20 Episode results for "skulduggery"

The Whistleblower's Complaint

Skullduggery

24:20 min | 1 year ago

The Whistleblower's Complaint

"The I would like you to do us a favor so said president trump to the president of Ukraine July twenty fifth two thousand nineteen words that will forever be memorialize as an iconic moment of his tenure as the highest officeholder in the land. The favor was crystal clear suir trump wanted the Ukrainian government to revive investigation to an energy company linked to the son of former Vice President Biden a potential opponent opponent in next year's presidential election. It was a stunning request all the more so because according to a newly released whistleblower complaint the president had just just suspended military aid to the Ukrainians desperately fighting Russian aggression had the Quin just been introduced to the quo do Democrats Democrats now have the ammunition to actually impeach the president or have they once more overshot their mark. We'll discuss on this episode of skulduggery Gorie because people have gotta know whether or not their president's across. I'm not a crop. I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostile my heart to my best intentions still tell me that's true but the facts and the evidence tell me it is is not did not have sexual relations without him. There will be no lies we will honor the American people okay with the truth and nothing else at Toyota. We believe that American veterans have the strongest credentials on earth especially when you consider that they spend years gaining valuable experience they're putting their lives on the line to protect the country they love and the people that live here but that doesn't always mean finding a career path is easy. That's why Toyota has partnered heard with hiring our heroes to help over one hundred fifty thousand veterans and military spouses connect with employment opportunities. We are Toyota. USA Say I'm Michael ISIKOFF chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News and I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News well quite the a week liedemans sort of made order for skulduggery and we've got the perfect yes to help us dissect it Ellie homemade former federal the prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Ellie Welcome back to skulduggery. Thank you for having me glad to be back with you in a glass truck. Apparently I should point out we are in a glass booth outside the corner of sixty eighth and Broadway in New York City where advertising week is taking on if you're wondering why we're here AAC CAST which is our partner in skulduggery has sponsored this booth and has invited us to do the show. We're actually literally broadcasting on the street on Broadway so off. You may have a chance to access start a riot. Yes and I see the people why wandering down the street. They'll no doubt WANNA listen to what we have to say but there's a lot to talk about. Look just in the last twenty four hours. We've got the release of that transcript transcript of the president's phone call with Lewinsky the president of Ukraine. We got this morning the release of the whistle blower complaint with some really really striking new details and we had Admiral McGuire the director of National Intelligence being questioned by the House Intelligence Committee. La Let's start out with review. What is your takeaway at this moment while the big takeaway from the whistleblower complaint I to first of all now we have the cover up to go with the crime right the fact they were taking memo's relating to the president's conversations and sort of secreting them on a separate server where they were narrowly supposed to be is a big deal and second second of all just the extent of Rudy Giuliani's involvement in all this and I know Rudy Giuliani has become this clown like figure that people roll their eyes at and laugh at but but he's in the middle of this and and I think it's very telling to this whole thing that the president was using a private citizen his personal attorney to the contact Ukrainian officials to try to get on Joe Biden? This is a personal political mission by the president but big picture when you look at the phone call and I think the Boe call is really the crux crux of the matter when I saw that transit yesterday. I thought I what is happening here. Why did they release this? And how did anybody advise Donald Trump. You should put this out there. This'll be good good for you. I think it is incredibly damning. I think there's enough in that phone call itself. I know it's a transcript or summary but to justify potentially criminal charges and even if not criminal charges impeachment based on abuse of power well. Let's step back and let's look at those potential criminal charges because as we know this actually was referred to the Justice Department head of the criminal uh-huh Division of the Justice Department determined that there was no crime committed what they were looking into was a campaign an illegal campaign contribution. What is your your view of the Justice Department's conclusion well first of all? It's not clear they determined anything any type of investigation rather than just sort of summarily. They said it didn't uneven rise viewed the complaint into determined it. There was no criminal violation. There and I should point out that I think the criminal violation they were looking at is solicitation of four campaign contributions so so it was pretty summary dismissal. It's not as if they went and did some sort of investigation. Look it's first default bill bars special I mean when Renault that bar was involved I know but I I refer to supposedly handled bill bar or DOJ special and if I had to bet on whether bill bar laid eyes on a complaint having to do with the president of the United States I mean it would be malfeasance all seasons for someone to make that decision without raising up for the record the Justice Department did say that all components of the department that looked at this agreed and that it was career a prosecutor in public integrity section they all fell in line look they're wrong as a matter of law the whole Hook here the whole hook that doj seized onto not even and take a look into this case is this idea of thing of value so it is a federal crime to attempt to get to solicit to ask for foreign election eight anything of value value in connection with an election and what DOJ has concluded is well. This would not be a thing of value. That's a ridiculous common. Sense that is rewarding. Selena value has a thing of value has a particular meaning. It is not just something that is valuable thing of value is something that is quantifiable presumably something that can that quantifiable in a monetary sense so two things you don't have to be able to put a specific price tag on things there are plenty of plenty of things that are plenty valuable that there's no particular price tag on and and second of all the standard here's diminished like it has to be just worth again. There's no particular monetary value but even some bare minimum of value is sufficient. I mean this is OPPA. OPPO research paints thousands of dollars but if you can quantify what that thing of value is you don't know whether it's five dollars dollars value or five million dollars. But how do you make a case when you can't even put a number on what value is that's number one number number two what he was asking and this is by the way not offensive what trump has done here at all because it's clearly that the request itself is is a potential use of power for impeachment purposes but for criminal a violation purposes. He's asking for an investigation. The investigation negation could take place and no charges could be brought and nothing about Biden comes up at all in which case thing of value zero so you know how you just based on this conversation conclude that there is a solicitation of a thing of value from the green president so again and you don't need to be able to slap a price tag on a thing for it to be a thing of value otherwise that would exclude all very valuable things and look. It's commonsense. Look how much money campaign spend on this stuff and I'll get to your other point on OPPA research. I mean it's thousands and thousands of dollars. I don't know if I was to try this case. Maybe I'd be a wise guy in call Paul some standard legal research firm and say how much would you charge for just a standard review of your your clients political opponent and they'd say ten thousand dollars twenty two thousand dollars. I mean there's no question that has some value. Can you put a price tag on it. Not necessarily do you have to know and it's a cop out to bring it to bring a case one would think right gotTa Outta all right we'll figure out look I to me strikes especially after reading the whistleblowers because doj the memo they and analysts say the analyze campaign finance violation the whistle blower did not allege a campaign finance violation. No allege was series of facts and and it seems to me that there are other criminal statutes that might be implicated especially when you read the very last page of that whistleblower complaint in the in the classified annex which says that on July eighteenth which is about a week before the phone call Oh. Mb officials informed department and agencies at the President earlier that month had issued instructions to suspend all US security assistance to Ukraine right so the president has directly held up the money then asks for a favor. I Dunno extortion so you tell me right remote former prosecutor obviously again with the proviso that we don't have all the facts but based on the phone call alone. I think you have a good basis for bribery and extortion here and think think of them as sort of flip flip flip sides of the same coin bribery is essentially if you do this wrong thing that I want. I will give you some benefit. Extortion is if you don't do this wrong thing. I AH punish you in some way and so the withholding or or the promise of foreign aid here is what really drives and it's really spelled out surprisingly clearly clearly in the phone call the president almost lays out the quid pro quo. There's some of the president's defenders are out there saying no quid pro quo. I don't know I see one here. I mean look the way you're saying. Let me propose the following. Quid pro quo to you. Can you ever prosecuted these kinds of cases and presumably in most cases the the defendants the criminals don't actually lay out you know the details of their crime in a in a memo right phone call that you have some sort of recommendation of but I mean if you look at this phone call let me just sort of walk through what I see is the key points so the president and let's remember the president is holding in his hands ends hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign aid that Ukraine needs to defend itself to from Russian aggression right so we have the powerful party the United States that holds the money we have the supplicant that needs the money right and the President says the United States has been very very good to Ukraine and he also says I wouldn't say it's reciprocal necessarily necessarily so common sense. What's he saying? They're saying we've taken care of you. You haven't really taken care of us so it's not reciprocal. We're a little bit of uneven footing here and then the president of Ukraine Crane says I would also like to thank you for your great support. In the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next step specifically. We're almost ready to buy more javelin from the United States for defense purposes so the president saying thank you we need your support. Were almost ready for some more we really appreciate and then this is to me is the most important line in the whole thing. The President Donald Donald Trump says I would like to a favor though I mean that wind I would like you to do us a favor though about the way the words though matters there right. That's that's a however at what if instead of I would like you to do a favor though he said however I would like you to do us a favorite. That's what he saying there and that means we're exchanging. These ideas is are related. The favor is related to what we were just talking about so suspending so here's a question Michael Accion the inspector general for the intelligence community immunity who referred the whistle blower complaint to the Justice Department criminal referral. I guess he explicitly did he ask for this to be for this search campaign finance violation to be investigated. I mean he is a experience. I know that whistleblower complaint itself right but he it wha- What's interesting and has not been noted a lot Atkinson's is a very experienced former federal prosecutor in the US Attorney's office in Washington in the fraud section he spent I think eight more than a decade at the Justice Department so he must have looked at this very carefully and he must have concluded their potential criminal violations serious ones otherwise as you wouldn't have referred it should the Justice Department have gone beyond the campaign finance violation and specifically looked at bribery satchels. Course I mean it is not the job of the person who's sending the referral whether former prosecutor not to specify I'd like you. I'd like to refer this case and the following statues. I mean they're free to do that but as the prosecutor you do your job is to just look at all the facts and you decide what's that Jews may apply. I've gotten more referrals than I can count between my years as federal and state prosecutor and a lot the times that are nonsense and garbage and you just can give them a quick look and and file them away but it's your job to go through the allegations and decide laid out there any stocks brought up Giuliani before and the one thing that you're hearing Democrats throw around regarding Giuliani's he's out having all these meetings with Ukrainian officials and negotiating with them and they're saying he potentially violated the Logan Act which is a criminal statute that almost never been enforced. Can we sit and dismiss dismiss that as a as an actual first of all he's acting as an emissary of the President United States that puts them in a logan purposes puts out a little different category then you know that seems far-fetched doesn't as Elliot Yeah I I mean that's not your cleanest shot at Rhodesia Yeah but but let me there's another item in the classified appendix of whistleblower complaint. That's worth talking about which is according to multiple White House officials. I spoke spoke with the transcript of the president's. Call presence alinsky was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National Security Council Director for intelligence programs was this is randall own computer system reserve for code word level intelligence information such as covert action and apparently this was done after officials officials voiced concerns that this would be an abuse of the system and was not consistent with the responsibilities for the director challenges programs such an important fact. They're trying to bury area. I mean there's no other way. That's I think is the most common sense reading of that and I'd matters first of all because like any good scandal. There's usually some cover up aspect but this is a common notion our law the legal term for it has consciousness of guilt and it just reflects. I think the common sense notion that if somebody's involved in lying perjury obstruction of justice destruction of evidence hiding evidence it means they have something to hide you can a jury is allowed to look at that and assume some level of guilt or guilty knowledge wjr but what the president's lawyers will argue in any Senate trial if if we get to that and we'll talk about that in a little bit they they will make the same point they made in their defense from the Muller report which is at the end of the day. The president did turn the document. The White House did turn this whistleblower complaint over it released it at the end of the day it did cooperate in the Muller's investigation so it makes it harder to make this obstruction case when at the end of the day they do cooperate with Congressional investigation operated after it all came out right. It's a little bit different than coming forward with oh no no but they be handed out. Put the transcript out. Look at the stories there air and blowing up so that's a political calculation that they made. Maybe you're trying to convince a jury in this case. A jury of senators who trying to win over Republicans and the argument is going to be bad no harm no foul because at the end of the day you you've got the document. I suppose that's an argument. I think it is an argument. The counter argument I would make is wonderful but they didn't do this until the story really so right it bubble up in the media and people really started to ask serious hard questions since obviously it was some attempt to tap it down so okay so politically problematic because clearly they were looks like they were trying to deep six something that was going to be politically embarrassing to them but they do have the right don't they as you know the executive branch of the government to put memos and files in more restrictive corrective systems what's wrong with that from a legal perspective I it's not inherently illegal but it was improper according to the whistle blower or because the system that it was file under was meant for covert operations for code word level operate for the highest level sort of will be look look we we have had all these leaks about. The president's phone calls the president of Mexico with people in Russia with other leaks and we we're trying to cut down on the weeks you can't the president has to have confidential phone calls with foreign leaders. That'll be what they're saying. I would ask what other phone calls. Did you ever do that with this one. No I look I think the significance of the whistleblower complaint with these first of all these details I think are significant the fact that they did use a special code word level intelligence silo or the phone call and the fact that the president directed that the military aid be held up. I think those are very damning and most significantly it gives the House Intelligence Committee a roadmap for it's investigating percents doc by away and she exactly because those because the whistle blower identified a about a dozen people who were there and who would have been witnesses role of this so those are all about withholding the military aid. What what instructions did he get from? Hey I guess it's convenient to have had your acting chief of staff also be your head of control the money but the question is how quickly are the Democrats GonNa move on this and you you know. Can they sustain. The momentum clearly got right now. It's a great question. If I was advising House Democrats I tell them you have to move light speed here because you're gonNA lose the crowd and you've got an election round the bend in twenty twenty. I mean if you look back at the Bill Clinton impeachment. They were on a somewhat similar timeline right the official. The inquiry was opened in October of ninety eight. The actual impeachment vote in the House happened in December of ninety eight and then the trial and acquittal were January and February of ninety nine now they were one year prior to where we are on the electoral cycles so I think House Democrats have to really be looking at the New Year is if I'm in Nancy Pelosi's shoes I'm thinking I need to get this in front of the full House articles of impeachment for an upper down impeachment vote by the New Year. I'm wondering if that's too long uh three months is a long time in new cycles. That's really to those we live and let me let me ask you this question because you're an experienced experienced prosecutor tried cases before juries you have now watched the Democrats run. This process Judiciary Committee Intel Committee bring witnesses before the committee in fact witnesses but some how do you think they have performed so far. What would your advice be to them going forward and I guess one question I have is do they need to bring in a really heavy hitter kind of prosecutor type to run this so regarding the investigation following the Muller Report and testimony? I think they've done an atrocious job. I think Jerry Nadler has horribly fumbled that he's had that case for months and months only witness. We've heard from publicly as Corey Lewandowski Oscar who didn't answer questions he didn't feel like answering and told them to show Muller but I'm talking about first hand fact when they're moving at a glacial pace they're getting stood it up and stonewalled at every turn their only sporadically going into court and with no real sense of urgency. They're getting slow played to death. I think they were doing a terrible job up until vis fell into their laps. Now one thing that I think you can see is it looks like Nancy. Pelosi is moving responsibility or impetus for this a little bit away from Adler and judiciary and a little more towards Adam Schiff former prosecutor himself and the Intel Committee or we had a story about this and Pelosi and I think her staff and people around her thought that Nadler has done a pretty terrible job intention there and he's a bad messenger. He's just not a compelling speaker you see him on TV. You see him behind the mic and he seems unsure are and he seems like he's trying to remember some line or other and Adam Schiff is better Adam. Schiff is a former prosecutor. He's stronger presence. He's a clear our speaker and I should say although I did think he fumbled a bit in the in his opening with McGuire when he was reading what sounded like the president's events words and he extrapolated and yeah what he later described as a parody given the gravity of what's going on probably not a good idea for shift to be on what the words in the transcript actually say farewell is trump gonna be impeached and when and what exact exact bottom line I do think Donald Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives and everyone. Let's keep in mind impeach does not that's an indict different indictments articles well so here's is a big question for the Democrats I mean I think I think several articles. Let's call it Ukraine. I think he will be indicted for his conduct. Relating to Ukraine abuse of power impeached. I'm I'm sorry impeach. Yes I think he will be impeached on potentially you know they can break it down into as many articles as they want but I think he will be impeached for Ukraine one of the big questions that facing Democrats is how are you going to scope this thing. Are you going to include Muller. Are you going to include Russia obstruction of justice or are you going to include emoluments. I mean I think the best strategy is take your best shot here as prosecutors. Sometimes they go for the jugular not every capillary. I think it's a little hard principle to justify going after the Ukraine gene conduct but sort of just giving all the mother stuff in the obstruction at total pass but I think sounders strategy. There's a lot about this Ukraine conduct that makes it really speak it to the American public. It's current it's happening. Basically now. It's forward-looking whereas Muller is now feels like ancient history. It's two three years ago. It's trump soliciting the hell as opposed to being offered. There's direct contact. I mean this is when you heard no collusion no collusion with Russia. This is the kind of thing you would say if if if you took these facts if this if this fact pattern emerge as part of the Russian investigation would have been gained if it was Putin instead of his game so I can say I think I think the house this will impeach him. I think they will impeach him. Before the end of the year I still do not think you'll be convicted and removed by the Senate but there are the very beginnings of inklings of maybe some Republicans asking well. I don't know maybe maybe the Democrats need to hire L. E. hoenig prosecute. They're only if they can do remotely from New York all right. La Thanks for joining us again on skulduggery L. Duggary thanks guys thanks to former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Elliott Honing for joining us on this episode of skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery augury on Apple podcasts wherever listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think leave a review. The latest episode is also on Sirius Xm on the weekend check it out on Police Channel One twenty four on Saturdays at three PM Eastern time with replays on Sundays at one and three pm

president prosecutor Donald Donald Trump Ukraine Democrats Justice Department United States Joe Biden Muller skulduggery Vice President New York City skulduggery Gorie Ukraine Toyota House Intelligence Committee CNN Rudy Giuliani Senate
Skulduggery | 6

1865

29:18 min | 1 year ago

Skulduggery | 6

"What do the national tell? What can I do for you sir? I'm here to call Miss Lucy Hale. We have appointment my name's Robert. I know you're sir. I'm early which is slow. No I'm here. I'll wait in the lobby. It will be necessary as she went into the parlour. Just go with against a guess and I just any guest. She's with the star Washington. Sir Mr John Wilkes booth which light me to show your way no one UH. What are you trying to protect me from Lucy? What's he doing here? Don't tell me I just can't tell you that I can't make our lesson plans Ford tonight to another. Don't stay with me. What do you say nothing at all? John Wilkes booth server in in eighteen sixty. Five eighteen sixty five is sponsored sponsored by Madison Reed in eighteen fifty six the young British chemist William Henry Perkin was trying to synthesize a treatment for malaria in his lab. He failed his Bakersfield not with Quinine but with a thick dark sludge shoulders slumped and defeat he is set to start again and began cleaning the beakers with alcohol miraculously. The sludge transformed turning a brilliant purple and this lab accident became the first synthetic dye which perkin named Mall Wien it revolutionized the textile industry and hair colour amazingly though it's as if nothing has changed because women today are still faced with the same two options for colouring their hair outdated at home color or the time and expensive salon but there is a third option Madison Reed game changing color you can do at home and look if you just came from the Salon. What makes Madison Reed Color Unique is that it's crafted in Italy by master culturists who blend nuances of light and dark cool and warm to create over forty five gorgeous multi tonal shades so so find your perfect shade at Madison Dash Re Dot Com eighteen sixty five listeners get ten percent off plus free shipping on their first color kit with code eighteen sixty five? That's Madison Dash Re Dot Com Promo code eighteen sixty five eighteen sixty five is supported by you hi. I'm Lindsey Graham executive producer of eighteen sixty five. I'd like to ask you a favor if you're enjoying eighteen sixty five consider supporting it with a five dollar monthly pledge if you'll join us at eighteen eighteen sixty five podcast dot com you'll get the entire original series binge -able right now as it appeared on stitcher premium last year completely ad free you'll also get early access to episodes of the new rewritten and reworked series. That's the one you're listening to right now also add free and in addition to that supporters get transcripts annotated by the writers with more fascinating historical detail a free copy of the original score to eighteen sixty five and special bonus segments that dive deep into our characters history and motivations in their own words as read by the cast but I hope the best perk becoming a supporter of the show is that you will be helping us create the next chapter in our audio storytelling. There are so many stories to tell from seventeen sixty five to two thousand sixty five and your support is critical to our success so please go to eighteen sixty five podcast dot com and become a patron help us continue our work bringing history alive by going to eighteen sixty five podcast dot com. April twenty-sixth eighteen sixty five all persons harboring or secreting accomplices of John Wilkes booth or aiding or assisting their concealment or escape will be treated as accomplices themselves in the murder of the president and the attempted assassination the nation of the secretary of state and she'll be subject to arrest and punishment of death whereas she fishing for her now most mcphail fetch. That's the girl right away. Sir Stay where you are Marshall. Don't stand in my way John cannot barge into my home in bark orders at me like on some kind of dog. She was more than his lover John's. She knew what he was doing. She knew the entire time sit down <music> bother to his the mentality were you his source Maceo answer. The question preposterous gave him access to the President Senator secured him ambition to Lincoln's inauguration at her behest so either she was clueless. clueless victim love struck and blind or she was conspiring and you don't seem like a fool to me. Maceo had no idea what you're talking about. Maybe this will refresh your memory. We know you helped him and both says as much right here in his own words. You were within the day of the assassination. Did you know what he was planning. You don't have to answer that. Did you tell Booth Lincoln would be the four going to continue this line of questioning. We will require an attorney. There are no attorneys onboard the Montauk prison ship now answer the question. I didn't have to tell him he already knew Marcia mcphail Sir by her hands off stairs. Don't make me take you to John. Listen listen to your Father Marshall do as I say you don't force my hand. John don't force mine if you do this. Hers won't be the only scandal in the papers come tomorrow morning. I'll tell everyone you covered this up would put our life's work in jeopardy over this to protect my daughter will do anything it takes. Tell Marshall stand-down. Do you understand what you've bent the rules before you can bend them for my my daughter. stand-down Marshall Yes sir will boost bodies on route to Washington city as we speak I want the body held in secret onboard the Montauk no one steps put on that ship without permission. Yes Sir I wouldn't put a pass the rebels to try and steal the body away below the Potomac Tomac so make certain your men stay on watch twenty four hours a day understood and major no drunkards. I want our best men on this of course come in Mr Stanton Robert. Would that be all mister secretary put together the details straight away way. Yes Sir dismissed didn't expect you back in Washington so soon. I wrote the funeral train as far as Baltimore. I've come to help my mother move out of the White House as you know. Mr Johnson finally took possession this morning and my mother is still not herself. I wish I could have given a more title. No it's fine. No it is an could've done more mister secretary. She had to know that she couldn't stay forever with respect. I didn't come here to talk about my mother. I came because I need your help is all right. My father kept his papers locked away in a safe in his office his his writings. He sees personal correspondence. Yes I'm aware since men have broken the locks what they're destroying these papers throwing them in the fire for God's sake Major Eker tried to stop them but they would not this can the full not wait a day to begin destroying your father's legacy. you called Sir Johnson staffers pillaging Lincoln Safe. What are your men to the White House Cure Lincoln's papers and return them to the war department for Safekeeping and if Johnson's men interfere have them arrested she goes Robert? Wait <music>. Where will you go? Where will you take your mother Chicago as a doctor? They're hoping that it might be able to help her. Will you attend the burial service in Springfield. If I do it'll be alone. Her mother refuses. She says there's no point death has been no stranger to me Robert. I lost my father. When I was thirteen? I wife our daughter my brother my son son changes. I went to every one of those humans all but one dollars they just mistaken my life. Go to the service even if your mother doesn't if you don't it'll haunt him forever. Thank you for your help. Of course I just want you to know how much I appreciate your discretion with regards to Miss Hale. I'm trying to forget her name Mr Stanton please pay me the courtesy of not invoking ever again. I'm sorry whatever you've you've gained from my discretion whenever devils deal struck on her behalf. I hope it's worth it because I know she's not. I just hope the choices you made. Don't haunt you forever. Mister Secretary <music> telegram April twenty-sixth eighteen sixty five from the war department to General Sherman General Multiple Sources Confirm Commander Johnston is losing control of his ranks disobedience is rampant and morale is waning launch a final assault and bring them to heel Edwin M Stanton Secretary War Mister Secretary Mr Laxton forgive me. I am short on time. What can I do for you? It is it true. Johnson is going to accept unconditional surrender. Sherman has his back against the wall. Johnston's men are tired of dying in a war. That's already been declared over. It's only a matter of time from what I hear. He'll surrendered before the week is God willing. It'll be sooner than that now. If you'll excuse me what is Johnson going to do he hasn't made up his mind on amnesty not yet anyway time I still thanks to do you know who Johnson's favorite president is himself. No now who old Hickory Andrew Jackson they say he has a question of Jackson back home in Tennessee. Well now hope it's hanging where it belongs over. The commode Johnson idolizes Andrew Jackson. I think it's fair to say he has no compunction about going back on his word if if he adopts a policy of amnesty but if he does it's the freemen who will suffer Mister Secretary just like the Indian tribes at the hand of Old Hickory. Don't worry about the president take care of him Mr President here and close the door now they say thirty or new office suits you will don't you come in here. brown-nosing me Stanton. You'll man ECKERD arrested to a my staffers on your authority Sir He. Did you feel like telling me why they were destroying Lincoln's papers. I ordered the major to stop them. God damnit Stanton. This is my house now. Not His what I do in my house with my step is none of have you all concerned with the press to find out your staff is destroying Lincoln's property. Do you want to give them a reason to crucify you in black and white. You're men have been released from the capital prison already. Lincoln's papers are being transported to the war department for Safekeeping. It's done and you are the better for it. We'll right sir. No God damn it. What's the matter is? I liked my life before the presidency is jobs a hell of a lot harder than I thought Oughta be who knew it would be so hard well sir. I have a suggestion for you. That might make your transition touch easier. Get to the Point Stanton Sir. My staff has me running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I ain't we got time to go round the bend with you. What do you want a military tribunal? You love being burned my backside. Don't you stanton a military action should be tried in a military court. The wars finished booths dad. It's over compatriots. Patriots are not our enemy combat. They are also citizens who have certain unalienable rights. You're the constitutional law expert. I shouldn't have to tell you this or the evidence we've collected so far highly suggest these conspirators conspirators were acting under the direct guidance and with the full financial backing of the confederate secret service and it shouldn't be hard to make your case in a civilian trial. That'll be all Mr President Stanton. I said that'll be all secretary. You wanted to see me come in major. What can I do for you? So where are we with Lincoln's papers. They're secure minute filing them away and the war department fault as we speak. Let me know when it's done something else. You need the note so the one booth wrote to Johnson the night of the assassination. Is that secure of course. It's locked away in the vault career instructions leak it to the press. Mr Stanton Johnson has been bucking me hard on this tribunal. I need that mayor to break I understand did I ask for your European Major. Do as I say which publication all. Eighteen sixty five is sponsored by net sweet. This podcast is produced through collaboration between writers directors producers Sound Engineers Composers <unk> actors editors all working together towards a common goal. But how successful would we be if the people in those roles didn't communicate with each other. It's outrageous that a director wouldn't talk to an actor or that. The producer wouldn't speak to the writer but for many businesses. That's exactly exactly what happens every day. Sales does their thing accounting does there's H._R.. and Finance just look at each other gnawed and your business suffers net suite by oracle can help net suite is advanced integrated business management software that handles every the aspect of your business in an easy to use cloud platform giving you the visibility and control you need with net sweet. You'll save time money and unneeded headaches by managing sales finance and accounting owners and H._R.. Instantly and right from your desktop or phone on find out for yourself why net sweet is the world's number one cloud business system right now nets is offering you valuable insight with a free guide seven key strategies to grow your profits at net sweet dot com slash eighteen sixty five. That's next week dot COM com slash eighteen sixty five to download your free guide seven key strategies to grow your profits. That's sweet dot com slash eighteen sixty five Mr Mr president who what do I owe this pleasure. Don't you play the fool with me. I'm afraid I don't follow sir. Do you know just showed up at the White House asking questions questions about my relationship with John Wilkes booth no sir. You're a reporter from the Herald dear don't you oh dear me. He had a copy of the booth letter in his hands. This is a problem. I know it's got damn problem a problem. You were supposed to have under control troll. This did not come from me assure you if it didn't come from you. It came from someone in your office. Your loyalty Ain't worth a squat in the woods. If people are going to leak like a sick pigs backside I will find out who's responsible sir and I will we'll see they're punished to the fullest extent of the law much good. That'll do me now. What what? What did you say to the reporter accent? It was Flimflam. What the hell else would I say? They're gonNA think I conspired with booth and my only alibi as I got dem prostitutes. You don't need an alibi sir. You were a target of a vicious attack. You have nothing to hide. That's the truth and that's as far as you need to go if the press finds out about L._S.. Ta Mok Presidency is over Stanton. I had hoped to shield you from this shield me from what considering the scrutiny you're under brats out snapping. Miss Stars name has come up in the course of mine investigation. Come Power kept a journal so rushed on across the I destroyed the problematic pages but I don't know who else saw the journal. I don't know who else might know her name or her connection to you. It boosts co conspirators tried tried in civilian court and God forbid it. Miss Star is called as a witness. I can't promise show perjure herself but in a military tribunal rules of easier to bend she can make certain boots conspirators never testified for themselves. I can keep miss star off the witness list and if anyone tries to take a statement or call or forward in any capacity I'll be able to stop it. What if the press dot sticking our nose around around where I don't belong this dog stand by our story? What makes you so sure that because if she doesn't she'll hand the former military tribunal harangue right maps tribunal is the best course of action after all but if we're going to go down this path together I do have one condition? I not surprised you're aware General Johnston is finally accepted unconditional surrender of course I am with Johnston surrendered the question of what to do with the south is more pressing now than ever there will be immense pressure for you to announce a reconstruction plan publicly inside your cabinet and in the press to do not be hasty sir. If I discovered the Davis or his cabinet or any of his generals are responsible for murdering President Lincoln and you pardon him you will be labeled a traitor rip the country. Reports are all I ask is that you wait for the tribunal to conclude before making a decision on amnesty happier word should have come to me the second you caught wind of this top problem. You're right. I'm sorry don't keep secrets from me. The Barnes on fire and I'm sleeping inside. I expect you to wake me up before you decide to put it out. We clear this. Let the tribunal Raviol- run its course you have my word. Thank you Mr Preston. Thank you for arranging. This old. Thank you father is it. Are you like Nick. He burned alive in the papers no Michelle show. Why would they say that great for sale up? He looks different different. See a dead body before I take it. They always look different. They do it his body. He will be buried where he belongs in an unmarked grave. Do you think and your father's purchase to a second chance at life. Count your blessings guys look to the future. I have no future truth be told. I don't think I'll ever marry the sale. There's something I want to see founders photograph on this body of quite beautiful. Thank Hugh Picture Girl. Yours is the only photograph we found this this this but who are they. Will it matters to me. This is a woman in the paper that prostitutes who John to is not the man you believed him to be. You must forget him. Consider the altar. You could be locked in a cell rotting away the bowels this ship never to see the light of day. Count your blessings. Say Your Goodbyes and forget him. How could I have been such a fool rule prophet? We have been looking backwards in a moment alone with him legit John I wish she she says she needs a moment alone with him every time I just hope this helps put Mr boothe precisely wearing the morning. Yes I hope so too. Thank you Edwin for noticed. Everything don't thank me yet but he thinks your appointment papers congratulations ambassador understand I put in a word to the president on your behalf took some doing but in Diane Johnson came around at the idea banishing dramatic the president has agreed to the tribunal Lucius safe from the investigation for the time then why spend because she's a liability John and so will you a liability to the party and a liability to me as he will never agree to Lucy has no choice in the matter and if I say no don't make this any more difficult than it already is. When do we say a few weeks Pakistan's make radio send word with your travel arrangements? Shortly Edwin Hannibal won every battle he ever fought against Rome except the one that mattered most. Who's the historian now now? If you're not careful you could end up just like heat in exile and without a soul to friend Birger. Ah UH MISSED EVENING MR Bell Mr Bales my Dad's in my dad's dead William William I apologize for the late Al Policy Require always welcome here. I was secretary seward. He's sleeping at the moment. That's all he really does right now so sleep and how will you will you. Is that something I can do for you say yes. Can I see him. Of course you not Sir thank you. You've always had a big mouth seward God. It is unsettling to see you in capable of using it now. We got the best of who did this to you. He'll hang for it along with all the rest of them. I know you've never cared for me as a person I know I haven't always given you reason to a hard man knows. No one knows that more than you but I know you care for what I stand for what I fight for <music> so when you wake I pray you continue to stand with me. I put in the Ground William. Don't you leave me to do you hear me. Don't you leave all set you may director felt this. The bolts of Mr Bell that you win went to explain yourself did you barge and Mr Sewer thome like some sort of wild and if we are going to to have this conversation let's not have it over the body of a dying man speak in my office no Sir we can speak right now fists from prison. I know what it is. Major direct order from President Lincoln I read every parcel documented dispatch that crosses this is my desk and apparently I'm not the only one sorry for reading what is in mind. I am silently bill for things that don't belong to you or is this a new habit developed Secretary Stanton given that General Grant is unable to attend the performance of our American cousin cousin this evening. I shall require additional security to accompany my party to the that's enough. I cordially request the services of Major. Thomas Sincerest regards president. I said that's enough. Are you going to explain this. No one can know about this major. No one not now not ever that order in eighteen sixty five is an airship production starring Jeremy Schwartz as head Wednesday also featuring Lucas van Stephen Walters Jessica Renee Russell Montgomery son Ian Ferguson read Burning Aaron Roberts William Jackson Harper R Bruce Elliott John Davies and a sense created by Stephen Walters and Eric are directed by Robert McColl written by Stephen Walter's executive producer Lindsey Graham how executive producers Eric Are Chila Robert McCulloch and Stephen Walters music and sound design by Lindsey Graham to find out more eighteen sixty to eighteen eighteen sixty five podcast dot com or find us on facebook and twitter at eighteen sixty five podcast and if you're a fan of the show please consider supporting US become a patron at CAITRIONA DOT com slash eighteen sixty five podcast.

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The Governor Trumps obsessed with

