially announcing it. But Baigent disagreed and convinced the Imperator to hold a press conference introducing Nyahuoaōng T.yi as the nominee before informing the Senate.
BECK: The way the nomination process was handled definitely didn’t endear the administration to the Senate.
IRMA ADEY: Which is a huge, huge liability for Imperator Addison since she ran as an independent candidate. Not having to conform her ideas to a party’s platform was a clear benefit during the campaign but not having the built-in base of support is hurting her now.
BECK: Hard to get the Senate to consider your agenda if no one there supports it.
IRMA ADEY: Exactly, but let me be clear, Imperator Addison has her defenders in the Senate. There’s just not nearly enough support to build a coalition that could pass her policies. And, now that Cubero’s gone, it would seem like creating one just got that much harder.
BECK: So what’s next for the administration and the Senate? Were there any potential positives by parting ways with Cubero?
IRMA ADEY: We shall see. The biggest question for the administration seems to be if Jesse Baigent will add managing relations with the Senate to his duties or if they have someone else in mind for that role. On the Senate side of things, the Science and Technology Committee was scheduled later this week to begin debate on whether or not to amend the current AI laws to allow for limited research.
BECK: A major promise of the Addison campaign that has yet to gain much traction in the Senate.
IRMA ADEY: And now looks like it’ll have to wait a bit longer, as I’m hearing that debate has been removed from their schedule. I reached out to several members of the committee but no one would comment on why it was tabled or when it might be rescheduled.
BECK: Irma, thanks as always for your insights. I’m sure we’ll be speaking to you more in the coming days as further details around Chakir Cubero’s departure from the administration come into focus.
ALAN: We need to take a quick commercial break. When we return, we’ll pay a visit to Nemo where local officials on Ergo have released a concerning report on the safety and structural integrity of several of the water world’s most heavily populated platforms.
BECK: That and more when Empire Report returns.