Skullduggery

53:34 min | 8 months ago

The Governor Trumps obsessed with

"A Michael isikoff changed correspondent for Yahoo News. And I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News and a quick reminder that you can follow us at skulduggery pod and by the way. If you've got any questions thoughts ideas you wanNA share tweet right out us now. Let's get on with the show. No governor has gotten more incoming from president trump than Michigan's Gretchen. Whitmer trump is referred to her in a tweet as half whitmer and said she was in over our head dealing with virus. He also instructed Vice President Pence not to call her. Perhaps this is not surprising. Given that Whitmer is widely considered to be a leading candidate to be Joe Biden's vice presidential running mate but just a few days ago whitmer out of the blue got a phone call from president trump himself. We'll talk to the governor about that call and the alarming and disproportionate impact. Cova nineteen is having on minorities in her state. Amel Talk to House Intelligence Committee chairman. Adam Schiff about the president's sacking of independent inspector generals as well as what the intelligence community was warning about the pandemic threat on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president's across well I'm not a crook. I told the American people I did not trade arms hostile my heart and my best intentions still tell me. That's true but the facts and the evidence. Tell me it is not. I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no allies. We will honor the American people with the Truth and nothing else. Michael ISIKOFF chief. Investigative correspondent for Yahoo News. And I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News. You know widmer. I think it's fair to say as somebody who most of our listeners including our hosts probably hadn't heard of until the corona virus pandemic hit. But she is getting a lot of national attention both for speaking out. Criticizing with the White House is doing and also the obvious fact that she is a very likely person for that shortlist to be the vice presidential. Pick if for no other reason than she's the governor of Michigan State that's crucial to democratic hopes of ousting donald trump from the White House while we may not have noticed her. A lot of Americans hadn't democratic politicians who are paying attention have been noticing her at least since she won that gubernatorial race in two thousand eighteen and in fact Joe Biden. I think his last public rally before the pandemic struck and before politicians started ending ending their rallies was in Michigan with Governor Whitmer. He certainly has understood for quite some time. Now that She could be important to his election chances and that she would make a an attractive running mate. I will also say that. A former guest on skulduggery. Who knows something about the selection of vice presidential candidates? Eric holder the former attorney general has been talking about Whitmer for a long time campaign for her in two thousand eighteen. He thinks that she is a huge rising star. He said this to me before everyone else started talking about her. And that is significant. Because he's already started to have conversations with the Biden campaign about the vice presidential selection process. And he has a booster Gretchen. Whitmer so this is serious right and one of the issues We're GONNA talk to her about is one. That's getting a lot of attention right now. And that is the usually disproportionate impact that Cova nineteen is having on African Americans and other persons of color. It is a huge issue in Michigan. State where Detroit has a large minority population. And I think that at the end of the day. Whitmer is going to be judged to a great degree about how she handles this. Obviously it's a national problem. It's a national issue but whitmer as the governor of Frontline State Michigan that is third in terms of cases and deaths. That's pretty striking. And the fact that it's hitting African Americans and other minorities is something that we're gonNA be talking to her about a lot of people are. GonNa be talking about. We've also I WANNA flag. We've got Adam Schiff. Who's out there talking about the sacking of Inspector General's Michael Atkinson the intelligence community? I G who famously alerted the House intelligence committee to trump's Ukraine shenanigans leading to his impeachment as well as the new sacking of the guy of Glen. Find Somebody You and I know quite well Dating to his days as I G justice now Pentagon. He's been demoted as acting inspector general and he will not be heading that pandemic response committee set up by Congress. It's an important issue and we've got a lot to talk about. So let's get on with it. We are now joined on. The podcasts. By Gretchen Whitmer the Democratic Governor of Michigan who is on the front lines of this terrible scourge that the whole country is dealing with responding to the needs of her state but also trying to get as much help out of Washington. Dc as as she can as are a lot of governors governor whitmer. Thanks for joining skulduggery. Yeah thank you for having me so I was looking at the numbers First thing this morning we're recording on Tuesday morning and then I just looked a few minutes ago. They are moving exponentially in Michigan. You've got About one thousand nine hundred thousand cases eight hundred and forty five deaths and you have the grim distinction of being number three in the country in terms of cases and fatalities. What are you focused on the most right now in terms of trying to stop the spread of Disease Limit? The death toll. What's working and what are you still need from the federal government? I think you know like governors across the country who've been focused on trying to get the spread you know we're trying to keep people at home I issued the stay home. Stay Safe Order on March twenty. Third think that you know there have been mapped the New York. Times who showed WHO's traveled beliefs than it looks. You know by and large that people in Michigan are following the stay home order despite that we know that covered had been spreading in Michigan for weeks before it was being detected and we've never had enough testing to really have a handle on how prevalent it truly is. And that's why even though we're we're making our best efforts to Stem the mitigation. You see the numbers. Continue to rise so working. Incredibly hard to you know mitigate the spread but also bringing the PPA that we need to tell you a month and a half ago. I wouldn't have known what p. p. e. stood for and now it's all. I think about is trying to make sure that my nurses and doctors on the frontline even the grocery store clerks who are putting food on the shelf. They should be able to have the kind of protective equipment that they need to to do their job because they're so critical right now. They're the two superheroes in the story and so these are the things that I think our challenges we've seen people rising to the challenge by It's an ongoing day to day. Fight here to get what? We need to protect people limit. Let me just one quick. Follow up and then. I'll let Mike jump in governors have been issuing battle-cries for more p. p. e. for ventilators for respirators for all of the medical equipment that is so important particularly for frontline healthcare workers pleading with Washington to get this. So what is the state of play in terms of getting ahead equipment? Getting those ventilators. Is there progress. So we are. I think in the position that every state is and I shared it publicly. Maybe as one of the first to do that. But you know we've been trying to contract with any company. We can in order to get masks but and ninety five masks. The gloves gowns that we so desperately need starting to you know really make sure that we have an inventory of how many ventilators we have Looking at modeling determining how many we need and trying to fill that gap through any means possible. And that's you know one one leg of the stool is getting as much as we cannot the national stockpile. We've gotten you know every state a fraction of what we what we really need. And so we've been supplementing that by trying to contract with anyone we can around the world and also get Michigan businesses to ramp up and start producing some of these desperately needed items and so on all three of those fronts. Were Working Twenty. Four seven trying to make sure that we as much into Michigan as we can't even reached out to states that don't quite have the covert issue. We have now to see if they might have been leaders. We could use for the time being and that of course we would return the favor when when they were in need. So I think we're being aggressive for being creative. Were continuing to sound the alarms because every time we do we get a little more help. And that's really important governor. You had quite the dust up with the president Week or so ago he called you half whitmer. And he told the the vice-president don't call the woman in Michigan since then what's been your interactions with the White House with the vice president with the president himself. Have you been in communication with them? Are they taking your calls and responding? Yeah I mean it is One of those things that are you know underneath the surface. There's been a lot of activities so my state emergency operation centers working very closely with the Army Corps of Engineers. Thema my chief operating officer I think in our region head of FEMA are on the phone six times a day. I'm and have been for weeks on end at this point. I've talked to the vice president. A number of times he's been those have been very positive. Conversations than even after the infamous comments the president called me directly and we had a positive conversation all that being said. What was that like when the president called you after after publicly insulting you on twitter it was on a scheduled call so as a bit of a surprise but a welcome one because I had asked for a phone call. I took a few days to get it for it to become a reality. But you know we've got to have an open line of communication and I reiterated what it said on on the national news meet a number of times which is we are not one. Another son me. That enemy is covert nineteen. It does not discriminate based on tardy line or stateline. It is a threat to Americans everywhere and we all got to be on the same team here because American Lives Michigan. Lives are on the line here and the enemy is not one another. Let's cut right to the chase. Do you believe that the president went after you because you are being widely talked about as a possible running mate with Joe Biden? I have no idea what precipitated that I do know that I had been pretty clear in my concern. About the lack of a national policy. Now Patchwork of policies across the country depending on who the governor is means that covert nineteen could could go on longer the United States than than otherwise. My Dad lives in Florida. Or He's a Snowbo- he's down there for the winter has not come home yet. And I've watched with great concern the fact that Florida has not been as aggressive as we have been here in Michigan and other states here in the Midwest Republican and Democratic led. By the way. And it's this patchwork approach that I really concerns me. I've been vocal about that and I might have People were real pleased to hear that but I think it is a valid observation about some of the issues that were confronting here so regarded motivations. I can't speak to it. I don't know all I know is all I think about is. Pp All I think about is a nurse and the doctor who are wearing one mask for a whole shift. Think about the eight hundred and forty five michigander super lost their battle. Covert nineteen whose families can't even come together tomorrow on because it's unsafe to congregate and that's all the energy. I have focused on getting my state through this horrible crisis. One of the things that you've been most critical of in terms of the federal government's response is it's inconsistent message. And it's interesting. This is something that we've heard from other people. We've interviewed on his PODCAST senator. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said the same thing he said that was the single biggest problem. Help our listeners. Understand what the consequences of inconsistent messaging is like? Why is that as it stands to reason that it would be a problem? But why is that the biggest problem? Well you know we know that with novel virus like this for which there's no cure. There's no vaccine. It's incredibly contagious. And it's deadly you. You don't know how your body's going to react. You get to thirty year olds in the same household. Both of whom are healthy. No underlying conditions. One it's like having a mild flu. The other tales in this scenario with two little P. P. for frontline the best tool we have is mitigation. One scientists observed. If we could all freeze in place for fourteen days Koga nineteen would come sputtering to a halt and yet we know that the thing that we can control is how much were out and about and so the stay home. Orders are really really important to give our hospital system an opportunity to give people the care. They need by reading fewer people who need that care. It is sacrifice and we're asking people to do something drastic. Even though it's not going to war it's staying home to to protect your fellow. Americans and that consistent message is really important and when there's a message that says well it's not that serious or it doesn't impact every generation or you know this is this is politics. It's not real those all undermine the seriousness with which we need to take this crisis and I think that even inconsistent messages from state to state based on who the governor as feeds into that question and so people don't observe the kind of strict you know mitigation efforts that we know are really important because they're hearing so many different things from people in power that they just kind of question at all and I think because the inconsistency that more people will get sick will confront ovid nineteen longer which means our economy will struggle longer and the worst part is that more lives will be lost because of a governor at a couple of questions. I just one more beat on your phone. Call with the president When he did call did he refer at all to the previous unpleasantness between the two of you or express any Regret or apology for his previous remarks and neither did I wanted to get if you just moved on fair enough. Do you have an understanding of UAE Michigan how Ny Michigan became a hotspot? I think you know there are a lot of different factors that go into play right now. Michigan is one of only a few states that are releasing racial information about you know positive tests for for covert nineteen. And I think that's an important part of the conversation that we've gotta have as a country as a state that there are inequities that have festered in our country for a long time and I think that that's part of a contributing factor to what we're seeing on the ground. What what is that racial breakdown that you've been You've been seeing in terms of if you look at I think seventeen percent of our population. I think Our identifies people of color forty one percent of the Cova cases are people of Color. And so it's a disproportionately hurting and this is all preliminary data. It's too early to draw final conclusions. But the fact of the matter is it's concerning. I think you see similar data coming out of Illinois and out of Louisiana. The fact of the matter is. Detroit like Chicago by the way and like New York were designated places for bringing in expected coded patient the International Airport so there are a number of home across the country. Detroit is an international hub. And we've got a lot of people call Detroit home and come to and from the city of Detroit and we also have a population that is living below the standards that which means that we've got a lot of people who are in poverty who don't have access to healthcare who don't have access to a job that gives them a enough money to support a family and to to do all the things that you know we know help you avoid the worst kind of outcomes from Cova nineteen and so. I think that there are a lot of contributing factors here. I don't think anyone knows precisely. Why certain community has more Cova cases than another? But I will say that. It's important that people understand if you're taking a pill for any ongoing issue that means you're more at risk from a terrible outcome from Colbert. Nineteen and I think that's something that everyone needs to really understand to be clear about it. We talk about Co Morbidity. No one knows what that means if you are treating some sort of a condition by taking a pill every day that means you're a little more susceptible to to the worst outcome from Kobe. Eighteen governor let me ask you one question about something. That's unique to your state. Which is that you've got both Ford and GM based in Michigan and they've been racing to set up new production lines to build these desperately needed ventilators kind of an extraordinary redeployment of their mission. But it looks like they started too late that the bulk of their machines won't be coming online until mid May when the peak is going to happen later this month. What was the problem? There was it that the president took too long to invoke the Defense Production Act. Was there more that you could have done to encourage the automotive companies start making ventilators. What happened there? But I think that you know we missed a big chunk of time between when People in Washington DC. I started raising the alarm. That Cova nineteen was a real threat and that we were needed. Take a lot of preparations to a lot of time. Between when those flags I went up to when we really started to see that conversation in DC turned into the seriousness of the issue. You know our big three are trying to produce of my face shields and masks as possible. There had been studying and trying to get into the ability to mass produce ventilators that these are complex pieces of machinery that are in very short supply worldwide. And so it's not just a simple matter of changing a couple of things on the auto wine if about redesigning and Trying to do so in a way where you can have mass production and so. It's an incredibly complicated. The full force of the Defense Production Act. Who have been invoked a little earlier and a little more sweepingly. We might be in a stronger position but even even such producing kind of ventilators that we need as a nation is is something that doesn't happen overnight. Sadly GOVERNOR LAST QUESTION. I have to go back to politics as previously noted the vice president. You're on the shortlist for the vice presidential pick. Have you been asked to provide any information to the Biden folks Any background information as part of a vetting to be his vice presidential selection. And if you are asked. Are you interested in being on the ticket I've not been asked to provide anything I've got you know as I said every ounce of energy that I have in my team has point into the crisis that we're confronting and so conversations about anything beyond that it's not something that I put any energy into at this juncture and It's certainly I didn't ask to be thrust into the national spotlight the way out then it is mattering who even be considered and we'll see where it goes. But I I haven't put a whole lot of thought into at this point. Well we appreciate you spending the time and we are happy to do our small part to keep you part of the nationals. So thank you very much and please do your best for the people of Michigan. Take Care It's no secret that our world has been interrupted own. World interrupted erupted is a daily podcast telling stories of Corona virus and its impact on the economy subscribed today on Apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to podcasts. We now have with us. Congressman Adam Schiff chairman of the House. Intelligence Committee Congressman. Welcome back to skulduggery. Thank you it's going to be with you so a lot going on on Friday night. The president fired Michael Atkinson. The Inspector General the intelligence community you promptly condemn that along with many others and then no sooner did you do so that. The president on Monday canned prospective new head of the Pandemic Response Committee Glenn. Fine who's been the acting? I G at the Pentagon at this point beyond condemning the president's attack on inspectors general. Is there anything a congress can do about it? Well there's a lot that Congress can do. The challenges is there much the congress can do if the Republican Party is willing to continue to be a cult of the presence personality. Not Stand up to him in any way you would think that we're there had been bipartisan support for vigorous system of inspectors general desgris defensive of whistleblowers for example that wouldn't be president dependent but apparently it is within the GOP. And so you see the same incredibly muted response or non response to the bloodletting of these inspector generals that we've that's come to characterize the Republican Party and so the question is can one party Hold the president to account or conduct the oversight. That's necessary and we're GonNa do the very best we can. I think it certainly highlights the need for the select committee that the speaker wants to establish to make sure that if we can't have an inspector general overseeing the Response Accountability Committee that Glenn fine was going to be charged with overseeing than we're GONNA need Congress to play even more vigorous role in making sure that this five hundred billion dollar fund for maintaining the industry workforce isn't used to gratify the president's friends and penalized the presence enemies in the way that the president sure would like to use those funds so congress will need to step the void. We're going to do the best. We can now on the Intel Committee side. We are overseeing now looking into the firing of Atkinson which looks like a purely retaliatory. Act The president's admitted as much we're looking into what investigations he may have been conducted Conducting when he was forced out and the president circumvented the law requiring thirty days notice By putting him immediately on administrative leave congressman on on that point. Do you have any evidence or indication that the his dismissal was anything beyond his role in forwarding the whistle blowers complaint about Ukraine. That there were any other investigations. He was doing that. The administration may not have been happy about well. I think that we know at least two purposes behind the president's actions whether there's a third or not we're going to try to determine the first as you point out is retaliation which made it very clear. Atkinson was required to inform us that whistleblower complaint was being withheld from us in violation of the law. He did and he had the support of all the other inspector general's in that determination but it was also designed to take out someone who was doing it at independent job. Such that if other whistleblowers came forward or other allegations of of Abuse or misconduct criminality came forward. That wouldn't be someone of his stature in that position whether there's a third reason at is whether there's a specific ongoing investigation we're going to try to determine. Did the Acting Director of National Intelligence Curtail any work? That at consent was doing. They're required to inform Congress of that but they've been required to inform us of other things that they're failing to inform us up so the short answer is we don't know but we're determined to find out chairmanship. I actually want to pick up on something that you said at the outset. Which is the challenge that Democrats in Congress? Face shoring up the inspectors general and kind of oversight more generally the challenge you face with Republicans in Congress and is often. I have covered inspectors general for more decades. And we'd like to acknowledge and all that time Chuck Grassley. The Republican senator from Iowa has been among the most if not the most staunch defender of inspectors general the whistle blower system more generally. Do you think that Chuck Grassley is has become part of that cult of personality that you referred to have you spoken to him? I know he's on the Senate side but is his lack of action here an indicator that the Republicans simply won't defy trump on these issues at all. I think that his statement in the wake of the firing of Atkinson shows about the farthest any Republican is willing to go which is the statute requires an explanation for why Inspector General is fired. And we're going to need that explanation. But by the way the president has handled this pandemic wonderfully. So that's the strongest statement that I've seen and that tells you sort of the range of independence for lack of independence we see right now within the GOP in Congress you can imagine what the hue and cry would be if Obama decided and declared that he would be the oversight of a five hundred billion dollar fund. Don't trump literally said he will be the oversight. I will oversee this. You can imagine what a fewer there would be. If there were the firing inspector general's or retaliatory acts like this. Now I get it you know. Okay this is the president of their party. But you would still I would hope expect to see some devotion to the institutions. And I just don't see it and I'd given up looking for it. Frankly over three and a half years of heart experienced one. Quick follow up. Which is I mean. You mentioned that the statute requires some kind of articulation for why. Inspector General has been fired by the president. But it doesn't have to be fired for cause I mean a president can fire an inspector general pretty much at will. If the inspector generals are not going to be toothless. Aren't you going to have to shore up the law so that they can't be fired as easily as as as they have been? I think we are indeed. I raise this issue upon Atkinson's firing with my staff that we should consider adding language in the intelligence authorization. Act Protecting the I C. I G from firing Without a showing of cause and here here we have you know a very broad phenomenon of the trump administration and that is we are discovering that things that we thought were inviolable. Inviolable norms turn out. You can violate with impunity if one party is willing to go along with you and so. These norms are not sufficient to protect the public. And we're going to have to put in Statute 'cause requirements. When we would have expected the cause would be presumed that you would presume that the president would have to show cause but I think we are going to have to strengthen these laws protections because they're clearly not doing the trick with the President that has no moral compass and you mentioned that you haven't gotten any Accounting or explanation for why Atkinson was fired and even though the law requires it. You also correct me if I'm wrong. Haven't gotten the worldwide threat assessment for twenty twenty. Have you gotten any explanation as to why not? And whether you're still going to get one the irony Michael is well we've got all explanation for why Atkinson was fired. We did get a confession from the press from the White House podium. I don't know whether that qualified is Giving an explanation that's completely illegitimate but it's not a mystery in terms of the live. We got the worldwide threat assessment. You know the answer is very plain and we tried before. The pandemic precluded meeting in person to commit the intelligence community to an open hearing without success. Because they are all terrified of saying something publicly odds with the presents preferred narrative things many in the field. That's why Dan Coats got pushed out of for saying things during our last worldwide threats hearing that the president didn't want to hear it's why the all hands briefing that we had for the full House on foreign interference in the upcoming election was so different than the one we had in committee because the intelligence community is being politicized is being chilled and we have seen increasingly concerning aspects of this now over the course of the last year but now it has reached a point of great jeopardy for the country where we're in the middle of a pandemic and we cannot rely on getting the plane unspoken hard truths if they contradict the presents preferred narrative and that just is a really dangerous situation for the country. You've mentioned that you're investigating the Atkinson matter. You talked about having a hearing wanting to have a hearing on the worldwide threat assessment but under the current circumstances. This is just purely logistical question. Can you even have public hearings anytime in the foreseeable future in a we are exploring? I think that we can and I think that we will. But they may take the form of a virtual hearing where we will do essentially a zoom hearing Where we'll have witnesses testified people will be able to watch. The hearing members will be able to ask questions Were were trying to work our way through some of the Security issues what. What's the first one you WANNA have on that? Well you know we are exploring doing a hearing on foreign election. Interference were exploring doing that with some of the private sector companies because frankly they may be a better source of information on this than the I see the icy isn't going to be willing to share with Congress the facts of what it's saying because they're afraid losing their jobs the way acting director. Mcguire did how about an Atkinson hearing? Call him as a witness. Yeah you know the the challenge there. Michael is that we can expect complete non cooperation from the administration and so Then you end up having to use compulsion and then you end up with mystery and playing broke up with you in the courts will. Congressman is isn't another challenge. I think you're beginning to allude to. It is a potential security challenge. If you're doing hearings involving the fired for the intelligence community can you do a virtual hearing in closed session? We know that zoom for example has security issues. Can you use some kind of a secure system? How would you do a closed session? Virtually at this point I don't think that's going to be possible. So whatever hearings we do. We'll have to be open session earrings. Now there's a you know a lot of public value obviously in what we can do in the open but in terms of dealing with other classified information or highly sensitive information. That's not classified. I don't really see in the near future working out the technological risks associated with that so. I just don't think that's going to be practical you recently Introduced the bill for a nine eleven type commission to investigate What was known about the virus and what the response was inevitably. This is going to be seen through a political lens. How do you prevent that and still have the kind of thorough accounting and investigation? Your hear your bill calls for him. I think the way you prevent that is twofold one You follow the model of the nine eleven commission in terms of the composition of the commission So it is designed to be an choose nonpartisan members of the Commission. You have a start day after the election so the start date of our legislation when the commission would begin work would not take place until early next year to try to take it out of the political round but Michael. I think the most important thing. Frankly and I've been in discussion with some of the former Nine eleven commissioners as well as Tim. Romer the author of the legislation that established the nine eleven commission to one thing. That's become very apparent in discussing their work on that commission. That made it so that that made it. Non Partisan and fact propelled the legislation to successful of finish is the constituency of the nine eleven victims who were enormously important and powerful and when witnesses were hesitant or uncooperative. The power and force of that group of Nine eleven victims families overcame any opposition. And I think frankly here you're likewise going to have a group come together representing those that are victims of the krona virus. And I think you're going to have a constituency within the healthcare field of people who demand answers and want independent commission. Look into Why we were so ill prepared for this. The costly mistakes that were made a in the handling of this and the loss of life. And how we can protect the country going forward so I think that constituency much like after nine eleven will compel formation of an accountability commission like this and help see it through. Its work so congressman if you had to at this point kind of prioritize the failures to this point in terms of the government's response to the pandemic what you would want to look at you know. Just give us three or four of the most important issues that need to be examined in your view. Well I think we need to examine the nation's preparedness to deal with a virus and the risks. That would come to the United States and how we would immediately test and trace and contain that threat. I think we'll need to look at why did not have a testing capacity. Ramped up more quickly than we did why we let the virus spread throughout the country. Without knowing where it was at any given point in time why we had nowhere near the protective gear and ventilators and other material in our stockpiles necessary to meet a pandemic threat and of course the dysfunction within the administration in dealing with this problem that conflicting messaging to the public of weeks and weeks that went by where the president was telling the country. They had nothing to worry about. This was an ordinary flu. It was all under control was all contain was not going to be a big deal. That went on for weeks and weeks and weeks. And you don't get that time back so those are of the issues. I think to look into but let me just ask you other than the one that you just mentioned which is clearly really only about the trump administration those failures at limited to the trump administration's lack of preparation here or would you go back to previous administrations to the Obama Administration for example and ask some of the same kinds of kinds of questions. Well I think the commission should take a broad look and identify where the failures to prepare occurred. And you know look I I think the The reality is that the disbanding of the pandemic office in the National Student Council and White House that was established during the Obama Administration. By the trump administration will be heavily studied in terms of its impact at tripwire being lost but I don't think there's any way to escape the conclusion that this is really a whole government. Failure that Given the severity of this impact on our country if for example you know we were to say that we would be the victim of a terrorist attack that would claim and it's now well over ten thousand lives and that would ravage economy. You know you would dimension a wide. The country didn't stop it and that is no less true here but it is already indicative of the fact that this threat which could do such grave damage. The country didn't get the kind of resources that it deserved. Given the magnitude of the danger. I mean just one follow up on that because you mentioned terrorism threats and I guess the question is do. The intelligence community focused attention on the threat of pandemics and other health risks. That could harm our national security and by intelligence community that would include the intelligence committees including the House Intelligence Committee which you chair. I mean will you will you? Will you look at that? We're looking at that already. We are doing a deep dive in terms of our intelligence holdings to assess. What did the intelligence community learn? How soon did they learn it? What were they aware of or concerned about in the years leading up to this I will tell you that four the last two years we have pet languish in our intelligence authorization act requiring the intelligence to study exactly this threat of pandemics a language that we included it was authored by Ami Barrel and language that we passed in the house. That was in the bill that I authored and because the Senate couldn't get an Intel bill through. It didn't get to the president's desk until last year and that study has not been produced yet but we were certainly aware of the threat and calling the intelligence community to report to us on it but there is a lot work to be done in terms of analyzing weather the ICS had the resources devoted to this problem set whether it was well integrated with Alpha authorities. There is a certainly a narrative out there that we are examining that the intelligence community was flashing Red Light. And I'm not prepared to reach conclusions because we're just beginning. Our analysis. Are after the fact analysis of the early Intel reporting. But that is certainly. I think going to be a core responsibility for our committee. I had a few questions along. Those lines of the Washington Post reported the other day that the US intelligence community as early as January third included was calling attention to the seriousness of the corona virus threat from China in the president and it was included in the president's daily brief. When were you first briefed by the intelligence community on the virus in China we were getting written product from the intelligence community continuously over time so even before even before the corona virus there would have been some reporting about the threat of pandemics and then when this virus emerged in China we would get written a product. We had our first hearing around the same time of the Senate. Intelligence Committee had their first hearing in early February. And if that hearing while I can't go into details there was still a great deal that we did not know that the intelligence community did not know about the virus. And so you know. I don't WANNA get too far ahead of our analysis because it's just beginning but in terms of what the Intel community new and whether they had sufficient resources devoted to it. We don't know. I don't think the timing of when this showed up the president's daily brief but of course the Intel reporting is only one facet of this because there were innumerable public streams of information. Coming whol coming from China itself very early on about this virus and concerns about damage so there is a tendency in our committee and I think sometimes among those of us that work in the Intel area to view everything as either Intel successor until failure. But I think what we're GONNA see this is it's a whole of government problem. That sufficient resources were not devoted to this danger given the magnitude of the danger. I want to say I just along those lines. Obviously there's been a lot of criticism of the trump White House for not responding to some of the warnings. It was getting from the intelligence community but I looked on your website. I did next to search and I didn't see you saying anything about the China threat until pretty late in the game into march nothing during the January February time frame. Correct me if I'm wrong but you know. Do you take some responsibility as well for not calling enough attention. You are wrong okay. All right well. That's why we ask the questions. Yes attending these hearings The full House hearings in February. I was talking about my concern. That administration was not taking this seriously enough. They were not being proactive enough. The testing was not being done quickly. Enough and that we were losing precious time So and you know and I have to say. Our Committee had a certain prescience in supporting language in the intelligence authorization. Bills calling for studies of this before this virus existed but in any event this is not to suggest that any part of Congress or the administration or our health agencies the CDC should escape oversight and accountability. I really do believe this as a poll of government failure that we were not prepared for this pandemic but I I will also say this for weeks and weeks. It was clear to everyone in Congress and not everyone. You still have a Matt Gaetz wearing gas Max on the floor and not taking seriously but almost all. The members of both parties at a certain point understood the seriousness of this while the president was still talking down the threat and making happy. Talk about this and saying it was all going to go away nothing to see here and there's no escaping that accountability. How much of the problem was the lack of transparency by China and misinformation from China? As well you know. I think that there's certainly an element of this in China's lack of transparency and unwillingness to allow the US to participate in Early assessments of the virus and providing samples of the virus of the things that have been publicly reported. We still don't have. I think a real complete or accurate picture of what's going on in China right now. A part of that be delivered by the administration of President. Xi Part of it might be that they can't get people at the local level to be honest about the situation so they're certainly going to be a responsibility and the part of the commissions were too on China's part for not leveling with the rest of the world about this virus and what it knew and when it knew it. But you know our job of frankly In the United States is to make sure that we are as well protected as we can regardless of whether we get the cooperation of nations that are other our allies are at the search or somewhere in between so. I don't think that fobbing this all off on China is inadequate. Answer either at got two last quick questions one is. There's a little bit of breaking political news. That's happened while we've been recording. This is Bernie. Sanders was going to be my last one ahead which which is Bernie Sanders announced told his campaign staff that he'll be suspending his presidential campaign. I just wonder what your reaction to that is a and B what you think. Vice President Biden needs to do to unite the Democratic Party behind him. Given that it's been a pretty tough battle and it's an ideologically divided party to not seeing Senator Sanders announcement whether suspension is A. Doesn't sound like he's ending his campaign and I don't know whether this is a endemic related suspension or something more so I'm going to reserve judgment. It's I I get a chance to see it but I do think that land the prime areas over. There's going to need to be a very strong outreach. Effort by a campaign towards the Sanders people the Sanders campaign towards The Biden people need. We're going to need to come together because this president And the way he's run the country and the way he's out handling the response pandemic is not something that the country can endure beyond November. There's I think an existential threat to the health of our country quite literally and to the health of our democracy also quite literally. So we're going to have to unite the party. What was your reaction to the vote in the voting in Wisconsin yesterday and those images of people lining up in very few polling places. Because you're not enough pulling workers wearing masks. And socially distancing aghast at the terrible mishandling of that and the willingness to force voters to choose between their health and their franchise. I just think it's completely irresponsible and I also think that we're GonNa have to insist that all fifty states come this fall make provision Where everyone can vote by mail? Should they choose to vote by mail? And you see the president saying out in the open. What they've been saying privately For years which is if more Americans vote. Their party is a dinosaur. That will disappear president underscored that again today wile criticizing voting by mail for completely self interested reasons when he votes by mailed himself. He admitted once again that politically if people are more easily able to vote. Republicans lose because their views are not representative of the broader country and that is not a reason to disenfranchise people. I think it is just so repugnant. It goes beyond ability express repugnant. That sentiment is but tells you just how calculating they are a little devotion they have to our Tuitions and the assertion of voting that. They're so crass in if more people vote we lose their four. We don't want people to vote. I got one last question on a completely different subject. Something I was working on before we all got diverted by the virus. The president referred the other day to a tweet to a phone call. Eight had with quote my friend. Mohammed bin Salman the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia despite the fact that the US intelligence community has concluded that the crown prince was likely responsible for the murder of Jamal. Kashogi among the reports that I believe you were required to get and haven't gotten one from the Intel an unclassified version of the intelligence community assessment. About what happened to Jamal Kashogi? Do you ever expect to see that report? Are you doing anything to try? And declassify the information. That's already out there and your reaction to the president's comments about Mohammed bin Salman. Well we are trying to compel the community to produce the unclassified report that is called for and we may need to take the step The ordinary step. That was taken with respect to the twenty-eight pages If you recall that Were in the original classified nine. Eleven Commission report that dealt with the issue of Saudi culpability on nine eleven that required legislation to allow to be declassified and it it may require legislation here to require either an unclassified report or the declassification of the report in existence. So that the public Understand quite clearly a who was responsible for the murder of Kashogi and how high it went in the Saudi regime So lettuce stumping that we are discussing right now but we want to make sure there's accountability in one form of accountability since this president's is unwilling to apparently criticize his. Saudi friends In any way is by making public what we do know about That that he and his murder part well congressman. I want to thank you for the time. Hope you Stay SAFE OUT THERE IN LA. I assume you're from your home in La Correct I'm actually in. Dc Oh you're in DC briefings and wanted to be a former quorum for the cares active. Should that be necessary? How how do you get classified briefings? Well I can get them by using a classified line or by going into the skiff which I've had to do and there are other places I can go to get on a classified line but but our committee is in a uniquely difficult position To do telework because of the need to have access cost by their formation. So can you. Socially distance in a skiff skips always sound small to me. You can do your best and when I have gone into the skiff recently I will Be Behind my desk. One snap and one doorway other staff another doorway and if anybody sneezes we all run all right we'll get it on twitter Let's not talk about things going viral cough anyway. Thank you and we appreciate it. Thanks for your time chairman. Bill thanks for Governor of Michigan Gretchen. Whitmer and House Intelligence Committee chairman. Adam Schiff the joining us on this episode of skulduggery cover gets subscribe to skullduggery on Apple podcast. Or wherever you listen to your podcast and tell us what you think. Leave a review. The latest episode is also on Sirius. Xm On the weekend. Check it out on this channel. One twenty four on Saturdays at three PM Eastern time with replays on Sundays at one. Am and three PM. Sure to follow us on social media at skulduggery pot to talk to you soon.

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Bonus Episode: Stone cold lies

Skullduggery

28:45 min | 2 years ago

Bonus Episode: Stone cold lies

"I will lead not guilty to these charges. I will defeat them in. Or I believe this is politically motivated investigation. I am troubled by the political motivations of prosecutors. And as I said previously there is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president. Nor will I make up lies to ease. The pressure on myself. That was Roger stone's speaking on the courthouse steps Friday, not long after he was arrested by the FBI on charges. Brought by special counsel, Robert Muller for obstruction line to congressional investigators and witnessed hampering was the culmination of a month long investigation by the Russia gate, prosecutors into a man who for nearly forty years was a close friend and political adviser to Donald J Trump the indictment against stone. On unveiled damning new evidence of stones false statements to the house intelligence committee about as efforts to learn about damaging emails hacked by Russian military intelligence and released by WikiLeaks during the closing weeks of the two thousand sixteen presidential campaign. It also included evidence of multiple contacts with senior Trump campaign officials about the issue including an allegation that one such official was quote directed and quote to contact stone about what document dumps WikiLeaks was planning directed. By whom the indictment doesn't say all this bring us any closer to learning once and for all if the Trump campaign actually colluded with the Russians or for that matter anybody at WikiLeaks. We'll discuss on this special episode of skulduggery. Because people have got to know whether or not their president's. I'm not a crook told the American people, I did not create on's hostile my heart. And my best intentions still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence tell me it is not I did not have sexual relations with that woman. There will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else. I'm Mike Gaba. Chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo news. And I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo news. So this is the big indictment. We've been waiting for for quite some time. We've known that. Roger stone was squarely in Muller's sites Muller and his team had been investigating and calling in everybody around Roger stone. We long thought he was going to be indicted. Now, we've seen the indictment at long last. There's some pretty damning stuff in here about stones tactics is communications Trump campaign officials and his efforts to intimidate a witness who we're going to talk about in a moment has been a frequent skulduggery guest Randy Credito, but as I mentioned in the introduction there. It's not at all clear if stone did have any direct contact with WikiLeaks. In fact, the indictment is completely absent of any EV. Evidence that he did. And that raises the question of where if anywhere Muller goes from here. Yeah. Roger stone is kind of the linchpin in the Muller investigation. At least he would seem to be he sort of at the center of everything he connects all of the disparate strands, the Trump campaign, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, potentially the Russians he seems like he is the key to solving this whole mystery and also a history and a proclivity for engaging in exactly the kind of skulduggery that we've been talking about on this podcast of the last year, since of course, we know that he was engaging journey tricks. His own words going back to the Nixon administration and yet as you point out. This still is a mystery and Muller has not so far at least in his public pleadings been able to. Necked all the dots. And we don't know where this is going. I I will say one of the things that is so frustrating about all of this is if you look at what Roger stone and the people around him have said publicly what they've put in emails in text messages. They are all but admitting that they have done all of these things that people think that they've done and then they backtrack. So you know, they've all said that they've been in contact with with a Sajjan WikiLeaks at some point then they backtrack from that. They've all made predictions about when these emails were going to be dunked and those predictions were pretty much accurate now, we know in these emails they've taken credit for some of these things which they later denied doing they've been praised for doing them by senior members of the Trump campaign, and yet it's all kind of Meraj. Yeah. You know, you don't know what it adds up to the indictment sites multiple contacts with people in the Trump campaign at least one of them. We know is Steve Bannon because some of his emails with stone have been publicly released before, and it is clear that the Trump campaign was eagerly seeking to find out what Julian Assange had in terms of further material that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. And this is well after it was pretty well understood that what WikiLeaks had was the fruits of hacking by Russian military intelligence hackers. You know that on its face would seem to raise questions about why the Trump campaign would be so interested in learning about this material and basically deputising stone to find out. Well, one thing is pretty clear is that they would have colluded if they'd had the opportunity, right? And also, I think the Muller indictment says this that stone may not have had direct contact with a sonic, but certainly not for lack. Of trying right. No, no. He was doing everything he could. And that's where then sky Jerome Corsi notorious conspiracy stuff fits in stone was pushing him to find out what Assange might have. But it's worth noting that Coursey you had been threatened with indictment by Muller wasn't charged today in this dight -ment, nor was the guy we're gonna be talking about in a moment. Randy credit co as one more character that I think for people who have not been following this closely as you have probably never heard his name before. But he's in this indictment. So I just think it might be worth talking about him. Just for a second. Who's Ted Malik ten Malik is this one based academe ick. Who was a big Trump supporter at one point was even talked about for a major ambassadorial appointment either as embassador to the court of Saint James or someplace else in Europe, and he was in communication with Coursey Coursey, by the way. So our listeners. Remember the guy who spread the birther conspiracy stuff back in two thousand eleven wrote a book, where's the birth certificate and seems to have been helping to advise Donald Trump during his birther days. And so, of course, he after being contacted by stone reaches out, the Malik malic acid to go see Assange, and then later Email stone saying is going to be tranches coming in October yet. It's not at all clear whether Malik actually did contact us on she was questioned by the FBI at one point in airport. And he too was not charged in this case. I think we could take some personal pride in this Dighton though, because we anticipated almost all of it in that interview, we did with Randy credit co just a month ago. We've thought Randy Greco many times, you know, he's a comic we find his impressions amusing. Will be playing one of them in a moment here. But we didn't know what to make of our interview with Greco last month. And how we look at it. And like almost everything in this indictment was anticipated in that interview. So I think we should just play a little of it. So people could get a flavor for what we're talking about. Let's start out. Here's a clip in which we are asking credit co about his trip to London in September two thousand sixteen late September. And in the indictment on October. First two thousand sixteen person to that's Credito sandstone text messages that state and this is reading the indictment here. Big news Wednesday Hillary's campaign will die this week. Now, we asked credit co about that when we interviewed him just a month ago. Let's listen to that clip. I got totally whacked out because at the airport duty free show. Shop you buy. But the also have bars in every like gen the bourbon, the cognac, and I was so wack so all my way back. I sent a text message. Big news. Yes, right day. Yeah. Right. October is. Yes, right. Right. And then you went on to say, no now pretend you don't know me. Right. And stone writes back you died five years ago. Right. And then you right back. Great. And then you write Hillary's campaign will die this. Now. Roger stone is using those tax tax. Hillary's campaign will die this week. As proof that you were his back channel to Assange tipping him off to the release of the pedestrian emails, which is at the core of the Russia investigation right now, Roger stone have an inside track to what Julian Assange was going to do with Email stolen by Russian military intelligence. Ran those. Tax do seem to suggest you knew something, right? Yeah. I know the I I see that you could assume that that day that on the first of October. I got into see us on and spider. What the evidence shows take a look at the logs which were released by Ecuadorian government. I did not get in. He said on Hannity. I did not get in. I was there to see berry Crimmins thing is people would just use logic. Why would join Assan see guys never met had radio? So one time that tell him that emails are coming out on Wednesday. Make sure you tell Roger stone. If there is any logic applied to this entire theory. You would note was B S so lane why you would've I mean, I know you were drunk, but why would you have constructed that tweet and tech? Campaign. Because he had been writing me over the scary Johnson to get some information on this Dr Paul, and I said I was going to. But I was never planning to see him was no chance I was going to see him. I had a note from the radio station from Bertel Rymere's to drop off at the embassy. It was like a scene out of the Addams family Fain coming out and pulling this off elope bur told Rymer, and that was it. So I don't know why put that out there. Assange had been teasing. He was doing something the first week in October. And it was just unlucky for me to send that to him joking with them. Okay. So there we have it. So we think possibly this will be the smoking gun evidence to prove collusion that. Randy critic, oh is headed to London to meet with Julian Assange. He actually writes out the Email saying that Hillary's campaign is going to die. But it turns out he's in his words wacked out. And by the way, but this is. I'd love bullshitting. He's advil. So at one point I think we referred to him. I think I referred to him in a tweet as being drunk, and he tweeted back at me saying he doesn't use that term. He only says whacked out. So I don't know. I mean, what are we making this? It's like the Carl think it was Karl Martin said history repeats itself is tragedy. And then as far something like that. I mean, we're Woodward and Bernstein dealing with characters like Randy critic, oh, look, you know, these are two professional bullshitters cereal. Bullshitters stone in credit go and on its face. You would think the tax messages was these text messages that credit goes sending to stone is, you know, smoking gun evidence. Hillary's campaign will die this week. It actually tends to support stones claim that he did have a back channel to WikiLeaks. And it was Randy critical. But of course, Greco's account is you didn't know anything. He was just drunk and joking. Around wood stone. So he says, and again Greco as not been indicted here, but it is in the indictment and Greco is talking about it with us. And meanwhile, Quantico spent how many hours dozens of hours. No there was one time when he was there for like, eight hours with Muller. Right. So Mullah was taking this seriously. But Muller was taking it seriously because they thought that credit co could unlock the mystery here by establishing what exactly stone new from Julian Assange turns out, you know, there's not much there men. Let's get to the next clip where you ask credit go directly whether Muller's got evidence of any direct contacts that stone would have had with Assange or anybody at WikiLeaks. And let's listen to that in all of the conversations you've had with Muller's prosecutors with F B I agents, and of course of this investigation. Their question. Have you have you left this process thinking they have evidence that Roger stone was coordinating and some way with Julian Assange and knew that these Email dumps were coming. I don't think that they have evidence that he's dealt directly with Julian Assange, I don't interact. I don't know if they have that. I don't think so it would be an unwitting thing by Julian Assange. Okay. So actually raises an interesting question, directly or indirectly. Because even if there was no direct contact with Julian Assange, they're all these other potential cutouts. Randy credit co denies it. But he could have been one of them Jerome Corsi character in London. Maybe none of them did. But that doesn't mean that there wasn't someone who did maybe there's someone that we haven't heard about yet. Right. And I suspect that Muller's people, you know, certainly believe that may be the case the diamond would suggest that they can't prove it. And there's no hint of who that real intermediary may have been let me ask you. Let me ask you this question as to cough because is it possible that there was already enough out there kind of in the public things that Assange had said or people close to him it said so that accredit go or stone himself or others could have just because they were bullshit artists. Could have just said, okay. This stuff is coming even though they didn't know at and it's coming around now. Because it does seem like quite a coincidence that all the predictions. They made seem to have come true among them was stone saying that John Podesta's time in the barrel was about to come right. And that's been stone story from the get-go that, you know, he just inferred from public comments that Assange had made that he had four damaging material to come was that persuasive to you. It's always been plausible. But you know, given that it's Roger stone. Tone talking you've got to be extremely skeptical. And then you put on top of that. And I think, you know, this is the most damning stuff in Dighton how stone handled the house intelligence committee investigation. I he brazenly lies to them. That's pretty clear from the indictment. We had seen his testimony before because his testimony like all witnesses in the Russia probe where behind closed doors and was never publicly released, but he is asked directly when he testifies in two thousand seventeen did you have any emails and tax or any documents relating to his efforts to try to the cypher? What was going to be in WikiLeaks emails or any communications with Assange any says absolutely not he says, no none. And then you've course read the indictment, and you see all these emails and texts he's having with Coursey and Credito. And Trump campaign officials all of which would have been responsive to the question being asked by the house intelligence committee about whether he had any emails documents text messages, and he clearly did not want to turn them over. And so he granted are is. Okay. So all that begs a pretty big question. I mean, why it well lied? If there's no if there's no collusion if he wasn't indirect contact with Julian Assange the Russians if he didn't know an advance when these Email dumpster coming and it wasn't coordinating them. Then why why lie so brazenly why tamper with witnesses? Why subject yourself to the likelihood that you're going to be indicted, which now we have been the motive one possible explanation is he's a professional liar. He's lied all his life. He's self self-styled dirty trickster. Let's remember a little bit about his history. Roger stone goes back to the Nixon reelection campaign, and he was one of the so called rat. Fuck. Cours during the Nixon campaign was doing engaged in. You know, dirty tricks against Democrats who were running for president in nineteen seventy two. So he has that long rich history on in Florida right is which. Dar's ready and all of that. Right. And you know, he'd caught the attention of Watergate investigators he was questioned by the FBI, and of course of the Watergate investigation. And then, of course, over the course of the next nearly forty years he's got this close relationship with Donald Trump. They're introduced they meet through ROY Cohn. The notorious hatchet man for Joe McCarthy who became the political fixer lawyer for mobsters and crooked Powles in New York for decades. This was how he began his relationship with Donald Trump such this is just who he is. He plays Roger stone on television. And he also happens to be Roger stone, in fact point out that everyone in the office here when they were watching his presser after he was arraigned said that he put on makeup. He liked put on mega go before the cameras. And apparently, he all right. Make sure CNN. Yeah. Then Nixon victories on. So it is very kind of meta in a way. And I think that could be applause -able explanation. I have to say if I was an investigator, you know, investigating this case. I don't think I would accept that the explanation. I don't think Muller's team has. But it's a man it's weird shit. And there's two other clips were claim because they also mirror items in the indictment, and this is again talked about the damning evidence of stone lying, and then you have the pretty damning evidence of his luggage behavior in his efforts to basically intimidate Randy credit co to give a public story and story to congressional investigators that matches what stone has said to wit that credit. Co was in fact, his back channel intermediary to Wicky leaks and Assange and win Krenek. Oh begins to deviate from that. And publicly telling people such as myself. Self by the way that he was not such back channel. So that yearbook where it was that was Russia, and what was in the book actually, set stone off and one of the things which we have previously gotten our texts that stone sent to credit co after my book after he learned that my what was going to be in my book because I actually had to go to stone for comments about the book, and he went pretty ballistic one of the things stone texts to Credito in January of last year is you should strap dynamite to your body and invite is a cough for another dinner. It's the least you can do for your country. So it was encouraging suicide blow us both. I. So that sets up our next clip in which we asked critical about something that's in the indictment, which is something that stone NL to him in April of two thousand eighteen in which threatens Bianca Greco's service dog over what he has been saying publicly to me and to others. Let's play the clip. Somebody somebody's read to steal this dog. Well, being went beyond that didn't stone threaten Bianca herself. Yes. Yes. Well, you know what I dog? We're refresh. Our recollection about what God damn dog away from you. And it's not a God damn thing you can do allow talking about witness tampering. We knew that. She was going to end up in the grand jury with you. Who is that injury windows? Well, in fact, Bianca was in the grand jury with s. So, you know, but the way the full Email exchange laid out in the indictment is stone. Emailing to credit co quote, you are a rat. Astutely backstab your friends run your mouth, my lawyers are dying to rip you to shreds prepare to die. And then unfortunately, Muller's people to lead the actual words to say an excellent so prepared to die fill in the blank, but was threatening Bianca go that was wasn't overt act in the indictment. The threat there was to credit co himself separately in the same Email exchange. Stone is saying he's going to take that dog away from you. So I don't know it's I guess threat of dog kidnapping, which under knows a federal. Offense. But anyway, this has been cited by Muller as a case of witness tampering. And then the final one which I think is our phases. My favorite. No. This is our favorite this came up in the interview, and I'll just set it up by reading from page. Nineteen of the stone indictment on multiple occasions, including honor about summer, I two thousand seventeen stone told person to that's credit go that credit coach should do a quote crank Pantano before the house intelligence committee in order to avoid contradicting stones. Testimony crank Pantano is a character in the film. The godfather part two which both stone and credit go had discussed who testifies before a congressional committee, and in that testimony claims not to know critical information that he does. In fact, a critical told us just last month about Frank potentially. All k. Jalili paint tangibly. I wait a split into first of all I gotta do the godfather Pantano, right? My honest, son, I leave this country Gaza. This Roger stone business. I make necessary. Enjoyments clam a false charges a man backchannel, mama superstitious, man. And the something should happen to them on the six train on the way back to Brooklyn on a blame some of the people in the Strom. I dunno Roger stone. Oh, yes. I was in the olive oil business with his father. But that was a long time ago. Yuppie I guys give me something I Rogers. I said Rogers dole this garages on that. But they were all lie all of it. What were they drinking? Cocktail cocktails, Drake. You know, my father did business with Hyman rot. He spectrum father to business with Roth father respected. I'm rod, but your father, never trusted. I'm rob that Sicilian messenger. Boy, johnny. Oh. Well, I gotta say it's a cough. I think we're both big fans of the godfather this godfather to he does a pretty spot on Frankie tangibly. Yeah. He's not bad. He's not bad. Anyway, they call them. Frankie five angels Tanjile means five angels in talian or Sicilian or something. And if you all REM, you know, remember that that scene he is a witness in front of a congressional hearing. He's going to testify against the Corleones family and Michael Corleone zone. And before he testifies Michael comes into the hearing room. And he's got this. Cillian man sitting next to him. That's been Chen's. Oh, Pantano Louis, and it is Frankie's brother. And they look at each other. There's this amazing moment when Frankie pantley sees his brother Vincenzo and all of a sudden when he's questioned by the members of the committee. He says he was making that all up, you know, that was nothing. It was all lies. All. Yeah. I mean, that's one of my favorite the movie scenes of all time. And who would have thought that it would anticipate events in indictment some thirty four years later after the fact I gotta say, by the way just thinking about this. I think Al Pacino, of course, played Michael Corleone in the godfather could make a good Roger stone moving omitted about right? You're right. Well, it's we got another case of I guess life imitating art in this Muller investigation. I it's one major takeaway. I have from all this, which is that. If you wanna know what's going to happen in the Muller investigation. You obviously have to listen to the skulduggery because we anticipated almost all of this. What does it take to be influencers someone who can move millions of people by their words or deeds? What's really inside these people? And after that, what can we learn from them? I'm Andy Serwer editor chief of yachting finance. Join me every week as I sit down with some of the world's most influential people I'll be talking to influencers like icy and Expedia chairman, Barry Diller, Jill Abramson, the former New York Times executive editor world renowned restaurant. Tur- Danny Meyer, and many more. Subscribe to influencers with Andy Serwer on apple podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts. Thanks for joining us on this special edition of skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe skulduggery on apple podcasts. Forever. You listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think Lee review. The latest episode is also on Sirius XM on the weekend. Check it out on channel one twenty four on Saturdays. Three pm eastern time with replays on Sundays and one AM and three PM before to follow us on social media at skulduggery pot. Now, you can watch the podcast on Yahoo. News dot com and Roku Saturdays and Mondays eight PM eastern time talk to you soon.

Roger stone Robert Muller Julian Assange Hillary Clinton Donald J Trump WikiLeaks Bianca Greco Russia skulduggery Roger stone FBI cough house intelligence committee Pantano Louis Yahoo London Credito Randy credit co
Trump's Loyal WHIP

Skullduggery

56:50 min | 1 year ago

Trump's Loyal WHIP

"Early on the morning of June fourteenth two thousand seventeen Steve Scalise was practising for the annual congressional baseball game. Republicans versus Democrats when a crazed gunman armed to the teeth opened fire on him and his teammates school is was badly wounded his life only saved by two. Geraldo ick police officers who took out the shooter who's a shocking event, a brazen attack on members of congress and earn Scalise sympathy and prayers from across the aisle, while he recovered in the hospital to make me feel like it wasn't just me. But the whole country had been shot at I would get to see a nation unified to see different people from all different backgrounds brooding, and praying, and working for me to survive. Scalise road in a book about the experience entitled back in the game. Now two years later, Scalise house minority whip number two in the GOP leadership during a period. Washington seems more divide. Added than ever how to school you square the lot. The bipartisan sentiments expressed in his book with the current state of all out political warfare on Capitol Hill. And how does he explain the unyielding loyalty that he and his GOP colleagues have for President Trump, no matter how divisive his rhetoric and his policies will ask Elise? And we'll talk to one of our Yahoo news colleagues Jenna mcglaughlin about our big scoop about a US cyber attack on ran on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president's I'm not a crook told the American people, I did not create arms hostile my heart and my best intentions, still tell me. That's true. But the facts and the kill me, it is not. I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else. Michael gob chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo news, tan Kleinman editor and chief of Yahoo news. So we don't get a lot of Republicans to come on skulduggery. We ask for a lot of them much less a member of the Republican leadership in the house. So I think it's pretty cool that we got squeezed to come on this episode always helps when they're hawking book in their hawking a book, but we got some tough questions for him. Yeah. Look, you know, he wrote this book about the experience he had at the congressional baseball game when he's shot very severely. I mean really to, to an inch of his life, almost didn't survive. And this moment was a kind of a dark reflection of the highly polarized times that we live in kind of the extreme version of that kind of partisan, and we should point out that it was a left wing Bernie Sanders before. That's right. That's right. Deliberately wanted to fire on Republic rights. But his his takeaway in this. What he writes rates in the book, is that our common humanity. Transcends that kind of partisanship and everyone came together in this moment and save his life. Essentially, what we're gonna talk to him about is how that translates does not translate into politics in congress in the year two thousand a good week to do it. We have these appalling reports about conditions at the detention center in Texas that, you know, horrific photograph of the migrant with his daughter who drowned to death trying to cross the Rio Grande engine common humanity one would think that it would be that congress would come together at of common humanity trying to fix this problem. And as we talk they are still at loggerheads we're living in an age of dueling narratives or actually, you know, a single narrative in some ways with the poignant tragic story of, of this. Young man and his daughter Valeria. But, you know both sides blame the other for why it happened. And I think we're gonna talk about a couple of other things before we get to the interviews that reflect the same partisan divisions, right? Yeah. You talk about, like dueling, narratives look at the Russia story. Now we have the big break this week to learn that Robert Mueller is going to testify after all July seventeenth before both House Judiciary and house intelligence in response to a subpoena, he would not come unless there was a subpoena that required him to testify, and the big question is, what's he going to say that goes beyond the four corners of the report? And he's already said when he gave that press statement, a little while back that he will not go beyond the Muller report. So, you know, the Democrats have been saying it doesn't even matter if he does. If he just to hear his voice just to hear him talk about the president's conduct those laid out in that report, we'll have huge impact is actually was a nice line by Denny hat who's a democrat on the house intelligence committee, who said we have the sheet music. But we haven't heard the song yet. So their view is that once we hear the song that's going to have to say having watched Robert Muller testify. Sometimes I wouldn't call him a singer. Much less than entertaining. One already. See behind the, you know, in some of the stories Democrats on background or trying to tamp down expectation. Okay. So they've got to say this is a huge deal. This is what's going to break through, but privately I think they're nervous that it yet. Well, I'm skeptical like you are. But here a couple of ways in which I think this could have impact one is that this is going to be such a spectacle. There is going to be so much hype. They're going to be so many stories it's going to be wall to wall cable coverage probably for a week before it actually happens, if not more that means that a lot more Americans are going to actually, tune in huge numbers of Americans who have not really been paying all that much attention to what was in the mullahs report, let alone, having actually read it which, you know, is almost no one has actually read the report. So that's one thing that I could import the second thing is, it's not just Muller, who is going to be talking to the. House intelligence committee, and the House Judiciary committee might understanding is you're also going to have some members of Muller's team who will be interviewed not in public hearings. But behind the scenes that has not happened so far. We don't know where Andrew Weissmann, if, if he ends up talking to the house, intelligence committee, raise reports he's writing a book, which may make little hard for him to decline to answer questions. We hear Mr. Weisman. This is a four not a subpoena because we don't have subpoena power skulduggery yet. But this is a, a formal invitation for you to come on skulduggery talk. When you're ready. When you're gonna writing as lawyers say asked and answered I've asked he answered no. The lure of skulduggery a we, we will we will be there on the scene reporting on Muller's testimony, and we will be obviously doing skullduggery and, you know, we'll see we, we don't know, sometimes there are surprises in these in these hearings. And for one thing we may. There may be questions from the Republican side. They may go after Muller in ways that make you. Trump already has this week with this saying, Trump deleted the text messages of Peter Struck and Lisa page, those two agents, who were working the case, who were having a relationship and exchanging messages, very derisive about Trump himself. In fact, there's really no truth to what Trump said now they were having a hard time retrieving happy. I was having striving those, those text messages. But ultimately, they did nobody has provided any evidence. In fact, I'm not even aware that other than in conspiracy land. Fray. We'll be talking a little quieter. Skulduggery joint. That's coming soon your way. But I don't even know that anyone's hadn't even been any allegations that these texts were were destroyed Zillow by Muller. There were some missing tax, but the FBI was having a hard time retrieving but and this comes from a department at Justice inspector general report for some months ago, but there was no allegation that Muller had anything to do with the FBI's difficulty in return, so moving on and speaking of dueling, narratives, we have this week, also at actually, I think it broke late on Friday allegations of another woman who, who claims that she was sexually assaulted. Many have said raped June Carroll by from this has recounted an encounter, with Trump at department store, Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, in which nine hundred ninety six. Five or six in the dressing room, the two of them together about apparently she thought Trump was going to try on this pair of lingerie he thought she was going to try it on look. She comes across on TV as spontaneous and compelling. There are some questions that have been raised about her account starting with how did they both end up inside the dressing room. But that said given the multiple women now who have come forward and made very serious allegations this being, you know, probably the most serious of all at some point, you know, what does one do with the president has been so accused by so many women. I mean, you would think by now I don't know how many women there are who've come forward, but it's close to fifteen I think that you would be at critical mass, so that it would actually have real in. Pack but I think it just points up. You know, the thing that Trump said during the campaign, which is just that he could shoot someone on on Fifth Avenue. And, and it wouldn't matter because you know that forty percent or whatever it is of the country, they choose to believe what they wanna believe. They support Trump pretty much no matter what and ultimately, unless he's credibly accused of a crime, and it's an investigated. And you know, there's nothing there's nothing you can do in this incredibly divided. Steve Scalise about gene carols allegations, and see what he has to say if anything. But a couple of other quick things we just got the census decision from the supreme court, five four sending it back to the district court for more evidence gathering, exactly as predicted on skulduggery two weeks ago by Katie Barlow who of the, the words matter podcast duo. And she predict yes, she predicted exactly this. She said the chief Justice Roberts, if, if there's any opportunity to punt in her words, he would take it because this is a politically controversial case. It doesn't have to decide it he's not going to new information had emerged which raised a lot of questions about the Trump administration's position. And so the supreme court can't listen the appeals courts can't listen to new facts chief Justice Roberts with a majority. Fighting word, the liberals siding with the liberals sent it back to the trial, court further review. I think the, the really relevant issue, here, is that this case, probably won't be decided by the time the census questions have to be venture means that these citizen, ship question that the Trump administration wanted to be in the census most likely won't be in there. And you heard it I heard. I on skulduggery. All right. A lot to get to, including I want to start out with the new era of cyber warfare. And what we're learning from our Yahoo news colleague, so let's get right to it. We now have with us. Jenna, McLaughlin are Yahoo news colleague, national security. Correspondent Jenna, welcome back to skulduggery. Thanks for having me. You had a huge scoop the other day about the US cyber command launching a cyber strike against Iranian. Spy group. This was right after the Iranian attack on those oil, tankers, tell us exactly what you learned and who the target was. Sure. Absolutely is so well, as everybody was focused on the potential kinetic strike. What was actually happening is that President Trump authorized a cyber response? So the specific group that I was looking at the Iranian spy group. It was connected to the sea and for many years, they have been tasked with figuring out where ships are in the Gulf in the strait for moose. Obviously, that's a really important area massive amounts of the world's oil travels directly. Through that narrow path of water every single day and around has a huge strategic interest in knowing what's going on? So over the years, Iran cybercrime abilities are not quite as advanced as the US probably. But. Coming coming more advanced, yes, but they have some creative ways, perhaps learning these things, I wanna get into everybody. Let's talk about what happened absolately. So the decision was to retaliate against this specific group that had been tasked with supporting these ship attacks by gathering information. So the strike was able to directly target juicy make it more difficult for them to launch weapons at directly targeted their, their command and control systems. So we implanted mal wear inside launch systems used by. S group. Right. So this was the target here, the spy group was an actual military force of some kind. They were the ones that launched the attack on those tankers while they support it by providing the intelligence. This is like a cyber unit within the radian revolutionary guard goal. Yes. Yes. Maine kind of military force within a wrong wrong. Yes. I'm declared a terrorist group by the United States. Exactly. Right. Pretty recently. Yes. And how much do we know first of all, do we know that it was that it was a -ffective that it was actually a successful attack. So as a good question I think it's probably too soon to know for sure, particularly because it's you know, Iran can lie about that, by the way, it should point out that I was actually at a concert on Friday night when I see the Email that we had this story, and I'm reading it and I'm saying, wait a second. Is this does everyone have this is this exclusive emailed, your editor Washington bureau chief, Sharon Weinberger, and she said? Yep. Totally exclusive. And the reason I bring that up is because these cyber operations are among the most closely held secrets in the United States government. I mean, it's very hard to learn about a covert, cyber operation like this. So I know you're not going to reveal your sources here, but. Tell us a little bit about the kind of reporting tradecraft. How do you get a story like this? Sure. So you're right in saying that it's really difficult. And it doesn't happen that often especially if you're not, you know, the sort of designated person at the post of the times, but I think the process that I went through here is that I had been looking specifically at Runyon cyber capabilities because everybody was looking more at the ongoing conflict between the White House Pompeo Bolton looking at sort of those officials exchanging barbs. But I said, you know, I know more about the espionage side. I know more about the cyber side, salutes look at kind of which groups might have been paying attention there, and maybe that'll be relevant. It's really important point because I think he can sort of safely say that at this point whenever there is Connecticut. Actively as you mentioned for that is happening kind of overtly. There's also almost always going to be a cyber component. That's just where we are in warfare between nations and between nations and. On nation states. Absolutely. I mean twenty eight cyber command put out some sort of strategic vision document, which, you know, sounds like a load of DOD who but in reality, there were sort of declaring, you know, where here to stay, we are going to defend forward, which means we're going to be an adversary systems. We're going to be doing things and some of those are going to be visible. So President Trump himself approved this operation. Yes, this far as we know I didn't include that in my story. But that that was. They were following your story. They had to advance it. That was the detail that guy. But this is at the same time or roughly the same time that he's calling back, what was going to be the actual missile counter. Right. And as far as we knew that was all ready to go. So perhaps when he knew he had this option it sounded like doing something without actually bombing strikes me like this is the future of warfare. We forestall we do not launch. The actual missile strike. We do it through cyber. We do a cyber attack. And it seems to me that were entering an era where we either are seeing much more of this, or we're going to be seeing a lot more of this. I think that, that's probably accurate, Steiber command its most recent couple operations. I think have ultimately become public. So I think we will continue to see more of that. But there is. Isn't really an international kind of framework set of rules of the rain for how to deal with particularly ofensive cyber attacks and the offense and clearly we have an offensive capability. We haven't used it that much that I'm aware of. So that's part of what's relatively new here is going on the offense. I mean, I guess you could say it was a retaliatory strike. So defensive in that sense, but really this is about our offense of Cape. Well, when did you say Stuxnet kind of broke them? All right. I was gonna mention. What I was gonna mention I. Right. Oh, that was a operation. This is the military. But yes, it was a US offensive. Cyber strikes Wentz. Third and destructive capabilities. Exactly question involving the Iranians as well. So there is a there is already a long history of cyber conflict between the United States and Iran. What's the Iranian capability? We started talking about that before. Right. Absolutely. So I mean, funny, you mentioned stocks, not that was kind of the moment. A lot of folks, I spoke to pointed to where Ron woke up to this reality and said, hey, we need to get in game two. We need to, to bulk up our capabilities. So in this particular instance, their methods were pretty creative. One of their tactics was to create a bunch of different fake social media profiles pretend to be a really attractive woman who's seeking some contacts with some navy sailors sent him a Facebook message ask when his ships passing through the strait and there's actually a term for that the us. Honey potting only probably one of the oldest forms of, of tradecraft for spies. This is a kind of the digital version of honeypot talk about what is actually these accounts say, who was behind them and what? And what exactly was the tactic? Yeah. I mean, the tactic is just what it sounds like you create a fake, Facebook profile actually, in the story, we sort of explored, how that advanced over time, the original ones, where office a woman in a bikini sends a message to navy sailor asking about whereas ships, going to be being very straight-forward just get the information and go, and it's it's sort of advanced over time where maybe it's an attractive woman, but she's not into bikini. She starts to engage with you have real conversations. Maybe listen. We're sent for mation. Exactly. So has the navy taken steps to make sure it's sailors. Don't respond to fetching looking women reaching out to them on Facebook. Yeah. I mean. This. They're certainly aware of this. And as far as I can say have sort of taken measures to advise against it. But I mean what are you gonna do? Yes, I can see how it would be hard to police your sailors, when they get some of these messages. But the idea was, this is the way the Iranians kept track of one of the ways one of our ships were in the Persian Gulf. Exactly. Yeah. And where they were and for what purpose. Well, I mean typically the purposes if you want to attack you wanna know where those ships are going to be. I mean, it's, it's classic espionage, also, you wanna have situational awareness, you want to know who's passing through, if they might have, you know, dangerous intentions, if they might want attack you, but you also want to know exactly where that ships going to be in case you want to launch. So this was the cyber the, the digital Mata Hari, but the but the Iranians have also developed some more sophisticated techniques for tracking ships passing through the strait of or moves. Both military ships. Civilian talk about some of those, I think, maybe actually hacking into websites that so yes, you got it. Exactly. Right. The one of the methods that they've used as hacking into these ship tracking websites, so that they can gather that information. And then I think in your store, you also talk about our capability to, I didn't know existed. I didn't even know we had this capability of actually being able to redirect US drones so that they're able to implant code inside. US drones to actually change the coordinates ESO. I confirmed with multiple officials that Iranians are capable of GPS spoofing. So they can do that attack. And at least in the instance, in two thousand eleven when they redirected a US drone to their shores, they were able to sort of plug in other coordinates that the drone phoned home and traveled down to the shores, and they intercepted it, and got that information. And it's interesting in this instance, it's clear that they wanted to sort of send a message. That they were, you know, here to here to fight, because they decided to shoot the drone down, instead of intercepting it so about a week or so, before your story of the New York Times reported that there had been a cyber intrusion by cyber command into the Russian power grid. And that this was cited as a an example of a real ratcheting up by cyber command in their offensive operations. But they said that, that was not briefed to President Trump in part because they were US cyber ficials were concerned that if the president learned about it, he would shut down that operation because he did not want to retaliate against the Russians. This is seems to me a murky area now of what has to be directly approved by the president, and how much latitude in the alternative does cyber command to conduct these. Operations on their own. Absolutely. And I think that is continuing to be a really murky area with this story. I think it's sort of being contested by DOD. I'm not sure exactly what the issue is here. But in this instance, I think maybe we might be running into a difference of authority, potentially. If you are sort of laying the groundwork for a potential attack you're setting up command and control infrastructure so that you can gather information covertly, that's different than actually launching an attack, and those fall under different authorities. So if you're within an assay or cyber command, you would be able to sort of prepare for said attack without actually asking for proven to, to launch one. And I think that that's kind of more understood at least within the cyber community that there's an interest in camping out on foreign since I get that. But if you're the Russians, and you discover that s cyber command hackers have. Implanted mala wear in your power grid. You're gonna be pretty pissed off and might retaliate, correct potentially, right? So it seems to me that's the sort of action that there ought to be some civilian control and review of before it gets launched right. I mean, it's, it's really interesting. I last summer, President Trump revoked in a bam era. Thority PD, twenty one of these executive orders, DVD presidential. So Bama issued that in an effort to make sure that all of the stakeholders were at the table when sort of cyber operations were launched. You know, you've got treasury. You've got state, you've got all these different people who might have an interest in some of the negative repercussions of a cyber attack that maybe the head of cyber command wouldn't know about or wouldn't think about and a lot of people complain that that was really cumbersome. You know, it took forever to get anything done. But Trump went in the other direction and just totally scrapped that and made it a lot easier at the time a couple of officials sort of told me that the gloves are off. It's going to be a lot easier to do things without telling out towing, the White House. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And that was, I think froze intention, he did this not just in the cyber arena, but he also did it drones as well, the Obama administration had this very careful vetting process, similar to what you just described all the different stakeholders. They had these big. Civics meetings, where they all debated the law, and, you know, all these complicated questions and Trump wanted to send those authorities back to the commanders in the field, but here's an interesting. I think it's an important issue on cyber, because a lot of people think that these cyber attacks are kind of quivalent of Atari game or something that it's not kind of its virtual warfare. But the reality Jenna, isn't it that cyber attacks can translate into physical attacks and civilians, can die many civilians condi-. If you play it out, for example, shut down the grid you shut hospitals. Get shut down. I mean this, this could have huge physical effects. Right. And something that Trump apparently wanted to avoid. Yeah. I mean these scenarios have sort of been played out, but are starting to enter reality just a couple weeks ago. The city of Baltimore was ransomware and they needed to pay. Back that money in order to get control of their systems. You know, imagine that on a hospital their rations can't work. You just back to the authorities question here. The president has relaxed the authorities given cyber command more latitude to conduct these on their own. How about reporting to the intelligence committees on the hill. It's a great question. I think just in conversations around the newsroom, we've been asking the same one saying, how do the committees, and the members of this committee feel about how much information they're receiving on. Within it, it seems like some of the members of the defense committees have been saying. You know, we're a little bit concerned that we're missing out on a couple of things. I think that that was mentioned in some of the language of the NBA, Sean Naylor is talking about that. That's the defense offer. Yeah, it's, it's the money for communities, under the jurisdiction of the Pentagon, exactly. But it does appear that we're entering this new era wild wild west era of cyber warfare, in, which, we're giving the military more power to conduct these operations on their own these operations or becoming more robust. And we don't really have a handle on how much we're doing do we not really? It's, it's a pretty open space, without not that much information there to understand, where the lines are, how this applies to sort of existing standards. I mean it's funny actually I was just in stone. And they're the only ones that have been really thinking this want to ask you about that. But before we get to that, because you went on a very interesting trip to a number of European countries who've been dealing with this threat, somebody's longer than we have I wanted to ask you, why there is so much secrecy, shrouding this issue, and occurs to me that it may have to do with the fact that we're such a interconnected world. We're extremely vulnerable to these kinds of attacks. So the more what we're doing authencity exposed the harder. It is it will be to, to defend ourselves. Absolutely not only the US, one of the most connected countries out there. I think we also just have all this technology. That's very unsecured. We have so many things that are plugged into who knows what the voting. And let's talk about that for a second because you recently came back from the reporting trip to let's see Finland stealing Holland and Sweden and Sweden, and you were looking at cyber defense in those countries, and in particular you were as a lot of questions about defending against intrusions interference in elections. And let's talk about the Stony because Estonia in some ways, was the patient zero a satellite country of the Soviet Union, and then broke away and the Russians were not very happy with the Estonians, and I think it was under Vladamir Putin. They essentially shut down the country of Stony with a massive cyberattack seven. So what did you learn from the Estonians about what the Russians are capable of now? And how we can defend ourselves against the kinds of attack that we experienced in two thousand sixteen a whole lot. So we'll have a story coming out about that as well for people to read. But when I was in a Sony, I was there for the. Lanark Maria conference. And there were a lot of top officials to interview the former president, the defense minister, the head of their essentially BI, and they did talk a fair amount about defending elections. It was the week of the EU parliamentary elections Estonia, and what's interesting in, in a Sony, is that they have the option to vote online. They're the only ones that have really kind of fully gone for this effort to go online. And there are a lot of cybersecurity experts who say that that's inherently vulnerable. You know, people go in their computers, their cell phones. I think it's only computer desktops for, for the boating option who knows if it's infected by malware, who knows if a grandma has clicked the link and who knows. But I think what the Estonians feel is that they've had this for a long time. They have a really well established system. They thought about security at the offset. They understand these Wilner abilities. And because they have this digital ID that is connected. Its end end encrypted. It uses. They all have like a license essentially that's digital ID and they can use that all. Yes. Social pretty hard. Yeah. It's fascinating. It's fascinating. They can order prescription drugs, they can vote. They can do anything. I western. Thing every day, then. Giannis yahu news track coughing. So the funny thing there is if a government employee or anyone that access to your card axes it, there's a log, so you can see every single person in exactly why that they said that they need your information. So that is kind of a check that makes people more comfortable with it. I think, well, this is all fascinating stuff. And it is murky, which is why it's very good. We have Jenna keeping track of it for us. So try. Good work, keep up and come back and tell us more about what you find happy to. Learn the business principles that have made Disney global leader in customer experience. For over thirty years. Disney institute has helped business organizations. Learn that Disney approach. They don't just tell you what works for them. They introduce you to another mode of thinking. Learn more at Disney institute dot com. We now have with us, Louisiana. Congressman Steve Scalise house minority whip congressman welcome to skulduggery get to be with you. Thanks, right. So you are back on the baseball field last night. Yeah. We we had the game last night. And, and you guys got clobbered. Well, you once again, as bad as last year, actually, it was fourteen to seven as say closer than the score. Look. But it was it was good competitive game for the night and winded up raising about one point three million dollars for local charities, and always really fun to be able to help a lot of the youth groups boys and girls. Right. And all that we had over ten thousand people to house, a raucous crowd at nationals at national stadium national stick into play in the big league ball. Right. Take that loss is a bad omen for twenty twenty we'll get it out of our system. Now. Next year than have at this, everybody, remembers two years ago, the horrific events when you were shot practicing for the game. And you wrote this book back in the game about that experience and one of the things that left out at me that you wrote in the book was how that experience seemed to bring people together said it to make me feel like it wasn't just me, but the whole country had been shot at I would get to see a nation unified and struck me because we are on Capitol Hill in a congress where you seem more divided than ever. How is it that you haven't been able to translate, those bipartisan, sentiments you expressed in the book into what's going on here day today on Capitol Hill. You know, it's a rough and tumble town. I mean, especially now it is a divided nation. You don't our country's been at points like this periodically throughout our history, and this is one of the more divided ones, but it also showed that even in times like that we can come together when it's something that that's really important that we need to unify behind in it meant a lot. I saw it. I mean, it wasn't just people strangers that were praying for me and rooting for all of us to, to come back, but it was world leader, some would say that the immigration crisis right now to pick a eating example, is something that congress ought to be able to come together on. And I do think that's something we will eventually come together on. I wish it was sooner rather than later, I know in December the president offered an opportunity to resolve the DACA problem. And so far we haven't gotten to get that done. We need to we need to keep working at it, you know, but. There are a lot of other things that we pass in this town that, that are very bipartisan. They just don't get a lot of attention twenty-first-century cures. As a real, good example of a Bill. We passed and was Republicans Democrats coming together to put real money in the National Institute of health to solve major diseases one day, I think we're gonna find major cures for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. But it doesn't get a lot of attention because the big immigration or health care, and peach mint battles, or the things they get most of the attention. And that's unfortunate be nice. If we could come together a lot more things like US MCA a real opportunities. The new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, where we have an opportunity to come together, do something even the labor unions supported business group support it. So it is something that can unite us. And our friends Canada wants to get this done Mexico, just just ratified it. So hopefully that's another example in in like to see us do it sooner rather than later. But are there any lessons that you specific lessons that you drew? From that experience on the baseball field, and everyone coming together in that very difficult moment that you personally are applying in politics, and as a legislator, there are, and I've always felt you, you shouldn't make your differences with people personal. We all have disagreements with our friends with our spouses. You don't try to undermine somebody's integrity. Because they disagree with you. You talk through, you might not be able to resolve it. But then you move onto the next thing where you're in agreement in a pure. I think we need to focus on that more because yes, we do have disagreements. It's what makes our country great where he will express his disagreements. But sometimes when you see people going after each other personally or inciting violence, there's no place for that. And I think just us focusing on the policy differences, but working through, and finding common ground. There is a lot more common ground than people realize in, if we work on that in building real relationships, where if you've got a real relationship with somebody, it's going to be less likely you're going to try to go and deny. Them personally, when you disagree with them, you, you hopefully find more areas of common ground by building relationships. Have you done to broker a compromise on immigration on this Bill? That's going to be voted on soon after we, we have this podcast on funding for the humanitarian crisis at the borough. Did you specifically done to broker compromise? What I've been doing is trying to get the facts out about how important this is because a lot of people aren't, even aware. There's this crisis at the border whereby next week. If we don't solve it, there's an agency within health and human services that will go into a government shutdown, which means federal workers will have to go to work by law, but without pay their border patrol agents right now that are buying diapers for these young kids coming across our border out of their own pocket because the agency ran out of money, a lot of people aren't aware of that. And I think just getting the facts out so that everybody can put their guard down. Sure we're going to disagree on the wall funding asylum loopholes that need to be closed. This isn't about that this is about just making sure that the kids that are coming across. The border in many cases that are being abused along that journey are going to be able to be taken care of in America. While we're trying to resolve what happens to the people that broke the law. Your reaction to seeing that horrific photograph of Oscar Ramirez drowned with his daughter trying to enter the country. It shows you that we got to send a message to the rest of the world that we are still a great nation of immigrants. We are unopened country to immigrants. We let over a million people year into our country legally way more than any other country in the world. And yet, we're nation of laws that are not being properly enforced. There are a lot of loopholes. Mexico's even told us many of the people that are coming across their border from the southern part of Mexico into Mexico, ultimately to the United States are coming because our asylum laws are so broken that it's a magnet that are drawn people here illegally so that they're making those dangerous journeys, there many people that are getting not only that die on the journey there being raped a lot of young women. These gotta get back to the rule of law so that people understand how America's immigration system where these are desperate people living in a region. Guatemala Honduras of horrible, violence, and economic deprivation. And yet. President Trump has threatened to cut off funding for those countries. The Senate Bill that has just passed, which I gather you're going to support has no funding for those Central American countries and the house Bill does shouldn't we be working to try to improve conditions down there? So these people don't feel the need to come into the United States. Well, the first thing we have to do is secure our border in America, and it did not need to have funding to help these countries. What President Trump saying, as we're giving relief to foreign countries. We shouldn't be number one giving money to foreign countries who use money against us in. We're trying to focus better on that. But even with some of the Central American countries, many of these people that are coming across the border, they're coming into Mexico in Mexico is offering them asylum. So if they're so concerned about their own country that they're fleeing their country. The reason you have. Silom laws is to say if your life is in jeopardy, you need a place where you can go Mexico saying, we'll take you and we'll let you work in our country and yet, they're saying, no to that. And then they go on this dangerous trek into America because our asylum laws are so broken that they think there's just a free pass into America. We've got to get away from that we shouldn't be telling people that we don't even care about our own laws there over a million people year that we let in every year legally and there's millions more that are waiting in line. What do you say into those people that are trying to play by the rules to come to America, the right way that we're not going to be concerned about our current laws and somebody can just go jump ahead of you. If there's a country like water Malla, which they are, that have their own internal problems. Sure. We can try to help them fixed problems. But we have to fix our problems to, and why is it? That speaker Pelosi is willing to give more money to Guatemala, but not give money to our border patrol agents, who are working overtime American border patrol as us take care of them. I would you support funding for Tamala and Honduras? Well, we have money that we already give to those countries your house. Those countries to help us look, if we're sending money to countries, which we are billions of dollars to, to foreign countries shouldn't we at least say there's a problem in your country that is causing problems in America? Can you try to address it in think it's coming up on those countries, we ask Mexico, by the way to help us with this problem and the president had threatened some tariffs we didn't want to see it go to that? But ultimately Mexico said, you know what we will help you Wilson thousands of national guard troops to the Mexican southern border and you know what? It's actually had a positive impact. There's now about a twenty percent reduction just in last two weeks in people coming across Mexico southern border because they did that so working with countries to help us with the problems that we have in their countries. I think that's the way to approach it. Not just say, here's more money, but say how about you help us and work with us, and we'll be happy to have a better relationship with you congressman your ancestors came from Italy grant grants came from Sicily. In Columbia, maybe. Yeah. Palermo and Contessa enta- Lena beautiful country, beautiful place. And they were talion immigrants from that part of Italy. At that time, we're fleeing terrible, poverty, other terrible, hardships, actually, they ended up. They came pretty much directed Louisiana, right? You're right. Right, right. And some of the, the sugar cane rice farms in south, they worked in those fields and then ultimately moved to New Orleans, and there was a low fish doors anti Italian discrimination at that time, or even lynchings just wonder do you draw a direct line from your great grandparents came to this country fleeing economic hardship. Terrible, poverty, and other hardships to the man and his little daughter who died in the Rio Grande. And, and does that give you a particular empathy? Given the experience of your own great grandparents coming to this country. Sure. It does. You know, and you hate to see some of the problems that were. Seeing coming across the border from the deaths that were tragic to the rapes in the Uman trafficking. That is very real that comes across our border drug smuggling. What we've got to do is get back to a rule of law, where people know that this country is the greatest country in the history of the world. That's why people come here. They come here to seek freedom and to seek the American dream just like my grandparents did in that system, worked, a lot better back in those days in the nineteen twenties, that even worked recently, better for people at one come here. We've got to get back to a rule of law system where people feel like we do have a secure border, where we have control over our border, so that people know how to come here, the right way that they don't have to break the log onto life-threatening journey just to come here that they can follow regular laws with the president's talked about is things like the visa lottery, where we take fifty five thousand visas a year and just pluck names out of a hat randomly, instead of focusing on merit based system where people can know that those fifty. Five thousand visas are going to be there for them who want to come here legally to seek the American dream. What about the conditions in some of these facilities along the border where children have been saying there for many, many weeks without diapers in some cases, without the ability to take showers without toothbrushes pretty terrible conditions. I think it's a national disgrace. It's why President Trump called on speaker Pelosi over six weeks ago to solve that problem to send more money those agencies ran out of money weeks ago border patrol agents literally, you're paying out of their pocket to buy diapers for kids because they ran out of money, they'd be breaking the law, if they spend money they didn't have, so the president called on congress to solve the problem. Now, what speaker Pelosi done the last six weeks. I have no idea. I do know she hasn't tried to solve that problem and. Public inside. Or is it all on the democratic side since the president sent his request down? I do colloquy with the majority leader at the end of every week that week in weeks after I've brought the issue up over and over again. He's never disputed that the problem didn't exist. But he's never acknowledged that they would work with us to solve the problem to shouldn't wait until the midnight hour to solve a major problem like that where federal agency is literally run out of money to take care of young kids. They're getting over three hundred young kids a day, and they've called on congress to send more money because they're out of money. They're literally in a government shutdown. And for whatever reason, maybe they're too focused on impeachment of the president. This is a real problem Pelosi should've solved six weeks on a switch gears on that front Robert Muller's going to testify in few weeks. Have you read the report? I haven't read the entire thing there, some things that I'm not able to read because there are some classes public report. Yes, you have rented are their actions described in that report. Court by the president, particularly volume two that you find troubling the main thing I find troubling is that this was all about the accusation of collusion with Russia with the presidential campaign. By the way, based on the way partisan document, that was put together with Russian help, which which is real ironic in there were some real real bad, actors within the FBI, who had a partisan agenda that should never be the case on a discussing day, the motion, more very clearly. There was no collision that was part of the issue. The president hands Hans structured, his order to Don Mcgann to create a false document. His entreaty is order to Corey Lewandowski, to tell Jeff Sessions to restrict the investigation into his campaign. Let let's find any of that troubling thing that the president troubles if you'd like to know what troubles me, yes, what troubles me is that there was no obstruction by the president. They thought the president was going to try to shut the whole Muller investigation down. President Trump didn't they thought the president wasn't going to comply President Trump comply? There were over five hundred people that were witnesses that were brought into the mullahs. Reporter for thirty million dollars. He did not bring one single. Charge Muller had the opportunity if he saw collusion, or if he saw obstruction to bring charges against the president. He didn't bring one single charge. And so at some point, the American people are going when are you gonna move on to solving real problems, the committee of jurisdiction of the mullahs report right now where they're doing all of this impeachment drumbeat. That's the same committee that has jurisdiction over the border crisis, and they haven't done a thing about the border crisis because they're focusing on a Mullah report. They thought was going to yield some kind of collusion. There was no collusion. Why don't they move on and insult Roseman albums that people airbomb I understand that there are legitimate questions about the Muller investigation, and how Democrats panel this and maybe outrages in the views of many of your supporters, many Americans about some of this, but I guess the question is, is it completely binary is there anything that you would concede in terms of the president's behavior because that I think goes to this question that Mike asset the outset, which is, you know, you saw how people came to. Gather when you were shot you talk about wanting there to be bipartisanship. But don't you also have to make gestures in that direction? And part of that is not always being partisan warrior. Look, I've had disagreements with President Trump on different fronts. And I bring those issues to him, whether it's on trade policy tax policy, I helped put together that tax cut Bill. That's President Trump signature achievement when we were working in the house to put that together, we weren't always in sync with the White House, but we had a working relationship where we could sit down and work through those problems. And we came up with a Bill that has now put our economy on track to be one of the best hottest economies in the history of the world, where every single sector of our country's doing better lowest unemployment on my mum, African Americans and Hispanics in the history of our country. Women start on businesses are on uptick things that you would have wanted to see for decades. This is actually happening right now. And there's more good things we do. When I go around my district or around the country, people aren't saying they, they want. The president. They're saying they want their prescription drug prices lower. We passed a bipartisan Bill unanimously out of committee, the energy and commerce committee unanimously passed a Bill to lower drug prices in when it came to the floor. Instead of speaker Pelosi saying, hey, this is a great model for us to work with President Trump to Lord drug prices. She put a whole bunch of poison pill partisan amendments in and made it a partisan Bill. This was a Bill that passed unanimously we should be working on those kind of things lowering drug prices getting the economy, even hotter than it can be getting trade deals. US MCA our trade deal with Mexico and Canada should have been passed months ago. Why speaker Pelosi hasn't brought that to the floor? I don't know. Business groups want labor. Unions wanted Canada wants it. Mexico's already passed it speaker Pelosi won't even bring that to the floor all they're focused on right now is impeachment. And people are saying just focus on the problems of everyday Americans stop all of this partisanship. Congressman the former advice columnist Jean Carroll has come forward. And says that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a Bergdorf, Gordon dressing room in one thousand nine hundred five or one thousand nine hundred sixty seventy reason not to believe her. First of all the president's been very fatty that it didn't happen. The Anderson Cooper interview that she did is one of the most bizarre interviews of ever seen Anderson Cooper, went to commercial because it didn't even want her on the air anymore. So look, let's again, focus on real problems. You saw this win the cavenaugh hearing was going on by the end of the cavenaugh. Harry, there were people coming forward saying he was a gang rapist ludicrous, that were completely unfounded, by the way, and everybody realized that there have been multiple women who've come forward and described conduct by President Trump, that would be considered by anybody in appropriate at some point to you have to either believe that all of them or lying, or that there is the president's that you would. That's a little bit salacious to say there's all these accusations are. Well, acusations, shouldn't Darwin a country where you're innocent until proven guilty. A lot of let's see where this goes when you saw the cavenaugh hearing, I think the country really turned and said, hold on a second. This is enough where you literally try to search and destroy a person because you don't agree with their politics. Look, Donald Trump ran a campaign for president against Hillary Clinton, where the country knew what the differences are between both of the candidates, and the direction they wanted to take the country from immigration healthcare on down, and they elected Donald Trump clearly elected him. He was honestly duly elected president, no Russian interference. He didn't include with row. There was Terence conc- only by Russia, to interfere was win. Barack Obama was president Russia. Clearly tried to interfere. They didn't change a single vote in any voting machine, but they tried to interfere when Barack Obama was president. Why didn't President Obama do more to stop Russia from interfering? President Trump's working really hard right now with congress in some places. To stop Russia from being able to do it again. I wish speaker Pelosi would work closer with President Trump to stop Russian interference in future elections. Unlike what Barack Obama did when he was president again? Donald Trump was elected president to solve those problems. The people that didn't vote for him. I didn't support a lot of Brock Obama's policies. But once he was elected president. I worked with him on things. We could agree on like the twenty first century cures act. Probably one of the last bills at Barack Obama signed. So yes, you can disagree with people, but don't make it a personal hatred of him and try to seek and destroy them last every single day, shouldn't they'd be able to work with the president solve problems. If the house does vote to impeach President Trump, what will happen, what will be the reaction. I think they'll be a huge backlash to speaker Pelosi the country doesn't want it. There's been no, the high crimes and misdemeanors standard. There have been no formal charges brought against the president and all the accusations that they brought turned out to be baseless. Collusion was what it was all going. About they really thought there was gonna be collusion with Russia, and there was absolutely none. And instead of moving on they want impeachment, whether the facts, meet it or not, the standard should be in any kind of investigation. Follow the facts where they lead in, if it leads to nothing like the mullahs report, he didn't foul one single charge. He had the opportunity, he had over thirty million dollars of taxpayer money, and almost two years, and not one single charge. Now, do you I should Nadler still wanna impeach him? Even now that there are no charges shouldn't focus on the immigration crisis. His committee has jurisdiction over a national scandal, a national scandal, where kids aren't, even being given the basic healthcare needs. They have because the federal agency ran out of money in President Trump called on congress to give on the money. President Trump doesn't want this scandal to be going on. But he asked congress to appropriate money when he's out of money in Pirlo. See won't give the money. So that's on her right now. I don't want it to be there. I want her to work with the president to solve this problem and so many other problems. A lot of these. Problems are solvable. They're not look immigration. Sure, there's some big differences, but there are more than enough Republicans and Democrats who are ready to solve everything from the security at the border to the asylum loopholes to Dhaka, and, again, President Trump put doc on the table speaker Pelosi walked away from that in December. She needs to come back to the table in focus on these problems. Stop the personal assassination impeachment. Drumbeat, whether it's they're not, let's focus on real problems, and we can solve congressman. Thanks for joining us. Thank you get to be with you go get the book back in the game. It's a really good story about heroes, rainy. We need to see about heroes, a lot more in this country, and they're in, they're really rose out there. Thanks to congressman Steve Scalise and Yahoo news. His own gentlemen, Laughlin joining us on this episode of Duggary don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on apple podcasts or listening to your podcasts and tell us what you think Lee review. The latest episode is also on Sirius XM on the weekend. Check it out on channel one twenty four on Saturdays at three pm eastern. Time with replays on Sundays at one AM and three PM short. Follow us on social media at skulduggery pot. Now you can watch the podcast on Yahoo news dot com YouTube and Roku Saturdays and Mondays at eight pm eastern, donkey suit.

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The Plouffe Strategy

Skullduggery

45:02 min | 8 months ago

The Plouffe Strategy

"A Michael isikoff changed correspondent for Yahoo News. And I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News and a quick reminder that you can follow us at skulduggery pod and by the way. If you've got any questions thoughts ideas you wanNA share tweet right out us now. Let's get on with the show. David PLOP was a young up and coming Democratic Strategist. Who achieved instant stardom? Eight years ago when he served his campaign manager. For Barack Obama Shaping the strategy that allowed the then Illinois senator to Defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and become the first African American to be elected president of the United States. Today plus is focused on a different task advising his fellow Democrats had a defeat Donald Trump. He thought he had it all. Figured out writing a just released book entitled A CITIZENS GUIDE TO BEATING DONALD TRUMP. But the corona virus crisis is upended everybody's political calculations and introduce new wildcards into the race. We'll talk plus about how the virus pandemic is changing the twenty twenty election and what kind of campaign he thinks. Joe Biden ought to be running on this episode of skulduggery because people have gotta know whether or not their president's are pro bowl. I'm not a crook. I told the American people. I did not trade arms for hostages my heart to my destination. Still tell me that's true but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the Truth and nothing else. A Michael ISIKOFF chief. Investigative correspondent for Yahoo News. And I'm Dan. Clyde been edited and chief of Yahoo News so the virus news keeps coming at us. It's still every bit as dire as it's looked for the past few weeks and in some respects getting worse but congress has come to the rescue or at least they think they're coming to the rescue passing this new two trillion dollar package. That seems to have stabilized the markets somewhat. But we got a long way to go. Yeah we do and there are other small rays of hope out there that we need to be careful not to overstate but as we record this Today on Wednesday governor Andrew Cuomo's briefing. He talked about some evidence that the rate of spread in in New York state. Which of course is the epicenter of this disease in the United States and moving toward being the epicenter of the disease in the world that rate of spread maybe slowing a little bit last Sunday. Hospitalizations were doubling every two days by yesterday. Tuesday they were doubling every four point. Seven days caveat from Cuomo was this may be too good to be true but in addition to that you're seeing that they really have made some significant progress in Westchester County. In that really serious hotspot up there so you know. I think moments like this people sometimes want to latch onto anything hopeful. Let's hope this is a trend? And not an aberration. But in the meantime politics goes on. Yes it does and you know we're GONNA be talking to David Plof about what? He thinks. The Democratic strategy should be in this new Corona virus environment. We're living in but trump. I gotta say the polls show. He's done slightly better just being out there. Every day making his pronouncements from the White House but then every time he looks quasi presidential he lapses into the Donald Trump. We all have come to know and nothing brought that home more to me than this. Absolutely bizarre tweet. He put out just this morning Wednesday morning about the news. That Mitt Romney was a testing negative for the virus. And I'm just going to read this because it is so bizarre and this is exact quotes from our president. This is really great news exclamation point. I am so happy I can barely speak. He may have been a terrible presidential candidate and even worse. Us senator but he is a rhino. And I like him a lot exclamation point. What do you make of that a rhino being Republican in name only? Yeah it is this just that bizarre narcissistic pathology of this president. That in a moment like this when we're facing a public health catastrophe and every American every American is worried about what the effects of this pandemic aren't going to be. Not just on you know other people around the country but on their neighbors on their relatives on their friends and on their own families and Donald Trump is essentially joking about it using this as an opportunity to sarcastically. Go after one of his nemeses. Mitt Romney this by the way. This is not the first time he did this. He was also asked about Romney. Getting tested for Corona virus isolating at news conference. And you know He. He seemed to make light of it. Oh Romney's being tested that's too bad or something to that effect Which struck everybody is sarcastic. But what strikes me about this is? It's actually fascinating to dissect because you can see like trump warring with himself. He knows he has to say something positive. Because it's good news but he can't sustain it for more than one sentence. And then he undercuts and goes back to the Donald Trump. We've all come to know over these years. So his first sentence this is really great. News exclamation point his second sentence. I'm so happy I can barely speak clearly sarcastic right. He then says he may have been a terrible presidential candidate and even worse. Us senator but he's a rhino and trump realizing maybe he's gone too far ends with. I like him a lot exclamation point. I mean it's like trump trying to balance his natural instinct for sarcasm and criticism with a sort of meager effort to sound as I said before quasi presidential anyway I just was like scratching my head when I read that laying bare his unusual psychological makeup in a hundred forty characters I tweets one hundred forty characters anymore but he probably still sticks to that so anyway all right listen. We got a great gassed. Here David Plov is obviously given a lot of thought to how this election should be run for the Democrats. He's having to revise that a bit more than a bit perhaps with the pandemic but a lot of interesting things to say. So let's get to lose. We are now joined by David. Plus former campaign manager for Barack Obama and author of the New Book Citizens Guide to beating Donald Trump David. Welcome to skulduggery. Thanks for having me on good to be with you. Then so look you. Obviously we're GONNA talk about your book but you obviously wrote this before. The Corona virus crisis has scrambled our politics in ways. We are only just trying to figure out. Tell us your take at the moment about how this public health emergency has changed the political calculus for twenty twenty. Well that's not a dodge but we just don't know height so so much of this will depend on where we end up. I mean what is the true Cost economically? What are the job losses? Like does this come back in the fall. There's so much we don't know what we do know is we know who the general election contenders are. So is Joe Biden. Trump trump obviously had a plan. They've spoken publicly that they wanted to sickly have a shock and all media campaign to try and make it hard for Biden to take the stages the nominee. That's been put off so Biden and I think a lot of break there. The Biden campaign quickly bill general election campaign of Enough smarts and resources in these battleground states to get going because the other thing that general election has been shortened so we might have started enforce two weeks ago out. The current virus after Biden look like he clinched the nomination. Now you're probably looking at this not really getting in ten terms of an intense phase until maybe as late as many so. I don't know you know what I'm seeing. Some bump in trump's approval rating mildly. Which is not surprising folks. Our President succeed. But I think the story of how mishandle this will be very compelling and I think so much of this election whether it's the economy whether the rule of law whether it's crisis do you really want to go through this for another four years and so I I actually think that in a way that it already you know. I think it's so central and that sounds so simplistic but I think you want every swing voter out there. Anybody who's about voting third-party anybody's thinking about not going to register to say do I really want four more years of this and then you narrow down that Question Democrats. You have a pretty good chance of winning. Let me ask you Just in the short term here as the crisis has unfolded with the daily White House. Briefing the President is at Andrew. Cuomo in New York is getting a lot of attention. Because he's doing these daily briefings and seems to be talking in direct ways that connect with people biden has kind of been eclipsed last week. He was almost invisible after the primary victories. He's started to reemerge in this sort of front porch virtual campaigning. Doing a web talks whatever. But he's not getting a lot of attention. Does that bother you a bit to see your candidate generally being eclipsed in the middle of a national crisis? Well he's GonNa be eclipsed because obviously for good or for bad and usually bad we're in the middle of the crisis and the president's GonNa Take Center stage you've got governor emeritus will relieving Crisis Response Locally Biden and. I had an office now. So that's just a reality. So I think he started to do more interviews which is great. I think they need to do a lot of videos. Really think facebook and Instagram Youtube. I am a little worried about that. They do statements. He did a conference call last week. Now they're doing interviews. Interviews are good. 'cause they're video clips can be? You know edited and and put out for reach but I think they need to think much more social media I you know I would say that with the virus situation. I think generally that's politics today. I talk about it in my book. We're knocking still important. Phone calls are still a port but the public square now use facebook instagram and Youtube and younger people snapchat viechtach. And you have to be thinking first and foremost about this potholes every day. If you've got something to say something to announce you better think first about how am I going to do it on each of those platforms in each of those platforms different? So I have an overarching concern. Sort of independent of the corona virus that we really have to make sure that the Biden campaign aggressives or meeting people where they are in the year twenty twenty. You know he's not GonNa get a quality in terms of air time because he's not in government and people in government rightly are getting the airtime. David I'M GONNA get to the book and one second but I just want to follow up on that point so you are saying that you think this not sort of smart use of social media has been a weakness of the Biden campaign kind of from the beginning and they need to really step that up. Well I think it's been a weakness. I still think it's a weakness most Democrats you know. Not all the for instance I think Ao. See Ken to get how people consume information in this day and age so I figure folks on the Hill Democrats on the hill. You can't think about. It is a news conference. The microphone statement is the way you communicate. Today you can do that. But the thing at the very front of the strategy tactically has to be these social media networks. The Way I think about it I worked in government and politics longtime you guys know so you announce your new healthcare plan or you react to something. The opposition puts out economically. You'd think about what's our policy response in which reporter we're GONNA give interview too and you know. When are we going to our news conference? All that now has to be secondary. We can argue whether it's good or bad for society but strategy to how am I communicate on facebook youtube instagram snapchat and increasingly. Tick Tock which you can't buy ads on has to be so. I think that's a challenge for our leaders in Washington. I think it's a challenge for Joe Biden. Who's now our nominee so it's not a specific to biden but trump gets in his campaign gets this. It's blunt force communication. It's really utilizing a lot. Israel's and what we haven't seen yet from the trump campaign and I suspect we're going to see any day now the massive online advertising onslaught that basically does the hero worship truck. Here's how he handled the response and basically tries to recreate in reality so he's trying to do from the podium but what. I think I'm very worried about is we're GONNA see tens of millions of dollars. Advertising battleground states any moment that basically says he's the greatest crisis responder of all time. And you know a lot of people who reject that but some people will accept it and were electoral dependent on the margins decided on the margin so I think the Biden campaign has an acute need to really up their game and understand how people receive information in this day. I think that's True Frontier Party so the book is called a citizens guide to beating Donald Trump and a premise of this book. Is that citizens people who are not necessarily party people or operatives but just regular Americans they have the ability to do small things that I think you say in the aggregate can add up to big things that can make the difference between winning and losing because there is this kind of fatalism that I think a lot of people have. Well my vote's not going to count. It's not gonNA count if I live in a either a very blue state or a very red state. Explain what you mean. What are those little things that people can do should be doing? That can make a difference right now. I think that everybody obviously folks law enforcement. Medical professionals are working around the clock. But here's a good chunk of Americans who have slightly more time than normal right so you're so if you live in a battleground state and you haven't been volunteer we'd or precinct captain. Can you do that if you don't live in a battleground state? Can you travel the one in the fall? Fire up your social media accounts if you got rid of them because that's where the campaigns going to be waived today if you see a piece of content from a citizen of Super Pac or Jill Biden like you see. Eli Respond to it. So everybody's got their role. I think the fight to social media wars which we have to do because we don't have Fox and sinclair and Breitbart and all these online publications. That seem to pop up every day. You know that the right uses in a coordinated way. I really hope any day. We're going to get all get emails from Mike Campaign saying. Hey We'd like you to write postcards or phone. People in Florida North Carolina Arizona aren't register and convince them to register. So there's a lot you can do and I think that's really important for me. I'm anxious for that. So at Biden's obviously not the formal nominee but you know the primaries over And I think those are the types of things you need to do very soon you start reaching out to people and saying here's how you can help us even if your home even if your home through April you know. Here's what you can do. You can write postcards. You can make phone calls. You can create content. Now some of that could be done. Anyway there's great progressive groups working on that so part of the message that look. Don't wait to be asked. I want people to be asked but jump into your came here on. What are you doing so every day? You see an info graphic or video. That might speak to you. Maybe it motivates your inspires maybe makes the case against trump. Cher it so if you think about millions of Americans and that's just a small percentage of people who voted against Donald Trump. So just a few million Americans. Every day sheriff some content maybe they create content the best example. I like us. Let's say your neighbor somebody who voted for trump last time. But it's not going to this time. Say Hey do you mind if I take fifteen second video with my phone and sheriff's that's an amazing piece of content that may go viral. Maybe it doesn't but in today's age you also have groups with a lot of money who may see a great piece of content like that and say. Hey we're going to put some money behind that booster three so who everybody's gotTa get in the game here? I think you're right so often were like. Why isn't a candidate doing this? Wise the media doing this and so yeah by the way my view I write about this book. If you see something not working wellness campaign. You should complain about publicly. That tends to be the way to get into came. It's sounds like a little. That's what you're doing here that you're a bit frustrated that the that Biden and the Biden campaign hasn't been more aggressive during this period of the health crisis. Hasn't been out there enough. Have you made those views known to the folks in the Biden Campaign? Have you been giving your take on this? Well here's what I obviously learned not to reveal anything saying we're not saying to folks but no. I'm not like this whole notion of worries joe like he's not in government so then we shouldn't judge this is he getting the same kind of airtime. That trump is leaving. Tacoma's so I'm not frustrated by that what I WANNA make sure as as you make the turn to the general option that our nominee and all democratic groups are really had a social media. I approach to how they're delivering information content that they're asking a lot of individual citizen and making easy for them to help. Those are the types of things and so it is now march. I'm talking to your March twenty fifth so really. I'd say another week or two. You need to see that type of activity so if you are someone who lives in Florida or Arizona North Carolina. Even though we're going to corona virus crisis greater folks got a message. Saying here's how you can help. Maybe in the beginning just like hey make your own plan and hands a week later saying hey we have five thousand people in your area who we think would vote for Joe Biden if they registered and they're not registered could reach out to them as their here's their contact information so those are the types of things. This is why the most important in campaigns of time and I'm very pleased that we know who our nominee is now rather than June. So they've got time now to build the campaign particularly when you're running against an incumbent. Who is ready as you guys know? Donald Trump announced if I recall. He announced his reelection campaign. The day was inaugurated. He did faith and spending money in these battleground states right now donald trump can tell you or I shouldn't say him but his campaign can say with a lot more certainty. How they're going to get to their win. Number in Wisconsin Arizona Pennsylvania been weekend of just because they've been incumbent that's what they've been focused on and so. I think time is for the Biden campaign to really begin running the election campaign. I made that turn before back in the late now it wasn't against an incumbent was against John McCain securities nomination of before we did. It's incredibly hard so I am not suggesting that this an easy thing to do. But it's something that has to be done. Which is those are the things I'll be looking for? Is You know every day is? Is it clear that they're thinking social media? I are volunteers throughout the country. Getting asked the things early. Not late that we're going to have to do to be stacked David. How much is this about getting the message out versus getting the candidate out because throughout this primary campaign my sense is that Biden has a tendency to sort of drop out of the conversation at kind of inability to seize the spotlight in dramatic fashion. We saw all through the debates. He was the only candidate in fact. I think the only candidate I've ever seen do this. Where the bell rings or whatever he stops in mid sentence that says my time is up and so and he's up against as you said before a candidate company president who knows how to dominate the news cycle. He's a carnival barker immediate Hor. It's what he does best. How worried are you about Biden personally? Not being able to. Actually you know kind of breakthrough in that way interesting. I mean a dame the rules debates not having a pathological need for the spotlight I think ultimately those benefits for Joe Biden much right. 'cause they are he's not a generational contrast it's from but those are pretty big contrast with trump and there's no doubt in research. I've seen there's a pretty big percentage of swing voters out there who will just tired of this show even people who voted for him and say. I'm actually still glad voted for him but for years. It's kind of a good. That was a good time to take it up but I'm not sure I want to do this for eight years. I have not overly worried about it. I do think the question of how do you day to day compete with a guy who's shown a great ability to dominate. The oxygen in any room is troubling right so we saw Hillary three debates. If you believe polling she was the winner of those I think most people believe she had a much expansion. So the big moments you know she seemingly okay but day-to-day dominated with his latest outland. Discharge IS CRAZY. Names Gifts tweets. So that's what I think the campaign to figure out is. How do we compete in that environment? How do we plunge through now with advertising? Of course you can retrieve you wanNA reach so this is more about the free media coverage every day and on media which is important president so I guess fighting has to be who he is. The worst thing would be somehow to become an inauthentic demanded of the spotlight and say outrageous things. So you've got to be who you are but the campaign does need to figure out and this is the challenge. I confess. I'm not sure the answer either but I do know that. Nimes and gifts in great short videos or important part of this. It's not just whatever you say in your rally in Wisconsin on September twentieth. You really have to think through. How can you do some things? Online that really captured people's interests that might viral. Look David I get your point about the importance of social media but I went back and looked at the OP. Ed You wrote in The New York Times after the two thousand sixteen election the election in which you had there was you were one hundred percent confident that Hillary Clinton was going to win. And you you know sought to explain how you got it wrong. A couple of lines leaped out at me when I read that after noting how much worse. Hillary Clinton had done in districts that Obama had carried. You wrote it's a reminder. That presidential campaigns are driven in large part by personality. Not Party. And then you close the piece by saying Democrats will spend months analyzing what happened and making important corrections. We need new talent and leaders to emerge at all levels including some who can begin to think about running in two thousand twenty against President. Trump are bench looks thin and conventional but no one thought in two thousand four twelve. That Obama trump would be serious candidates. The name of our Savior may not be on anybody's tongues. Right now it'll be fascinating to see who emerges from the rubble of losing. What looked like a sure thing here? We are nearly four years later. And we've got Joe Biden. Seventy seven years old a guy who's been around for forty years not exactly the new talent and leaders. You said the party needed well. I Yeah I think. We saw a lot of leaders in new talent emerging twenty eighteen and. What was so exciting about that election for me. Not just the Democrats did well but the types of candidates had decided to run just normal people. You know these were not career politicians and so some of those people who want an eighteen. I think you're gonNA see them on the presidential stage twenty four twenty eight thirty two so yeah. It was a very conventional field people. Obviously I I think qualified is Kinda fresher face but I think for the most part. It wasn't a very standard presidential field so I think a lot of our talent now. Vice President Biden. I had a bunch of amazing women that he can now consider. Some of it has been around a while. Summer are newer and I think one of the reasons eighteen went so well was. Those candidates really spoke to people because they were just average people. You Know Small Business. People teachers in nurseries military veterans. Who said you know? I'M GONNA run and most of them. I doubt are going to be in politics for the curvier. They're doing it for a period of time as a service to the country so yes so. It was very conventional presidential field. I think with the exception of I would have liked to seem fresher faces. But here's where we are right and so at the end of the day I think some of Biden's weaknesses that they received in the primary to your point he sometimes doesn't dominate the spotlight and he follows rules and he's been around forever and he doesn't have the most exciting policy positions perhaps those can be strengthened in general. I think they will be strengths. In general his solidity. No one questions ability to manage crisis. His empathy is fundamental goodness. All of these are big contrast with trump and so I think big challenge. I think for swing voters. Those will be super positive attributes. He's a comfortable place for them to land to pave decided not to do the trump thing again challenge. I think will be base voters younger voters. That's a challenge for any candidate. Everybody assumes it was easy for US Rock Obama. It was the hardest thing we did. So that's where I think. A lot of time efforts going to need to be applied. And you know it's interesting back to social media's by you know that great picture of him in the corvette smiling like he could become a really interesting character he really could be right. He's kind of in a way made for the mean gift world that we live on a positive side so I'd like to see them more into that and take advantage of kind of the uncle. Johnny Aviator think of a little bit more David as you know the Vice President Biden has made a commitment that he's going to pick a woman as his vice presidential nominee. Do you think would be a good? You'RE NOT GONNA make a recommendation here. But who would be an make and come on? Who Do you think would be number two on the ticket and in terms of complimenting Biden but also in terms of the constituencies that the Democrats are GonNa most need to win this election? I've helped lead this process before so most important thing is going to be the personal chemistry and trust between Joe Biden and whoever picks and it's going to be less about the campaign trail and more about the White House right. This is not a warm bucket. Spit job anymore. So you WANNA pick somebody that. You won't be annoyed by for eight years that you'll get along with that you trust that you think will be source of Great Council including Tough Council but we'll keep that discreet somebody. You can give assignments to crisis management working with Congress leader. So that's the campaign to me has to be secondary to. Who's the right choice? And so you can't just look on paper about who would be the best vice president or the vice presidential candidate because so much of this is the chemistry between the two people. I don't think that the you know. Historically vice presidential picks it not medically deal to swing voters. But I think it's important that the baseline has to be if something in the Biden. This person could do job on. They want so he can't take like riskier. He's got to pick somebody that every American whether it's an active volunteer. Joe Biden's we wrote in. Wisconsin says that was responsible. Pick this is somebody to do the job I do think you do want to excite the base a little bit till I speak personally like I hope today. He announces this. I'm excited by WHO? He picks all right. So who would who would excite you David. Well we we have such a big list of people are name. Give us a couple. Who excites you? The most there's people who were on the stage with him. I think Amy Klobuchar. And Kamla Harris Kirsten Gillibrand Elizabeth Warren. You've got Gretchen. Whitmer the governor of Michigan. You've got Senator Cortez Maskco of Nevada. You Got Stacey Abrams who ran for governor. You've got demings law enforcement background. A member of Congress in Florida and the list goes on and on so even though he's now women did the initial pool because he's ruled out men. He's probably still gonNA have anywhere from eight to fifteen serious candidates and that's exciting excited about any of those folks but I would just encourage people not to overestimate the impact of this election on the presidential campaign because people are voting on trump and Biden. They're not voting on their number twos. But I do get something that can help on the margins and so you want to a the most important thing to vice presidential campaign. Is that one debate. So you WANNA pick somebody that you're competent can handle the debate somebody. Now they're kind of off Broadway right. So they're running around the country doing important work but they're not the main star of the show so somebody who can do that well but it really comes down to if I win who is going to be value. Add for me and you know that's ultimately why Obama Biden. He didn't even okay. You didn't pick Mike Pence. Because he's someone electrifying political figure. He knew I needed to send a signal to the American people that by picking and Boring White Dude with government experience. There's going to be somebody by my side who probably can handle the job but who can help them when he was in the presidency. So I I just think that we have a huge list of people. He made him look at folks mentioned. Sally Yates Folks mentioned some folks who served in the military so I do take an expansive view not just folks currently in office or ran recently. Let's look at people in business? Let's look at people in the military LE. Let's look at a whole group of people but I'm sure we'll come outside the others. I just think about when he makes the announcement in there on the stage for the first time together. They just going to be exciting. We haven't had a woman Nats Watson Ferraro. We obviously had one leading ticket in sixteen. But I think it'll be an exciting moment. Let's talk a little about the mechanics of this campaign which have been so scrambled by The virus we still have more primaries to go. I think the next batches April twenty eighth. They've been postponed in some instances. There's a lot of nervousness about even holding these the primaries that still need to take place a lot of talk about mail in voting for the November election. A lot of talk about whether the Conventions are going to be able to take place. I just a game it out as all these issues as you see them and if we're down to the last few weeks and it is largely mail in voting because people are still too spooked to show up and vote. How does that play it in a hurry to general well we got the primary to start with right? We gotta get through those primaries and how that's going to happen is still unclear but yeah in general as well so we'll see if the April primaries get moved to generate as well. We ended up having kind of a big day in June in those states. Need to make adjustments to either encourage more people to vote by mail who might be election day voters orange states. That doesn't have a history or a vow. Vote by mail numbers. They're gonNA have to make that change the primaries over the I mean though vibes w might as well be three thousand. There's no way he's GonNa leave. Settle Joe Biden can be in his campaign can be respectful about this but I hope that they are not spending thinking about the rest of the primaries like it. They're thinking about Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Who Haven't voted yet and primary needs to be to the prisoner the general election so they need to focus on November beginning to build campaigns in the states to win in fall so for the Convention yes the DNC is going to have to two scenarios virtual convention. It personally convention. The debates may not be affected by corona virus. Because you could do a studio but you you know. Trump has said he's not going to beat so if you're the Biden campaign at one time for the fall that has three debates and one. That doesn't every state is going to have to have a backup plan that would allow the entire election November to be conducted by mail. And some people ask. Well why would the Republicans do that? Because we have small thing called the constitution as a backdrop trade. So if there's not an election on January twenty four twenty twenty one. Donald Trump's no longer president so there has to be an election and so that will be incentive. I think were even folks who who don't believe in vote by mail you know. I'm not naive here. I think it's GonNa take a lot of Work David on on that point. Aren't there like twenty seven states. Who Don't have absentee voting. I mean aren't you are going to have to get those state legislatures to pass laws so that so that we can do this. Well Yeah what you have is. It's I think it's maybe I thought it was less than that now but basically yes. You'RE GONNA have to have no excuse. Absentee voting in this case early voting sites wouldn't be any different than You know election day so it particularly the virus comes back in the fall. We all hope it doesn't but if it follows the pattern of what happened back in nineteen. We might be right back where we are now. You know if we have a little break in summer and so you're have to have no excuse absentee voting and you're GonNa have to have that all done by now now. I think what you liked it. He didn't say we're not going to have physical election day. So we're actually going to mail ballots out to every eligible voter so it's not something that is on the voter to execute so there's a lot of distinction around this. I think that's the ideal which is doesn't mean we're going to be there. Hopefully we did out from this. And hopefully we're had an all clear side and we can transact elections of all like normally but if we can I think there does have to be a backup for every state that is all mail-in and that is basically the state elections folks taking the responsibility. Upstanding those mail ballots out to every registered voter so just like the DNC going to have to have two scenarios normal convention in Milwaukee Virtual Convention every state is going to have to have two scenarios. David if it is all mail in voting. Who Does that help? Who Does that hurt? What does it do to turn out? Well it sure it should increase turnout a little bit. I mean obviously young voters. Don't not even sure what nail is right there. Is it not their standard yeah? I'm not sure we could say yet. Who Benefits it does? Change is the types of conversations online by phone that you're having voters will the different. Which is you should expect your bell tomorrow. Get you get your ballot. Have you turned it in? So we have some history In campaigns in states that have male and voted. We know how to do this but it is different. It makes it easier in a way because not everything is left up to election day right you know. Someone has a ballot in their home. And you know or your you know. Almost a hundred percent confident. They're gonNA vote for your candidate if they turn it in. So you're just chasing that and tracking it in the other. Nice thing about that. Is You know in that. Ballots been turned in. I know that a call has voted right. I can't see Mike This. Call the ballot but all these campaigns have modeled. How we think we're going to vote so it organizationally. I've always liked the states. Date vote by mail a because you can get infrequent voters in the bank early. 'cause those tend to be voters if something did happen on. Election Day. They might not show up right. They don't have that had habitual history voting. But also it's a way to track your progress but at the end of the day my guess he's Trump's campaign Scott you're gonNA have all the money in the world they're gonNA try turn out as high as they can in every battleground state which the thing. I'm most concerned about so they'll have a good operation to. I'm not sure you can take benefits your campaign it does change the type of campaign. The other thing is you're trying to get as much vote in early right so the rhythms of the campaign Your advertising you're spending your resources need to be tailored basically the curve of voting right. You don't WanNa basically hit your peak on election you KINDA WANNA peak in a couple of weeks before that super important point that occurred to me that you know all the sort of last big bangs of the campaign where you unload stuff in the last week or so. Maybe a lot less relevant in a campaign where people will be voting in the first couple of weeks in October. Also I want makes me wonder about if there are debates. What the debate schedule is they would presumably have to be moved up Rather than later the last one in sixteen I recall was pointing days before the election which I thought was way too premature but vote by mail scenario something like that twenty sixteen days or something like that just as people are getting ballots would probably be okay. You suggested the possibility that trump won't debate but do you really believe that. Do you think he would. He could resist the spotlight and the temptation to be up there on the stage to debate for that very reason. I just can't imagine him. I still think by tencent ingram not being on his ticket right just because trump was to dominate. The you know the oxygen we talked earlier right so if you were to dump pants gives them three or four days when that's all anyone's talking about like him ducking the debate. I think he's probably doing this to try and up. His leverage in the negotiations through the moderators are too but I assume near debate. But if you're the blinding campaign you can't go into this assuming that right so so you have to have two plants. If trump doesn't debate does our big moments in the campaign. Now you've lost them. So what are you GonNa do to create some big moments of your own? And then of course if he does debate you know you have to be ready for those. Those are going to be fascinating by. The they're going to be like geriatric eight matches History books you know. They may end up on the radio but I think that Go but I assume trump debate I mean I just can't imagine because it's not just the his narcissism is obviously of the historic nature and so he cannot be on that stage in the spotlight. I think would not be acceptable him but also he'll be accused of ducking debate and being chicken and just stop. He doesn't roll with so I think at the end of the day will end up having debates. Well let's examine or at least talk for a moment about sort of real wildcard scenarios as I look the drudge report is linking at the top to a story that says Draft Cuomo Movement building. Could he walk away from brokered convention with nomination? That's on one side and on the other. You mentioned trump could ditch pence. Let's take it even further if the economy is truly cratered as much as some people fear and hasn't recovered by the summer. Is Trump a sure thing you know? At what Point Does Mitch? Mcconnell and other senior Republicans saying we're GonNa all go down to defeat with this guy with a crater economy and we got to replace him with somebody else. I realize those are not very likely scenarios but there are two scenarios people are at least talking about trump. I just command such loyalty from the Republican Party that if we do end up in a severe recession which seems more like not of you know the duration of that. I think is the real question. His base will say wasn't his fault. It's for the Chinese. It's the fault of blue states like the only way trump would be dangerous if fifty percent or Republicans. All of a sudden say. I don't think you could be nominated And you know his support levels amongst Republicans are just rock solid. So I don't see that happening depends thing I think could happen. A he could conveniently say I I think pen screwed up there responser. I don't think that's likely because he ultimately bears responsibility for that so I think it's more just like he wants attention so he would have dumped pence for Nikki Haley you know that'll dominate all of our discussions for days and that's how trump roles and the cuomo address the Cuomo boomlet no joepags our nominee. There's not going to be brokered convention. So I think that you know. That's I soon as drudge making mischief but Joe Biden's our nominee so everybody out there and it's kind of the point of my book. We ought to make a plan. I wrote this not knowing who the nominee is gonna pay but now that we know who the nominee is like. What is my personal plan and I think not spending time. We'll may be Biden's to revisit his pledge to pick a woman in Tech Cuomo right or you know maybe the convention should become something. That's more interesting on a path to have the majority of pledged delegates and that's our race or races Biden trump and again. I just don't see a scenario where he goes get knocked off the trajectory. Well on the pants thing I will point out that he appointed pants to be the head of the Corona virus taskforce and then effectively has replaced him with himself. I think it's fair to speculate because pence was getting the spotlight and he wasn't one last thing on your book. Actually I wanted to give you a chance to plug the second book because you actually put two books out simultaneously the you did a version of the book for kids called Ripples of hope your guide to electing a new president. And since I'm cooped up here in my home with my two teenage daughters who Have plenty of time on their hands. They should probably get copies of your book but tell us why you decided to do a book geared toward kids who can't vote in this election anyway right they don't ever go and such a powerful voice so a scenario like to think about it as a family is sitting around the table. They're all united in the fact that they don't want to service second term right And maybe trump said something today on the news or tweeted something that the bomber. Dads is just outrageous. I can't take it anymore and I want one of the kids at the table to say. Well what are we? GonNa do about it. They're like what are we going to do about it? What's our plan to get involved like? How are you guys using your facebook account? We're going Arizona like all we writing post part so I think kids can be a powerful motivator of others to do more. I think they can say I want to get involved in a big involved. I think it tends to attract others. I also think this election is is much more about them than my generation so for them to lift their voice creating content using their own social media channels that's appropriate and approved by her parents. Say why does the Russian matters to them? So the ripples of hope book I appreciate asking that you do quite a bit of a educational background about the Electoral College. And I'm supposed to understand what a presidential campaign is but some ideas and about how they can be helpful so to me that's powerful. Which is I know. I've got a fifteen year old and eleven year old and you know when they get passionate about something. It really has an impact and so You know we've only had those conversations as family about. What are we going to do in the fall? Let me just say that. I suspect that my daughter's they're supposed to be tele learning right now. I suspect that they're both on. Tick Tock right now but my guess is. It's not about the twenty twenty election but who knows one last quick question. David do we hear from your former boss Barack Obama? I think he has done the appropriate thing here. Which is even though his former vice president was running. You know really to let the voters decide and so I think he and buy in and others WANNA give Bernie Sanders the time to really figure out what he's going to do. And how so? I think when it's appropriate. You know maybe it's after Sanders formally suspended his campaign. You know maybe It's just we get deeper into the spring and and it's clear that we may not have primary still jammed with the general election starting so he'll do it in a thoughtful way and you know. I think he can be an important surrogate out there. Both in terms of helping to unify the party. And speak the similar Bernie Sanders supporters but also just to be helpful on the trail now again. That may be different for him as well. So he's someone who's skilled it video communication. He yes he doesn't have to just do rallies. But that's the thing I mean it's the Biden campaign and the trump campaign. So yes you have to be working right now. What if we can never do a rally again between our new governor? What our campaign look like. I just going to say we have to change our terminology. You said out there on the trail. It's more likely to be out there on the virtual trail but David Pla. Thanks for joining us on skulduggery. It was a great discussion and the book again is a citizens guide to beating Donald Trump. So thanks for joining us. Thanks guys stay safe. Yeah used to stay healthy David. Thanks former Barack Obama campaign manager David plouffe author of the new book a citizens guide to beating Donald Trump for joining us on this episode of skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on Apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think. Leave a review. The latest episode is also on Sirius. Xm On the weekend. Check it out. On Pos Channel One twenty four on Saturdays at three PM Eastern time with replays on Sundays at one. Am and three PM short. Follow us on social media at skulduggery. Pot we'll talk to you soon.

Donald Trump Donald Trump David Vice President Biden Biden Jill Biden trump president Barack Obama United States Andrew Cuomo congress skulduggery White House vice president
Trump Goes Postal

Skullduggery

1:22:21 hr | 3 months ago

Trump Goes Postal

"They want twenty, five, billion dollars billion for the post office. Now, they need that money in order to have the post office work. So can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now, if we don't make a deal that means you don't get the money that means they can't have universal mail in voting. Just get, Abbott. That was president trump this week seeming to confirm what his harshest critics have alleged that he is deliberately blocking extra funding for the US Postal Service in order to make sure that easy and widespread mail in voting never takes place. During this year's election, it seems on its face a prescription for disaster at the polls this November given the continued spread of the corona virus and legitimate health concerns about in-person voting. What's behind trump's tough stance and what are the implications for state? And local officials increasingly petrified about how they're going to make sure that everybody wants to vote will get a chance to do so and just as important have their ballots counted. We'll talk to Yahoo News reporter Jon Ward about the political battle over the president's position, and we'll talk to top TV correspondence CNN's Jim Shuto author of the new book the Madman Theory and CBS's John. Dickerson who's got his own new book the hardest job in the world on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president across while I'm not a crook I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostile my heart to my best intentions still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence tell me it is not I did not have sexual relations with that woman there will be no lives. We will honor the American people with the Truth and nothing else. My GLIGOV chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News and I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News and we are joined now by our colleague at Yahoo News Jon Ward John Welcome back to skulduggery. Guys. Thanks for having me. So a lot of talk this week about the president's comments saying he doesn't want and may even seek to block the twenty five billion dollars that the Democrats are seeking for the postal service in order for the election to come off with mail in balloting and his reasons are completely transparent he doesn't want mail in balloting. To take place, he thinks that will cost him the election. So he's going to de-fund the postal service never mind deform the police. It's fund the Postal Service in order for the president to achieve his election goals you've been doing some reporting on this and the reaction on Capitol Hill tells about well, I, mean I think it's important to point out that Congress still does not have a deal on a phase five relief package. The members of Congress basically gave up on Thursday and will not be back until after Labor Day. So that puts us. September. Eighth or ninth. So we you know president trump said what he said he said you know if they don't have the money, they can't do mail in voting and then he kind of tried to walk that back and say he wouldn't oppose the funding but he's been all over the place on this well that have done that actually makes it sound like he's using this issue as a bargaining chip to force Democrats to a deal. That's the way a traditional president might do it play hard ball with something he knew the other party really really. Really. Wanted is that what he's doing or is it more cynical than that I? I. Just think because of all his comments about in voting, you have to kind of take it at face value at this point because that's also his Mo is basically usually kinda say what he's thinking and you know he has since Kovic started incense sense it became clear that we were going to have huge numbers of Americans who wanted to vote by mail or vote early in person you know he's really gone on the warpath against this and it's hard not to. Imply here or assume that he's trying to set up a system you know I don't know if he has this mind, but but the one nightmare scenario is that. Republicans vote in person. Democrats generally and by and large vote by mail and the results come in in staggered fashion and he has a early lead and then he goes out and claims early victory. That's the nightmare scenario. So called the Blue Blue Shifts as they call it but look this is more than just a bargaining chip because at the same time, the RNC and conservative courts. At conservative groups are going into court to challenge mail in voting systems in state after state creating the potential for a total litigation nightmare over each and every one of the states that are going to be rely or going to be trying to rely on melon voting, and that's the that's an extension of the nightmare scenario that they'll be so much litigation you know as I've said. Before it's GonNa make Bush versus Gore in two thousand. This is GonNa be Bush Bush versus Gore on steroids and delay potentially for weeks who is the winner in the election delay would be if the results were close you know right we all know that but I think you also have to look at comments that he made this week about Arizona and Florida where those states are. Controlled by Republicans. Republicans you know administer the elections there and he had a complimentary things to say about vote by mail in those states while he was criticizing vote by mail in Nevada which is run by Democrats I think an alternative way of looking at some of this and I think we'll have a clearer view obviously after the election in hindsight but I think one alternative. Just sort of panic on his part because he knows that the polls are not looking good for him and he's trying to come up with ways to undercut the result. He did that with twenty sixteen when he won, he said that there were millions of votes that were cast by undocumented immigrants because he was embarrassed by the fact that Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than he did. So a lot of it just might be about his own psychology and he feels like, Oh, I, might lose I need to start coming up with reasons why I lost that don't have anything to do with me. Now you're doing some reporting on drop boxes. Explained that well I mean this is the really important thing for the average listener out there the regular you know voter to know which is you can vote by mail without having to return your ballot through the postal service. You still actually do have to apply for an absentee ballot if your state is not sending you one in a few states are sending absentee ballots to all registered voters. But if you have to applied for a absentee or male invalid, the Postal Service still does have to send it to you. That's the vehicle for delivery but once you have that absentee or mail invalid, there are alternatives to putting in the mail. Those alternatives include returning it directly in person to your local county elections office. It also could mean taking it in person to an early voting. Center or early voting polling place if you're state does that. And it could mean putting it in a secure dropbox. Now, all of this is going to vary by state, but those are three options for people who WanNa vote you know either basically what they want to avoid long lines and kind of worrying about contracting. Cova. But they also want to make sure that their ballot is not caught in the mail at a time when the postal service is being, you know really kind of the subject of what appear to be. Political Shenanigans well, it would appear that at least two very high profile voters have availed themselves of these opportunities one Donald J trump and Belania trump at at least according to the beach post, which reported this week that Florida has sent their mail-in ballots to the president and the and the first lady and the White House I gather said that he doesn't have a issue with absentee voting. He has an issue with universal mail in voting, but it does seem to. Be a whiff of hypocrisy there, but I want to ask you John what is your sense of whether the postal service actually will be able to handle mail in voting right now because the postmaster general who I want to talk about in a second, he's a controversial character has said that they would be able to handle the surge, and yet you are hearing stories coming out of the postal service that they're things happening like they're deactivating mail sorting machines that they're. Limiting shelf space, which makes it hard to sort the mail and this postmaster general himself has reorganized the post office at the top levels in ways that Democrats at least fear is going to hamper their ability to handle mail in vote. So what's going on inside the post office? Yeah I'm an answer that before I do that I, want to just point out that going back to what I just said just before this about alternatives for turning your ballot by mail. We're going to be reporting on this at Yahoo News about what states have dropbox what states have early voting. We're going to be putting as much information about this out there for you and I. Think you know we'll hopefully have you may be linked to apply a piece. I'm working on about some of this. Maybe in the show notes, we'll be we'll be putting this out at Yahoo News far as the postal service goes I think there's a lot of smoke here but. I also think you know just for myself. I'm still trying to understand exactly what's going on and I think we need to continue to kind of look into the impacts of of these changes in leadership the impacts of these policy changes in terms of cutting back on overtime and other sort of cost cutting measures that postmaster general has put in place given all of the rhetoric from trump and against mail in voting against the postal service itself and is clear intent to try to. Limit, an impede voting by mail and the fact that the joy is a pretty significant donor to well, let's talk about yeah. Let's talk about Louis to joy. Who is he? He's a billionaire trump donor who I gather has also had significant stock holdings in companies that that our competitors of the postal service. Yeah and his wife is a nominee for ambassador to Canada. So they are kind of a connected couple I'm looking at reporting from the Washington Post which says that their holdings Include between thirty and seventy five million dollars in assets in competitors or contractors with the US. Postal. Service according to a financial disclosure that his wife filed with the Office of Government Ethics when she was nominated for the ambassadorial spot. So yeah, there's a lot of smoke here. I think that you know we need to continue to report out both what his potential conflicts are and what the impacts of his changes are. It is extremely concerning I think anybody who's looking at this objectively. On, the issue of drop boxes I gather that is something. Democrats. Want some of this funding to go to but there are. About, the security of drop boxes whether people will know where they are where to find them, they can be tampered with are these legitimate issues, the legitimate questions, and there are plenty of there's plenty of guidance about how states can secure these things I have a multi page document from the Election Assistance Commission, about the three different types of drop boxes and the elaborate steps that are recommended to secure them things like making sure. That it's you know secured in place and nobody can take it away things like having bipartisan teams of election workers who go and pick up the ballots and deliver them to the elections office and things like having monitored. If it's a twenty, four, seven dropbox because not all drop boxes are twenty, four, seven, some of them are like in a drive through setting where you have workers sort of administering them some of them are inside. A location where there's somebody there to kind of make sure that it's not tampered with, and then the hours are limited to the time when that person is there some of them are twenty, four seven and those have to be monitored. Basically Bhai Electric Basically, video surveillance as far as how people can find them. You know I'm talking to Arizona the state elections officials there tell me they don't have a state wide database. For the drop boxes are and you have to check with Your County Michigan. However, you know has a has over nine hundred drop boxes that they've got scheduled to be out during. I. I can't remember how many days ahead of the election but that'll be in the article there also be a link to the AC document I mentioned and is a link to the database with the locations for all nine hundred drop boxes in Michigan. Well, that should provide some useful information for our Michigan, readers and listeners of skulduggery. So we should we should say I just want to tout John's reporting year, which has been terrific on all of these issues, but you were well ahead of the curve I remember literally the first time I heard this idea that we might not know results on election day or election night was months ago from you and you wrote that story and it had not been widely reported and you've stayed on it and it's incredibly important story. So hats off to you and everybody ought to stick with Yahu News, on this. Story I gotTA. Say this strikes me right now as the most important election issue that we've got to stay on top of because it is a potentially truly scary that you could have these nightmare scenarios where people don't get their ballots in the right at the right time they don't get counted. They don't get postmarked by the right time. They have trouble finding these drop boxes all it will take a little just a few reports of tampering with those drop boxes or mail in ballots going to voters who are no longer at the place they are and other people picking them up and it's going to. The potential for chaos at the polls seems great. Anyway, we got a lot more to talk about on this show but John Thanks for joining us our guys talk to you. Invest. We are now joined by Jim Shoe CNN's national security correspondent and. Anchor of CNN newsroom and the author of the new book. The Madman. Theory trump takes on the world jim welcome to skulduggery. Thanks for having me. I've been looking forward to this. So the madman. What is it? The Madman theory is trump's unpredictability writ large on the world and all the most sensitive places. For keeping our country sake now. He didn't originate a madman theory. You can go all the way back to Machiavelli but let's just go back to nick as you know Nixon famously had Kissinger communicates. North. Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War that the boss was just mad enough to nuke them right to gain leverage in that negotiation. There are White House tapes of Kissinger and Nixon speaking about it Nixon even dictating the words to use with North Vietnamese Kissinger. Did that I mean the fact is that didn't work is you know North Vietnam did not back down, we know how that war ended, but but Nixon and his team came to own the madman serious part of their brilliant way of dealing with the world hr hold and writes about it in his memoirs fifty years. Later we get another president a very different kind. Of President. But one who in business and in world affairs claimed to have the same wisdom right that he keeps the other side off balance and swoops in at the end with an outrageous demand or an outrageous concession all part of a three dimensional chess game that he has the upper hand in and comes out ahead write keep a safer make. America. Great again. What's different about trump's madman theory and there are lots of differences is one is just as likely to unleash it on allies as adversaries right? NATO allies keep them. Guessing will stay in the alliance will I not you don't pay me more money I may be out of it, Canada you're a national security threat. I'm GONNA slap you a steel tariffs right in the midst of negotiations North Korea at the height of tensions with them nuclear button is bigger than yours right? Actually write about in the book that his own advisers were so concerned about trump's madman theory. Then that they withheld military options from him. So so that is trump's spin on it with one more dimension that he keeps his own most senior advisors off balance. He doesn't discuss these things with them often gets off a phone in tweets out a decision and they have to follow. So he unleashes in. Madman on all sides. Right and you know he says it's part of a grand strategy but once you learn reading this book is a sewn advisors very much doubt that well, that's I mean. That's the obvious question we know with Nixon whatever you thought of. Richard Nixon that he was a brilliant strategist and that this wasn't just his own impulsiveness instincts, there's strategy behind it, and so the question about trump is, is he consciously being a madman or is he a madman which I know you into in your book? So so so talk about that. So He's not insane. I mean I did ask his advisors if doubts about his mental acuity no, they don't but perhaps justice worse right? They have deep doubts about both his judgment and frankly his motivations right where. The national interest is confused with his personal interests whether they'd be business interests or just his singular focus on gaining political advantage whatever the price is around the world. So in trump's mind, you know this is a conscious art of the deal like game an approach to things. The trouble is one you know the the priorities are skewed right in his favor and against favor of of what his job should be about. But also almost across the board, his advisors talk about how he constantly overestimates his ability and. And to our detriment, right because when you look at the madman theory as it played out with North Korea with Iran with others, it failed you know. So he uses it to our detriment, but often to his own detriment because oftentimes his exercise, the madman theory undermined his own goals and I get him in Syria. For instance, could been speak to Pentagon officials a great success for him right the accelerated the defeat of Isis but pulled the rug out from under the the very small US force presence there after a couple of phone calls with air to want it and jeopardize that mission. So Jim, we should point out that we are having this discussion the day after the White House announced this. Extraordinary peace deal between Israel and the United Arab. Emirates brokered by Jared Kushner and. We are so used to mocking trump's approach to foreign policy. Yet here is seems to be an example of a legitimate accomplishment and one that probably began with the recognition of Jerusalem as the US embassy in Israel something that was widely derided by most foreign policy experts and certainly widely criticized in the Mideast but that plus the threat of annexation seems to have be what spurred the UAE. To make this deal because they thought, well, if we can at least stop being Netanyahu from annexing Palestinian territory that will be a plus for the region. So is this an example of actually success of Ba Madman theory or trump's rather unorthodox approach to foreign policy? It is listening and in in this book I make every effort to give credit where credit is due and this is one one. Example of a very important success I mean, I talk a lot in the book because I I have particular experience in China for years as a journalist and I worked in government there that trump ending the old status quo of somewhat deferential approach to China. Even in the midst of you know malign activities across the board for my perspective was a long time coming and I tell personal. Stories of being in China before that change under trump and there are other successes as well. I mean he killed Baghdadi I mean he killed Qassem Suleimani at great risk and seemingly at least to this point at a lower cost than many imagined. So there's no question there are successes and I do my best to give him credit for that in the big picture I suppose the question is Is it connected to a larger strategy, right a larger approach to the world with N. Games in each of these scenarios, I will tell the story as you mentioned because you bring up the moving the embassy I talk about that very early in the book because this is one of trump's early decisions in the first year in office that caused a lot of upset and surprise. I mean that move you know talking to the Taiwanese President Right? Right after his election and the president was warned after each of these moves about how he had just blown it all up and he had created an enormous mess here and that mess didn't follow I. I spoke with Susan Gordon who was going to be the most powerful intelligence official in the country until he pushed. Her out she was going to be the is she was number two and she describes his reaction after the move of the embassy because the Intel assessments had been, you move the embassy you're going to spark months and years of rage in the middle. East terror attacks, etc. Will it didn't follow and she says that trump's reaction to that. Was You guys told me this was going? To cause mayhem it didn't I know better than you and it reinforced his confidence in his own judgment and led him to be even more aggressive in the period that followed and what we see what we saw last twenty four hours could be three years removed one result of that and a positive result one of the ways that his unconventional foreign policy style and governing style has. Upended Washington is it is totally disrupted the sort of national security decision making process. There are changes from administration to administration presidents have different styles. They have national security advisers with different approaches, but largely, there's been continuity in how are we make foreign policy decisions? How has that changed under this president is bloated up right. He's blown it out of the water you know. The national security decision making process as you and I know it still exists under this president right? You've got the people dutifully staffing the positions in the NFC. Churning out the president's daily brief and and decision papers in national defense strategy and so on. The thing is the president to their knowledge doesn't read those documents right and often doesn't just not follow them but. Contradicts them, and what you find is the national security policy making process often follows the decision rather than proceeds. Right. If you look at the two tweets ten months apart regarding Syria in December two, thousand, eighteen in October twenty nineteen when he when he withdrew or ordered the withdrawal of US forces there there was no preparation for that he got off the phone and. Everybody was surprised from his national security advisor down to the commanders on the ground, and then they have to sort of you know get up to speed and sort of retroactively justify or backfill the president's decision. Now, another phenomenon happens well where you have his senior advisors looking to him in his worst impulses right and sometimes contradict is decisions. You see that was Syria. That first decision folks in the Pentagon started thinking well, did he really say we gotta pull all the troops out right away let's pull some out and see if his attention will turn an addict for ten months and then he withdrew him again, and at that time they thought the GIG was up I spoke to the folks who had to carry out the decision, and then they came up with an idea. Let's convince the old man that the troops are really there to protect the oilfields right which he picked up on immediately right? Act is those soldiers there are doing more than protect the oilfields. They're still back in Kurd. They still have a terror emission, but but allow them to recast it in a way to convince him. So you know you do still have folks working against his policy from within I mean if he's listening right now you know he's not gonna like he's not going to like that but it, but it's but it's in the record and we've seen play. I should add that what trump added to that oilfield issue was talking about bringing in American oil companies to manage those oilfields, which, of course, would have been an absolute violation of international law. We could not seize oilfields in a foreign country and use them for American prophet but you know something you said before about how when he move the embassy to Jerusalem, he was told that there would be rioting and violence throughout the Mideast that didn't happen and that reinforced his own confidence in his judgment and his instincts, and I suppose the best one can say is his instincts are hit or miss sometimes they are fine other times such as his instincts on. Corona virus have been I think a disaster but I guess you know the sort of comeback to that would be you know the traditional foreign policy approach of the cognizant they have been hit or miss as well. You know exhibit the Iraq war, the CIA's total botching of intelligence in the run-up to Iraq war Obama's handling of Syria where you know setting a red line failing to enforce it, and then you know leading to or at least allowing to continue one of the great humanitarian disasters of our time. So you know when you stack up the record of the foreign policy elites and cognisant day and establishment with the way, trump has handled things I mean. Tell us how you assess. The respective records this is the thing I have a long chat with Peter Navarro, the that I play out in this book where he makes executive that point he says the establishment, what are they got right? You know and you listed some of the mistakes and there are more right beyond that. So they make a good point, right the a lot of steaks there that that make you question the wisdom of the establishment and beyond that. I get into the politics of America I to what's the politics driving it and Steve Bannon who I interviewed for the book gets into this too and he you know he talks a lot about the deplorables right? Which is, which is some of the political dry behind America first, and he's like the in his words the deplorables excuse me for quoting him where where he says the deplorables got fucked by globalization, right lose their jobs to trade deals, etc, and then. They get screwed as well by the quote unquote endless wars because it's their kids who are getting sent to these wars, ride on repeated deployments and paying the price from paying the price. But of course, it's not just them but but you know. That that's you get where that animates is coming from. So that drives not only the president's political motivation for this kind of approach, the world but also his skepticism of all the stuff that gets shouted at him from the Washington intelligence, etc. You get that point. Now the trouble is they also forget the successes in this. This natural scepticism of alliances that NATO is just one big scam. Well, it'll also help keep the peace in Europe for seven years right which not only prevented bloodshed and checked the Soviet Union, but also created a peaceful market. For American products. Right you know that he's thrown barbs at at the US You. Know South Korea lines because he's trying to Quin, topple their contribution to it right now. But that also protected country allowed South Korea to grow to what it is today, right? So it becomes they painted all with one brush and just WanNa throw the whole damn thing out I mean I I have a long conversation with Navarro about how he says Canada's not really our ally and I'm like I'm doing interview my jaw on the table drinking coffee and. Canada. They were on Normandy. You know right up to Afghanistan I've been to Afghanistan dozens of times in the Canadians are tip of the spear, their man and they paid for it in blood as like they really did that for their own interests and I was like. have it also shared into we were fighting on the same side and when you hear that you're like, okay, I get the mistakes but they want to throw the whole damn thing out and you see that in the president's decision making well, I mean I think that what that gets added to the extent that trump has a a foreign policy theory. It's all through the prism of economics and trade right and you. Right about that in the book and its transactional and I think you say somewhere in the book that trump is the foreign policy and the foreign policy is trump. So what is the Lens through which he sees American security and our foreign policy interests the bottom line men you know each one of these whether it's the the bills for NATO or the bills for US forces in south, Korea, but trading relations it we're. Really alliances become about trade he first of all, he is a very simplistic view of sure you guys have discussed this before about trading relationships in general that any trade imbalance to him as a loss, right? You know if I'm buying more from you than you are from me, I'm losing and being robbed somehow that doesn't necessarily make sense I mean there are countries that you need to buy more from them they're. Going to buy from you, it's like you and I buy more from the grocery than it buys from us because the groceries got what we need you know at the time. So he's got that quite simplistic view of it, but the also has a a chip on his shoulder about the US being taken advantage of and that colors his view of the entire relationship. You know it's interesting. Fiona? Hill, describes this to me. That in the book that he is more hostile to America's allies in Europe then say an adversary like Russia precisely because we're allies and he says they us more because we we defended them in the war. We've got our troops in Germany etc. They like his hostility toward the ally is greater than towards the country that's trying to take you down I mean it's it's a remarkable way of looking at the world I mean h McMaster talks in the book about how he had so much difficulty trying to explain to trump the answer larry benefits of alliances that it's it's not just transactional that you have shared values shared defensive. The rule of law shared defensive democratic principles, history, etc, or Intel. counter-terror Intel something simple as that he sees it through one dimension often. So let's talk a little about a subject that you spend a lot of time in the book, and that's north. Korea, and you know in some ways the the North Korea story sort of embodies everything we've been talking about here in terms of the madman theory, it starts out with you know the fire and fury threats to Kim Jong On. Mine Nuclear Button is bigger than yours, and there was a period of time that he did look like we were on a path to a real conflict with North Korea actual war, and yet it leads to this sort of you know sudden bromance between them and the you know they're writing these gushy letters to one another. We're going to learn more about those apparently when Bob Woodward's book comes out next month and the summit in. Singapore that doesn't lead anything. So I guess on the one hand you write in the book at the end of the day, it may be that Kim it was Kim who played trump, not the other way around on the other hand compared to where we were at the start of his administration, and let's just dial back and remember it was Obama who was warning trump during the transition this is going to be your biggest national security problem. North Korea, getting a nuclear bomb. Are we any worse off than we were when the whole thing started? Well, yes. Based on on the simple bottom line of North Korea has more not fewer nukes today than it had for years ago. It's got a more advanced ballistic missile program and a greater capability to miniaturize the nuclear device and put it on the top missile. So. But as opposed to what I mean certainly, you know they they were building that nuclear capability through multiple administrations. which seemed unable to to stop them everything that they did failed. Right. So driving success is to be as played as his predecessors were right at the end of the day right? Because you know. Everyone tried they tried pressure and they tried negotiation whether you're talking about Clinton Bush or Obama, and they all failed right and in effect played by by Kevin and his father Let's. No one faults the guy for trying right. But if you look at the bottom line, it's to call it a success in listen. There was a point in late two, thousand, seventeen where the president senior military advisors were so. Concerned about the president's decision making I'm told that they hesitated to give military options because in those tense days, you remember this remember the discussion of the bloody nose strike right now there's limited military attack and kind of force them to the table I. Don't know if you had the same experience, but no one I spoke to in the Pentagon believes such thing existed because their view was North Korea would conclude that eliminates strike was the beginning of a decapitation strike and then rain hellfire down on Seoul the Intel assessments as to what bat limited engagement would look like was tens of thousands of dead in Seoul including Americans and their families there. So you know ratcheted up created that. Or contributed to it didn't create it existed he contributed to the tension and then brought it back down through three summits and again diplomacy no-one faults him for attempting diplomacy but the mistake was and again is own advisers telling me this was that he imagined his personal relationship with Kim the love letters the three face to face summits by themselves would change North Korea's calculus when throughout. The Smart, folks were saying. No, those were not the Intel assessments. You have to get concessions before you sit down from him before you say cancel US military exercises with South Korean need to get something in return and he didn't. So you're right no worse than his predecessors but no better and that's not quite a success story from for the madman theory approach. One thing that trump has not done is to get us into any new wars and he is. Seems to be conflict averse in this one in this one way not in any other way. But what did you learn in your reporting about why trump has? been so averse to deploying American troops and has not allowed himself to get sucked in the way. Most of our previous presidents have well Sam about his political that he ran on any believes he was elected in part on that promise to end the endless wars and that's one reason we repeat that phrase and. It's one reason why he I it seems he wants to draw down US forces in Afghanistan to this five thousand dollar figure by November I'm you know I'm told you know possibly because he wants to compare himself to where Obama was right you know before you get get to the election day. So there's a political element to that but there's also a personal element that he doesn't want to go to war right doesn't eat them and that's not a bad thing right to to avoid war for all the all the damage that that might cause and it's kind of interesting. You know Steve Bannon talks about that in the book that there's You know that's the flip side to the bluster. Right the my nuclear button is bigger than yours or Iran. We will crush you. It's extra deep down. He does not want to go to war. It's actually interesting inter-. Hilton talk about this. In terms of Russia and they're all whole host of questions about his relationship with Russia that that that his senior senior advisors talked about very openly in this book but at the root of it, he does have this genuine ambition of reaching some sort of grand nuclear agreement with Russia reducing nuclear warheads and helping prevent nuclear war that there is a sincere drive there for that. We shouldn't no reason of faulting for that. You know. Fantastic I. Suppose the difficulty is not just with North Korea but even at the tensest moments with Iran again, his advisors thought that. The decisions he was making were unpredictable enough and disconnected from US policy and his advisors. Best Advice enough that they thought he might unwittingly take the US during on a path to war that didn't intend but set the stage for I. Mean there are genuine concerns now about the escalation that's happening with China possibly do driven by election politics, but he's getting the two countries on a path of confrontation that's difficult to walk. Off I mean bannon talks in the book about being at war with China. In five years. I. Mean That's an alarming prospect talk about openly but you know Michael there there are hawks in this administration who see that as the inevitable future yeah. I wanted to talk about China's sort of is our final subject here because it's worn, you're an expert in which does remind me a question I've always wanted to ask you Refer to this book were journalists in China, but then you also worked for the US embassy you for the US government. What did you do for the? State Department I was chief of staff to the US ambassador there, which was a it was an offer. Right got out of the blue. Who is the embassador than Gary Locke? Discussion. We had discussions about China, and I, I had a lifelong interest in China and the chance to see it from the inside was one. I JUST DIDN'T WANNA turn down and I learned a lot from inside fact I tell a story in the book about how that informed my view of trump's approach to China because when I was there, I saw America's kind of reflexive deference to China in every move and. It just struck me as as a blind right blind to what China was up to just personally I welcome you know trump standing up to the Chinese malign activities I. I certainly don't want to go to war with the place I. think that would be bad for both of us but you know my personal experience their help drive my discussions discussions with with the folks in his administration who handle the China policy. So just along those lines I mean. Certainly. There's been a lot of provocative acts by the Chinese in the last couple of years the crackdown in Hong Kong the mass detention in concentration camps of the whitacre's Whitacre's what they told us and didn't tell us about the Wuhan Venus as you look at the series of events and the sort of increasingly confrontational attitude of the Chinese, how do you assess trump's responses? So I'm one that I understand the toughness and from a personal standpoint I. I think it's probably necessary. Right? You know the question is, is it connected to a strategy? What is the endgame? What is the endgame today? Is there a diplomatic off ramp? Is there a particular concession from China you're looking for? Would this president ratchet down the current escalation? If he gets this, you know long hope. For a second phase trade deal, you know are there economic concessions could make that would take this president on a different path because because right now I mean many of these things that have become the issues right? They are. You know they're not going to be solved with trade deal right? I mean you're talking about the detention twenty-first century concentration camp I think it's the the most undercover D-? Story of recent years. Don't you think I mean the fact that this is going on largely in silence or the end of Hong Kong I mean I've spent years living in Hong Kong Hong Kong is done as far as we know, those are issues that are not going to be solved with a trade deal what are the levers of power. They can actually change Chinese behavior on that. It's not. Clear and it listen. I'm not saying that that any president necessarily Joe Biden has joe? Biden articulated idea to solve those problems. No. So you know a lot of this is necessary. The question as with everything with trump and foreign policy is what is the endgame? What is the larger larger strategy you're my last question is since you mentioned Joe Biden where a couple of months out from an election. Joe Biden obviously is someone with a a lot of experience around the world and in terms of foreign policy, much more conventional approach. What do you think the biggest changes will be if by? And Comma. Harris end up taking over. Well on China I think less than folks magic I talk about this in the book that the new approach to China is a largely bipartisan one at the old status quo is pretty much done on trade and other issues. I do think you might see some adjustments that big picture not a massive turn. I think on other issues I mean you could imagine a Biden speech early in his term saying NATO we are all in right. We see our future with you we are we are. Joined together, South Korea and Japan. We stand by our alliances with you with this won't become a bottom line issue Canada and Mexico we have trade disagreements but you're not a national security threat right? You know that kind of stuff you can imagine those those changes interestingly though I don't think that any president Republican or Democrat is on his way to a massive new deployment in the Middle East right short of another nine eleven or something I mean oddly Irony of trump right is the number of total troops in the mid east. Outside of Afghanistan has an increase not decreased during his time considering all these deployments, Gulf in the midst of heightening tensions with Iran. But you know those those big direction issues are moving. You know are you don't look for dramatic changes now statements like that on NATO and other alliances are not insignificant because the fishers that trump has opened up in those relationships. have big consequences for those relationships and frankly for the way our adversaries view those alliances and where they see you know they might be able to take advantage of it and I guess one other big one would be on climate change. Right? We entering the Paris Agreement. So forth yeah or even just or even just simple statement of it's happening right and it's not. Like that would be an enormous victory. Yeah. All right. Well, listen I'm the book is the Madman Theory. Trump takes on the world Jim Shudo. For joining us, Hey, thanks to both of you really enjoyed the conversation. Thanks to everybody for. A chance. We are now joined by John dickerson's. Correspondent sixty minutes old competitor of Clyde men's and I when. We were at Newsweek John was a Time magazine John Welcome to skulduggery. Thank you I your conjuring some very intense periods that we all competed against one another. So I'm very happy to be with you in more in more genial turn. Climate and I, relive those days in our heads. You you. You compete against each other. You know when you're in your prime and then you get to be old guys like us and you just all friends on podcasts. Jonah's this new book the hardest job in the world, the American presidency, a great book congrats John, but I, gotTa say, I, loved the introduction where you take us back to nineteen fifty six Dwight Eisenhower's President Adly. Stevenson is running against him Stevenson attacks ice record on the economy and I express secretary responds by accusing Stevenson of cheering for bad news and when reporters asked the president about this, I says that his rival must have been misquoted because he couldn't believe he would have said that and even if he Did in his heart of hearts believe that he said that he didn't want to take the bait, imagine a politician not taking the bait, but because he just didn't want to get stuck into the what he called the noise and the extravagance of the campaign and what struck me about bad that inactivate is that this is the president deciding not to take an easy shot at his rival and how what a distance traveled when basically the Eisenhower believed to do. So would be didn't beneath the dignity of the presidency. and. You now have a president who has designed his presidency around taking shots at basically anyone right and well, what was amusing about it is Eisenhower does change his strategy a bit and it's big news. He's GonNa fire back at Stevenson after apparently he's upset at what he views this low blow by his Democratic challenger and the firing back is so tame by today's standards. It's worth reviewing. What does I do? Yeah. It Patty cake first of all, it doesn't until September twenty six, the election year right? The election. In November. The month laughed, and it's front page news all over the over the country ice decides to answer demo lied aac setting policy of firing back. So these headlines which are at the top of the newspapers, all of the country make it sound like is marriage going to come out and fire every expletive at Stevenson? He can what he's done. He's asked his staff to produce valid information from the Department of Labor that Challenges Stevenson's claim that about a cost of living adjustment calculation from the Labor Department I mean. In today's world twitter, this would not guess you know a single re tweet it so calm and placid, but in the context of Ike and the context of the campaign at the time, it was considered You know sufficient enough to haul out the big type and make it the headline of the local newspapers. So John, the if that is one book end and trump is the other and of course you. Do go all the way back to George, Washington. But a lot of your book is about how the Presidency as been transformed in that time and all the forces at play partisan Hsieh, all of the other factors. But the larger point in your book is that the presidency is broken or as Leon Panetta Clinton's chief of staff and later CIA Director and defense secretary said, it's the presidency is out of control. So, just stood of in what way just for our listeners in what way is the presidency broken well, one way the way we've already discussed in that introduction, which is that the cut and thrust of the modern campaign has become as infected, the presidency, and so and the campaigns are about slash and burn and no compromise. But governing is about compromise and governing is about leaving some flesh on your opponent because you might need them the next day. But that's one sliver of the way in which the job has gotten more complex and harder to do and the issue set that presidents have to deal with. Now between Eisenhower's Day, and President Trump's day has gotten. Bigger. Let's take national security. So you don't have the nuclear annihilation threat the way you did when there was a constant combat with the Soviet Union but you still have nuclear proliferation the problem but you also have terrorism both by organizations like al-Qaeda but also lone wolf actors, and then you have cyberterrorism you have more conflicts over the world that you have to pay attention to a now as a president than you did in day and they and they happened in a way that the president is much more involved, they're not slow moving armies there. The president can watch the actual operation take place as as a drone strike hit somebody that morning that he's picked. Should be at the wrong end of the US force. That's just in the national security round in the economic realm you not only have the stewardship function of a presidency. You have the name, the right people and have the right policies to affect the economy. But then you have the last presidents have to deal with economic firefighting as they call it, which is emergency action required to deal with the great recession did deal with covid nineteen where it's different than what FDR had to do, which was kind of long drawn out series of economic challenges. When the president has to do now is work with Congress to the extent the Congress working. To move very quickly at a time where economic transactions move at the speed of light and then the final thing that has gotten more complicated is basically the presidents have lost that working partner with Congress Congress is either advocated part of its role or because partisanship. Play the participatory role in in legislation that it used to. In the past you know and one other aspect of the presidency that you talk about and how it's changed is really the expectations of the American people in terms of what role the president plays in terms of being consoler 's in terms of having empathy in terms of being, they're giving voice to the feelings of Americans I. Mean You have a lot in there that I found fascinating about how presidents today respond to every national disaster and that a few decades ago didn't at all because it wasn't an expectation that they would talk about that transition. Yeah exactly. So the idea is that the to do list for the president has gotten longer and bigger. This is one of the major items on the to do with and it's tantalizing because on the one hand. So I went back and looked actually I found these headlines about that. We were talking about not because I was looking for them but because I was doing some research for a podcast used to whistle-stop about this expectation to respond to national disasters and. Went Back and looked at Ike, and there would be hurricane swirling off the east coast of the United States. There will be no coverage about the president what he was doing or not doing to combat those hurricanes no coverage about the president after they hit and which was crazy in the Waco of George Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina and how how much damage his presidency. Now, when there's a hurricane, you gotta get the president into the windbreaker get him over to FEMA. And have him furrow his brow at the show him where the track of the hurricanes going to be expectation did not exist before basically Johnson and even after Johnson doesn't. But what Johnson found was if he responded quickly and there's a the best story is hurricane betsy when he goes down there, not necessarily to tend to the people who Louisiana. But basically to keep the senator from Louisiana who senator long kind of to coddle him because he knew he would meet. Him Down the Pike for some other piece of legislation. He goes down and he realized that he can do something to help these suffering people in Louisiana and television which was coming on the scene needed a leading actor or when there were these national disasters with all of this drama that television Fed off of because there's nothing more immediate and dramatic than weather. But if you've got a big national drama, you need a central character and that central character was the president. and. President Johnson certainly willing to play that role because when he flew back to Washington and delivered aid to the people of Louisiana, front pages of all the national newspapers heralded his quick action and president love to be able to be the superhero in the story and so that expectation of the president grew and grew and grew, and that's just for the disaster relief part. There is the emotional Pastora role that presidents have been called on to play again, not always. There, after the shooting at the University of Texas, Lyndon Johnson didn't speak to the nation after massacre to McDonald's in California, President Reagan didn't even there's not any big dig nobody said anything about it in his presidential papers. But now after a sufficient national disaster or shooting or some events, we expect presidents to come in and play that consoling and pastoral role, and those are very different skills and they. They also are skills you have in addition to all his other things. We talked about earlier on the economy and national security. Well, I would say that consoling pastoral role is not exactly Donald. Trump's forte to put it a bit mildly, but I wanted to take you back to how we got from. I. Who thought it was beneath the dignity of his office to respond to political charges like the ones Stevenson was making to where we are today with Donald Trump who responds to everything and you know it seems to me there's sort. Of A long history to the evolution of the hyper partisanship of American politics, which is where we are today and talk a little bit about that. How you see that evolution took place yet. So campaigns have always been ugly and there was no even though even the founders who likes to think they were a high minded in virtuous were absolute dogs when it came to political fights and one of my favorite stories which I research for my last book whistle-stop. Thomas Jefferson's attack dog James Calendar and he was basically worked for the equivalent of the national enquirer only a lot meaner. He's the one who basically he busted Alexander Hamilton for his affair with Mariah Reynolds which led to the Reynolds Pamphlet, which basically ended Hamilton's career and then and he did that basically on behalf of Jefferson or certainly in concert with Jefferson's wishes and then he exposed Jefferson and Sally hemmings when they had a falling out, right? Same Guy, right? So he just destroys atoms on behalf of Jefferson gets. Jefferson or helps Jefferson. Get elected destroys Hamilton on behalf of Jefferson he'd. Well. He destroyed Hamilton I. Then he destroyed Adams Adams threw him in jail. He was so critical of him. He's the one called Adams hermaphroditic character, which is usually the quote that you hear rollout when people talk about how campaigns have always been awful and he throws calendar jail calendar gets out of jail Jefferson's president becomes the Jeopardy Rights Jefferson and says, Hey, buddy I helped you out. Make me postmaster of Richmond Jefferson says, I'm sorry WHO's calling he pretends he doesn't know him and then calendar gets furious and outs him for his his his relationship with Sally Hemmings in Jefferson. Genius relative to Hamilton Jefferson. Just ignored it and it rubbed the. went away in the end Amilton, of course, the around pamphlet, which which torched his his career. But this is all the say that it was very ugly at the beginning but there was a space between campaigning and governing and because presidents were not directly involved in the campaigning themselves as much until you know as the party's dwindled presidents become more active in their campaign. So basically, the middle of the last century and now presidents are entirely engaged in their own campaign so that the president themselves be starts to have to engage at a greater level in the mock and the and the viciousness of campaigning, and so that's what has pulled more pulled the actual has. Such. Thin. The Wall between the ugliness you need in campaigns and the person who ultimately has to govern. It's like in negotiation, you hire the lawyers to do the negotiation so that you you're taking over a company can remain friendly with the CEO of the company you're taking over because you need that cordiality. So you let the lawyers fight it out in their ugly thing but you sort of retain a kind of public police geology because you'll need that when the deal is done to make everything seem nice. Convention with President. Just to add it seems that wall between campaigning and governing for president as now completely collapse well, that's John's boy this news. Yeah. With the news that trump wants to give his convention acceptance speech from the White House itself well exactly and I became fixated on George Herbert Walker Bush who you guys both Coppard and you remember the eighty eight campaign, it had set the lower watermark as it were for the ugliness of campaigns Lee atwater basically when Michael Dukakis was up eighteen points over. George W Bush he said I'M GONNA tear the bark off the record, and he basically went through a very methodical campaign of making Dukakis seem UNAMERICAN and George Herbert Walker Bush engaged in and abetted and helped that along. Then when he got into office, she recognized a real separation between the tasks required to win and the behavior required of a president and he wrestled with that and Jon Meacham is full of that wrestling and basically getting pulled into making bad decisions that were both. Against his character and against the prudence of government because of what the campaigns pulls you into. Sin George Bush nevertheless recognized a wall between the two but Donald Trump has done two things that are different. So he recognizes no wall between he behaved with the same kind of attack mentality as president that he did in the campaign and then secondarily has done what I can't think of another president doing, which is taking the tools of the office and the obligations of the office and and. Basically making them putting them the service of his reelection and his campaign presidents always did things to keep themselves in office of course but but President trump has taken it to an extra level. Would that we haven't seen particularly obviously with respect to Ukraine and the matters for which he was impeached even Republicans who didn't vote for him to be convicted nevertheless said what he did was wrong to basically bend US foreign policy for the purposes of his own presidential campaign so as you were saying That wall between campaigning doing what it takes to get elected and doing what it takes to stay in office that wall between governing and campaigning has basically disappeared under president trump's. You know John, there's a kind of a fascinating mini narrative in your book that gets at the question that Mike was asking about this evolution and between nine thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, three, and September thirtieth nineteen ninety. So nine, hundred, eighty, three when Ronald Reagan and tip O'Neill who are rivals and started off being pretty an enormous amount of antipathy but they manage to work together and they they made social security solvent and then you flash forward to I think you referred to this gathering of? Meat Fed men in Brooks. Brother's suits in the Rose Garden in on September. Thirtieth nineteen ninety. When correct me if I'm wrong but I think George H W Bush is announcing was at the deal with Rostenkowski taxdeal where ultimately Bush raised taxes which cost him his election right and I think the sort of central figure here in this evolution is Newt Gingrich right so he's gathered all of these Republicans and Democrats for this announcement newt. Gingrich is not willing to be part of of this moment congratulatory moment, right? What happens Joe Gingrich. Turns against the. So George Bush has put together a budget deal with the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate and has this event at the White House in which you have. If you go watch on C., span the the event I mean you have Bob Dole Congratulating Dick Gephardt you have Senator Mitchell congratulating Bob Dole. You have George Bush. ladling praise on the Democrats as well as the Republicans but it's a bipartisan crumby moment of a kind. We really just don't have anymore and everybody's very self-congratulatory about finally getting this budget deal put together and Gingrich who would have been there as one of the leaders in Congress. Bailed from the event and went back to his colleagues in the Conservatives in Congress and was greeted as a as a conquering hero for not going along with the Republican president. So he basically said that George Bush had capitulated on his no new taxes pledge but more important had broken from the conservative ideology about taxes. So Gingrich was basically holding purity position, which then Pat Buchanan took and turn into a presidential campaign where he ran against Bush in. Nineteen ninety-two in new. Hampshire didn't beat him but sufficiently weakened him that it contributed to Russia's weakness that ultimately led to his defeat against Bill Clinton. Now Clinton ran a good campaign and that kind of thing but but it was certainly wobbly party and that was in part because of Gingrich Buchanan. But as you mentioned, Gingrich had been waging a long war which really goes back you know well, before bolting from from George W Bush and the. Argument was basically the only way to be Democrats who have held control of the House for. So long is to make a deep cultural attack against their Democratic Party and say not just that their policies are wrong but that they are evil and so that was the not only didn't want capitulation from his own party, but he also was successful in demonizing democratic. Party in a way that feels very consistent with the demonization. The trump has made a central part. Of His public character and let's not forget it worked I mean in one thousand, nine, hundred, ninety, four under Gingrich's leadership the Republicans retook control of the House for the first time in what forty years. So as a purely political matter, it seems to have been a pretty smart strategy. Yes. It worked and it worked in the service of long standing Republican ideals right so he came any and the contract with America they moved through tax cuts balanced budget amendment. Welfare reforms increase in defense spending all of these things and it's actually not unlike with Donald Trump donald trump has delivered very well for Republicans kept taxes low slash regulations, increased defense spending protected or done everything. He can't diminish abortion rights He's named judges up and down the scale who are conservatives and have been vetted by the Federalist Society and so he has done he has broken with Republican Orthodoxy but but he's broken with it too. So little as from Republicans on things. Like deficit reduction which you know I've spent my whole covering Republicans talking about spending restraint and being conscious of the deficit. But that all that talk has gone completely, which raises questions about really whether it was a central tenant of the Republican coalition. So trump has delivered Republican and where he has broken from traditional Republican Orthodoxy, there hasn't been much pushback at all John. How should we think about trump and the presidency I? Mean I guess the question is is he just kind of a useful foil for? What you write about in this book or is he an aberration and say he loses three months from now joe? Biden becomes president. He will his tone obviously is very different. He will probably restore dignity to that office but projecting forward do you think Donald? Trump in any fundamental way has transformed the presidency well, I think he is It's a great question I mean. So Donald Trump is both the president that has to be analyzed, and then he is also kind of a measuring device that. Allows us to look at the office itself because of the many things that he's done, which is excavated some of these questions of our expectations of the office and and why we have the norms that we have and are they worth having and so in one way he's transformed the office in the sense that people. Now, we're having a searing moment of questioning race in America and what the new approach to black Americans in both the criminal justice system, but also in the entire caste system of. Relations what that's going to look like and a president attuned to that pain in America and this moment of flux could you just rhetorically but also then also policy and could could answer that call Donald Trump has shown no interest in answering in answering that call I think people recognize that at least the polling suggests that that's something that the president needs to do that president needs to be able to, and this is James Wilson. Definition of character empathy is a part of character James Wilson the conservative political scientists said, and what that means is being. Able to take into account the thoughts and feelings of people who are not in your political coalition, and that sort of president must do because while you're base gets you into job. When you get in the job, you represent the whole country and unless you can hear the concerns of the other base or the other party or people who are not in your political coalition unless you could do that, they will not feel heard and people who don't feel heard tend to take the streets and then tend to do things more violently. So if it's we recognize now. The necessity to be able to hear the whole country. So I think that and that's just one of the many ways in which the president's interest in a lot of the roles of the presidency I'm highlighted how important those roles are. There ways in which he has pushed back against the cocooning nature of Washington that while you may not like the solutions in the end. His irritation with the generals about Afghanistan is pretty healthy in terms of pushing back against the received wisdom about that war, and again, you may not like his solutions but the willingness to question what you're handed. As president is probably a very healthy thing for any president to have it depends on what you're questioning, I suppose and you based on your instincts. But if somebody presents you with real information such as intelligence that the Kremlin is paying bounties to the Taliban for killing Americans and and that's not something you want to deal with you just ignore it so. Yeah nobody would I would argue it his response to that and particularly in the in in these most interview with John Swan, his response to that would be would be an aberration from the Office for sure right. But I WANNA ask you look you've been a host of face the nation on CBS this morning I want to ask you a little bit about how you cover. The trump administration and this president, a president who says so many preposterous things that are clearly false that are clearly can't be supported and yet has these minions of administration officials who go on the shows that you have hosted and have to stick to the president's talking points. How do you deal with that without seeming to become you know the opposition party that trump wants you to be and yet still hold them accountable? Yeah. Well, it's been. It's it's the thing we've been wrestling with. Since he basically came on the scene and you know it's a very delicate thing because a lot of your audience is still condition to and habituated to the old way of covering presidencies and so. I think you. You know just because the president says, it doesn't mean it's it's news which used to be a kind of standard because sometimes the president says things that are not true and so so I, there's sometimes you just have to exercise. You have to exercise news judgment if the President says something that's not true and you won't be true tomorrow you have no obligation to convey that to your viewers because you're reducing and in doing so you're actively reducing their understanding. Of the world, you're actively participating in a misleading I think in terms of the fact checking this is where it gets the most tricky because there are times and you all know this, but it is become. So frequent now, and this is again a campaign tactic moved into the presidency. But there are times that a politician will say something they know is wrong. They know is going to get fact checked, but they would prefer to have wrestled with a reporter for ten minutes about immigration. because. They want to convey to the viewing audience that they are maximalist on the question of illegal immigration and they are, and this is what this was the the success of Donald. Trump's claim about ten Mexico pay for the wall. There was no chance Mexico was going to pay for the wall. There was no one who is in seriously who seriously thought that was going to happen but the candidate Donald Trump and president donald trump. We're happy to have a debate about Mexico paying for the wall because he will continue to insist that they will and what he is conveying is that he is the most maximalist. On the question of immigration and that's all he wants to convey. So he will take the small kit from the viewers who say wait a minute he's talking about something that is absolutely never going to happen for the benefit of spreading new not news, but spreading the impression that that he cares deeply about this issue. So when you have fact checks working to convey a false impression or or false information, then you get into a very delicate area where how do you do your primary job which is to keep the facts as solid as possible without doing something that might in the end have the net result of Misinforming people and that's that's very very difficult and it requires us to do our job fairly and not take the base and it also requires people to kind of recognize that we're in new territory here. And and basically read more and listen more well, John Let me ask you about another job that you've had, which is debate host given what you write about the presidency and about voters expectations we've got a debate in just under two months. I. Think the end of September, what kinds of questions should we be asking of our candidates to elicit how they? Think about the presidency what they think the job is and to let us see how they might actually do that job by seeing how they work through questions there have been a lot of people who talk about how these debates have to be reformed. I'm wondering having done it yourself what questions you think kinds of questions you think the moderators ought to ask. The question and it. It's tricky and one of the things you know the whole kernel for the book was basically this disconnect between the way we talk about the presidency and what the job actually requires, and so one of the things I came upon when I did all the interviews for the book was when I ask C. E.. O.'s or or people who'd worked for presidents or presidents themselves. What's the first thing you would ask about if you treated the campaign like a job interview they? All of them talked about, how do you build a team? How do you manage team as the president? We don't talk about team building and much in campaigns and but the but but basically, the presidency is an organization more than anything else. It's not just one person and so getting an understanding of how they picked people how they build a team that can deal with the most important part of the job which is dealing with big high stakes. Surprises is a really important part of. The job. How do you fashion questions along those lines? It's not so easy but I would try and get some questions in their bit. Got At that idea that got it there theory of management and and even though their answers might not be precisely great. When you talk to the leaders, a big corporations Tim Cook Eeo for example, people who have been successful in high pressure management. They, speak about with a kind of proselytizing zeal because that that theory of management is really how they operate their companies and they have to believe in it because they didn't their companies wouldn't go anywhere and so when you talk to Tim Cook or Jim Mattis about leadership, they have a theory of the case so you would want to excavate a little bit of ad from them to get it that important idea another thing that is important. Are these these other ideas of the pastoral role? America is an idea it is not based on. Where you were bored shouldn't be based on on where you were born or who your parents were. Being the steward of that idea is very important both because you have to remind the country of it when we are in moments of crisis and everybody wants to do it for themselves and and you have to be able to speak rhetorically about the American idea but it also has to be in the bones of your policies and get them to talk about that, and then I think there are ways in which you try to. Get them to think out loud for the viewers in other words they're they're prepackaged dancers are basically what they carry around with them in have all throughout the campaign, but we want to see them out loud and so you would present some questions that would that would be of that wouldn't be so oddball lose everybody but that would would get them to explain their thinking rather than simply recite their their policies so John. Last. Question for you if by any chance you got asked to host or be a questioner at. One of the trump biden debates this fall and given that these are guys who have been around the track for many many years, their thought processes processes. Their approach to governing is pretty well known at this point. How would you approach a trump biden debate? Well, as you quite ready, you've set the you set the difficulties there me because. One of the things that the challenge of being a debate moderator that's different than being just kind of a person watching is when you watch you think, Oh, I would ask this question and implicit in your conversation you're having with yourself. Is that that? I just simply asking question we'll get you an answer. But that's not what happened. They are they are there is there is very little case really WanNa give you an answer they want to give you a response. And there's a very big difference between a response, an answer as you know, and there's less and less downside in life to in American political life to giving an unsatisfying answer and some moments it's absolutely devastating. It's been devastating for the president recently after his interview with axios then there have been other instances, but but also the question is actually how devastating because it be everything is so polarized it doesn't it doesn't necessarily change the the political dynamic. So you have to again you have to answer you have to ask a question sets stakes high enough. that. It put some pressure on them to actually answer it, and that takes a lot of thinking. In fact, one of the best ways to do it is in is in town hall style debate because it's much harder for a president to Notre candidate to not answer a human voter who's right they're asking the question again, this is this is what tripped up George Herbert Walker Bush in Nineteen ninety-two. Because you can't dance around human being the way you can dance around member press you pay a greater penalty with the voters. So I would you know I would It would take a lot of thinking to basically coordinate off all of the Bat answers you'd get and try and put some pressure on the candidate actually give you an answer that might be useful for people and making that decision. John, I've got I've got actually one last question, which is just the prescriptive piece of this just quickly. And maybe this is another two or three books and I know you get into this yours how should the presidency be reformed and is that even possible in our current political state? It's tough. I mean basically I I lay out some ideas about the way might be performed and the minute I say them are even before I do I'm I'm quick to point out that. We have to be humble about how much things can be changed I think one thing we can all do and what I hope the book does because it was my attempt to do it to myself is to is to reset our expectations for the Office for what can happen, but then also for the people who want to be in the and if we reset them in. Terms of trying to match it up with what the job actually requires. We might focus a little more on whether they have the skills for what the job is and less. The sort of stuff we do focus on and campaigns which have nothing to do with whether you're any good or have a chance to be any good in job I mean one tiny little example is. When people talked about Donald, trump is a businessman they kind of left it at that Donald Trump has has had some success in his life but none of the business success and attributes that he has matchup with the business attributes. You would need a presidency I, mean the they in many many different ways and so if you if we thought that through a little bit more. Not just stop at the idea while he was in business and that'll be helpful for the job on there. Many ways in which actually he has attributes that clash with job. So just be one thing is just a focus on what the job actually is as we go through a campaign to reset our expectation well, it seems unlikely that we're going to have a president any time soon, who doesn't feel the need to respond to natural disasters in this country the way we have had in the past, right? Anyway the book is the hardest job in the world the American presidency by John Dickerson John Thanks for joining us. Thanks. It was great fun good to be with you. Thanks to CNN chief national security correspondent in. Anchorage in judo CBS SIXTY MINUTES, correspondent author, John Dickerson, and Yahoo News See your political correspondent John Ward for joining us on skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe discovery on Apple. PODCASTS. Regulus dear podcasts and tell us what you think. Leave Review Short follow us on social media at skulduggery pot.

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Mueller Madness

Skullduggery

59:24 min | 1 year ago

Mueller Madness

"Report on the investigation into Russian interference in the two thousand sixteen presidential election need, I say more. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president's across. Well, I'm not a crook. I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostile my heart. And my best intentions still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence tell me it is not I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else. Michael Isikoff chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo news, Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo news. This is it man. This is the moment we've been waiting for on skulduggery. And I think it's a celebrate Tori moment in some respects. And I think we should celebrate by cracking open a Russian beer, a Russian beer, we've all been waiting for Robert Muller's report. And we finally got it. And we could only appropriately Mark the Cajun like cracking open this Russian beer here. Clemen? Gimme your glass, and we'll stories it's a stout is a stout stout. This is foreign and where was this. Brewed actually it's brute in normal, Illinois. This is an intelligent. This is a Russian intelligence operation. All right. Let's get to it quite a bit to go over here in this report and on the collusion side on the obstruction side. I saw a lot that I didn't know before that hadn't been publicly reported. And I think it's gonna give us lots to chew over. Gimme your highlights just to start out. Look couple of significant things. Bill bar was absolutely right in his letter is summary of the investigation of the of the report when he said that the special counsel. Bob Muller did not find evidence of collusion or coordination conspiracy to violate federal law. That's right. And I think in terms of just to be fair here. I think in terms of the contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians it's not just that it didn't rise to the level of criminal coordination there. Really? There wasn't evidence that the Trump campaign worked with. With the Russians to in any way affect the election. I just think that's not really there. Well, but there was a lot of a lot of new evidence on the context a lot of new evidence on with the Russians were up to no question about that. How extensive the Russian that's really, and that's really important. I'm just talking about whether there was a some kind of a conspiracy or actual coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians and that they knowingly worked together to essentially throw this election. However, I think on obstruction. You know, there was all we knew from the bar letter. Was that the president was not exonerated? And that Muller did not come to a conclusion. But what Muller does do in? This report is lays out, I think bar said ten examples, but if you know the reports through our eleven examples of efforts by this president to impede strive struck and shut down the investigation investigation. And yeah, I mean some of them. Actually are kinda chilling. Of course, it starts out with. When Muller gets appointed February fourteenth two thousand seventeen February seventeenth two thousand seventeen. How does the president react? Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. He vents to then attorney general sessions, I'm fucked. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me. And then from there he makes repeated efforts to make sure that this investigation does not target him. And that was the key moment because actually Muller separates the obstruction investigation into two phases. One up until the point where comas fired. But during all of that time Trump is being told by comas as well that he's not personally under investigation. And if you're not under investigation, and there's nothing to obstruct. But after Muller is appointed he is under criminal investigation. And there is a lot of evidence that he was trying to impede that investigates. The and this is actually the. Amazing thing to me is what saves Trump in the end is that his top aides disobeyed him, they ignored his orders and Muller makes that clear he goes down item by item June fourteenth, two thousand seventeen Trump learns that Muller was investigating him for him. Trump for obstruction. The president calls then White House counsel, Don Mcgann at home, and directs them to have Muller fired for supposed- conflicts of interest, apparently because Muller had tried to get the job of retake the job of of FBI director, Mcgann refuses quote, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger. What he regarded as a potential Saturday night massacre June nineteenth just five days later. Trump meets in the Oval Office with Corey low douse gave his former campaign manager. A also one time skulduggery guest and directs him to give a message to sessions that he should publicly announce the investigation. Is very unfair to Trump that he had done nothing wrong. And he wants low in TAOs key to tell sessions he should meet with Muller and tell him that the probe should focus only on investigating election meddling for future election, use your election future. Elections not on what Muller was investigating which is what had happened in the last election. Low endow ski quote did not want to deliver the president's message personally. So he asks Rick Dearborn another senior White House aide to do. So and Dearborn quote was uncomfortable with the task and did not follow through. There's also the case of Macfarlane's. I think could have been hawk hall Ehrlichman and Haldeman rough day decided not to so he's right saved. By might is thought that Corey Lindau sqi would be one of the unsung heroes of the Trump. Russia investigation for refusing. Trump's orders there's another instance in which Trump tells. Then deputy national security adviser KT McFarland to draft a letter stating that he Trump had not directed. Michael Flynn to discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador McFarland refuses to do so quote because she did not know whether that was true so time and again Trump is trying to interfere impede give false statements relating to the Russia investigation. Direct his closest aides, including his lawyers to go out there and publicly lie on his behalf over and over and over again in the one that jumps out at me is when the New York Times reported that Trump had tried to get Mcgann to fire sessions, and that comes out in the in the near term. Then Trump goes goes to mcgann's and says go out there publicly and say this didn't happen and actually create a false record. So that you can prove that this didn't happen, and what's mcgann's responsible? I can't do that. Because the articles were true. And this. This is just another example of you know, the president is out there saying that he's exonerated no collusion. No obstruction. But any one of these instances with any president prior to this president, you know, if you had if you at the president had called the White House counsel on the weekend and ordered him to fire the special prosecutor who is investigating him that is like a that's just mind boggling, and you know, he's graded on a curve. And so, you know, we're just gonna kinda blow past that a couple of key lines in the investigation that left out at me our investigation, this is for Muller's report found multiple acts by the president that we're capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations colluding the Russia probe, but the president's efforts to influence influence the investigation, we're mostly unsuccessful that is largely because the person surrounding the president the climbed to carry out orders or seed to his request. So we talked a lot about trumping. Collusion. Curious as podcast clearly Muller thinks he was obstruction curious, but didn't get there, you know, more than curious. Direction intent intent on obstruction, but was thwarted by his own people. There's also there's a lot of very interesting kind of legal analysis that Muller goes through a why he didn't in the end I make a judgment on obstruction. And we'll be pouring through the report. We'll come back and talk on this podcast about it. But there are a couple of things that I think leap out at me one of them is although it's not explicit. It's kind of in dry sort of legal language, but it's pretty clear reading between the lines that Bob Muller sees this report as a potential impeachment documents because and we'll talk about this with one of our guests coming up, but I'm just gonna read this. I think as it bears reading a couple of times we recognized that a federal criminal accusation against the sitting president would place burdens on the president's capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct. This is really. A clear reference to impede the only real constitutional process for addressing presidential misconduct is impeachment. And so so this it's important to note because on this question of of Bill bar stepping in and making the judgment himself on obstruction? There is no evidence that I've seen so far in this report. And I should say I haven't read the whole thing yet. That Muller expected intended asked a bar to make that decision for him. I think he expected this to go up to congress. Now, we should make clear that the, you know, of course, the headline for the president is that Muller did not find evidence of the criminal conspiracy. But there are a lot of details in this report that we hadn't seen before about the president's then candidate trumps efforts to get a hold of Hillary Clinton's emails. There was a whole covert operation that was directed by Trump himself to his campaign. Staff to find those Hillary Clinton emails, we all remember, the famous line by Trump Russia, if you're listening, you know, I hope you can find the Clinton emails from which he would later say he was that Joe who sarcastic clearly it wasn't hit because it was something. He was absolutely intent on and a lot of people were like out there like doing everything they can reaching out to folks to try to find those emails couple of other things that leaped out at me on the on the Russian efforts first of all Julian Assange and his role. We talked the other day about Julian Assange indictment, which had nothing to do with the Russia operation, but Assange does not come off very well here he had from the get-go made it clear he wanted to do everything he could to defeat Hillary Clinton the Russians knew this and at one point in two thousand fifteen. As early as two thousand fifteen the report quotes Assange saying that he wants to defeat Clinton who he calls a sociopath. So made it very clear the Russians knew where they could take their stolen documents from the DNC and the Clinton campaign they had a more than willing accomplice in Julian Assange. Yeah. Absolutely. And I think going through this report they're going to be hundreds if not thousands of little nuggets like this, which we will be poring over over the next few days, and we will come back on this podcast and share them with all of your listeners and viewers. So this is just a just the very beginning is the order, just the your a little taste of what's to come. But let's get to our guests and get their take. We now have on the line from South Carolina. Ty, Cobb, the former White House counsel charged with dealing with the Muller probe tie. Welcome to skulduggery. Thank mike. Thanks, dan. So look you or the guy in charge of making sure the president didn't get charged with obstruction of Justice. Are you breaking out the champagne glasses today? Now, I'm sitting here grinding my way through the through the report, do you think it's a fair report based on what you've read so far. Well, I think the tone is you know is prosecutorial, but that's not surprising. And you know, it does omit evidence that I think cuts the other way and some of the summaries, for example, you know, you'd take villainous guy and the Trump Tower meeting, I think omitting the fact that as you guys well know. No that she had lunch with Glenn Simpson from GPS fusion before going to the meeting and a drink with them immediately afterwards, you know, would've added some context, but yeah, I think overall it's a professional presentation. And you know, would have been probably would have been nine hundred pages if they had to include all the balancing information, which is not their obligation. Let's delve into the obstruction issues because there's some pretty damning stuff in this report anything that you hadn't heard of before. Well, the the president's call to Don Mcgann at home telling him to get Muller fired directing KT McFarland to write a letter saying that that when did not was not directed by Trump to have contacts with the Russian ambassador the request to Corey Lewin, douse key to get sessions to limit the probe these. Are all laid out by Muller, you know, pretty detailed fashion, and what Muller seems to be arguing is that while they were multiple access aimed at obstructing or impeding the Russia investigation. Trump was saved because his aides didn't obey his orders. They just ignored him. While I think that's an interesting take, and you know, every event that you reference never resulted in culmination so only because his his aides refuse to do what he wanted them to do. Well, and and that's their job. Frankly, if you're the president, and you're giving directions in one of your age thinks it's you know, not the right thing to do. It's you know, it's their job to protect you. But yes on the other hand, I guess my point is, you know, I read all this stuff before. I mean, I, you know, and keep in mind, Mike, and then you know, none of that information would have been available had the president asserted executive privilege, which he declined to do. Well, he declined to assert executive privilege after he knew that he was being protected by his attorney general who was not going to reach the conclusion that he committed obstruction of Justice, except at all, you know, the the obstruction, you know, the volume to you know, really wouldn't exist frankly, had the president asserted executive privilege because the information provided by the White House witnesses now, which the president encouraged and advised them to fully cooperate and produce documents cooperative. -ly, you know, all that information and the cooperation as you know, the report indicates weighed heavily into their balancing analysis. The fact that the information came from the White House the law is clear that within the executive branch that kind of information sharing is retained executive privilege as any other entity, including congress under July two thousand. Eight opinion by the office of legal counsel at the Justice department, which was cited frequently by Eric Holder under Obama so had he asserted it much of that information would not have come out. But he took the position that he wanted to be as transparent as possible and barred it as well, so I think bar more than over delivered. If you look at his obligations under twenty eight USC six hundred point nine which gives him total discretion as to whether at all to release the report. And if so how much well, look you were at the White House. What are the dates remind us of when you started in July of late July of two thousand and seventeen and then left in at the in June of two thousand eighteen so give us a sense of what it was when after after everybody had been interviewed and all the documents admits. And you're a specific assignment was to deal with the Muller investigation. Right. I mean, that's what you were there for to coordinate, the responses to Muller's requests, and in the course of that you met directly with Muller himself, right? Yeah. I did. Although I I didn't I didn't have as frequent interaction with the special counsel individuals as did the president's personal legal team. But yes in order to coordinate, you know, the document productions and the witness interviews, I did meet from time to time with the militia theft. You knew where Muller was coming from. And you also presumably knew where President Trump was coming from one of the quotes that leaps out in the report is the president's reaction when he learns Muller has been appointed. Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm fucked. Trump says to then attorney general Jeff Sessions. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me. Yeah. So I mean, I'm I'm aware of that. Now, I haven't read the report and other documents spot I wasn't there at the time. Where were you not aware of that before you read the report? No, I said I said that I was aware of that, you know, from reading the report and from other documents was that your understanding of the president's view of the Muller investigation. I think the president, you know, has demonstrated that you know, he is passionate about his efforts to govern and obstacles, I think he addresses with note worthy, you know, anger. If it's getting in his way. And so he's had a lot of emotional responses to you know, events that he believes is hindered his presidency. And I'm sure they're relieved that this chapter at least his over. So your primary responsibility was to prevent the president from being accused of and charged with crimes release accused since you probably couldn't be charged under Justice department guidance. But beyond. That I mean, even those things that fall short of criminal conduct can be shocking to the American people, and the conduct that you see in this report over and over again includes directing first of all of tacking his own Justice department, attacking the special prosecutor the wrecking people to lie. I mean, you know, he directs Don Mcgann when the New York Times reports that Magana had been asked to try to get to fire Muller Mcgann directed him to create a record to say that this didn't happen. And to come out and say it didn't happen began says he can't do that. Because it's not true. What about that kind of conduct because that's all reported as fact in this report, what's your reaction to that? Well, I think that's really for the president's personal council to address because you know, I didn't represent him individually. But I guess my point would be as an 'institutionalised at the White House is that the only reason that that information is in the report. And that that has been made available to the public was the White House is decision not to assert executive privilege or that would have been subject to executive privilege and not publicly available. There are so many details in this. That are pretty fascinating. Let's take the Trump Tower meeting, which you referenced before the June ninth two thousand sixteen meeting during the campaign when Russian operatives go to see Don jR, and Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, they are told in emails that they they're going to be getting incriminating information on Hillary Clinton direct from Kremlin files. And then we learn from the report today that and I'm quoting again on several occasions. The president directed aides not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the June nine meeting, and of course, Trump went on to personally edit a press statement for done junior crossing out align that ignore. College. The meeting was with an individual. Who is son was told might have information helpful to the campaign because Trump is trying to spin this as all about Russian adoptions leaving out the presi to the meeting, which is we've got dirt on Hillary Clinton from Crumlin files. We want to give you. Yeah. So I you know, it doesn't make it inaccurate of cross it out because as two of the Russian participants in that meeting testified based on what the report says that the meeting was all about Russia touching. And it was that was not the purpose of the meeting and the president was going so no less than. Bergersen meeting at apparently was what occurred even Gordon to the Russians. So but at the same time, you know, you're talking about a response to the New York Times, you're not talking about a a response to the Justice department or the FBI and the president knew at the time, and it's omitted from the report, but Jared Kushner and his council had packaged all those emails and provided them two days or three days later to the congress. Well, unfortunately, it's not a crime to lie to reporters, maybe we can get legislation passed, but I wanna or vice versa. That's true. I want to ask you about some of the lawyering and a couple of episodes that you know, I think would raise some questions with people and certainly seem to with Muller, and I think these might have been his private lawyers. So I don't know that you were involved in these. But one involves after Flynn after general Flynn pulled out of his joint defense agreement and began cooperating with the special counsel Muller says that the president's personal council left a message with Flynn's attorneys letting him know that Trump had still had warm feelings toward him asked him for a heads up. If you learned information implicating Trump, and then Flynn's lawyers said, they could no longer share information. And at that point, the lawyer said that he would make sure Trump new Flynn's actions are reflected hostility toward him is that just normal lawyering in a situation. Like, this does that cross any line for you? Well, I mean, I'm not aware of that conduct. I read it a little surprised see it. But you know. I was never part of joint defense, and I have high respect for his personal counsel from you know, from Dowd and secular out and Rudy. And particularly Jane, and Marty Raskin who did some very very heavy lifting during this process. You know, they're all exceptional people and highly I think also I'm surprised to hear that. I'd be interested in in the evidence that supports it. But I just don't know anything about it. You you you wouldn't have done it that way. Well, I mean, I don't think I don't think many lawyers would have done it that way. And you know, I'd be surprised if if it really happened that way on the other hand, I don't have any information on and the second one is involves Michael Cohen's testimony. Void congressional committee on the Moscow tower deal for which he was charged in convicted with lying, and in that case, the special counsel reports that Cohen had extensive conversations with Trump's personal lawyers. Who told him in their meetings? Quote, stay on message. And the mullahs report says that the message to Cohen was don't contradict the president. Yeah. I mean, I don't know the context of that. And again, I don't have any I didn't have any involvement. I actually never had any involvement really with Cohen, or that whatever activities that he was involved in it was not part of the special counsels interests during the period in which is heard I think that came up later after the searches that at his residence and business. So I don't know. I really just don't know on that. But I I will say one of the striking things to me about the report is the concludes reweighed that call me is treated as credible, which I think Horwitz's already eroded in his initial report, and is probably gonna crush and his upcoming report. And then, you know, the credibility. Cohen because as I read the report, and you guys correct me if I'm wrong because I could easily be, but as I read the report, the false statement attributed to coin in congress about there being no activity on the Trump Russian tower project after January the only evidence for that is Cohen's word, and they're the and emails between Cohen and Seder who were the two guys that had, you know, advance this proposal, and they don't cite any Trump or they're doing it. It or anybody else at Trump on that. So I'm I'm a little surprised at the at the conclusion nature of advancing the witnesses that I think have some credibility issues as having told the abject truth. We'll look on on that score that they had a little more than that. Because they do quote from emails that cone had with the personal assistant to Dmitry peskov. Then. No, no. But there's nobody there's nobody that Trump or I'm this is Colin was was Trump's personal lawyer and was acting on behalf of the Trump organization. He's the guy I think that's arguable. But you've got to keep in mind that whole deal was a proposal by Cohen and Seder, and they were looking to profit off of it. So I think when the Trump org says is their lawyers have said several times that they they don't have any internal Trump or documents the on January. I think and there's nothing in the report that suggests otherwise tie. What what do you make of the fact that this is something that was being debated by everybody in Washington and this report came out? But what do you make of the fact that Muller made this choice not to make a judgment on obstruction one way or the other? Yeah, I I'm surprised because if you don't have the evidence typically, you wouldn't punt that way. But I think it does come down to the exotic. Nick theory of obstruction under fifteen twenty year. See section fifteen twelve that's laid out in the report that I don't believe is consistent with the way the law is normally construed by prosecutors, and certainly not to way and not the Broadway that traditional Justice department investigations have have construed it. So I think the combination of the the expanded view of a statute that's supposed to be narrowly red and the facts that they side certainly support the attorney general's reliance on the office legal counsel, which is the final arbitrator of. That there was no obstruct. As I read. The report Muller did seem to be saying that he got could not you know, that he he he was bound, by the opinion that a sitting president could not be indicted. And then in fact, one of the reasons that at that point, you don't accuse a sitting president is because then the president has no forum, no venue to be able to really defend himself such as a criminal trial. I think that's sort of a red herring. I mean. Yes, that's a principle. But you know, he also makes clear I mean, he had the ability to find an offense a violation and he did not. So it's not the question of he was restrained. It wasn't the the restraint on indicting president. I mean as he made clear, and the collusion thing the reality was, you know, he was trying to determine if if an offensive been committed and he couldn't reach that conclusion. And with good reason in my view, given the Justice department guidelines policies. And traditional interpretations of section fifteen. Well, particularly I think it's particularly hard, you know, to, you know, this president was assaulted every day by virtually every newspaper of liberal persuasion, and most of the mainstream media and was fighting for his political life throughout this and frustrated by his inability to put much burn it just doesn't hear me. Okay. All right. And you know, so the fact that he defended himself is not obstruction. You know? And likewise on that point, which I do think is important that he did it publicly. I mean, these obstruction by tweet is just sort of a bizarre theory. It's not just tweets there's evidence here that we're not that was not as attacks on, you know, I mean, if you go through the nine instances, you know, much of the information. Is things that he's said publicly or did publicly, and you know, finally, you have a White House that contrary to norms produced every witness they requested voluntarily never sorted executive privilege. Didn't assert attorney client privileges and produce documents, you know, willingly without subpoena, and and which didn't assert executive privilege over this information becoming available to all Americans, which it had the absolute right to do. Our the way this is transparency year, you know, is in stark contrast, and he's suggestion of obstruction. Okay. But just as a matter of law the right? The Muller report does say that no principle of law excludes public acts from the reach of the obstruction laws. Yes, that's true. But they also waffle every time. They get to the intent or look tie Europe. Former federal prosecutor veteran criminal defense lawyer in Washington. Can you know, the norms of the way of what are expected of both presidents and Justice department investigations, and it's pretty much been accepted since Watergate that presidents and white houses don't interfere in Justice department investigations that the mere appearance of doing? So puts a cloud over the Justice department, and here you had a client the president who was repeatedly trying to do that in various ways trying to fire the prosecutor trying to get the attorney general to curtail the investigation to do everything he could to shut down this investigation doesn't that in and of itself bother you whether or not it amounts to a criminal act of obstruction of Justice. I so let me let me par set slightly which is if you go back to the effort to fire Mueller, you know, keeping. Mind that the president like many columnists at the time were being advised that there was no predicate for the appointment of a special counsel because there was no underlying criminal investigation. And you know, and. It wasn't underlying criminal investigation. By the president also believed that there were serious conflicts of interest with Muller who would just interviewed to be the head of the FBI and the president hadn't hired it. Now, I don't necessarily share that to you. But it was it. There's nobody can doubt that the president. Sincerely, believed it and that in the Watergate situation, like the Clinton situation, the obstruction was based on a quid pro quo where you know, they ran a slush fund got witnesses to lie and Watergate and engaged in a quite demonstrable cover up, and then the Clinton investigation, you know, the president exchanged a government job for a false affidavit for Monica Lewinsky, and then Fernan Jordan and the president were able to get her a job and in the private sector. So there's nothing like that even remotely suggested in this. But going back to your first point. That there was no criminal investigation at the time. The Muller there was I believe. The mother report breaks this into two phases. There's the up until when the president fires Komi during that period. Komi is telling Trump that there was no that he was not personally under investigation. But once Muller is appointed as special counsel there is a criminal investigation. Well, I mean, you you. As far as the president new, and actually, and if you look at the columns at the time from people like Dershowitz Turley Andy McCarthy, who's been really sort of particularly Andy McCarthy and two-time guests on skulduggery. There you go. He's the best. But you know, those guys were hammering the point that this was a counterintelligence investigation and not a criminal investigation. And there's no evidence that the president considered anything other than that until much later in the game. But coming back to my question are your mind are you not troubled by some of this conduct by the president seeking to interfere curtail impede a Justice department investigation. I don't I think I'm troubled in terms of it being summarized in that way. And certainly I'm troubled. I would've been trouble Patty intended or have any affect on the investigation. But I. I don't think that there was any evidence really found to that. And I think the the president's entitled to defend himself politically all this conduct. You know, far trying to get Muller fire get sessions fired attack the Justice, where do you it sounds from some of the remarks of the very beginning that he gets angry that he's this is all about him just blowing off steam. I think a lot of it is. But, you know, not, you know, not not all of it. And at the same time, you know, he has the absolute right under article two to hire and fire anybody in the executive branch. Well, he hired you. So I guess that's evidence of that. Listen, you're suggesting that was a bad move. All may have been his best move one who got them to cooperate. Listen, I'm sorry. You weren't able to join us here in person because had you done. So we've actually got some Russian beer. And we could have shared that with you Amazon, man. Okay. Well, we'll we'll get you next time. I'll take you guys up on that anytime, and I appreciate appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with all right? Thanks, and you want to go take care. Bye. And now for a somewhat different take on the Muller report. We are joined by April daas of longtime lawyer for the NSA she was associate general counsel for intelligence and she actually worked on the Russia investigation for the Senate intelligence committee as an aide to Mark Warner the vice chair, April, welcome to skulduggery ANC. Thanks for having me. All right. So give us your first blush. Take on the Muller report into there's a huge amount of meat here. And I think you know, if you break it into volume one in volume to right volume one lays out exactly what Muller and his team. See as what he called the sweeping and systematic efforts by the Russian government to influence, the US elections. There is chapter and verse in here, what was new about about that campaign. What did you learn, you know, I think really what's striking about? This report is the level of detail. It's not so much the broad contours because. The broad contours have already been really well described through you know, investigative journalism through the stuff that's come out publicly from the Intel committees, what's really striking here is there's a lot of information that has not previously been made public things that are coming out of the FBI three. Oh, two's. The investigative interview reports things coming out of the witness interviews that Muller's team did. So it's really in the detail that we're seeing sort of new information here on the Russian side of things things were striking to cough. Both is across and me was you know, we all remember when Trump at his press conference during the democratic national convention called on the Russians to find those thirty thousand missing Hillary emails. But apparently, he was asking all the people around them to do the same thing. So he was not just joking as raider. Asked aides to figure out a way to find those missing Clinton emails. So I mean that really does suggest that he was publicly asking the Russian government our rival to launch a cyberattack and find those emails. Yes. It went other things. It's interesting, of course, into the president didn't sit down for any interview with investigators. He did respond to written questions and in the impending for the report the questions and his answers are captured there and his answer when he's asked by Muller's team. Why did you ask Russia in particular as opposed to any other country that you could have named checked in the debate? His answer is pretty much. You can watch the tape and understand from the context what I was doing. And it was clearly a joke. So I think one of the things that will see people on you know, sort of analyzing this report over in volume to all the questions about was there in obstruction or not obstruction. It's going to be these questions around intent that are. Really hard to answer without having had an interview with the president in terms of the Russian attack. And all the things they were doing. I was like really struck by the detail on the internet research agency, the Russian troll form, and in particular, how they were targeting these phony tweets to Trump campaign officials they were monitoring how they were reacting to their tweets. Many of them were re tweeted by Trump campaign. People Kellyanne Conway Brad, PASCAL, Donald Trump junior. Michael Flynn, they were all reading tweets from Russian trolls who are disguising themselves as under various names, including ten underscore GOP, Tennessee Republican party. They're being re tweeted by the Trump folks, and in Saint Petersburg there watching how their efforts are being amplified by the Trump campaign it self. Yeah. It's really striking. And you know, that Tennessee GOP account that fake account is one of the ones that got huge numbers of followers, and duped, a whole lot of people who really thought it was legitimate. And I think everything you're pointing to really just underscores the sophistication of the media manipulation. And and if you think about, you know, sort of Russian active measures campaigns, certainly 2016 was a watershed moment in terms of the aggressiveness of that here in the US electoral process, but Russian attempts to interfere with foreign elections have been going back for decades around the world a lot of it in eastern Europe. Certainly there's accounts of previous attempts here. So yeah, what the IRA was doing. I mean, this was a sophisticated manipulation campaign for sure. The end of the day Muller does not find that Trump or anybody in his campaign criminally conspired with the Russians. So does that effectively take the collusion issue off the table? Well, you know, it's a great question. And you're right. Margaret makes clear that what they're looking at is the the legal standard for conspiracy. And he walks through why he doesn't see that. I think though that there's some really important questions for us as a body politic around going forward. No matter where hacked information comes from should candidates be thinking about making pledges that they're not gonna use stolen information for detrimental uses. How do we as an electorate Glueck at sort of the really incendiary or inflammatory information that comes out on the internet? And really, you know, what do we do about? The fact that memes grabbed so much more attention than thoughtful detailed walk-throughs of written. Information. I mean, these are big challenges. And I think what the Russian measures active measures campaign showed was how vulnerable we are talking about the virtual piece of this. But there's also the physical peace. There's also Russian intelligence operatives who were probing the Trump campaign on a regular basis. And I haven't read the entire report. But I don't think in a single instance did anyone from the Trump campaign go to the FBI and say, hey, there's something weird going on here. And you guys should know about it. And so I guess one question is going forward. Should there be some requirement that campaigns report these kinds of contacts? That's a great question. And you know, you have to hope that there will be some heightened awareness, and, you know, maybe more and better outreach on counter intelligence briefings to campaign officials and campaign affiliates around this kind of thing, but it's not a bad idea to look at what other kinds of measures could be put in place because I think we have to expect this will happen again. And and I says I think about it. The problem is is that. If campaign officials don't come forward proactively say, hey, this is going on. Then you end up in the situation that we did which is at the F B I ends up investigating a political campaign, which raises all sorts of questions that Trump has raised and Bill bar. The attorney general is raising about so-called spying on our political campaigns. And so I think maybe by being proactive, and maybe doing your patriotic duty and going to the FBI in these situations. You prevent those kinds of problems. But but that said I didn't really hear an answer to my question about whether this takes collusion off the table. The Senate intelligence committee has to produce a report on this issue. That was the that was the the brief that was the investigation that you worked on and given you know the conclusions. That Muller has reached here. What is Senator Warner and the Democrats ultimately going to do on this question of collusion, which is how this all began. Assets. Great question, it's an important question. And and of course, I can't talk about anything that happened internal to the committee while I was there. I will say we're continuing to see chairman Burr. Vice-chair Warner stand together side by side for press conferences and continue to talk about their commitment to following the facts where they lead. I think one of the challenges that we have one of the challenges that kind of gets surfaced by this report in a way is that Rodley speaking, we have not seen congress really wanting to engage aggressively in oversight of this whole set of issues and how to address them. So where the report on the section of the report on obstruction and Muller's analysis or wanted to that in a moment perfectly tees up what congress could consider if it chose to in terms of you know, that's way. All this factual information as the article one branch of government, let's assess whether there's something here that is potentially impeachable. What we've seen for the last two years is we've really seen many members of congress, not all we've seen many members of congress really sort of hold back and say, let's wait for their mother report. Let's wait for the Muller report. Let's wait for the Muller report will okay now, we have it. Now there have to be some decisions about where is congress going to step in? And what are they going to do with these facts because? Really what we have here on the potential, you know, assessment of collusion is we have a set of facts. We don't have an analysis from a political perspective of what collusion might mean. And and how we deal with that. Well, let's move to the obstruction portion because in many ways, I think that's the most problematic part of the report leading it problematic for the president. Because there's a lot of details here about how the president sought to impede and obstruct. The investigation to get Muller fired after he was named special counsel to get sessions to intervene to curtail the investigation. What was your assessment of the obstruction portion, and does it outline conduct that is impeachable in fairness to all of us. Write the report hit the street just a few hours ago. So this is based on the first quick skim of it fairly losses with way with lots more close reading to follow. Oh, but it's interesting because you know, in the beginning of all you to one of the things that mother lays out is the reasons why he did not take what he calls a traditional prosecutorial approach to assessing the facts on obstruction. And you know, he refers to that longstanding office of legal counsel guidance around, you know, not indicting a sitting president. But he always refers to some mother factors for why he says, you know, basically it it's not appropriate for my team to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment on potential criminal actions. So what I'm going to do is. I'm going to outline the facts over to somebody who can make a political judgment about this. And so against that backdrop, what he then says is we can't rule out that there was obstructed. And as you point out, he points to all these facts that are very concerning many of which have taken place in public and have been, you know, the subject of public debate both by his supporters and detractors Trump's supporters in detractors. So really what we have seen Muller? Do here say I got a pile of facts onerous over to you. And that's not inappropriate. It's very hard to get sound bites out of volume. So newest sure do you want to molar of medical melons his job? He was the special counsel. I I still don't get even having read his analysis and the difficult questions of law. The that's the phrase he uses that all this presents. It still seems to me that at the end of the day. It was up to him to make the judgment. Not the politically appointed attorney general. So I think I think Joe, no. But I think where he was trying to go with this was not up to me not because it should be up to the politically appointed attorney general, but because it should be up to that. Article one branch of government, it should be up to congress, and which means which means impeachment. They should consider whether or not they see the facts set out here as being because he nowhere. Here in this document as far as I can see does he explicitly say, this isn't my call. This is the attorney general's call right, right? And he knows that under the terms of his appointment. He knows that any significant decisions that he sends to the attorney general are going to be reported to congress. Right. Well, actually, there's one passage that. I don't know that's gotten a lot of attention so far in which Muller explicitly points to the impeachment clause of the constitution. And I'm quoting here. We recognize that a federal criminal accusation against a sitting president would place burdens on the president's capacity to govern and potentially preempt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct. I e impeachment. It sounds to me like he's actually buying into the constitutional theory behind the O, L C opinion, which is sitting president can't be indicted. The proper way to deal with presidential misconduct. Like, this is in the political process. I e impeachment. Yeah. And and you know in fairness Damola, right? He he points out in a recognized that, you know, many of raise the same criticism Michael that you did about not coming to a specific recommendation. He does say it's also really important to make sure that the facts are gathered undocumented while they're fresh while people's memories are still good while before evidences just sort of perished over time. So that when the time is right and the investigator is the appropriate one all these facts can be weighed. And so when I read volume chew this volume on obstruction. That's what I see is this this attempted to be sort of very meticulous in documenting facts. So in light of that. And in retrospect, how do you interpret attorney general William bars handling of this his four-page letter and his comments at the press conference today. Clearing, the president, you know from top to bottom, and I I was disappointed in both of those in the letter. And in the presser, I there was little too much spin there for my taste. I think that because if you take it face value, all of the facts recounted in this four hundred and forty eight pages, these are complicated set of facts. Now one thing that I think bar did a real service on was underscoring foot-stomping, highlighting making clear Russia did this right? Because remember in some in some parts of the debate around this. There's still some folks who have genuine questions was Russia behind the president to say. Couldn't accept it. Even a year and a half into his presidency goes the Helsinki and meets with Putin and saying, well, he told me he didn't do it. I don't know why I would say that if it wasn't true. So so we have bar saying very publicly today that he endorses adopts fully stands behind Muller's conclusion, which oh, by the way, supports everything the intelligence that OD DHS said it knocked Tober of 2016 it supports the intelligence communities assessment in January twenty seventeen. I mean, you know, we're continuing to see reinforcement with ever greater levels of detail that. Yeah, Russia really did this I'm so hopefully, this helps put that to bed even while the political discussions continue on you know, sort of the collusion piece or the obstruction piece or you know, how you want to. Is there enough here for the Democrats in congress to keep these issues alive and keep talking about them? Well, I mean, of course, we're going to want to hear from those Democrats in congress. But I mean, I think you know, we already know that from the perspective of Jerry Nadler for it's the House Judiciary committee. He's got a lot of open questions that we know that Adam Schiff still has a lot of open questions. And I think what we're going to continue to see on. The Senate side is will continue to see Senator burn Senator Warner continued to try to keep it very bipartisan piece of work moving forward. Do you really think they can reach a mutually agreeable whole language in a report that deals with these issues at as a great question and ten isn't it? It's questions IRS from you. What do you think come on you worked with these guys? Can they settle on a bipartisan report that addresses, collusion and obstruction? I think we're going to have to wait to hear from them on that. I do think that there's no question. There's no question collusion and obstruction are the hardest pieces of this. Because that is the piece that everybody kind of sees their personal political workshop test, right? I mean, that's the piece that is hardest for people to look at in a way, that's independent of the partisan implications of it. I mean, that's just the reality of it. I do hope though that this substantially moves forward the conversation on the reality of the risk to our elections. Because again, like, let's look at all these pieces. It's not just the troll farms. It's not just the active attempts by human assets to try to recruit and develop relationships with people in significant campaigns. It's also the probing of election infrastructure. So there's a lot that we should be able to come in there maybe together here if that is now removed from a highly politically charged investigation into the president of the states who is muddied the waters on these issues. That's now separate maybe there's an opportunity to do that one question. I have is whether you think that Senate intelligence committee ought to call Bob Muller up to testify, or do you think is report speaks for itself? I think Inuit whichever committees in congress, it is, you know, how sore Senate, and there's a couple of committees that have plausible jurisdiction over this. Right. Of course, it makes sense to have Bob Muller, come in and testify. Adler just said that he's going to call Muller as soon as possible and VAR, by the way bars was scheduled for may second. I think may second before the house may I before Senate Judiciary. But I think the guy everybody really wants to hear from now is Muller. We've heard from bar. We know where he's coming fry. But to hear how Muller answers, these many questions that people have is going to be the real the real news. Let me just ask you about one other aspect of the Senate intelligence committee investigation you worked on that's not addressed in this report. Clearly, the report details all the things the Russians were doing throughout the two thousand sixteen campaign. They went beyond what we knew before it was far more organized far more orchestrated far more extensive. But there is this question on the table that the committee has been investigating as to how the Obama administration responded to this attack on our election because they knew. Inside the White House and the intelligence community a lot of what the Russians were up to. And yet the response was delayed and not all that forceful, your take on how the Obama administration handled it, and what the committee is likely to say about that. So again, I can't talk about anything, you know, internal to the committee. But in a lot of this has come out publicly. There's been a public discussion around and lots of public information made available around what the Obama administration knew how they responded and how perhaps they could do differently. I think you know, it's interesting in a way the Obama administration. I think faced a situation similar to what attorney general bar described day and his presser about Trump. Right. So far says when Trump was elected he faced this unprecedented. Firestorm of concern about you know, what we're his dealings with the Russians. What was their involvement in the election? You could say similarly the Obama administration faced an. Dented level of attempted interference. If you look at sort of the history of these Russian active measures, everybody who's commented publicly on it deny Clapper and CIA director Brennan, and you know, everybody who's sort of in the mix at the time has made clear that they were really surprised by the scope and extent of what was happening here. The attempts not just to gather intelligence, but to weaponize, it this multi threaded multipronged multifaceted campaign. And so the problem with that question, what should the the or the challenge that question? What could or should the Obama administration of done differently? Is that it risks also becoming a partisan workshop test where it's it's harder for people to look objectively at those facts because we have an administration affiliated with one party at any given time. So I think maybe what may be really useful is going to be to look to the kinds of measures. You were talking about what can we? Institute going forward. Can we institute something where for example, if the intelligence community has at a documented internal policy that says upon recognizing this kind of information, it should be immediately flagged to the national Security Council, or it should be immediately flagged to the gang of eight or it should be. You know, there's another side to this. Which is you know, some people have raised the question during the campaign when the FBI was learning about some of these things why didn't they go to Trump and give him a defensive briefing may? So it works the other way as well. Absolutely. And so so it's possible that we could take some lessons learned from this and say there were plenty of fumbles. Some some missed opportunities to be more transparent about this sooner to act more aggressively sooner, you know, if we if we had done what mccrone did when the Russians were trying to interfere with the French election with things have been different. There's opportunity to institute some. Policies org legislation that if instituted in the bipartisan way could give us a better road map going forward. Well, maybe that'll maybe some of that will be in the Senate intelligence committee report that you contributed to with your work on the committee can only hope right? Well, april. I it's great to talk to somebody who is practically minded about doing something useful for the future rather than bashing. People for political grounds. Thanks for joining us on skulduggery. Yeah. It's been a pleasure. Thanks for having me. Thanks. Thanks to tie Cobb in April. Dos for joining us on this episode of skulduggery don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on apple podcasts. Revie listening to your podcasts. And tell us what you think leave a review. The latest episode is also on Sirius XM on the weekend. Check it out on channel. One twenty four on Saturdays at three pm eastern time with replays on Sundays at one AM and three PM. Sure to follow us on social media at skulduggery pot. Now, you can watch the podcast on Yahoo. News dot com. Youtube and Roku Saturdays and Mondays at eight PM eastern time talk to sue.

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Michigan may be in play w/ Rep. Debbie Dingell

Skullduggery

22:01 min | 3 months ago

Michigan may be in play w/ Rep. Debbie Dingell

"Because people have gotta know whether or not their president's. Well, I'm not a crop fly told the American people I did not trade arms for hostile to my heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no lies we will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else. Michael ISIKOFF chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, and I'm Jan Clyde editor and chief of Yahoo News, and we've got with us today on day three of our coverage of the Democratic National Committee Virtual Convention. One of our favorite guests debbie dingle congresswoman from Michigan who has quite a track record of seeing around the corner in political races. We're gonNA tell you about that in a moment because I think she's got some quite interesting things to say about how this Presidential race is shaping up. Well, we've both known Debbie Dingle for a long time a fixture on the Washington scene. She was actually in Congress having succeeded her husband, the legendary John Dingell but it's great having her on the show she is always blunt and pretty direct sometimes willing to get herself into a little bit of trouble with their own party. So we're hoping she'll do that this time as well. All right. Well, enough of us, let's get to Debbie Dingle. We now have with US Congresswoman Debbie. Of Michigan Congresswoman Welcome back to skulduggery is great to be with both of you and to see people I know is coveted. World of ours. So I remember vividly the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia for years ago, talking to you and you were warning Michigan was in play and could go to trump something nobody else was saying at that point and boy were you right as you look at things right now how does it look? You know it depends which day which our which group of left I mean when we saw folded showed Joe Biden up sixteen points I didn't believe it for one second in it's the same group that kept saying that there was no way that Hillary Clinton could lose in Michigan for years ago I think that Donald Trump has so mismanaged. COVID that you talk to people in really scared about their lives and what's happening and you begin to think people just want com they just want soothing waters and they want a Hartson souls of America become down. But I'm out again probably more than I should be I'm being very careful on masta keeping my physical distance but I'm at farmers markets I've gone to marches in community vigils in veteran's events and I'm here in all kinds of things again and I think it's a long time between now and November. When you say all kinds of things, what do you mean there are people that are very point blank voting for Donald Trump again. There at my antenna is just up I think there's a whole group in the middle. That is very upset. The people that voted for Hillary are voting for hillary the but not everybody who voted for Donald Trump last time is necessarily going to vote for him this time that they haven't made up their minds they are stressed about Kobe do not believe that has been handled. Right but there are also a lot of people in Michigan angry at the governor for stay at home orders they aren't sure about the economy and I think we've got to work really hard to make sure every single voter turn out in November congresswoman. I. Think the last time around you talked about being out in. Yep, Selassie, am I pronouncing it right Winner Mary Ann Arbor, and just seeing most of the houses having trump signs I don't know if you've had a chance to go back to that area, what are you? What are you seeing in terms of the lawn sign primary who's winning that right now? So I, there are a couple of signs out already in upstate. The reason it's lanny had so. Concerned me is that is typically democratic area. My district is one of those some people say it's one of the few truly diverse district's left in the country but I have an arbor, which is progress have been the down rivers that voted for Donald. Trump last time donald trump is winning the sign war. If you signs voted, he would be winning downriver already. If you'll call four years ago I. Thought Trade was very big issue. Uh, the president. Trump had identified that as an issue to conform for far more seriously than Hillary Clinton did at the time TPP was a big issue. People forget about these things for years later, and that none of the autoworkers still haven't recovered from what happened in two thousand, eight in other jobs ever safe. But one of the issues aren't GonNa densify for you. This time that I think is trade there, but it's not. You know they don't know who to believe. They want their jobs to come back home people understand supply chain, but law enforcement. support of law enforcement is in issue I am seeing in the suburbs is an issue we really do need to pay attention to the defunct the police, and which is really mean is something that I have sent to people for several weeks is initial I'm word how do you see Joe? Biden, handling that issue and have you conveyed this either hammer his campaign I have an. Dipping very clear that they are opposed to the defunding police movement that he's a strong supporter of community policing. What you are seeing is you see that what's happening in the urban cities and some of these crimes and just these the violence that you should seen in some of these protests and Donald Trump is trying to use it as when tissue we have Might I go to? Win Tall the backlash matter events in my district. But I also almost every weekend. Now, there is support the law enforcement event immonen communities, and those as well. Because I know many of those men and women they have been glued during this pandemic, they do wellness calls a respond to domestic violence. They're SORTA they're they're the glue of a lot of communities as well. There are bad apples in law enforcement and we have to have the discussion about systematic racism in this country, and it is a fact that a young black men will. Be treated differently than a young white man if stopped, but we can have both discussions in too many people are afraid of heavy uncomfortable discussions and that is a mistake for us as Democrats. If we avoid the discussion because we don't want to have donald trump is trying to use it as a wedge issue and we can't do that. It's so interesting that you said that about the crime and law enforcement issue because it's it's been clear to me for some weeks if not months now that this was trump's one play and in part because. I've seen a real spike in violence in murders in many of our major cities since the black lives matter protests because. And that in some respects, I wonder whether there's anything the Biden campaign can say about it the real driver here for the president is a the spikes are real and be the tendency among many of your fellow Democrats to not want to talk about it. So what's your advice to your fellow Democrats about what they need to say to address this issue me to not be uncomfortable about That is why I go to every event. There is every Sunday the last month there's been an event in my district and I'm there and I'm thinking the law enforcement for what they do. But I I'm working with my black lives matter and survivor speak groups, and they're making it very clear that while one group survivor speaks one of the women that headset is said she is trying. To have the discussion about racial inequality but she's not attacking the police either facilitated discussion with them with one of the police departments this past week so that people are really having dialogue but you are right about this cove. It is just creating a lot of stress I have had several really tragic murders in my district alone a family of four was killed last weekend another family was. In it, but it's in those communities. It's the law enforcement. It's the local police in the sheriff's department that are going in figuring out what's wrong finding the perpetrators arresting them alive the Ben, not the violent crime. We think of sometimes when we talk about burglaries or the by we can talk about protests in the cities but they've been family members that have snapped. They've been people just. There are so many different things that are going on out there right now, what what we need to understand is that our law enforcement really have like our teachers are social workers. So domestic abuse is really on the rise or we've got dates at post traumatic stress or people have mental health issues and who's the first person that's responding to those and in many cases. The I work with them. I have people with mental health issues to come to my congressional office. I. Don't want to put him in jail I want to get him out they need and many of the law enforcement I work with want to do exactly that, and so we need to invest in making sure that they've got the tools in the support that they need. Reinvested mental health period in this country. But I'm not a it's an uncomfortable discussion but I'm having it because I'm not giving this. Donald trump a wedge issue. We'll let me ask you let me just follow up on. Mike's questions who's of what the Democrats do it but specifically what Joe Biden because you know he has done. So many of these town halls and zoom interviews about systemic racism about Corona virus about the challenges of working families I'm not aware that he has done something like that supporting or acknowledging law enforcement is that something that you think he ought to do we all remember in the nineties Democratic politicians WHO WOULD STAND WITH Flanked by police going for a police. Union endorsements Bill Clinton did it Joe Biden did it they don't do that anymore should biden do something like that. Even if it's symbolic I gotta think about that because I mean some of the police unions are fighting some things. Aren't that we shouldn't be doing I, mean every body cameras should be on if you have a placement such as the individual that murdered George Troy and had eighteen complaints against him, we should know about that that you should be able to have a registry the people able to track that an identifier people who have problems, and some of these police unions have been fighting against some of those things but I, think he probably knows a lot of Vaughan forcement like I do. That he should be talking to army I went you know I said, I've got so many stories and even just last month I went to my counts Dearborn and I went to law enforcement event there they actually given award there in John Daniels name was created a couple of years ago in those guys were so demoralized in talking to me. So honestly and I had a young also a son of Dearborn twenty, six years old two young kids whose parents delivered in. Dearborn. All the kids that went to school with them are still there. He was a policeman in Toledo and he shot and killed on the fourth of July. It's free just a drunken incident in a home depot parking lot and he wrote a letter he's a Muslim and you wrote a letter during Ramadan to his family and said, if I die I, want you to know why became a police officer And we need to think about the there. A lot of good men women just trying to get back to the community and WANNA be part of the community, get their neighbor safe to keep the community safe in to help people, and we're GonNa talk about all sides of this. There are absolutely profiling. There are unacceptable behaviours we need to change some things, but we also need to think people who keep us safe. Do you think that issue at law enforcement issue could actually come close to maybe even tipping the balance in Michigan I been playing for a couple of months like Michael has. So you know we'll see I. Mean he's I, think we know Donald Trump is trying to I'm trying very hard not to let that happen in flagged it for everybody that this could be the trade issue and we can't let him use it as a wedge issue. He's not willing to have both discussions. I'm willing to have a me. It's not either or everything in this world is either or it's bugs we need to have both Donald. Trump is very good at dividing this country was fear and hatred, and I'm not gonNA divide my communities congresswoman it is traditional after conventions that the party that has them gets a boost in the polls but that's Traditional conventions with the crowds, cheering the balloons, the HOOPLA and the Confetti, and all that we are having our first virtual convention right now, your assessment of how it's going and do you think it's going to generate the kind of enthusiasm that you want coming out of a convention? So I can't I can't tell what I even think about this convention and I really happy I'm not Wisconsin. I Love Wisconsin. My brothers. And sisters there don't take it personally but I'm glad I'm not Wisconsin but I do find myself missing that Camaraderie that energy that passion just sort of that energy get I mean I the last year's been nightmarish the security nightmares, longlines bad weather but you see everybody and you see people you only see before years and you share that compassion in a but to do something to protect our country so I miss. That I think they've done amazing job. Tonight's sure that I would be I'm not really good at figuring out how to do these virtual watch these with other people in sharing yet. So I sort of thought, I'd end up in bed and might even fall asleep Michelle Obama was incredible Michelle Obama gave just the one of the best speeches of heard in my lifetime and last night. Jill Jill was great I mean. I you know I've known her for a ever wondered how she was going to do with the country was going to think and she was really good too. So I think you know there have been some really good speeches I I'm trying to you know what I'm grappling with today is how we bridge the in a it's not just grappling with today we're having this discussion, but I've been thinking a lot about it. When you turn fifty, you're not old over the hill and you're no longer useless and young people I think are more impatient than a permanent was impatient. I wanted the we were kids of the sixties we wanted it. But how do you get generational connection? How you get people working together see you don't make somebody who's over fifty or sixty six zero has been because they're not because they've got a lot of decades lift last in the how do you include the young people and what we need to make sure is I love seeing Cindy McCain last night in colon they're all migrelief good friend is you know but the young people aren't. With them and how do we connect? How do we do that intergenerational connection? So what's the answer well and say talk about it I mean you know You see the birdies connected with them. So we gotTA figure out Bernie's not if I think one of the things is I keep saying this to my own staff and I know I, WanNa they're days that they're prostration levels probably wealth and I talk English. I don't I don't like you know me I say what I think and I that's what Bernie does. And I think a lot of we've gotTA stop guarding every single word and molding and shaping it to be politically correct it everybody in maybe just have some real discussions and share those visions that we all want I mean what you know what I'm saying well, staying on the Convention for second you have said in the past that the Democrats aren't gonNA. Win. By just being anti-trump, they've got to engage voters on the issues and so looking through that Lens. Do you think they have been successful doing that so far in this convention so I think that we probably there's you know a platform I'm not. Okay. So I'm really GONNA get in trouble today. I'm never made the mistake of saying several people that were on. The Platform Committee would've platforms really mean who looks at them again after they get past though I am I mean I am somebody I will not support Medicare for all for me is my time. I. DO BELIEVE TO I'm here right now at this time for reason, and that's an issue I'm not gonNA give up I it's not it's not in the platform. Cracked so I just didn't vote. Do you do not vote for the platform neither. Wow. you know I'm. You keep you make look everybody has to remember who I am in a nobody really knows who I am. I can choose people they like to think of me as this you know yeah, I did work for a car girl and I'm proud of it but I say what I think and I do what I in you have to remember my father-in-law was social security and that he was the first person in this country to introduce universal health care and Medicare for all and that John Dingell introduced it every congress. and made a Modeste et promise that we're going to get it done and everybody sometimes launch instant gratification in it takes a lot of work of working with people to get the job done, and if you social security past the Times that our country came out of and awakened the moral conscience of a lot of people that we needed to help our senior who were destitute living on the street. Couldn't eat didn't have places to live. It was horrible. Stain on this country nobody looks backer knows what was happening to get social security and then universal healthcare that his father introduced it which we to twenty years to get Medicare, and I've gone in and studied the whole history of Howard Front came to be, and after Medicare we got the children's in when Medicare was first, it wasn't is inclusive as. It is now and Medicare came after another time of of disruption in this country of real adversity why we saw social security was passed them get children's health insurance. We've gotten other bills in we got the affordable care act but seems to meet coming out of covert with the eyes of the world on us. We gotTA start talking about it and I'm gonNA keep working so that every American has can go. To the doctor when they need to go to the doctor and not worry about whether they can afford it not word if they get diagnosed with cancer, what good does it do because they can't get the treatment and that can take the medicine that they need and that that is what I'm GonNa fight for and Joe Biden knows me anybody there there isn't somebody like Joe Biden, they know the dingle history. And I'm Dingell and I'm proud of it, and that's what I'm good affect for. Well since you. They ignored your advice for years ago just to to end this podcast what is your advice to Democrats right now if you had to reduce it to just a sentence to take nothing for granted, listen to what people care about help define. What November's about 'em with the future of the country is about and I believe people are looking for leadership. And that they're looking for someone to bring us together into heal the heart and soul of this country and they need to communicate that and if they do and they, you're not every vote, we will win with very strong clear message. Well, I'm at node. I want to thank you again congresswoman for being on skulduggery and you've been a political forecaster. In ways. CASSANDRA. So you've given us some. Some strong warnings here today for the Democrats it'll be interesting to see how closely people. Travel again. Not, at all, that's why this podcast is called. Yeah, we exist people, in trouble. For it. I had it really just didn't vote on the platform looking to me to. Do it. I'm going to bring people together bags lot good to see again. You're always welcome. Take care. Be stunk it too much trouble.

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Disinformation Nation

Skullduggery

1:05:32 hr | 1 year ago

Disinformation Nation

"We wanted to give this president the opportunity to something his stark for our country. That's a clip from a video of house speaker nancy pelosi speaking at a washington think-tank event in may. It's a video that went viral on social media attracting more than a million william views. Only that's not what pelosi actually sounded like the tape. Pelosi speaking was deliberately slowed down to make her sound like she was sluggish and slurring her words. Maybe drunk. It was the latest example of the danger of fake videos. A new arsenal in the global information wars a just released this report from n._y._u. University warns that both foreign and domestic actors are likely gearing up for next year's presidential race by developing increasingly deceptive of ways to distort the news manipulate audio and video feeds and poisoned the minds of american voters. It would be a replay of sorts of what the russians did in in two thousand sixteen only more sophisticated and potentially a lot more effective. Our social media companies doing enough to combat the threat and is the u._s. Government in paying enough attention. We'll talk to the author of the n._y._u. Report and we'll talk to one of the f._b._i.'s most celebrated former agents ali safaa on about the recent justice justice department inspector general report on former f._b._i. Director james comey and the impending afghan peace deal all on this episode of skulduggery. Sorry because people have gotta know whether or not their president's across. I'm not a crook. I told the american people i did not trade arms for hostile my heart to my best intentions still tell me that's true but the facts and the evidence tell me it is i did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no lives. We will honor the american people with the truth and nothing else michael isikoff chief investigative correspondent respondent for yahoo news. I'm dan clyde editor in chief of yahoo news so we're going to be talking about two reports on this show and both of them are pretty scary in their own ways raise the <hes> disinformation report from paul barrett of n._y._u. Really lays out all the emerging technologies and techniques that that disinformation folks both foreign if foreign governments russians the iranians the chinese are likely to be doing in in twenty twenty and the inspector general report for its own reasons. I found pretty chilling because because of its articulation of f._b._i. Rules which basically the inspector general is saying forbids current and former f._b._i. Agents from talking about f._b._i. Matters without advance permission from the bureau. That's all we've done our career call current and former f._b._i. Officials <hes> to get information about what they were doing right and and it's how we've done some of our best stories about what the f. b. I. was up to both positive and negative for the bureau but the idea that we can't <hes> call call at former f._b._i. Agents or email them and talk to them about what's going what what they were doing at the f._b._i. Cases they worked on that that is a real would be a real blow to the public's right to know if it was rigidly and five hours in some ways for that reason and other reasons kind of troubling report. I think that the inspector general michael horowitz had a bit of a forest for the trees problem. I mean the reality is that you komi wanted to get these memos out because the president of the united states was obstructing in his view and i think there was evidence to support that pretty serious areas investigation you know our friend regular skulduggery guests matt miller said an interesting thing. I think maybe on twitter which is it was kinda like giving komi a a speeding ticket on the way to telling a village that a fire was coming and it was gonna burn it down right right now. Look that doesn't mean komi is blameless here and not aww ending james komi. I think you know his judgment can be questioned about a lot of things we're going to see. Perhaps in the next inspector general some of that late hour. We'll see what they nick tim for here or at least the way they articulated what the rules are for current and former f._b._i. Agents was was pretty troubling and we'll get into that ali couple of other matters. We want to quickly mentioned. We've talked a couple times on this show about greg craig who was charged with we've essentially lying to the justice department about the work he did on behalf of paul manafort to make the crane government's persecution of one of its political opponents look better than it really was <hes>. He's just been acquitted not a huge surprise. I sat in on the cross examination of greg greg and while i thought the prosecutors had some stuff that didn't make greg craig. Look great the idea that it was enough off to turn them into a convicted felon fell way short didn't seem like it was tough for this dc jury deliberated four hours i notice i know this from the get go. The prosecutors are gonna have a problem because when i sat in on the cross examination in gray crag would occasionally make comments that tended to be amusing flip and there is at least one juror that was laughing at everything he said i think when you see that this guy is on your side look it was not i think it wasn't a strong case from the beginning we actually had our former newsweek colleagues taylor on the show i think right right after the indictment <hes> and he really visser rated the case <hes> he made a pretty persuasive argument that this was a case that never should have been brought and in fact and i think speaks to the weakness of the case it was brought to for the southern district of new york and they basically passed on it and it ended up with the <hes> u._s. Attorney in washington right now greg craig of course was of interest because we longtime <music>. I'm washington lawyer. Leading democrat barack obama's first white house counsel lead the impeachment defense in the senate for bill the clinton so it's a blow to go after a high profile figure like that and lose. I wonder if this is going to impact the still looming decision about whether they indict andrew mccabe the former deputy director of the f._b._i. Remember horowitz referred furred the case to the justice department criminal division saying concluding that mccabe had lied about whether he had authorized a leak take to the media. It seems like it's a marginal case based on what we know about it right now and obviously it's not a slam dunk where they would have already indicted him but after losing this one would they want to stick real bill bar the attorney general authorized a another case that could blow up in the justice department's face. That's a good point. He's false. Statements cases are always tough to bring in the first place so they may be having second thoughts lots to talk about but before we do do i want to remind our listeners that they can follow us at skulduggery pod on twitter and by the way if you've got comments or questions that you'd like us to address on the show have at it and we'll <hes> we'll take them under advisement and we are now joined by one of our favorite f. b. I. agents always sa- fon for years. The bureau's chief expert on al qaeda worked. Many of his al-qaeda cases worked with james komi at one point back when he was the u._s. Attorney here in the southern district in new york ali welcome back to skulduggery always great to be with you guys so we had this blistering stirring report from the justice department inspector general taking komeda task the other day for his dissemination of his memos that he wrote about his conversations with the president. I want to read you just a couple of lines from that report the conclusion the responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls does in large part to the employees of the f._b._i. Former director comey failed to live up to this responsibility by not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course sources f._b._i. Employment and by using it to create public pressure for official action. Komi set a dangerous example for the over thirty. Five thousand current aren't f._b._i. Employees and many thousands of more f. b. i. employees who similarly have access to knowledge of non public information ali do agree three. It's an investigation and when the i g they went when they do an investigation they always look for every single thing that a person did wrong along the included in their investigation but towards the end the conclusion of the i g investigation. Should we prosecute or not did they violate the law or not. What did they divulge. Classified information or not was very clear it said and i quote here we found no evidence that call me or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the memos to members of the media so basically members of disseminate that to three three of his voice video his three of his lawyers but in this it said nor his lawyers so it wasn't him or his attorneys release any any close to the press. They said that they don't have any evidence that the lawyers his lawyers released any classified information to the media. Look look towards the end. I wanna have the tale of two reports. You have a report against the president of the united states by another former former director of the f._b._i. Director <hes> muller in that report he found that the president of the united states numerous occasion broke the law broke the law aw and well he did not he did not conclude that well said he he was barred from reaching such a conclusion but 'cause of justice department the policy that the president i disagree with your assessment and that on technicality you might be right but they said okay if he wasn't the president of the united states. Will he be prosecuted when he testified. He said yes he will be prosecuted. He can be prosecuted pack. He walked that back. That's what he originally said too. I think it was ted lieu in the morning before judiciary than intelligence he said i misspoke saying we did not reach a conclusion as to whether the president violated the because of this justice department policy he did not reach a conclusion however if he if that person was not the president of the united states he could it open prosecuted but because of the attorney general's policy or because of the elsie policy that basically states and this is a policy. This is not the law it it states that you cannot endure a sitting president. That's why right correct he could indict him so he found out which means that there are evidence and i think there's about nine of them in the report where the president obviously bright did something you shouldn't do as the president right yes and if he wasn't a precedent if you are a lisa fawn or michael essex off <hes> you could have been prosecuted right but because he's a president he cannot be indicted. He needs to be impeach and muller made it very clear in his report. Anyone justified. That's up to congress to take over the investigation now on what happened with him. This is one report all right the moment it came out immediately. They set total exoneration. Total exoneration of a guy on multiple occasions broke the law just because it couldn't indict him. There's another report komi that said they found no evidence released classified information to the media which is the main substance of the report and they said see leaker liars. Come on if you want to be fair beathard. You're not suggesting this hypocrisy washington but i think i'm suggested that also people people in the media i need to basically keep that in mind when they are talking about komi and one day of talking about the trump and keep in mind the situation what happened the reason komi road these memos is basically more dangerous than him releasing them almost the reason he wrote. This momo's is because he realized my god god this guy. This president of the united states is breaking the law right right and he wanted to documented and how documentary you open a case on the president of the united states. I thought you do it on your personal computer and don't just wanna put that memo that happened between me and him now. Did he do the right thing. Did he violate policy didn't he. I don't know the details. I don't know maybe well actually do you think he did the right thing. I mean that you know. I think what he would say. Is this is bogus. I was publicly faulted by the inspector general aw for making public the fact that the president of the united states was trying to obstruct a very serious investigate and so did he do the right thing yes it because because of his action because of gomez actions we had muller and because of monterey suport we know that yes the executive branch. All the president violated the law at least nine different occasions and because of that we have the hearings that we have in congress now. People didn't follow walk on that. The house doesn't have the backbone to impeach a lot of fun politics into into the situation. That's a totally different situation but yes. I mean look you find something illegal. You find something suspicious you want a document that and when somebody attacks you and start destroying destroying your credibility and the credibility of the organization that you represent you know what you do is you try to fight back and he fought back and the the inspector general found out that he did not release any classified information. This is the bottom line the bottom line in these was it any classified information released based okay. There was none according to the i g now did he violate all these different rules and regulations and that my god you know the being the f._b._i. Stands for bureaucracy so many rules and regulations and policy and the inspector general genna find something on anyone that the open an investigation in on you know nobody can be one hundred percent kosher in obeying all the different tools. We don't even know all the different tools but i'm sure he violated couple of roles and they mentioned it in that report but did he violate the law right. He violated his non disclosure agreement which all f._b._i. Employees we sign but violating the nondisclosure agreement is an undisclosed agreement is mostly about classified information. They said he didn't violate a classified information nation. He talked about the f._b._i. He talked about things that was happening. In the eye that is a debatable issue and that's why probably they didn't want it to prosecute because that's a debatable issue. Do you know now. We cannot talk about something. That's not classified something. That's being discussed in the public domain and he put his input on it as an as a director of former f._b._i. Director i i these are things that we have to keep in mind. It was retroactively classified of one of the members was retroactively classified because because it included the name of a foreign leader foreign country that the president had mentioned at the time was the f._b._i. Director so the decision whether it was classified or not flowed from the president down through writer director of the f._b._i. Look i mean any classified. Fighting formation releasing classified information is against the law and a person who did it should be held accountable. I don't know the details of the komi investigation but i know all the said he did not release any classified information. I have to say i know on the nondisclosure rule. I found there is just one passage edge in that report that i found absolutely chilling as a journalist and as a member of the public which horowitz michael horowitz the i says before disclosing the f._b._i. Information outside of the f._b._i. For nonofficial purposes current or former f._b._i. Personnel must obtain with limited exceptions advanced advanced permission from the f._b._i. This apollo policy applies to any type of disclosure whether oral written or electronic f._b._i. Employees agreed to be bound by this requirement now. How many times have i as a reporter called. You and i'm sure hundreds of other reporters have called you to talk about f._b._i. I matters when you were in the bureau. I should point out that ali's a former f._b._i. Agent a current f._b._i. Agent but you have talked freely about your experiences. It is written a book how to the f._b._i. There's a story on the wall there from newsweek brilliant stories. I remember about out your days in the f._b._i. Guy brilliantly headed by dan. Okay <hes> and you know the idea that we we would not we as journalists would not be able to talk to people like you. It seems to me would severely restrict the public's right to know about what happens in federal law enforcement. I think look i think it is about classified information. Sensitive information law enforcement sensitive information if this is that's how they want to run the geez office. They're going to be having investigations on hundreds and hundreds of people who are on t._v. All the time as former f._b._i. Agents talking about that the i will do in foreign counterintelligence investigation or in domestic terrorism investigation active shooter investigation what does f._b._i. Policies postseason rules <hes>. How do they deal with local law enforcement. We see that on fox. Which is n._b._c. on c._n._n. On c._b._s. a._b._c. many f._b._i. Former f._b._i. Agents talk in the public based on their experience that they had in the i._s. When it comes to classified information sensitive information were grand jury the grand jury information absolutely i agree one hundred percent was what the inspector general is saying when i was talking about my experiences when i left left all these things even my statement to congress was approved by the my up. Ed's was used to be approved by the. I have no problem with that on the process is very very very simple but the sentence that you you read it talks about any f._b._i. Infant not sensitive not classified this is i put some question marks on because there is one of the memos in question here the i said was law enforcement sensitive and this has to do with michael flynn the former national security adviser and when he's and this is the meeting that that he has with that comas with trump where trump says can you see clear letting him go and that had he komi memorialize that because he sees that as potential obstruction of justice and horowitz says that have to do with a potential criminal investigation which it became name and therefore was law enforcement sensitive. Is that not a prime. I am not a lawyer but at the time you know he's saying potentially it might be see down the road from what you're saying. I mean potentially everything might be something and actually i should say. I think that sally yates <hes> had already made public back that the f. b. I. had inexact so about his conversations with the russian and it was known it was a public information formation time so i think one of the things that you have to keep in mind. I'm not saying that komi. I probably have a lot of criticism for komi on different things but i am saying then when it comes to this towards the end and inspector general will look if a person broke the law or not can they be indicted or not are they to be prosecuted or not not and it's very clear in the report that they said he did not shared classified information. He did not break any law and they're not going to do any prosecution now now did he violate policy internal policy in the f._b._i. From their view of things okay they did and if you look at any inspector general i i think there is i don't recall a red. One inspector general that said oh the guy clerical whistle didn't do anything because if somebody is clear i whistled they didn't do anything. They are not working well. That's actually an interesting point because you know if f._b._i. Agents spend all their time having to navigate these bureaucratic rules and regulations and policies then you know becomes harder to do. Their job creates a kind of risk diversion. I give you an example. There is sometimes when you do an interview. There is a specific days like i don't remember from the top of my head four or five days and you have to finalize interview in the report sometimes sometimes when you're sitting working in a place like yemen for example. You're doing ten different interviews at the same time. There is no way you can finalize that interview and five days so if there is something happened because you know because you had a car accident and i decided an investigation to see if you're wrong or right you know and they start looking all your records. They say oh this guy. He was waiting ten days to finalize his report. He broke the rules of the v._r. You know i mean you can go down down that path but towards the end. Did anybody break the law. That's a totally different situation and i go. I go to reports one report. It was obvious that the person broke the love we cannot say they broke the law because he's the president of the united states. Only congress can say they broke the law and one guy did not break the law. This is official investigation. Instigation did not break the law and they say hey. He's lebron liar see. It's it's it's very obvious. I think we just need to be fair. When we talk about this. Komi is not an angel joel. Call me did a lot of things that can be questionable such as one you know i mean there are other stuff for example about the you know when that happened for example you know when the president asked him <hes> somebody can make the argument. Why didn't you go directly to congress or why don't you resign immediately when something like this happen. Why did you know so we can second guess but towards the end. It's very difficult to to put ourselves in his his shoes. You're not every day the orthodox due north dakota a friend. Who's a lawyer and ask him to then leak a you know. We live in unorthodox times. It is an orthodox to have president talking to the director in a way that hey you no. It's john gotti talking a me and the he's a good guy. You don't push from it out like komi. We spent his years years ago j. into like i i mean i i mean among f._b._i. People were say probably. I will do a lot of criticism criticism against some of the stuff that call me dead during his time period in the v._i. From trusting their own people to you know handling hillary investigation in the heather but but now i'm not talking about all the things we're not talking about james comey. We're talking about the inspector. General report on james comey and for or meat inspector general report and james comey did not say that jones james comey light they had a problem with the way he told the truth and this is two different things right and he immediately disclose to the f._b._i. That he had these memos at home. There are things that clearly could be put your second. Guess doubt you're the director of the f._b._i. You go back to all your tenants and you want to tell them hey. The president of the united states just died or to weird awkward situation. I mean the only time that we had situation like this. I believe on that scale was with nixon and at the time the assistant director of their be. I really violated the law deep throat actually just to protect the nation and the institutions but that guy really violated laidlaw but komi was in a very awkward position with this did he do it. I i i think the intention his intention was to protect the institution institution to protect the f._b._i. His intention was to protect the o. j. I think he decided to fall on the sword for the o._j. During the hillary investigation and he paid dearly for it and the nation paid dearly for it so there's a lot of things that we can criticize. Call me and say okay. Is this right or is this wrong but towards the end. Let's look at the inspector general conclusion we found no evidence that komi or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in the memo to members of the media he did not release classified information. This is the bottom line of the inspector general report now. He was was speeding at one day and he violated the law. That's a total different set. You may ask you. This is the first of two inspector general reports that are expected. There's another one coming thing that a lot of people in washington think is going to be much more serious inconsequential and that is the report on fis of process and the <hes> visor warrant at the f._b._i. Got on carter page a foreign policy adviser to the trump campaign. You've had a lot of experience with faiza because you were doing all sorts of classified investigations relating to terrorism and the question they are is whether the f. b. I. improperly used an opposition in research document. I e the steele dossier and presented it to the fisa court as a basis for getting that warrant when that opposition research document had not been corroborated by the f._b._i. What are you expecting from that report and how serious if the if the fines that the f._b._i. Violated policies there whether you think that would be more serious well yeah if they founded. They violated policies on faiza that probably gonna open a can of form on the issue of faiza by itself. I don't know i don't want to prejudge what the inspector the general say but i think from what i e it from people that that dossier was not the cornerstone off the pfizer on that what specific subject but i don't know i mean i don't wanna talk about something that was in there because i want to look it is in there but is it that the main reason it's the whole fiso based on that based on singular information from a singular source that is a totally different topic than benefits included in the final application right is two different things my experience with pfizer. It's very strict. There's a lot of things you need to do now. In your local office listen in headquarters and then in the director you know they signed the fis. I'd goes to the attorney general and then you have the pfizer court for different the judges those judges by the way all republicans or conservative judges and they are very strict and if they know that you're lying to them or trying to deceive them. Your career is over so my experience with the i five is was a pfizer court with the fifa in general the pfizer process is very different than what i read now in the papers and i'm not involved in that because i'm not in the f._b._i. Yeah i and i don't have any inside information on that all right. Let me change topics quickly and ask you about something that seems pretty significant but is <hes> <hes> not getting a whole lot of attention in the press and is not a big part of the conversation which is we appear to be very close to a deal the united states with the taliban alabama and finally ending our what eighteen year involvement in that country you have spent the better part of your career dealing dealing with <hes> groups like the taliban national terrorism and the fallout from nine eleven. What is your reaction to the deal that <hes> is being discussed. We would be withdrawing all of our troops. I think five thousand at first but ultimately all of them agreeing to let the taliban the involved in some power sharing arrangement mint <hes> in kabul. What do you make of it. I think like i more than anyone else. I want to end the war in afghanistan and bring the troops home right so oh but also on the same time i am very concerned about the way we're negotiating would not including yet the government in the negotiations. It's it's only between the united states on the tally on the taliban continue to believe that the afghan government are basically bunch of traders puppets for the are you ask and they don't want to meet with them right so now to be fair to the deal that <hes> khalil zayda is is doing in in doha part of the agreement is is for them to initiate negotiation with the government. The taliban wanted to meet with afghan government representatives norway in their personal capacity not in their official capacity because they don't bring the government over there so how they deal with and how they create a dialogue between the taliban and government. That's something yet to be seen. If we continue the negotiations only between us and between the taliban that is not a withdrawal that it is another saigon. That's how i see it because we're telling the ghani government. We're telling the afghan security forces killing of ghani army. We're outta here and everybody. Everybody remember what happened to notable la one the taliban took kabul and how they hung him from from a lamp post so the tiny bond today control most of coniston told more provinces in afghanistan than any time since two thousand and one since <hes> yeah so they are in in a position of power today so they can years after u._s. Troops in providence dan the taliban has more territory today than identify well since since since they lost overthrow joe because at one point they were they were the right so now. How how are we gonna. Bring the ghani government to the table. How what are we gonna convince a taliban to negotiate with of gandhi government. How how are we gonna convince the toddy bon to participate in an election right because if they don't want an election that's they wanna hostile takeover of the government and that's exactly aki. What's going to happen if they don't agree on a lot of these things look in a hostile takeover of the government means. We're pulling out they taking kabul on in <hes> that's basically in a simple and the repression of women everything and potentially tangentially the taliban ices is is is rooted in afghanistan and now anthony protected by all these things human rights women rights. It's all show ya. It's all protected by showed their version of sharia. We've seen their version of sharia before two thousand and one when they controlled of ghanistan so look i i think if you wanted to have a peaceful transition in afghanistan it's not only between the taliban and the us you have to bring all the different ethnic groups groups that need to be involved the tajik <hes> the all the different factions of the pashtoons not only the factions under the taliban and so forth you you know so we have many different ethnicities aghanistan as you know but also at the same time when you start bringing all these people you have to bring the countries that's supporting them so iran needs to be on the table paxton india china russia and if we don't do this then the only thing we're doing is moving ourself from from the formula after we spend dear treasurer and blood to create a new system to create a new aghanistan new security environment denison the people who are doing this what i just talked about regional agreement on afghanistan or the russians and in february they had a meeting in moscow where different opposition the groups the taliban iran <hes> buxton <hes> china russia. All of them were involved in regional conference on afghanistan so i am very fearful that if we pull out of in a from afghanistan we doubt clear understanding off the transition off the role of government off elections and we'll probably bomb participate in an election that they don't unbeliev- elections are slavic or according to how other countries <hes> gonna be involved in afghanistan after we leave i feel well we will be just betraying the people who put all their eggs in a basket and once again giving up <hes> american influence sulum in in the region up so we should not be eh withdrawn. The troops is planning on we look i as i mentioned at the very beginning of the question i think we should withdraw but we should withdraw in a smart way not in just negotiating deal the taliban you know we need to you know it's not enough to say hey. Taliban are disconnecting your relationship with al qaeda. Oh yeah yea. We'll do that. Okay see you later and i hope that won't happen. I hope that we have a lot of things in place and very optimistic about trying to do a meeting in norway with the afghan government but then what about all the different factions of the afghan government the different ethnic groups the countries that support poured these ethnic groups. What's going to happen to all of them. I mean this is not a simple as adjust to having any go sheesh in between taliban and us i it it is more complicated and in the of gone the pakistanis have interests that iranians have interests the russians have interest the indians have interest a lot lot of times these interests contradict with each other and now we are the you know basically the we have a lot of power in afghanistan and if we pull out by surrendering our power to the the taliban that is going to weaken american influence in the region for decades to come one other matter i wanna ask you about. We got the news. The other day that the military tori commissions down in guantanamo have set a trial date for college shaykh muhammad and the rest of the nine eleven conspirators for twenty twenty twenty one well. I think it's the first formal try. I know there's been two indictments leveled against the stamina damn and arraignments in fact. I've covered arraignments down there but look this is twenty twenty one twenty years after the nine eleven attacks. We finally get a trial well. Let's see what happens. I heard many times before that we set trial date for something. I mean how many times he said trial date for the call well and then delays right the cold case. You guys today in jail just like you know there's is notre round right i mean. Do you think you'll ever come off. I don't know i hope i hope for the sake of the families for the sake of all these people who were murdered. I mean think about it this. This way called a check. Mohamed is the biggest mass murderer in the twenty first century. He admitted he's proud of what he did. He admitted that he masterminded the the nine eleven attacks and for almost eighteen years he has been in jail inequality guantanamo bay and we we cannot prosecute him well we we could have prosecuted and we could have pursued an auto in an article in court and and i wrote about that and i put what the even on op ed in the new york times about that you know article three but we're talking about the reality as it is. The reality is it is they put them in guantanamo thinking they are going gonna be tough on terrorism and they're getting fat and happy and you know every now and then we'll see a picture of him with his red beard and what the heck is he getting the die you know and and he's like all healthy and big and he's making a mockery out of our system areas thought that this was the big macher legal mockery and fiasco. Perhaps in american judicial hasty yup one reason one word torture. You know we did something and and we have no idea how to do court case without talking about torture. That's it that's it. That's the torture that you ali tried to stop as documented in that brilliant article on my own experience in my own you know firsthand and <hes> involvement <hes> we did not get information from torture we got information from regular techniques used by the intelligence and law enforcement communities that techniques have been using for decades and decades all the stuff that has been in public about <hes> waterboarding about enhanced interrogation techniques about <hes> stuff that the president in two thousand six president bush said and call it chick mohammedan the so called dirty bomb all these kinds of things. We did not get because of the i._t. Nor because of torture and i'm the only one who actually was able to raise his right hand in congress and testify to that affect us we all remember and i think it's worth <hes> particularly on on this podcast pointing out that it was a bob muller who listened to you and who kept the f._b._i. Out of the torture yes exactly at a time when this and other agencies were this is this is one we were doing vader and when he figured out that you know when we reported to him this is what's happening. He basically pulled us out and pulled the v. out of for all the black sites and every hour not involved in any <hes> <hes> torture but coming full circle the beginning of this conversation he did not leak memos to the new york times ollie ollie fine. Thank you so much for being our guest on skulduggery thank you. It's always great to see you guys and talk to you. We are joined now. Al by paul barrett the deputy director of n._y._u. Center for business and human rights and the author of the rather alarming new report disinformation formation and the twenty twenty election how the social media industry should prepare paul welcome to skulduggery. Thanks mike glad to be here. You is scott. You forgot an illustrious part of his resume which is paul is a former justice department beat reporter for the wall street. Journal sort of like you and me lena's right me here d._o._j. Report but it means that he'll be able to get through a lot of questions that we t- talk of impudent snobs bob to coin the phrase once used by spiro agnew anyway paul so fascinating report we started off the show by playing that distorted video of <hes> house speaker nancy pelosi ratchets deliberately slowed down to make her seem stupid and slurring or words and older then she <hes> already is drunk or drunk and what's interesting is as you point out in the report youtube took that video down facebook did not explain why not yeah facebook was following its policy for false content under under that policy facebook is looking for false content trying to identify it but when they find it they basically demoted annotated and by that i mean they push it down down in the news feed so far fewer people will see it they claim by eighty percent and label it the and they label it and tell you if you if you try to share it that this is false snooze and you you shouldn't share it but they leave it there available to be shared to be liked and move around their site and it's to my mind into the mind i think of many people a peculiar policy if they've gone to the trouble of identifying it as false why not just take it out altogether now for comparison purposes. I just think about the situation think of the new york times or the washington post if they've identified a piece of information is false. They wouldn't go ahead and publish it anyway now. Facebook is not identical to the new york times but on the other hand facebook is not just like a a set of plumbing pipes or something with no thought at all going that goes this this goes to their whole sense of who they are their identity they. They've always been adamant that they are not. They're not publishers. They're not the media you know. They are this it platforms and they're there for the benefit of all americans and people around the world to connect and freely express themselves. That's right but i think they're actually really something in between publishers and passive platform. They are making choices all the time. They are taking down removing hate speech because that's what they do under under their guidelines. They're taking down bullying and harassment. As of more recently there are promising to take down voter suppression materials so they are capable of identifying a lot of this kind kind of material through a combination of their a artificial intelligence driven filters and human oversight but they choose not to enlarge part for the reason you're saying that i think they're intimidated by the prospect of being made responsible for overseeing a lot more of what goes on their side this pelosi example well. I think also points up a really interesting and important point that you make in this report. Which is that what is dominated the conversation around. Disinformation nation has been foreign interventions states like russia that intervene in in our election and manipulated social media. What your report says is that we should expect expect a lot more of this. You know malign activity starting here in the united states domestically and that's in some ways a bigger challenge legally right yeah absolutely i mean when you have material running from a coming from saint petersburg and the internet research agency run by <hes> the the russians and you have russians pretending to be americans and putting out divisive material. That's misleading from start to finish what you do about that seems pretty straightforward. You remove move that they're being deceptive. They're foreigners trying to affect our elections and you and you may actually indict those people as robert muller. Did maybe a conspiracy to commit fraud on the united states absolutely but when you have domestic actors doing the same thing. It looks superficially a lot more like ordinary nasty s._t. American politics and you begin to think well is there a problem with free expression here is there even a first amendment problem and you need to sort of very carefully unpack doc all of that and sort through it to see that will sometimes it might be advisable to leave <hes> material in place because it is just sort of dirty politics but in other cases uses if it's flat out just false it would be permissible to take it down. Look i mean all hot of campaign. Ads are deceptive and misleading leading in many ways. We don't generally censure them so this is a tricky issue absolutely how handle i'm not suggesting that this is that there's an easy fix for this or that the or that the platforms can cure this overnight and at scale the question is what what you do when you're confronted with particular instances where your algorithm eq filters and or your human reviewers your content moderators basically bring you something and say we think this is totally false and you stare at it you think about it and you decide as quickly as possible is totally false or is it on the other side of the line and these are going to be often be decisions cops example. I mean if a political campaign is putting stuff out on facebook or other social social media platforms that are i think to use the phrase in your report demonstrably false. I mean should that be taken down. I mean we've we've been we've been. I'm trying to expose that that's a that's the job of journalists but should social media platforms. Go after campaigns in that way. No i think that's where the idea of something thing being proven false. I think is is of some value just to sort of illustrate things. I have the contrasting examples in this report in and other reports. I've written where you can look at something like the sandy. Hook massacre didn't really happen. The children were crisis actors. Announce false flag off by alex jones of info wars are at regular basis for quite some time her so that on the one hand i think actually is removable double. Even though some people would say it's just his opinion but you could actually prove that that didn't happen just like you could actually prove that the holocaust did happen so if someone is basically using the existence of the holocaust as an issue. I think you can fairly remove a fraud about that on the other hand. If president trump says something along the lines of the democrats are in favor of open borders and crime well. That's not really true but you can't really prove what the democrats are in favor of and so i would just say you should err on the side of leaving that in place look. The bigger picture from your report is just how more sophisticated located disinformation operations are becoming. We we've spent so much time talking about what the russians did in twenty sixteen a your <hes>. Your report shows that things are moving in many more sinister ways first of all. It's not just the russians now. The iranians ends have been involved in this information operations in the united states. The chinese have are expected to domestic actors inside the united states. <unk> are doing using some of the same tactics i mean what should we expect in twenty twenty and how dangerous a threat is this to the upcoming alexia. I think we can expect a fair amount of chaotic activity where things are being projected via via social media and it will be difficult for people to sort out whether they're true or false. That's one thing i think the dangers are. You're a specific direct campaign to for example target a particular candidate with for example a false video. Perhaps even even a so-called deep fake video that is generated by artificial intelligence and is very difficult to identify as being fake. I think that's a kind of direct threat more broadly. There's an indirect threat which is just the underscoring of the cynicism. That already exists the fact that i think voters. There's a great danger that voters will out of frustration simply step back from the process altogether and not not engagement be driven away from it because of their are rising cynicism couple of points. I wanted to ask you about first of all. You mentioned deep fake. Now you pointed out to me as we were getting ready that the pelosi video was a a fake video but it wasn't a deep fake video why not and what is a deep fake radio deep fake video it comes from a combination of the term deep learning with fake in deep. Learning is a subset of artificial intelligence and most deep fake videos use. I use artificial intelligence basically to first create a fraudulent video from material that depicts the target you're going to be going after and then with a another source of video imagery that can be projected onto the target so you end up with someone seeming to be doing something they didn't actually do. You're saying something they didn't say. Can you give an example of that is have there been any what's deep fake video. That's actually been out. There was one last spring that was pretty convincing thing of mark zuckerberg that turned up on instagram that showed him giving a talk where he seemed to be nefarious lee talking about taking over all data and privacy and issues like that the video was visually convincing because the creators of it were not actually trying to to persuade people that mark zuckerberg had lost his mind or was a master villain. They use this sort of amusing script that went along with it was satire. It wasn't yeah it was in that case and actually it was left up. I mean in large part because it was clearly satire. There's another well-known deep fake video that use it for president obama's image image and the comedian and movie director and actor <hes> jason peel voices president obama saying some outlandish blandishment and fascinating things that he didn't really say <hes> again. It's sort of medium convincing but in the laboratory so to speak academics and others are showing that it is now possible to use this technology to make very convincing fall and you could see one of these videos. Yes urging the day of an election for example. It was just the impact that something like this can have in the last days or hours of election is enormous and truly scary because because it takes time to call the creators of these fake videos out before they are discovered in the meantime they could be all over social media. That's exactly right right. That's that's kind of the the direct threat but then there's the more general threat which is if we have a series of these say deep fake videos that keep cropping up over time and their series of disputes beauts and debates over what's true and what's not true that creates an overall environment. I think where people are just alienated from the process and for point of comparison harrison maybe think about the way politics such as it is works in russia where people are very very alienated from the process you know putin wins with ninety plus percent majorities and no one really believes anything about what's going on. What we i fear that we are moving in small mall steps in that direction so this is potentially a real threat for media companies. You know the way we try as hard as we can verify every video that we won and obviously but you know we're aggregation company and and <hes> what do you do if you're an editor at a media company and you're trying to <hes> discern whether a video is real or not well. How can you fight against this well. There are artificial intelligence programs specifically designed to detect act deep fakes that can see earmarks of it digitally and 'cause <hes> something suspect to be flagged but i think the the main answer is you have to go a a little bit more slowly. I mean before you put something. That seems outrageous. You know the candidate <hes> appearing drunk at the child's view. You know little league game you you don't put it up. You have to figure out whether it really happened now. We we mentioned domestic actors getting involved in this space and you give a very important and case study. The new knowledge matter new knowledge is a <hes> austin texas based social media research firm funded by democrats who wont something called project birmingham to intervene and help manipulate and swing voters in the alabama special election between gene roy moore and doug jones and they set up fake facebook pages and twitter accounts. Tell us what they did did and <hes> what we know about the basic goal was to confuse conservative alabama residents republicans <unk> over who to vote for and to dissuade them from voting for the actual main republican candidate who happened to be this controversial fellow oh really more and they did that in a variety of ways in one case they basically created a write in campaign that they they hoped would divert republican votes to a hopeless write in candidate and that would hurt more in another instance. There was an effort to to set up a false facebook organization that was allegedly pushing for a dry alabama and the idea again was to alienate republican republican voters moderate republican voters business people and it is by baptists teetotalers supposed at associating that with with more than thinking that if you elect more this is the future all all the all the republicans that the country clubs who enjoy their martinez and vodka and tonics after work would be alarmed if they thought that roy moore was going on the wanted a statewide alcohol band so this was complete phony oni stuff very much like what the russians were doing in two thousand sixteen. Only this was liberal democrats. What was their justification nation for doing it well. Their facial justification was that they were doing an experiment to see how all of this might work that they were not trying to to throw the election for the democratic candidate. I have to say that that claim just seems totally implausible. They may have initially gotten involved out of curiosity of how it all might unfold but i think once they were in the thick of it they had to have been pulling for the democrat. They were funded by democratic donor donor. <hes> reid hoffman the co founder of linked in was a big backer of this and there was a former obama administration guy who was running it. Have there been any consequences of that as any investigation as anybody paid any price for this phony stuff not that i know of any laws broken. Can i mean how do you investigate well. I suppose you could you could possibly i mean i'm not a prosecutor so i wanna seems like an f. e. c. violation. They're spending money to influence an election under phony pretenses did they. Did they report it. Did they disclose what they were doing. Doug jones owns who was elected in that in that special election called for investigations. I'm not sure that he really pursued that very vigorously and so far as i know <hes> nothing has happened happened and the c._e._o. Of new knowledge remains at the company. I mean when i reached out to him just to get comment. That's where i found him at the company and so from one of the fascinating kinda revelations in this report is the role that instagram plays this information and the i think the outsize role all that instagram played in the in the russian manipulation of the election and these instagram memes <hes> tell us a little about how instagram is used for these. He's purposes well. It's very much what you just described to a greater degree than most people realize this information is perpetrated via images not by extensive text mostly a still image with the caption superimposed across the bottom or the top both that's instagram's bread and butter order. That's what instagram exists for in a sense and it has was exploited a more than people understand twenty sixteen and i you know reluctantly predict addict that it will be exploited again and part of the reason is that facebook which owns instagram has not kept instagram up up to speed even with what the main facebook platform is doing in terms of fact checking and trying to filter out false material they they are now belatedly. They've said that they're they're trying to do exactly that. Get instagram up to speed but that's relatively late in the game so they've been negligent parent. Yes i think i think that's <hes> that's a fair characterization and they're trying to make up for that. Now we see a lot of <hes> of this kind of disinformation in the two thousand eighteen. We know midterm elections. That's a good question and i don't have a a certain answer for it. I think it's fair to speculate that the russians to choose just one vector of disinformation elected to keep their powder dry that without without a clear single candidate to get behind as they did in two thousand sixteen steen with trump who who they clearly favored over hillary clinton it was i think perhaps less obvious to them and i'm just speculating here how to do good help help trump in in the much more complicated setting of congressional midterm election another factor that may have played a role at the margin was was a relatively new operation within the pentagon known as the cyber command was able for a few days reportedly to basically knock the internet research agency off line so that might have rattled them that might have rattled them. There was also reporting that they may have reached out directly to individual trolls within the i._r._a. And basically indicated to them. We know who you are. We know where you live that kind of thing. None of this has been confirmed in a press conference setting by the government but some of that activity is clearly going on maps show kind of cat and mouse game and it's fascinating you also talk about what's app scare tactics wine that yeah the concern there is that what's app was badly the abused in recent presidential elections in both brazil and india where it was the platform of choice for spreading all kinds of false rumors false photographs was used by campaigns in those countries and so given that it's been shown that the platform can be used this way and this is a very different kind of platform from the ones we've been talking about. This is not a public platform. You post things that lots of people can see. It's a messaging platform where the content is actually encrypted from from end to end as it's <hes> so to speak but even in that supposedly more a private connection whatsapp was abused now. They're a couple of qualifications to that and reasons. Why facebook believes it's less likely to happen in this country. What's app app is less popular in proportional terms in the united states than it is in brazil or india. Just hasn't caught on as much in this country by the way also owned by facebook. Yes absolutely absolutely that's right and secondly facebook has has taken a couple of laudable steps to reduce the reach of what's app specifically by limiting the number of whatsapp group. You can forward material to at one time. It used to be that you could actually get material real out on what's up to tens of thousands of people you know with with basically you know one. Click on. That's no longer possible but we recommend in this. Yes <hes> report that they actually reduced down to one that at one at one click you can only reach one. What's up relegating the basic thrust of your report. Is this social media. Companies need to do a lot more starting with facebook of course but look the other side of the coin is do we really want to you deputise facebook and these other silicon valley companies the power to censure what we read and what we see yeah well. It's an who are they to decide to be the determiner. You know the answer to who are they. They are the guys who own and operate the the platforms and i view it from the perspective that if they're going to be a lot if they're gonna operate those platforms they need to do that. Responsibly your question is is a fair one one but i guess part of another part of the answer is they are already superintending these platforms not anything doesn't just go. They have rules against significant. The number of categories of harmful content that they say just doesn't <hes> go on in are walled off area that we take care of this includes includes hate speech it includes bullying it includes child pornography and voter suppression material and on and on and i think it's necessary it turns out if you're going to run run a large social media platform. It's necessary to have some type of oversight otherwise all hell breaks some would say the real answer is the break them up nope. I'm talking to you if you had many more many face facebook's. I'm not sure you'd have less of this kind of mischief but certainly the fact that the platforms have not been successful in controlling <hes> disinformation and other kinds of harmful content has added fuel to the demands to to break wake them up so <hes> paul you also suggests that <hes> ultimately users have some responsibility themselves to <hes> to become more savvy more literate when it comes to <hes> social media just in wrapping up here what practical advice you have two users out there about how to discern sern legitimate information from information. That's manipulated well. I mean i think the the first general admonition would think twice before you share. Don't just don't if you're titillated by something. Don't just immediately send it. You know everybody in your contact list. Think about what what you're doing second. I think individuals need to think think about the qualities of the leaders that they <hes> get behind. Is it okay for for a a leader or would would be leader to routinely twist the truth <hes> any leaders in particular you're thinking of the disinformation purveyor and chief which the president of the united states so he's not just an expression of this problem. He is a a driver of the problem. That's exactly right. I mean he's the the main disinformation machine on twitter you know the washington post keeps track of misleading and false claims he makes up to twelve thousand during his time in office and i think he has set a tone that has facilitated all of the bad behavior that we've been talking about well. I should point out that there is a video being made eight of this podcast and i would invite a._i. Specialists out there to do their own deep fake video have paul endorsing donald trump for president and praising book and then we could show it and as an example of the very threat and i say just to get get ahead of the questions these beards that we have now. It's not a deep fake wheel beards their beach beards but they're real well on that note paul. Thanks thanks for joining us on skullduggery. You bet thanks thanks to former f._b._i. Agent tallies who fawn and n._y._u.'s pallbearer joining us on this episode of skulduggery don't forget to subscribe. I just got duggary on apple podcast revie. Listen to your podcast and tell us what you think lee review. The latest episode is also on sirius x._m. On the weekend check it out on this channel one twenty four on saturdays at three pm eastern time with replays on sundays at one a._m. and three p._m. Be sure to follow us on social media at skulduggery pot. Now you can watch the podcast asked on yahoo news dot com youtube and roku saturdays and mondays at eight pm eastern talk to you soon <music>.

president united states Director james komi nancy pelosi congress james comey horowitz michael horowitz taliban facebook ali safaa Attorney twitter skulduggery washington director justice department official
Preet Bharara "Doing Justice"

Skullduggery

48:11 min | 1 year ago

Preet Bharara "Doing Justice"

"It was. March ninth two thousand seventeen when pre Pera the US attorney in the southern district of New York cut a voicemail message that President Trump wanted to speak to him. It was Berar would later say a disturbing message. Why was the president calling him was this an effort to influence Berrara about an ongoing criminal case or to coop them and ensure his loyalty Brar consulted with his deputy? And as his now, well known chose not to return the phone call, and then was summarily fired the next day. But before that happened Berrara considered a different route. He would return the phone call and secretly tape the president. It was the same idea that separately had occurred to deputy attorney general rod Rosenstein, just weeks earlier in the aftermath of the firing of FBI director, James Komi evidence of a view widely shared in the law enforcement community that the president was violating well established norms of behavior and breaking down barriers. That are supposed to keep Justice department investigations immune from political influence. We'll talk to Berar about his decision making process that day about his new book called doing Justice. A prosecutors thoughts on crime punishment and the rule of law and about his possible future as a top candidate to serve as attorney general and a future democratic administration on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have got to know whether or not their president's across. Well, I'm not a crook. By the American people. I did not trade arms for hostile my heart. And my best intentions still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence tell me it is not I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no allies, we will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else. A Mike Liz gov chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo news. I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo news. So we finally got prepere ARA rockstar prosecutor and podcast or as our guests. We've been trying to get them for months now. But he's got a book to sell. So that's always. Yeah. It was like he's a rival podcast or so he probably was trying to you know, numbers down. But now with him on the show, there could capitalize on it. But before we get to him. So it's subpoena week in the house, as we speak the judiciary committee under chairman Nadler is preparing to subpoena, a full unredacted copy of the Muller report Nadler says he's tired of waiting around for Bill bar, the attorney general to go through it, and redact whatever he's going to redact honestly hasn't had to wait that long. We'll get to this in a second. Yeah. But his base is tired. Of waiting around. Exactly. Well, they certainly weren't satisfied with the minimal conclusions. We've gotten so far from attorney general bar and everybody wants to see the underlying report the evidence the totality of what? Bob Muller has gathered over the last two years. But before we get to that. There's this other remarkable story of the security clearances in which the house oversight committee has now just subpoenaed Karl climb the former White House personnel director after hearing from a whistle blower who says that Klein repeatedly overturned her recommendations for rejections of the security clearance for high ranking White House officials unnamed in the letter, but I think we have reported that well, Jared Kushner, and Yvonne Trump are. Among them and are referred to in the letter as senior official number one and senior official number two the daughter and son-in-law. Of president of the United States. What do they call him? He's from the southern district. He's he's person number individual vigil number one jewel number one. Right. So it strikes me that there's going to be quite the showdown on the security clearance issue because the White House is taking a very hard and fast position that they'll discuss what the general policies and guidelines were for security clearances, but when you get to actual individuals, and what the Judaization of their security clearance was they're not going to talk about it that that's they acted privacy protected. But also their argument is, and it's not a crazy argument. But their argument is is the president has an absolute right to make these determinations on who gets security clearances, and who doesn't and so that is congress obviously says that they have an oversight responsibility here. And they are going to push really hard to to get more information out of the administration and get people to come up and testify, but that could end up in the courts as well. Like everything else. Right. I want to say about this is in some ways, this feels like, you know, kind of like classic petty corruption, but that involves really important national security issues. This is favoritism. Right. This is this is like giving your rela new your rela you letting your relatives bypass normal rules and processes so you can get a security clearance Solis is and it's a thing of value. I mean, this gives you cash shea it gives you a certain exclusivity, and, you know, potentially it gives you value for when you leave office for, you know, your business interests because using these having these clearances allow you to do all sorts of things you wouldn't be able to do otherwise it's sort of the way government is conducted in Kazakhstan. Yeah, exactly, you know. It's just like nepotism cronyism all welded together. And you know, the remote. Thing in that letter by Tricia new bolt who was the whistle blower. She worked in the White House personnel security office for by the way, going all the basketball envoys strikes. She's on political, right? And she said that there were twenty five instances of security clearance decisions being overturned to grant the security clearance when her office or the people in our office had recommended against it. And in the case of a senior official one. She cites the foreign informed instances as well as other concerns conflicts of interest business associations and the explanation given by Klein for reversing the determination to reject the officials security clearance was well that involved activity before his federal service. Well, that's what every security clearance process is about investigating. In your service prior you, what you did before you came to the government to determine whether you qualify for a security clearance, and in the case of Jared Kushner would go right through the transition meeting with the Russian ambassador, I wasn't intelligence other Russian officials. I was an intelligence operative for foreign rival before I joined the administration. But now now you're not so it's okay. Yeah. It's quite a bizarre. But actually, I mean, you're raising a really important point because the scandal right now is that they were given these these clearances despite all of these questions that were raised in these reviews, and these investigations what we don't know is what those concerns were. Right. Foreign influence. What does that mean? And it seems to me that that is something that the congress is going to have to try to figure out. That's what Nadler clearly wants to know beyond. The fact. No, this is coming Scott, sorry, its oversight and Elijah Cummings. That's right. So it kind of begs the. Okay. Well, what are the security concerns that would have or should have kept them from getting? I think we know in the case of Kushner, some of them, certainly, you know, like I said his meetings during the transition with not just Russians sorry is Middle Eastern characters UAE's Saudi characters Chinese fighting and his properties. Basically there is the Shany's insurance company. That was bailing out six six six is white elephant here in New York City. And also the reports that the intelligence community picked up intercepts, I gather that foreign governments foreign government officials were talking about ways to exploit Jared, Kushner and cultivate, him for their own purposes because of his many vulnerabilities, so we know that about Jared. We don't really know about vodka. Questions about vodka and foreign influence. Well, I mean, certainly we know that she was certainly aware of the Trump Tower Moscow project that the Trump organization was pursuing while her father was running for president and even got involved at some point, sent forwarded an Email about it. So you know, that could have been one of the potential concerns. We don't know. I don't know how this is going to play out because I can see a real showdown where Klein goes he's now been subpoenaed, and he goes to appear before the committee, and he gets asked about specific cases. And he'll say I've been directed by the White House not to discuss them and the committee will vote to hold him in contempt. And you know, this may end up going into the courts, that's how I see this playing out I suspect so yeah. Now at the same time you have Nadler with the subpoena on the Muller report. And here look mad later clearly is feeling pressure. Two pound the table and demand this document. It's hard to know how far it goes until we actually see what bar produces in. The Justice department is saying we'll see that very soon by mid April. Yeah. And then the question is going to be how much of it will be redacted and the body language from bar is that, you know, not a lot, but there are some areas, and we're gonna talk about this with creeper horror on the show. There's some areas they have to do their due diligence. It's injury material. So call sixty information that by law cannot be disclosed unless you got a specific authorization, right? But you can go to the chief judge barrel howl. We both remember when she was on the Dafur judiciary Senate Judiciary committee along with prepere ARA, by the way, who was an other former judiciary committee staffer, but. Yeah, they could go to her and try to get a release of the grand jury material. Then then there's classified information. Pacified and sources and methods. And that's an interesting question because there is a whole declassification process. I don't know if the attorney general has the autonomy to make those terminations on his own. So we'll have to see what happens there, then there's also concerns about privacy rights for third party individuals. And then finally there are concerns about other investigations in whether this could somehow adversely affect other matters, ongoing matters the hypocrisies on this issue are rife because you remember when Devon noon is released his memo about the FIS of process, the FIS of for Carter page in the Russia investigation, and the Democrats were aghast that sensitive law enforcement material and classified material were being released about a five zero warranted. If a FIFA warrant had never before. Four been publicly disclosed and the Democrats were pounding the table saying, this was outrageous that the Republicans were introducing that. So you have, you know, arguably hypocrisy on the side of the Democrats, but also for the Republicans Nunez who was pushing for full disclosure of something he thought could embarrass the FBI in the Russia investigation. Now doesn't really care at all about the Muller report. In fact, he said it should be burned. And we don't have to see any of it. Well, also before the show, you pointed out, a pretty rich Iranian about Jerry, Nadler going back to the Monica Lewinsky era and Ken Starr's report. Yeah. Absolutely. I happened. Because I wanted to see Jared Kushner's interview on Fox News Monday night. I had the TV on FOX. And so when I turned it on Tuesday morning, there was FOX and friends, and they were playing a clip from Jerry Nadler in nineteen ninety eight. Complaining about the full release of the star report saying this contained grand jury material and information derogatory information about uncharged third parties, and how it outrageous. It was that it was all being made public. But you know, times have changed changed circumstances change and people's perspectives change, I will point out on on this whole subject that our guest one of our guests from the podcast last week. Ben witness wrote, I thought a pretty reasonable piece in the Atlantic about this whole question about whether as a lot of people you're beginning to hear a lot of people in the left saying whether bar is covering up the Bulloch report because it's taken, you know, a couple of weeks before it's been released and he stonewalling. And he's making up reasons why he shouldn't have to put it all out there, you know, ban basically says bar is a pretty reasonable mainstream lawyer and the idea that he wouldn't have a couple of weeks. To go through the report carefully to make some of these difficult determinations. It doesn't make sense. He also says that if the report comes out, and it is fully mostly redacted than he'd be willing to criticize bar, but let's give him the benefit. Look, I think bar is a serious lawyer serious prosecutor, but I don't know that I'd call a mainstream. He's pretty hardened partisan extremely conservative. And you know, I don't rule out the possibility that he is or even the probability that he's doing everything can to protect the president without violating. What he sees as his professional duty to well. Yes. And the Jan and by the way, Bill bar has always thought that that position is attorney general is both a legal position. But also a political position. And so to some extent, I think he does believe that he is his role is to be political. Right. So we should since we're interested in reasoned prosecutorial judgments get to. Our guests pre Perera. We are joined now by prepere ARA. Former US attorney in the southern district of New York, author of doing Justice Preet. Welcome to skulduggery. Thanks for having me. So wait is and fellow podcast. Oh, right. Fellow podcast. And what's the name of your prostate? Stay tuned with pre stay tuned wicked. We can say so Duggary was taken right. All right. I want to start out with something that's not in your book, which probably a lot of people were expecting to be in your book. And that is the phone message. You get from the White House on March ninth two thousand seventeen this is the message that says the president of the United States wants to talk to you. And you decide not to return the phone call. But before you do you have a conversation with your deputy, June Kim about returning the phone call and secretly taping. The president you've you've picked this sort of five seconds of contemplation that were the sexiest podcast purposes. The start of the episode, which is I totally understand. And I respect which is a little bit of background. You know, I've been asked to stay which was unusual if not unheard of. Because normally when a new president comes in particularly president of another party in an orderly fashion over the course of some period of months with. Period. All the US attorneys appointed by the prior president leave, and I fully expected that to be the case with me. But for some reason, I like Donald Trump asked me to stay even before you figure out who's his secretary of state was going to be so Sunday's Newark is important, especially the people who have served who are you? Businesses in New York. Also, that's you've you've, you know, once again crystallized my thoughts perfectly as Dave Letterman used to say, and he called me a couple of times before he got sworn in as president. And they were, you know, chatty phone calls in which he didn't say anything inappropriate or asked me to do anything to put in. If everybody gets your antenna up in a why somebody who's about to take over the job is leader of the free world. So to speak having time to call someone. He doesn't know there's never relationship with who's never worked for him. Never worked with him who happens to have jurisdiction over the Trump organization that Trump foundation various business interests families interested cetera, etcetera etcetera, but I report it all those contacts to the transition team his transition team and hoped and expected that once he actually took over as president that I wouldn't be getting calls because it can create awkwardness and appearance of impropriety even if nothing inappropriate was said in in one of those phone calls. So he takes over in the less than two months after the inauguration. As you mentioned, I get. Call in March ninth twenty seventeen this is before I knew how much executive time there was and this kind of phone calling was not unusual for him in some regards. But look it was a weird thing to get this phone call, and we had heard the president make a point of complaining about criticizing harshly and making all sorts of accusations about that famous tarmac meeting between then attorney general Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton when Hillary Clinton was on under investigation by the FBI and Donald Trump himself who some people say, well, he doesn't understand the protocols. He doesn't stand what the guidelines are. It's all new to him. That's bullshit. I can say that in your podcast, right and say, we don't curse on my podcast. But I figure skulduggery I can say something also known as Bs. He knows exactly what he's doing. He knows exactly what is proper what's not proper because he won the presidency in part by yelling at rally after in front. Tens of thousands of people. So what do you think happened that meeting? So now, I'm thinking about whether or not going to return the phone call the president while they're issues relating to the emoluments clause depending on. The district and other people are calling for whether they're legitimate calls or not, but a calling for investigations various things, it doesn't seem like a good idea for there to be off the record offline phone call between the sitting president and the US attorney without an understanding of what it was going to be about without the attorney general evolve. Or anyone from the Justice department involved didn't seem like a good idea. And for a brief moment, we considered all our options recreate that five seconds. If that's what it was conversation. You had with June Kim about recording the president. So we went through the options we said, well, I call him back. You play it out. Right. You have to be thoughtful about these things. If I call him back, and he decides to say something inappropriate like asking me about a criminal case. And at the time we were investigating this is publicly known one or more people that he might not have liked who are in elective office. And he asked me to do something inappropriate rhetoric question about that. That would be an awkward moment where I would have to end the conversation. Maybe even make a report about the conversation. And I'm thinking who's going to believe me? And this is before we knew about all the ways in which Donald Trump lies. He lies about the conversations. He has with people. That's why people think about recording him even his personal lawyer even Omarosa or they may contemporaneous records notes about their conversation. So there's this concern if there's a an untoward substantive message he wants to send me that's a problem. Then we still what if he calls, and he just Chit chats like he did last time without so that's also not great because that is what I suspect happened with Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton because I know that road Lynch, I think she's been very honorable person with a lot of integrity and wouldn't have gone there with respect to the investigation. But that's not what people are gonna. Think and if it comes out later the pre Perahera at had this conversation with the sitting president states after having gone to Trump Tower, and you know, been offered his job. And then he's having these from time to time private phone calls. That's not going to be great either. And so for a moment, we will one of the things we could do to have my assistant sitting on the call, and you have another witness for June could sit in on the call that doesn't necessarily prove anything if someone's gonna lie about the conversation. And so at that moment for a few seconds and some people in the right get carried away with this. As if like the mere thought of doing thing means that you engage in some kind of treacherous activity we thought about and then rejected the possibility of recording the president because we thought that's a bridge too far. But we did think about it. Because the concern was you know. Both for my protection and the other parties protection and the other party being, you know, now individual one that nothing untoward was spoken about and there was no deal or request or ask me. He didn't ask me for my loyalty etcetera etcetera, it would've been nice to have a record. And we decided no what none of that is going to be sufficient and recording seems like not quite cool to do. And so we didn't. And I didn't return what's remarkable about it, though is this is March now, it's just a few weeks after rod Rosenstein. Oh, yes. Having the same conversation or same thoughts. Which is why I think and again, I'm speculating I say everything I say these as like, I'm speculating, I dunno report coming out is that I credit. The folks any McCain and others who say that rod Rosenstein, wasn't joking at least initially and he thought about it. Like, I thought about it because you know, what it was wacko time in the United States of America. And people forget, I'm sure you've talked about. Whacko time. Well. There are there are spikes in wacko nece. Right. I was just saying to somebody this morning. Did you have to go back and think what what was going through the minds of elected officials and members of the media and people who liked and believed in the Justice department in the day in days following the surprise firing of Jim Komi, and maybe some people weren't thinking fully rationally, but people were really worried and people really thought you had an unhinged. President who did that? Then has this weird conversation with the Russians about the nutjob Jim Komi who had maybe made mistakes, but serve the country honorably. So, you know, in the same way that I for a brief moment after getting this bizarre phone call from the sitting president states who has other things to do about. God knows what or maybe just lying to, cultivate, me we considered an anon- comical way, the non joking way maybe to have a record of this. I should record it. I bet that rod Rosenstein also had that thought, and I don't I don't fully believe that it was. A joke because of the state of tension and the state of shock that was pervasive through the government at that time. Well, pre you mentioned Jim comb, your former brother from the southern district of New York. He, of course, was also asked for a Trump famously invited to the White House for dinner. But on all those things I found out about later. Right. No. I know. But I I guess my question is Comi knew that that there was a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign presidents is asking him for a private dinner. Do you think he should have gotten? I mean, in retrospect, I think he probably shouldn't have. So that's a good question. I think the FBI director in the attorney general and some other people the deputy general, and you know, this from all your your coverage and writing about the Justice department in a very fun book. Which captured by the way, still on Amazon. Hey, the book is doing Justice. But creep. My. Got too many books books talk about Russian roulette that. Good title, by the way, the FBI director stands in the slightly different position because it is appropriate. In fact, routine for FBI directors to have direct contact with a sitting president to advise on the threats to talk about national security issues because he FBI director is not only in charge and overseas, you know, specific enforcement matters, which are a no for the president. And the FBI director to talk about you know, what I believe Bob Muller, brief the president's whom he served on a regular basis. So that's not it's not a crazy thing. Obviously, given the nature of his president and the kinds of things that he likes to talk about and the ways he likes to, cultivate, loyalty, you have to be a bit more cautious. But look there's a theme that runs through all peoples meetings with the president that I've mentioned already whether they're allies like Michael Cohen, Omarosa or others or their people who you're supposed to have some arm's length distance from and they all want to document the phone calls either by recording them thinking about recording them, memorialize them right away. Because you don't have any the man look. This is not a partisan statement. The men lies the men mischaracterizes not only what happens behind closed doors in meetings with people who wouldn't be able to prove what words were actually uttered. He lies about the things that he says on national television the next day. Right. Whether it's in in Helsinki or any other context a human being who so blithely lies about what he says. But whether people say, you know, what intelligent reasonable cautious folks like to think of how to protect their own reputations. In that context. And I gotta say when we finally saw Kobe's memos about that meeting or the dinner he had with the president. And what they talked about. It had nothing to do with terrorism threats facing the country or other major law enforcement issues. It was all about personal issues relating to the Russia investigation. The guy just to use a frivolous example, the president is states of America. Made a gaffe of no consequence at all. He call. Tim cook Tim apple and the recording shows that he called him Tim apple, and you know, what it's excuse was the next day. I actually said Tim cook apple the cook was really fast in the middle of Tim apple which it wasn't. It wasn't there. It wasn't there. So just was people are listening to think of what so outrageous. It's a crazy thing about the president the guy lies about stuff that national television covers records because he has that character. All right. So we're going to get to the Muller report to Bill bars, the attorney general's involvement in that lots of meaty questions legal questions to go over. But I do want to start with get your book. I and one of the things that was striking to me. So after you're fired and you over time start speaking out about the rule of law about some of the things that this president's doing you're on cable television. You've got a big platform and strong views on these issues you become a bit of a hero of the resistance. And you know, I think you were recently referred to in. New York Times by someone who reviewed your book as her podcast, husbands because she loves your podcast so much and considers it a kind of lifeline. And then you write this book, and you barely mentioned Donald Trump in it. I'm just curious why you talked about wanting to return to first principle. Yeah. Because you know what? Sometimes you get tired of talking about Donald Trump in his antics. We don't and I well, look, but but there's different forms for different things. I talk a bit about Donald Trump and the things that he says on regular basis there's Twitter for that. That's eighty characters. I one hundred and four thousand words that's not as long as it sounds. It's very unintimidated slender book. And I thought you know, what I have my podcast for that. And you talk about on the podcast. But I thought if I was going to write something that had some more enduring quality that the things that matter to the rule of law and to equal application of Justice, and to fairness and open-mindedness all those things exist and are true in the presence or absence of Donald Trump. And sometimes you know, there there's an. Implicit criticism. Just by talking about things that are important things that are right now. Donald Trump's name was never uttered famously at John McCain's funeral, but it's an interesting phenomenon now right in America that if you have some event or you have some text the talks about principal or talks about dignity or talks about the rule of law or talks about decency that people take that as a rebuke of of the president. So some people will take this book as that somebody in the media referred to the book in a review, and I hadn't thought of it this way referred to it as a sort of metaphorical survivor's guide to the Trump era. Even though Trump is barely mentioned in I suppose, it is a little bit of that. And it's unfortunate that such a thing may be necessary. As we hear people who around a president, denigrating the media, denigrating, the independent judiciary denigrating law enforcement, denigrating his own intelligence community, favoring the views and the conclusions of people like Ladimir, Putin, an adversary the United States over the people in his own intelligence community using phrases like alternative facts. Having people around him say things like truth is in truth. I mean, I think people are. Uneasy unsettled for a lot of reasons the book is an effort to go back to sort of first principles of how fairness is accomplished seem to make the case in this book that the one place in our society right now in our culture, where kind of Trump ISM has a hard time getting in is in is in a criminal trial. Where you have it any kind of court proceeding. You have process you have the adversarial process, which is a search for truth. You have rules. You have a judge who is kind of umpire talk a little bit about that. And then I wonder if you're worried at all that overtime what Trump has been doing. I mean, the erosion of truth the elevations of conspiracy theories could actually seep into the courtroom into the Justice system. So I think about this a lot, and I'll draw comparison among Andro line through some people that Trump either has brought on board his team over the course of years or is otherwise praised and embraced. He how these people I call them clowns think people like Roger stone. On like, Michael Cohen, like Paul Manafort, Alex Jones, who, you know, Donald Trump has embraced and praised vigorously, even those probably one of the most odious human beings on earth. You know, the the person who runs info wars and has claimed that the sandy hook massacre was staged and it's all actors and all those guys, right? They appear in cable television. They on podcast they have their own shows. And they talk smack, and they talk nonsense, and they hurt people. They bring people pain, and they they foster these conspiracy theories, and there's no accountability. And they don't care and because there's no arbiter they get away with saying all sorts of nonsense, and then they know they sell nutritional supplements, or whatever they can only that. But but there are incentives for them to say these things. Yes. No, correct. And inflames people in all sorts of conspiracies about child trafficking rings and pizza shops and everything else. And then, and then you know, what on occasion, they have the obligation to appear in court or at a deposition. And you know, what happens to the clowns? They shut up. Most recently, Alex Jones is great article in the paper in the last week about you know, the Alex Jones deposition, which was allowed to go forward with this odious disgusting person who blithely told all these lies, but all this pain to the families of victims that sandy hook and other places. Now, he's in a corporate eating, you know, deposition, it would not a court proceeding, but related to a corporate seating. And now, he's backpedaling he's backtracking, and he's chagrined, and he's you know, claiming that he had some mental malady that caused them to say these odious things Roger stone. In other example. Here's like the king of nonsense who goes on television. You know, barks at the anchors says, whatever he wants to say, and you know, what? Now he's under arrest, and he's fighting to stay free and on bail, pending trial, and he gets before a no nonsense judge. And what does he do? He apologizes profusely almost on bended knee. Right. Another clown. Michael Cohen, whatever you think of him if he's like the the savior of of of democracy because he will turn states evidence against the president. Not that guy is documented thug and a proven convicted liar who went about self styled fixer for Donald Trump. And you know, what happens when he gets to a quart of law, and he gets convinced. He's he's an apologetic demure almost sort of beaten man of hearing before congress, you might not buy that story. But that to me is a little bit hopeful that there's at least someplace where we're clowns in idiots and people who bring so much pain to other people and undermined truth. There's a place that sort of sort of an oasis where you have to tell the truth, otherwise their consequences. Your lawyers have to tell the truth, otherwise are consequences, and you have to argue based on facts, not just fear and not just emotion. You can't just walk as I say in the book in chapter about trials and why trials or something to be proud of in this country. You're not allowed to attack other people's arguments based on in racist views, you can't say, well, he's Mexican. So we must have raped the girl you can't get away with that. And that's something to be celebrated on just one quick follow up on this. Because. Ultimately, it's the judges who are enforcers of these rules, and Donald Trump is going to have the ability to fill the bench with you know, hundreds of federal judges. I wonder if you've seen any suggestion at all that the kinds of people's he's appointing might in some ways erode these values or if you're comfortable with with the kinds of judges that are appointed to the federal bench. So the issue with Trump's judges. I don't think generally speaking is about and I haven't say the deeply the issue is not a concern about how what they think about decorum in the courtroom, and whether or not they will allow people to argue non meritorious things at a trial, and to engage in character assassination when you're supposed to show arguments on evidence, it's more. I think two categories of thing one is particularly the appellate world where ideology seems to matter a little bit more that he's appointing people who are, you know, far the mainstream people who have their confirmation hearings are not comfortable even saying that Brown v board of education was correctly decided now is that that different from what? Mitt Romney would have done or Jeb Bush would've done like, I don't know. I think his supreme court appointees probably are the same as they would have been under another president. There's another category there. I'm concerned about more not as large category. And that is I remember these accidents used to know them, but we've had an increase. I think an unprecedented increase in the number of judges being nominated who are deemed not qualified by the American Bar Association. And you know, whatever you thought of judges from prior administrations democrat, Republican by and large you might have thought someone retool after someone to right? They were qualified. They had experienced they were seasoned. And you have some people who don't have any idea what a courtroom looks like, and I worry a little bit about those people some of them have to have had to withdraw whether they understand what proper courtroom procedure, and and culture should be. Let me ask you about something else. You write about in the book that's highly relevant to events right now. And that is in your chapter walking away. You went after some pretty big targets as US attorney the Cuomo administration mayor de Blasios. And you didn't bring charges, and then you talk about what the prosecutors obligation is when you don't indict now, as, you know, chairman Nadler at House Judiciary is demanding a full unredacted copy of the Muller report. Everything that's in the Muller report, including grand jury, including classified it all should be turned over now in your book when you write about what the prosecutors obligations. Are you talk about prosecutors can get into deep trouble. If they talk too much about a decision, not to prosecute after all, the subject has a right to fairness also to be free from prosecutorial slander, you owe it to the system and to the guidelines of the department as well as to the presumed innocent party, you chose not to charge to keep your mouth shut. So under that principle that you lay out in your book should the full Muller report. Be turned over to congress and be made public is. So I think it's interesting question. I think there's a distinction between the president and everyone else, and I think it's an important distinction. I am open to arguments about reductions for issues like classified information or ongoing investigations and also potentially depending on what they are. And how much damage they might do because everything's within reason. And it's all prudential within reason, you know, being somewhat protective of, you know, negative derogatory information about third parties who don't have the position of precisely the categories that attorney general bar has said, so we'll consider in a lot of people. Of course, is that my concern is if those are good, faith reasons, and depending on the particular facts in the particular categories, and the particular people it's all based on those things, right? That's how you make decisions. And I talk a lot about you have to look at each circumstance directly, not just sort of general. Is. And if that's in good faith. I think there may be an argument for it. But, but my worry is that it's textual and given the way that the president has talked about the case and the investigation given how how much he's sort of misrepresented. What what the investigation showed how much retaliatory of vigor? There is against the people who have not seen anything. Incorrect. Like, everyone asking Adam Schiff to resign that if you're using those categories of thing as an excuse to protect the president or to present some kind of, you know, wonderful optics on behalf of the president. Then that's wrong. And it's terrible. And I think it's unethical. The reason I say the president is different from everyone else in your standard criminal case. It's a binary choice in the only thing you can do you can prosecute or not prosecute. If it happens to be true, as we know it to be that there is a, you know, a steadfast policy, whether you like it or not and a lot of people tend not to like it. You can't indict and prosecute a sitting president. Well, then you could see what was the whole point of the president being someone under suspicion by the special counsel. If not for it to be. The role of some other party, for example, Coequal branch of government like the congress to take stock of what that investigation was. It doesn't make any sense at all. And by the way, the president also to the two things that are unique about the president one. He has this shield in uniquely among any human being in America. He has the unique shield of this policy of the Justice department, which means that on the one hand you can't have derogatory information against him put on public as they say on the other hand, he has complete immunity because of this policy in the second difference for the president is he not he's not the only person with this subjected to this. But he's one of very few that there's a method and mechanism of accountability in the congress for someone like not from Michael Isikoff, not for not for me. But for the president in combination of having immunity from the Justice department and a constitutionally sanctioned mechanism for accountability in the congress and the whole idea of having this investigation the first place, which was launched special counsel is put in place because of the action. Of the president. And that by the way, that mechanism is inherently political your peach mint, correct? And if it's political than policy is the people, and so it has to be public. But look look every chief executive has accountability. When you you went after Cuomo. You didn't bring charges he went after two blase. You didn't bring charges you could have referred your prosecution report or memos to the state legislature or the city council, but you'd never considered that it was proper to do. Here's what I think about the Muller the lack of decision on obstruction, man. If there's a tune-up I'll tell you how I think about it had I been investigating. I was gonna use you Michael investigating Michael Isikoff probably have for obstruct. Well, I'm not going to talk about that. Right. Yeah. Something like obstruction? Don't you could get Rudy, and you'd say it's not a crime because podcasters of absolute authority to immunity immunity from podcast community and in my because this happened. I mean, I had I had a case once mentioned the name of the entity or the individual and I've been thinking about. It it a lot over the last week. And it was a difficult case. And it was a complex financial case and the career prosecutors put together a memorandum for me, and my deputy, maybe it's thirty forty pages long. It's very well done, and I'm reading I don't jump to the end. And I want to see what the conclusions. But I'm reading it in the they're setting forth all the facts, the investigation got on for more than twelve months, and they're setting forth, the reasons in favor of a prosecution, why crime was committed and then there's a section the talks about the potential defenses are some of which you know, seemed viable and the merits of those defenses. And I'm and I'm I'm very interested in getting to the end of and what I wonder what the recommendation is going to be, you know, in light of all these circumstances. We think that we recommend prosecution we recommend declining and then have such a conclusion, and so I called them in. So what's going on here? And it was one of the I the only happened a couple times. It was one of the only times they said, you know, it's such a close question. We wanted to have a discussion about it. And we didn't want you to prejudge. And we we are just we're not sure and we wanted to not just have this in writing. We wanted to have a discussion. I know we decided because it was a standard criminal case didn't have all the president. You know, private parties, we said, I think in in a criminal case when the question is close the benefit of the doubt goes to the target, and we shut the case down, and we didn't talk about it. And you don't know who I'm talking about. And we wouldn't disclose the memo and the Justice from would fight disclosing the memo, I think what happened with about Muller is an ordinary case. And he was too close to question on obstruction with spectrum, Michael Isikoff. They would have shut it down and be done with it. I think the president stands in a different position. The investigation was started. Because of the president's surprise that mo- didn't make a call me Blaine why he did his job. But he was he wasn't hired to be the FBI director collector of the evidence. He was hired to make prosecutorial decision. He was hired to. Maybe I think that's that's a good way of putting it and probably that's how I thought about it. I'm trying to after the fact explained the the the decision making in the final product of someone who I trust a lot. And I think is trying to do the right thing. And whose team I think is very thorough and has integrity and because the president is different. Because there's as Dan keep saying there's a method and a mechanism of political accountability. Okay. He wanted to leave it to those folks. Okay. Right. So that begs the obvious question should Bill bar have stepped in and made that decision or do you think that Muller's expectation was that this was a decision that ultimately would be made by congress? What to do? And that his what he was trying to do was put this in the political sphere. I think so I think so look a different special counsel might have had that intent and also made it impossible for it to be otherwise, I mean, the difference special counsel could put in the report, which I'm guessing is not in there because it would have been difficult not to quote it. You know, for all these reasons for the reasons, you know, some version of what I are ticketed, hypothetically, but the stakes are so high the issue so fraught this is a matter for the political branches as contemplated by the founders and the constitution for them to handle. That's what I'm doing. I'm setting this. But he doesn't he doesn't say that. So you might criticize him for not anticipating that Bill bar would swoop in. But we don't actually know what he said, we don't we don't I in all of this can be proven wrong, but I'm inferring certain things because there's some things that Bill bars. A shrewd lawyer, he's pretty smart, and he just put one thing in his summary letter, that's damaging to the president. And if you and I think he puts it in there because he couldn't have gotten away with not putting it in there. And that is what we've been discussing on the on the issue of obstruction Bill bar quotes from subsection of a sentence saying this does not exonerate the president. I think if there was some similar language, this guess, some similar language on the part of special counsel expressing a clear intent to punt to congress. If he had that language in. There that language would be in the bar letter. Now, if it is in the report, and it's not in the bar litter, then you should have me back, and we can bash Bill bar for for good period of time. We will do that who's your candidate for president. I don't have one. Well, let me ask it another way in whose administration, would you like serve attorney general I'm podcast host and a and now a bestselling author, and when when those sales die down which could happen at any moment, they'll happen soon. Hey, what's kind of kind of pessimism? Is that you know, I like purple service, and I was in public service for seventeen over seventeen years mostly in law enforcement a few years in the Senate as you know, then I would entertain possibilities. But you know, I like I like a lot of the candidates. I like the idea that the people think about the rule of law, but they must be reaching out to you because they like to form like advisory committees. I've had one candidate I can tell you what the one candidate that I've had in my podcast and his huge bump co. Coincided with his appearance in my pocket. I don't think that's a coincidence. That was mayor Pete people to judge say the whole name. A little tough. But he blew judge. Yeah. He's the person that I've spoken to the most. And we were both backstage together to the Bill Maher's time last week. I think he's really smart. That and you said almost nothing why wasn't Astro. You were like Bill turned away. The potted plant on the Bill Maher show. I know. Well, well, you got you got your letter send your letters to Bill moss being one of the things that he's I don't think he's endorsed this idea. But he certainly seems to like it is putting more people on the spirit more just as supreme court. I think the plan is to have the Republican appointees the democratic appointees would have to have a consensus about five other appointees or something like that. Is that something that's just seems very difficult in unrealizable? I I think there's more I've been thinking about this. I don't have a firm view in. I'm not running for anything, nor can I run for president to stop all your entreaties. Everyone does the joke. Mostly from my mom, I think what's more workable, and seems to have more merit is the idea of of limits on terms because you have you have a very skewed supreme court supreme court justices between point does is only. And I don't know if it's eighteen years how you stagger them. And maybe that's too difficult. Also, but you do have a little bit of this game and the vagaries of who passes away when? And if people try to stick it out for an extra year because maybe the next president will be more amenable, and that creates, you know, weird moral hazards. I think that are not great, and you have to know the stat off the top of my head during the cavenaugh process. But if you look at the past fifty years, or so the number of years at Republicans have been control has been more of the White House than Democrats, but it's still way out of proportion to the number of nominees that Republicans have gotten a little bit because it just the luck of the grim reaper. And when he comes along and on the note of the grim reaper. We will thank prepere are for joining us. And we will have you back to bash Bill all clear all clear, look, if I I don't I would find it remarkable that that a smart lawyer like Bill bar would engage in a blatant misrepresentation or intentional omission of the plan and expectation that Bob Muller had about who should make the decision about obstruction. If he did that. Then. Yes, we will bash. Okay. And we will be here to hear your bashing. Thanks for joining us on skulduggery March. Thanks for having an expert yet. Thanks to prepo off for joining us on this episode of skulduggery, don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on apple podcasts, or wherever you listen to your pockets and tell us what you think leave a review the latest episode is also on Sirius XM on the weekend. Check it out on channel. One twenty four on Saturdays at three pm eastern time with replays on Sundays at one AM and three PM be sure to follow us on social media as Duggary pot. And now you can watch the podcast on Yahoo. News dot com. Youtube in Roque Saturdays and Mondays at eight PM eastern time soon. Doc you soon.

president Bob Muller attorney Donald Trump FBI Justice department congress New York Bill bar White House Jerry Nadler skulduggery United States US attorney Jared Kushner director America Yahoo
Coronavirus: Insight and Info from Dr. Patel and Dr. Wen

Skullduggery

35:16 min | 8 months ago

Coronavirus: Insight and Info from Dr. Patel and Dr. Wen

"A Michael ISIKOFF chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News. And I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News and a quick reminder that you can follow us at skulduggery pod and by the way. If you've got any questions thoughts ideas you wanNA share tweet right out us now. Let's get on with the show. The trend grows more alarming by the day. The Corona virus pandemic is having a hugely disproportionate impact on minority communities. This week Maryland reported that African Americans and other minorities accounted for more than half the one hundred and three deaths from the virus in that state that fits in with the national picture in which counties that are majority black have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rates of death as counties where white residents are in the majority according to a Washington Post analysis. We'll talk about these figures to to public health experts Yahoo News Medical Contributor Dr Kavita Patel and former Baltimore Health Commissioner. Dr Lena Win and ask them what can be done about it. And we'll also get their outlook for when social distancing restrictions can start to be lifted on this episode of skulduggery because people have gotta know whether or not their president's are. I'm not a crook. I told the American people. I did not create arms-for-hostages my heart and my best intentions. Still tell me. That's true. But the facts and the evidence. Tell me it is not. I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no allies. We will honor the American people the Truth and nothing else. I'm Michael ISIKOFF chief. Investigative correspondent for Yahoo News. And I'm Dan Clyde manager and chief of Yahoo News you know. I think these figures on the impact on minorities is going to be a huge story. That's GONNA be with us for some time. It's a huge story just in terms of the real life impact. It's having on communities across the country cities across the country. It's going to be a big political story. Because underlying it are the inequalities economic and otherwise in the country and that's GONNA play into the political debate in the country. Look the virus does not discriminate but the virus does expose the huge structural inequities and disparities in our healthcare system and the numbers really are shocking when we first started to see them. Some people cautioned that we need more data to be able to really be sure that this kind of pattern exists but in reality who really needs data who doesn't know that healthcare outcomes in marginalized communities are worse because people have less access to good healthcare. And because you know people who are living in poverty are just knocking a theory as well in our in our healthcare system the number that really jumped out at me by the way was Chicago. Seventy two percent of virus related fatalities in Chicago where African Americans when they represent only a third of the population and we are seeing these kinds of numbers around the country. You know there is this concept that I've read about called weathering. Which is this idea that there's been increasing research on that people who live in these kinds of poorer communities marginalized communities that the stress placed on their lives contribute to were healthcare outcomes so stress from poverty stress from crime. All of the kinds of stresses that people experience living in these kinds of communities and it is a huge problem. That obviously we're going to have to deal with in the long term but the question right now is. How do we deal with this? In the short term people are dying because of these inequities and just getting back to the political dimension to this. Ironically these figures are coming in on the The same week that the one candidate for president who made front and center inequality and also expanding healthcare a medicare for all Bernie. Sanders has dropped out of the race. So one wonders as these disparities. Get more more attention. Is that GONNA be put more pressure on Biden to move closer to sanders positions on some of these issues. Does it affect his vice presidential selection process. Does it make it more likely? He'll WANNA put an African American on the ticket just to underscore his commitment. Doing something. Those parodies those are all good questions but I would say what it is is. It is a huge opportunity for Biden. Who has had trouble breaking through on this issue understandably because he's just a candidate right now he doesn't actually run anything other than a campaign. He doesn't have the levers of power to make a difference but he does have a voice and he does have a historic relationship with the African American community where he has credibility and a community by the way that has put him in the position of being the Democratic nominee for the presidency. So I think it is both an opportunity but also an obligation at this point and let's see if we start hearing from from Biden really significant way on these issues. Well look. These are big questions but today's is not going to be a political podcast. We've got two really good public health experts to talk about these figures into talk about where we're going so let's stay focused on that and bring them into the conversation. We now have with us on the podcast Dr Kavita Patel Yahoo News Medical Contributor and public health specialist and former Obama administration official and also. Dr Lena Win. The former health commissioner of Baltimore and a emergency physician and professor of Health at George Washington University doctors. Welcome to skulduggery. Thank you very much. Thanks for having us. I want to start out by talking about the mounting evidence. We're seeing of the disproportionate impact. The virus is having on minority communities a Maryland today has just reported for the first time. A ethnic breakdown and racial breakdown of virus cases in the state. This is a state where thirty percent of the population is black yet. More than fifty percent of the Tallies and the cases are African Americans. This is in keeping with a lot of data. We're seeing I want to ask both of you. What accounts for this disproportionate impact on minorities Dr Patel Shore? I'll go first and thanks for having me. I think that You're seeing actually in medicine. We would call kind of symptoms more reflective of a broader larger diagnosis. There are there have been for decades now. Kind of documented systemic racial disparities in all aspects of healthcare from ax access healthcare literally. How do people of Color Actually get insurance or not able to get insurance all the way through disparities in once they even get to a doctor whether they receive the same type of treatments as their non-ethnic minority counterparts? So to be even more blunt about it when you see numbers out of Maryland Chicago New Orleans every urban center. That is identifying kind of A. You know a difference. In discrepancy in how minorities are being treated for covert or not treated or obtaining lab tests that also has to. Do I think with what we've known that it is harder to receive care? And even when you do it's different and that's I think I'm trying not to be so I don't want to reduce it all to one thing but that's that's my take on it and you also have to remember that communities of Color and certainly Lena knows a lot about this because she did it every day. Communities of color have had challenges accessing these kind of hospitals and hospital based care in large part. Because where you have a high concentration of communities of color there are just less hospital beds per capita so we do know research across urban centers that there are fewer hospital beds in communities of color compared to other neighborhoods in areas. Dr Win as the top public health official in Baltimore City with a large African American population. I assume this does not come. As a big surprise to you and so tell us what kinds of entrenched disparities you were seeing in healthcare delivery and outcomes for African Americans and I guess this is also a problem for Hispanics as well but tell us about the disparities that you were seeing in Baltimore when you were working there. Sure and I live in Baltimore still until I'm looking out my window and just reflecting on the disparities along residents in the city you have neighborhoods in Baltimore. That are just a couple of miles apart. Where a child born today can expect to live sixty five years or eighty five years a twenty year difference in life expectancy based on the zip code into which sheer. Here's born and then you know. I used to begin my presentations when I was the health. Commissioner with a map of our city and I actually stopped showing these maps of disparities. Because it almost didn't matter what you had in the legend it was the same map over and over again because the same areas that had high infant mortality also had high cardiovascular disease also had high rates of death from gun violence also had high prevalence of HIV and drug overdose and of course also had high rates of incarceration and low socioeconomic status. I mean it's the same map over and over again and when I think about Kobe. Nineteen and the data that we're now gathering it's tragic but not at all surprising because as Kameda just mentioned this is just one. More example of amplified disparities disparities that are rooted in systemic racism and the historic inequities. That got us to where we are. That are then amplified. Also by lack of access to healthcare. But it's not just. It's also the social determinants of health access to healthy food. The air that we breathe the education up the education opportunities that were exposed to and also the circumstances in people's lives. I mean physical distance. Social distancing is a privilege that many of us have but many people don't have a result of their work or living situations and so. I think there's a lot more that we need to do. When it comes to reconciling where we are now with the history of disparities in our city. Let me just pick up on that last point. You made about social distancing. Because a lot of us do have the luxury of working from home of doing podcasts and participating in zoom meetings and doing all the things we would do in the office but given the inequality in in our country the larger predominance of less fortunate people who don't have that luxury who do have blue collar jobs or do have jobs where they simply cannot work at home that that is in and of itself is disproportionately impacting minority communities. And this is a in a sense. The steps were taking to try to flatten. The curve may be exacerbating those disparities. Dr Patel your thoughts on that yet. That's not just a important point to make but it it highlights what I think Lena has been kind of commenting. We're calling it social determinants of health. But it's this interplay of you know the very people who were identified in kind of lower wage jobs is essential workers to your point are not only. Are they not able to stay at home? But it's it's actually worse than that. They're being told in fact. I have cases in DC of former patients of mine who are told that they're essential but they have been taken their their health care actually has been taken away because they are being told there. Is that Joel? And they are not given enough money or wages in order to receive health care. And so you actually have undocumented. People were picking or fruit. And you have people of Color who are checking our groceries and actually have you know zero rights and part of what. I've found Dan in my is that we're trying desperately. I'm not a lawyer. Lena's not a lawyer and we're having to learn in the healthcare industry how to be advocates on multiple fronts for populations in a way that certainly I've never encountered and it's bringing up. I mean you know my parents kind of went through the civil rights movement and I'm a first generation. Lena is as well. And I really see so much of what I have read about unfolding today and it troubles me but then I also see some do not make everything seem so negative. I do see some amazing silver linings of people just pulling together and willing to advocate for these populations. My fear is that we have preventable deaths on our. We have blood on our hands and we have. I'm worry that we're not learning from that. That's probably the most graphic I can be about it. Guess my question on this though would be. If the social distancing restrictions are having this kind of impact on people of Color people less fortunate. What's the remedy for that? What steps can we take? That could mitigate that disproportionate impact. If there are any I I think that the key here is to take away the right lesson. I don't think the right lesson is to say. Well if social distancing is reading or amplifying disparities that we should do away with social distancing. I don't think that's the right lesson because frankly this is the only tool that we have at our disposal right now. We do not have a vaccine what. We don't have a working treatment when our healthcare system is in crisis. What we can each do is practice social distancing to the best of our abilities and actually one could see. It flipped as well as those of us will have the privilege of practicing social. Distancing should be doing that so that God we allow the others who cannot practice social distancing to have the best chance at reducing transmission as individuals have to take public transportation. Because that's the only way of getting to work than those who have the privilege of not taking public transportation should be avoiding it so that those who have to take it can actually physically distance in that way the less community transmission that we all have the better. It is for everyone in our community. So that's one way to see it. And then the other thing too is to see it as our obligation all of us to create better policies that support those who do face the greatest burden of disparity so for example when it comes to accessing healthcare. Those of us who do have good health insurance policies should still be advocating for everyone to have universal healthcare to not be priced out of the ability to get testing and treatment. We should all be advocating for paid sick leave. We should all be advocating. Four programs like housing and support for individuals who could otherwise cannot afford food. I mean I think we can all do Dr Wanless. Let me at both of you. Kavita as well let me ask you. Because you're talking about prescriptions for deeply entrenched social and economic problems that we have and we're in the middle of a crisis right now and people's lives are on the line or there are things that should be done. Now that can be done. Now by the government by hospitals buy healthcare institutions to deal with these inequities are right at this moment. Yeah I'll start. I think absolutely so bottom. Line Lena's correct. We need to extend kind of everybody needs to follow. I'll call universal masking non-medical masks. There's a lot of debate. In as you know in Maryland some of the counties are enforcing it some. Aren't we need number one. People all need to wear masks if it protects me at protects you if we're all doing it together number. Two hospitals have never really traditionally been very good at thinking beyond their borders and their walls and we know just for example in the district in Maryland. We know to Lena's point there are neighborhoods where there is. There is zero ability to access a test so we need hospitals who are incredibly focused on. What's happening inside their walls to actually take it literally today. A pop up in the testing area or at least a pop up so that there's a presence in these neighborhoods of color and then third something that I'm finding with kind of the population I deal with. Which is a largely non-english-speaking there are not people have been talking about telemedicine and we are finding that we're having to use just regular old fashioned telephones no video. No FANCY APPS no skype no face time because there's still a lot of distrust amongst communities of color and there's also a lack of technology access and then I'd be I guess as a final step. Obviously we've talked at length on your podcast with others have talked about the lack of a federal response so we need local officials to step up the enforcement for protection for these call them essential workers but I'll also call them vulnerable populations and that I think is another layer. That could be done today for example the mayor of Baltimore the mayor of DC. And they've done this to some degree. Actually making it clear that public buses public transportation is prioritized for these workers. And actually making it free which I know is a huge hit to the city's economy but we need to make it as easy as possible at every step of the way for people to earn a living and to do it in a way that keeps them healthy. Do either of you see any evidence. At this point that we are flattening the curve yes there are hopeful signs from parts of this country and the world. I mean looking at other countries I think is an important important indicator for us because we can learn lessons about what's working what's not we look. At countries like New Zealand that have done an exceptional job of containing kkob nineteen am countries like South Korea that were aggressive testing and contact. Tracing have also been able to do this too so important lessons from other countries as well as from within our own country Washington State California to places that had early size of community transmission because they were very aggressive about social distancing Physical distancing guidelines We DO SEE EVIDENCE. That they did not have the skyrocketing right. I mean I think a lot of public health is. What did you prevent? They were able to prevent this rapid escalation of cases. That we've seen an other places. And I think is a hopeful. Sign that these measures Astra CONAN restrictive as they might seem actually happen effective and as I think all public health experts Dr Baojun even measure this morning now is not the time to look at these indicators and say well they've been successful so we should let up but rather to take the opposite lesson to say we knew what works so we have to double down on these efforts and prevent more deaths from happening so as Dr Dr Patel can beat was saying we don't have blood on our hands because now that know what works we have to do it. Kavita what what are the data points that you are most focused on? That might suggest that we're flattening the curve here because we know that while the number of fatalities for example in New York City where I am right now continues to go up in record. Numbers Governor Cuomo has been pointing to hospitalizations which seems to have been leveling off. Is that an important indicator of where things are right now. Yeah I've been tracking for about sixteen metropolitan areas just drawing from their county or city's websites and also trying to get you know it's it's a several things. It's the doubling rate. So how many days does it take for cases to double and when you know in New York City at one point we were seeing that every two to three days? The number of cases not hospitalized but just cases of corona virus were doubling every two to three days and that has now slowed down to approximately five to seven days in some parts of Manhattan so looking for doubling rates certainly looking at hospitalization rates as well as ICU rates as well as discharges. I mean. That's something that's getting a reported and people aren't actually processing it but it is a great story when someone gets discharged from the hospital. That's a that's a good thing and so that's that's another indicator and I do also feel like something that needs to be emphasized and and certainly Dr went will kind of I agree is the number of tests. I mean we are still seeing. I'm from Texas. We're still seeing disturbingly. Low total numbers of tests. And I think that that to me that just tells me that we underestimated the cases in that particular region. And that's just one example of several in the Mid West where we still have a lack of access to testing and it's hard to believe that in April twenty twenty. We're still saying that but we are all too that the lack of testing and a number of people have observed that it makes it hard to come to any firm conclusions. About what the fatality rate of those who are infected are. We don't know how many people have actually been infected. What's your best information at this point about where we are on? What the fatality rate for getting viruses for those who get the virus well. I really agree with everything that all of you are saying about testing that the lack of testing has hindered us in many ways including with not actually knowing what where the next epicenter of the outbreak is going to be. I mean there are places that may have zero cases that are reported but that doesn't mean that they actually have zero cases. We also note that the lack of testing has contributed to another issue too with with regard to the Taliban. Because if we're looking at I think what you're referring to is the numerator and the denominator denominator actually is much larger. Because there are many more people with the disease that we just haven't picked up on then perhaps. The fatality rate is lower that we might be currently getting. There's a numerator problem to though in that there are people dying. Who may not have a known diagnosis of Kobe? Nineteen but actually has died because of it the other issue too within the US the death rates lag behind the infection rate because it takes time for somebody to become infected and the two become severely ill and then to succumb to that billeness and so that they Taliban in the US I think still remains unknown. We do know that out of China out of Italy that the Taliban rate has varied some in some places. Some people think that it's three percent. There may be some cases where it's as high as eight percent but there are a lot of unknowns because of our testing issues and also because the demographics in our country may differ from those in and others to Dr Wen and Kavita as well Anthony Fouled. She was on CNN. This morning talking about how we are days away from immunity testing which I know. There's a lot of interest in and it also relates to this question of when life can return to some semblance of normalcy but there are a lot of questions about both immunity testing the efficacy of that testing. Also we're seeing in some medical literature that there is the potential for reinfection and we've seen some cases out of South Korea reports out of South Korea to that effect talked us about immunity testing. And about this idea of the potential of reinfection Kavita. Once you go first. There was a lot of hope for immunity testing with kind of a rapid immunity tests. But we do not know enough about the performance of these tests. So I'll caveat all of this by telling you that there is hope for it but we do not yet have enough. I think what we're going to require in. The country is kind of a panel of immunity tests. It's not going to be just this one test. It's going to have to be kind of a set of tests that tells us have you had this infection in the past. Do you currently have it? And we also do not know to your point about reinfection. We believe that getting corona virus gives you some immunity that we think probably last for several months. But as you kind of heard we can't tell if the reinfection is really false negatives or some level of lab detection error or true reinfection and I think that where I guess I'll go ahead and put a stake in the ground here. I think that what I'm looking forward to in the fall. We'll have more antibody based treatment ramping up to do clinical management of this disease. We have other. Maybe additional drug tools in our kind of utilitarian armament and then we can use that as a bridge to a vaccine. Which can hopefully you know Dr Fao? She said you know twelve to eighteen months at the fastest and I'm really hopeful that at some point then we get what we call in public health herd immunity. And until then you know. I know that there have been others that have said. We'll need to be in kind of a total lockdown until them. But I think that what you describe is Canada's immunity based testing which is only a piece of it plus some actual treatments that we have which I think will largely be antibody based and then kind of early vaccines which is hopeful but not necessarily promised to be delivered on in a certain amount of time. And I think that's where we start to have the country feel a little bit closer to normal even hun which has reopened quote unquote doesn't look normal so I think there's some level of that that we have to expect one quick follow up question Dr Wear. Maybe you want to take this on. We're reading that in the UK. They have seriously been discussing this idea of immunity passports and Dr Fao G. Apparently this morning talked about immunity certificates being under discussion in this administration. The idea is that if you are tested and your team to be immune then you get a certificate. That says okay. You're good you can go back into the workplace. It seems a little Orwellian. It seems like you're sort of creating two classes of people as public health policy specialists. What's your reaction to the idea of immunity certificates and the? I actually think it's a great idea. If we have the science to back it up I mean there are a Lotta people. We know that there are a lot of people who have Kobe. Nineteen and just don't do it. There are some who have symptoms but never got tested. There are some who never had symptoms in the first place. I think a lot of people would to know if they have immunity to Kobe. Nineteen I mean. That's assuming though that the science is what we assumed to be as in we assume right. The suction has to be that once you get it. You're not going to get it again. And there was the question earlier about reinfection. I don't know that a trusted these reports coming out because it's also possible that somebody wasn't clinical reinfected but rather that they never recovered from the illness. The first place was something wrong with the test. That was measured. So I don't know if reinfection as possible but we have to assume that the that the only way but this immediately password to work is if somebody really develops long term immunity and cannot become reinfected because otherwise you're giving somebody false assurance and maybe they'll get sicker the second time around right so we have to That has to be suction another assumption. Is that the test is valid that you're not going to get a false positive or negative because again that that gives Unless ordered that that provides false. Reassurance may be very dangerous but assuming that you do get lifelong immunity and that the test is fully accurate. That would be wonderful. You can imagine. Healthcare workers would want to know if they are immune individuals would want to know if they're immune they can certainly potentially live their lives very differently. Be deployed in a frontline settings very differently so I guess. I'm not as concerned about the kind of the negative societal consequences as I am very optimistic about what this could mean if such tests were actually available now. I don't think we're anywhere close to that because we still need so much more data available on whether there's immunity in the first place and we need widespread testing. Not only for these serology is the antibody test that we're talking about. We don't even have testing to find out if somebody has an acute infection. So there's a lot that we need to do to get there but if we are it would be extremely promising last question for both of you given where we are right now and let's assume that the few hopeful trends were seeing continue. When do you foresee that we might be able to lift some of the restrictions and get back to business as usual? I'd like to hear from both of you on that. I'll start. I think I certainly think there will be some legs in certain parts of the country but I would say for example on the East Coast are area. I would say that by the end of May we should have more guidance on how larger groups. Let's call it. Schools churches kind of have a little bit more behavior. That looks closer to normal. I think that we have now gone to where our country is going to be more comfortable even in those settings with masks and I often wonder if shaking hands or some of the things we do conventionally as part of our everyday work is going to change and so I do think though that for example in this kind of district Metropolitan Area New York etc we will start to see guidance that are gonNA come from local officials candidly about kind of moving back to closer to normal by the end of May potentially the beginning of June and now having said that if we get a hot spot that's unexpected or kind of a reversal. No trends like the governor. Cuomo keeps caveat in you know like it could end up being different the next several days then that changes. But that's what I'm looking forward to and I'll tell you that you know that's where to be honest. That's for me. A light at the end of the tunnel. 'cause IT'S NOT THAT. Far Away Darwin. I think we'll see restrictions being rolled back in phases. Were not going to see it all just one day. Everything's going to go back to the pre Kobe. Nineteen days but rather we'll see area by area. Escobedo was sane and also different types of restrictions being lifted certain businesses going back May Be schools and I think we have to prepared for what happens if there is another search what happens if there is another wave of infections we have to be ready for that consequence and be ready to implement the these restrictions again but I think as long as we recognize. Continue to recognize that. This is a quickly evolving situation. Which is what we've said from the beginning and also not see trials as setbacks because we frankly don't know what will happen. We are learning from the experience in China and from other countries that are lifting these restrictions. But there's a lot that we don't know about what will happen in this country and so continuing to tolerate that uncertainty is important for all of us on that sobering note. I want to thank both of you. It's been a really helpful discussion. We always appreciate your insights Dr Patel Doctor. When it's great to have you on for the first time we hope to have both of you back. Thank you explain match. Who was more dominant at their game tiger or MJ Tiber equation? Golf is the most unbelievably Goering's for in existence. And I love Golf. What's the best baseball movie of all time? The problem with Major League Baseball movie about baseball in the time of quarantine. Yahoo Sports is putting every single argument. You've ever heard or made in a sports bar to the test checkout boxed in by Yahoo Sports on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays on Yahoo Sports Dot Com Youtube for your podcast APP choice. Thanks a Yahoo News. Medical Contributor competed Patel and former Health Commissioner of Baltimore. Lena Win for joining us on. This episode is Paul Buggery. Forget to subscribe. The skull agree on Apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your podcast and tell us what you think. Lieber reviewed latest episode is also on Sirius. Xm On the weekend. Check it out on this channel. One twenty four on Saturdays at three PM Eastern time with replays on Sundays at one. Am and three PM for short. Follow us on social media. Re-pot we'll talk to you soon.

Dr Lena Win Dr Kavita Patel Baltimore City Maryland Yahoo Kobe reinfection New York City Commissioner skulduggery Michael ISIKOFF president South Korea Governor Cuomo China Chicago Washington Post
A Tale of Two Governors

Skullduggery

1:04:16 hr | 4 months ago

A Tale of Two Governors

"As. President Trump tweets about a pseudo scientists who believes in alien DNA and suggest he might seek to postpone the election. The country's governors are left to grapple on their own with the pressing issues of an out of control pandemic racial protests and spikes violence. In major cities, we'll talk to two of those governors on the front lines, Larry Hogan, Maryland. One of the few outspoken Republican critics of the president and Democrat Jay Pritzker of Illinois who has quietly lobby Joe Biden on who should be vice presidential pick. You'll hear both of them on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president's across while I'm not a crook. I told the American people. I did not trade arms hospital, my heart, and my best intentions still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence tell me it is not I did not have sexual relations without him. There will be no allies. We will honor the American people with the Truth and nothing else. Michael, ISIKOFF chief investigative correspondent with the avenues and I'm Dan, cliven editor and chief of Yahoo News. So you know I was going to start out talking about some of trump's most recent tweets. The one about the one about the doctor who posted the online video on Monday dismissing masks. This is a woman doctor, Stella Emmanuel who apparently believes in the existence of alien DNA and gynecological problems caused by people dreaming about having. Having sex with demons, but you know with trump there's always something else that he does that trump's his previous outrageous tweet and today we got one from him about the possibility of postponing the election suggesting that the twenty twenty election will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent in American history and just raising the prospect that perhaps it should be postponed something. He actually does not have the power to do you know. Like, classic trump outrageous appalling. But not surprising. I mean there's already been talk swirling around this white, House that maybe the election would have to be postponed. As you point out, the date is set by statute. It would take an act of Congress to change the date and that is not something that anyone with any authority in the in the house where the Senate have said that they would be willing to do. So it's a non starter, but trump knows that, but it's still it's corrosive and it undermines faith in the system and I. Think the strategy here if trump has a strategy is to just throw this out there to. To get people talking to distract people from other things and to get his base focused on this idea that mail-in ballots are gonna lead to massive fraud so that he can de legitimize the election, which at this point looking at the poll numbers is thinking he is going to lose and may lose massively and one of the thing I want to say, look to some extent in this country people in this country have kind of internalized these trump tweets. Maybe they don't have as much impact as they did at one point because they are there. So many of them and they're so outrageous and they don't always lead to any. Actual action of any sort. But the impact that it has around the world in terms of our reputation, we were once a beacon of democracy around the world which we no longer are, and also the impact that it has on dictators and autocrats who trump is aiding and abetting by talking openly about cancelling elections. That's what dictators do, and that's what the United States stands up against and. and. So when when the commander in chief does that, you know it undermines all of our credibility around the world and I think it's just worth noting that it is and it's also worth noting that there are really serious problems that we are confronted with on a daily basis that the governor's we're. GonNa. Talk to have to deal with, but just it is worth noting on the Front that things are getting closer and closer to the white. House. The real toll of this we learn we talked the other day about Louie Gohmert, the Texas Republican congressman testing positive. We forgot to mention that Robert O'Brien. The National Security Advisor has tested positive, and just if anybody has any doubt about the fallacy of this disease, we learned today about Herman, Cain, the former Republican presidential candidate who died from covert. Unless. Remember that Herman Cain contracted the virus ten days after the president's Oklahoma Rally, he was there and he was not wearing a. Yeah. Yeah. Well, there you have it, and that's why we're going to talk to both of our guests today about the need for mask mandates and how important it is. So we've got two great guests. We don't get governors very much on skulduggery. In fact, have we ever had any before today? We had. Yeah. We had the Michigan Governor Story Yeah Yes governor Whitmer of Michigan. So we're on a roll on the on the Gubernatorial Front Larry Hogan and J P. Pritzker, let's get right to them. We now have with us the governor of Maryland Larry Hogan. Also the author of the New Book Still Standing Governor Welcome to skulduggery. Hey, thanks very much. It's great to be with you got and I'm going to start out with a little point of personal privilege because. I. Remember governor. But I, I, met you many many years ago when I was a young reporter for the Washington Star covering Prince George's county a your father was the Prince George's county executive. You were on his staff own trust me I remember married. Well, you were a tough investigative reporter. Every day waiting for the newspaper to come out to see what kind of a tough. Out so I still have nightmares about those. Little. Get quick pop quiz. Do you remember who your Dad's fiercest critic on the county council was at the time? It had to be glendenning exactly another who later went on to become governor as well. So I think you should put under the road signs in in Upper Marlboro Upper Marlboro breeding ground of governors. Paris glendenning and I are pretty good friends these days and he's been You know we reached out to him and he's he was at at my inaugural, and he's been to all of my state of the states and we he's been to the house a bunch and I've gotten a lot of good advice from him. So So things come back around. You know we were kind of on opposite teams and and not. Not Always in agreement on all the issues, but he's He's a nice Nice. Guy and and and former governor, and and he was also a former chair of the National Governors Association which I'm Cheri now. So we we've had a lot of good conversations and he's giving me some advice and we now know governor that if you do end up running for president at some point you've been through the Issakov test. I figure if I can make it to the COP I mean. You know if you made it through that, you can pretty much go through the. Right well. We see you still got through this interview so. All, right. I Wanna I, WANNA, start out I. Know You don't like to constantly have to respond to things. The president has said or tweeted, but it'll be responsible for anything. He says I I mean I like to take ownership of things? I. Say. But right. But there is a, there was a pretty provocative tweet today that's getting a lot of attention. Just read it to. You want to get your reaction with universal mail in voting is the President tweeting twenty twenty will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent. History it will be a great embarrassment to the US. delay the election until people can properly securely and safely vote question mark. Yeah, it's I. Mean I'm I'm I. Never Cease to be amazed that some of the things that the president tweets, but that one even that one took me by surprise, it's It's it's an outrageous thing to say, and obviously not not something that anybody should take seriously I don't know why the president goes about saying and doing some of the things he does. But that was just really uncalled blow when you say that people shouldn't take it seriously. You mean because he doesn't have the authority to actually delay the election, but shouldn't take seriously when the President United States says something like that in terms of how. The effect, it has on confidence in our system. Yeah. Well, no. I didn't mean to say that when the president tweets something, it doesn't have any meaning. I've long been critical of the president's Sometimes the tweets that are not a not productive at all and sometimes very harmful to the discussion I've talked about that throughout this coronavirus pandemic and that tweeting has been counterproductive and and the off message and harmful to the things that the rest of the whole virus team and his administration was trying to convey and the governors are trying to do I said when the president was running for office and. And and when he was first became president that people often ask the avenue advice for the President I said stop tweeting I mean so but no I I first of all, I don't think it's true. We we've been doing in Maryland. We've had been able to vote by mail with absentee ballots for any reason whatsoever for like twenty years and it's worked very effectively. We have no problems. We're now one of fourteen states in the country who are. Either sending out applications under ballots to every single voter in the state and and I just don't see it as a problem. I mean, obviously, we WANNA be careful and make sure that we go about things in a way that's not going to allow for any fraud, but the to say that we're gonNA, postpone the election because of rampant fraud that we don't. We haven't seen it. Just it just it makes sense. Sense, but the the real, the other issue is that he he can't postpone the election doesn't have the power to do that and it's just got. That's why it's an outrageous statement. So you have gotten a lot of attention and applause for your handling of the coronavirus in the state of Maryland, and I noted that just yesterday you expanded the state's mandate for wearing masks to all people over five. Years old while they are either indoors in public spaces or outdoors when social distancing is not possible. How are you going to enforce that and also tell us where you are in. Maryland. Right now, because you know for all the progress you've made you still had in Maryland seven, hundred, sixty, one new cases, yesterday and twenty deaths. Yeah. Well, first of all this. And this viruses obviously by no means behind us but I think we you know we took some of the earliest and most aggressive actions in the country and. The peak for us was really back in and amid April, and we've been steadily going down since then on our positivity rate, which is the thing that we're watching carefully, and until just the past week, or so we were down hospitalizations. We've seen a slight uptick in the total number of positive cases, but that's primarily due to the fact that we're. We're doing about four hundred percent more tests than we were like a month ago so. The good news is we're we're out testing many more people, and we're finding the cases where they are contact tracing and doing a good job trying to stamp out the virus. We're well below the positivity rate that the goal that set by the world, Health Organization, and the CDC a five percent. So were you know we dropped again today, we dropped two to three. I think three point seven percent on the daily. We're four point four percent I think on our seven day average all of which are really good compared to most of the other. Other states you know the federal government put out a a hot zone lists. Twenty one states across the country that they felt needed to take some dramatic actions of shutting re shutting their parts of their economy and and putting more restrictive limitations. ten person gathering were not on that list of twenty, one space or anywhere near on that list of states. But we're we're not complacent and we're we're certainly continuing to be very vigilant, which is why we took the did yesterday I was one of the first in the country to. Do a mask order we were the. Declared a state of emergency in our state. The very first day. We had our first case, Governor Dewine Ohio and I were the first ones to close schools and I've done forty some executive orders. As a result. We have gotten the virus under control from the point of thirty seven percent positively back in April down to four and but sadly you know it's it's flaring up all across the country and the virus doesn't recognize state borders and. We're not immune, and there's there's no guarantee that we're not going to have a spike back up and so masks more than anything else that can keep you. Safe and and stop the spread, and I'd like to try to keep people working as best we can. We can do it in the Safeway keeps some of our our businesses open and get people. Being able to get back to their is that they can an masking is the easiest thing to do as opposed to shutting everything down and it's worked well for us. But we had it and you know restaurants and retail locations and grocery stores and pharmacies just expanded it to more places because our contact tracing found that much of the spread was not taking place in those things, those places it was taking place in out the door gatherings with people crowding together without mass and in in environments and things like that. So. Let me just follow up on on that because you have flirted with the idea of running for president, something that you write about instill standing, but we'll. We'll be talking about that. So you have to think of what you would do if you were in the. Oval Office and I guess the question that sounds like Mike was just about to ask, but I will is if you were president, would you issue a national mask ordered? You think that's something. Something, that president trump ought to do. It seems like a pretty simple thing to do and I think it's something that his entire virus task force I think has been kind of talking about, and then I think they would advise him in that direction is something that obviously the CDC and Dr Couch. Even Dr Burks and the you know the secretary of HHS and everybody else says almost every day and the surgeon general and the President Look. The good news is the week or so ago, he started to change his tune in that direction where he now is saying that wearing a mask is patriotic and he was you know seen wearing a mask and multiple locations tweeted out a picture of himself in a mass. So that's a step in the right direction. But not you know from the beginning I said, you know that we got off on the wrong foot president wasn't taking this virus seriously enough, and they made it very clear that they wanted to governors the step up and take this on themselves, and that's what. What we have done for the past five months or so listening to your answer, it sounds like you're saying the answer is, yes, there ought to be a national mask order right I think it would be very helpful I. don't see it happening. So it's kind of a hypothetical yeah I. If there's no question that would have if we had done this back, you know in in March we probably wouldn't have the spread that we have. We wouldn't have a hundred and fifty thousand deaths and but and now I don't I don't think it's going to happen, but there's certainly Thirty states across America who have taken these actions and I think you'll. You'll see probably the rest of them and some of them, very red states and the southern states who were very much opposed to. It have now taken his accidents out of necessity of these, these huge biking numbers here. But we still have governors who are resisting in your You know are you still president of the national? Governor's Association at this. They called me the chairman and I'm. shorttimer. Thune. About the turn over the reigns to my share governor Cuomo. But they're still going to get a little more work. Well, I was going to say look you as you write in the book. You are very close to vice president pence and he helped you out when you first were running for governor and he was with the Republican Governors Association. Have you talked to vice president pence about the need to do what you said should be done, which is a national mask quarter. Well, I'M NOT SURE IF WE'VE HAD A. A personal conversation about the particular issue. I can tell you that my opinion, probably one of the best things best decisions the president has made on. This was putting vice president pence in charge of the coronavirus task force. He's he is taking it very seriously. They have a pretty good team around them with the foul CI and Burks, and you know you know Dr Haunted Fda, and you know they're really we have these meetings every single week with the governors, the tents leads with much of the cabinet and we have. Have, really productive discussions there. They talk about science. They'd go over the numbers and the data, and then the president will tweet something or say something a press conference, an hour or two later completely opposite of where you know on a totally different page than the rest of his administration. So I I still continue to think that the you know the the vice-president is doing good job leading the task force and I think there's some good folks on they're trying their best. But you know the guy, the guy in charge just. Just doesn't seem to be on board with the rest of his team. Have you had an opportunity to talk to president trump anytime. Recently, I haven't had a chance to talk to him personally. Recently, I mean he had been on a few of the call. He hasn't been on them in a few weeks but I you know I was leading the call on behalf of the governor's every week, and he was on about twenty of these calls I. Think we've done forty six calls over the past four months or so. that. I've lead for the many of them had the president and vice-president on them. So I got to speak to him directly the along with all my colleague Lisa videoconferences, and I usually let off on behalf of the governor's. But I, I haven't haven't seen the president or talk to him directly. My most of my conversation are with the vice president or cabinet members, I. I gather. You're a little disappointed that he hasn't given you a a mocking nickname. Well, I'm not sure I'm I'm disappointed. I'm more than happy to stay off of the radar screen I. Mean, it's a, it is a little unusual that he did take a few shots at me in a press conference or two, but but I'm glad I didn't get tweeted a nickname. Seem, seem to be one of the few that he hasn't gone after that. Didn't you didn't. You have some ideas about what he might call you. Well, I was I was joking about it. You know surprised that I didn't get tweeted about and I said, you know maybe he might come up with something like fat Larry on a few pounds so. Or cancer boy. You know I went through this battle with cancer when I first became governor. So I'm sure you know something really nice and friendly like he normally does. So governor has Danny mentioned before he said you would flirted with running for president. You done more than that. You were seriously considering it this time, and then you decided that you know you weren't there was no plausible way for you to. To become the Republican nominee. But here we are at this point in time. Now, the president's poll numbers are plummeting were in the middle of a national emergency with Kovin. Have you thought of reconsidering your decision not to seek the nomination this year? We'll. No, I didn't I. Didn't really even flirt with it or give it serious consideration and I just touch on that in the book after I was reelected. In a landslide and where the blue states in two, thousand, eighteen in a blue year with a blue wave people started saying how how did that happen? You know we'd lost governors. We lost the House representatives lost legislative bodies and is starting to get a little attention around the time I inaugural and You Know Jeb Bush. Came and did a speech and said some things. A number of people started saying, maybe I should consider I was I didn't pursue it in any way, but there was some talk. I. Just didn't totally dismiss it, and you know may maybe a few people talking to me about it, but I didn't pursue it in any way. I'm not doing that now I mean, I, said it's far too early to talk about what happens and in two, thousand, twenty four, but I mean still in twenty twenty, there's no no way to get involved in a race I. Think there are an awful lot of people in America today that are not you know. That are not happy really what the choice in either party they're not. They're not thrilled with president trump. They're not thrilled with Joe Biden and there might be a an a p maybe wishing there was someone else to choose from, but there's no no. Way of making it through the personal, the primary processes. It's way too late but to make it through the. Republican. On the. Day of the Republican Party. But look at the polls where the president's approval ratings are barely forty percent at this point I mean, is there. Is there any path you see that he could possibly win reelection? At this point? I would say that it's very, very difficult and and this is what people were talking to me about and what I was actually saying back much earlier on saying I thought that the president was was going to weaken that he was going to have a hard time and the general action and people were saying. Yeah. He he had a lock on the primary, but he was going to have a difficult time and in general election, and that might hurt down ballot races in that You know we were shrinking the tenth rather than growing tat that he was doubling down on appealing to the base, but he wasn't reaching out to any other possible swing. Voters are independence or discerning Democrats and alienating suburban women and Things like that. So I, I, still feel that. Seems to be happening, but you can't count anything. You know I I know that you know ninety days is a life time in politics this time in two, thousand, fourteen, all the pundits and experts and pollster set I was down by eighteen points in the blue state with no money and I ended up winning the Bay surprise upset in America, so I mean things. Things can change and foles can be wrong and we have no idea what it's going to look like you know three months from now. But there's no question that the if the election was held today that trump would not be reelected and the Republicans would take a beating across the country. What you said what you said Governor is that you wouldn't really have. Have a chance if trump continues to have a hold on the Republican Party, you know that he's had all of this all of this time and that hold, it could still be the party of trump even if he's defeated. But are, what are you seeing in the data that suggest to you? That Republicans may be reverting back in some ways to wear the party. Party was before. Are you seeing that? Well, I? I just believe that you know I. It's not really data driven other than, I. Mean. There are there are polls that show the New York. Times that Opole a group called more in common poll seventy, six percent of the people in America are just completely frustrated with the politics today and they're frustrated with Republicans. Republicans and Democrats and the. So there are a lot of people that just don't like the divisive politics today and I, think they're looking for something different I. think after November regardless of what happens the Republican Party whether trump is reelected or not is gonNA, take a hard look at where they go over the next four years after trump. What happens we returned back. Back to the more traditional Republican Party or keep heading the direction we're heading i. also think the Democratic Party depending on their results are they're gonna take a hard look where they are and have they moved to far? That will have to are they leaving some people behind that? Are that are more moderate or in the middle? You know I think both parties are. Are GonNA, reexamine their politics and If they're both moving, you know maybe towards the extremes and there there seems to be seems to be a huge lane down the middle for an awful lot of people that don't identify with the far left or the far. Right. In your book. You write about how you didn't vote for president trump last time you wrote in. In Your Dad. What are you going to do this? Well, you know it's a good question I. Mean there. There's certainly a possibility that I might write somebody and I. You know the guy who the guy, the other guy who really had a big influence on me with Ronald Reagan and maybe I'll think about writing him and You know I He's he's passed so. My Dad but No rule about writing in someone who has passed I, know that the? Last. Time. John. I. Know I know that case, Ronin. John McCain, and I know that all the bushes that they've picked wrote in someone else. But you know it I don't know, but we'll see. But I really believed that the the Republican. Party should return to a bigger tent. That's more welcoming I. Think we ought to be working more towards reaching across the aisle to get things done more bipartisan, common sense solutions and I. I just think back and maybe maybe it's dating myself making me too old, but I remember back to Reagan. You know working with tip O'Neill and getting things done or the Democratic Congress, and that's the kind of politics I'd love to try to get back to put your impulse to reach across the aisle would not lead you to vote for Joe Biden is that is that? Is there any possibility of that? I. Don't see it happening I. Mean you know I again i. That thrilled with the candidates on either side last time, it didn't I didn't vote for either of the two major candidates. So along with a lot of my fellow Republicans didn't either you know you, you talk a lot about the president's divisive rhetoric and there was another tweet yesterday that was actually a pretty eyebrow raising and I want to read it to you because it goes directly. Directly to that issue that you've that you've talked about, this is trump i. am happy to inform all of the people living there suburban lifestyle dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood. Your housing prices will go up based on the market and crime will go down. I have rescinded the Obama Biden AF h rule enjoy. Is that an appeal to white voters who fear that African Americans might be living at moving into their neighborhoods and if so, what do you? What's your reaction? Yeah again. I look. I'm not I don't. I'm not sure I'm qualified to a pine on what goes on inside the head of Donald Trump or how he decides what crazy things to tweet. In the middle of the night, I didn't see the tweet I. Don't I. Don't know what his motivation was, but it certainly is probably not something that he should have tweeted or the I would have tweeted and you know I just a again I thought commenting on every kind of stupid tweet that. But is that a racist tweet? Is that a racer? Like what? Yeah it? It sounds like that to you. Sure. Well let's talk a little bit about your book because there's actually a lot of fun anecdotes. Wanted it to be? It's not a deep political. You know I'm not talking about how much a position I really wanted it to be kind of. Fun you know lifestyle ray and I, think I learned some valuable lessons and. I hope in people might enjoy it. I. Totally Forgot About Nine, hundred, ninety, two, you ran against Steny Hoyer. Another guy's still very much with us. Still standing as were. Banning to. Quite, an exchange you had with him culminating with, this is a podcast. We can say everything he gets so exasperated with you. He leans over hisses according to your book. You're such a fucking Liar Hogan. Well, you know he says, he doesn't recall exactly using that language. I recall it. I I was I was speaking pretty truthfully when he got a little angry Funny. We had a really, it was crazy. I was a three and a half the Wand Democrat or Republican district. I had no money whatsoever. I was a thirty six year old guy who never held office. Any was a powerful leader of Congress at the time and he was the chairman of the Democratic Caucus. was number four guy and into leadership and the majority of Congress and and I can't give them a really good run for his money I beat him in four out of five counties. In a presidential year with a huge turn out, and it turns out, it was the largest. The largest turnout. Democratic, turnout. largest black turn out in history coming out to vote for. Bill, Clinton and against the George Bush and so in Prince, George's county writes right outside of Washington late majority minority counties where Hoyer was able to survive. But that debate took place a Thursday before the Tuesday election and he he had poll showing me tied who is he was panicked because i? Didn't even run a single commercial didn't have any money and but we had given them pretty good run, and we now we get to work with each other as the you know he and his position of governor, and we're we're we're friendly. But we have some fun stories from way back in the day. One very moving scene in the book governor is when you're being treated for very serious cancer and. Camera. Maybe getting chemotherapy. But but you're lying there and you said, you cried out loud. The first time you had done that since your mother died. Tell us about that until us all this talk about politics and trump. But what was the impact that that experience had on you? If you look back at it? Well, you know. So I had just been governor for five months and it was I'd won this big up said had our first legislative session, and then I dealt with the the riots in Baltimore been through first trade admission, and then I got the diagnosis that I had. You know life threatening aggressive cancer over my body and I you know I didn't. It didn't upset me. I wasn't hurt I wasn't scared I. Didn't didn't cry. Wouldn't upset I was. was really mostly concerned about telling my wife and my daughters, and my dad, who was you know eighty at the time? It was father's Day weekend when I got that diagnosis and and then I went I had to tell the P, six million people. Maryland just elected me and I was really strong drop the whole thing and and But that was one moment of vulnerability I was in the hospital bed and somebody my staff brought me a little sampling of the thousands of letters and get well notes from school kids, and from you know folks around the state that said they were praying for me. I just you know I. I was just sharing that moment of bar ability that I had been tough and standing up and worrying about everybody also try not to show any emotion. But you know at one point and Melania was I was on the twenty four hour day Chemo and taking steroids I couldn't sleep and I'm reading these touching cards and. Started to get a little motion because of the kind words, and then really kind of broke down. Thinking of all these people are sending me these letters praying for me hoping that I will survive. Maybe I really am sick. And all the stuff that I've been putting off the emotions just kind of at one time and that was it. Then I was tough. The whole rest of the time again, you know. But it was an incredible experience. You know I met so many wonderful people who were fighting stuffer battles on my own and their families and saw what they went through, and it made me a much more empathetic person and and and I'm still very involved. Involved in in cancer charities, and trying to raise awareness and raise money to. So we can find cure cities, terrible diseases, and I fought through the thing like other people who have to keep doing their job and and take care of their families and I. I went through about an eighteen month battle with cancer and and try to run state at the same time. Well, God knows we need a little more empathy from our politicians these days. I want to ask a little about there's been a lot of controversy and talk about the spike in violence in our urban centers over the last few months in the president has been sending out additional law enforcement agents in a lot of cities. But you've been hit pretty bad in Baltimore. I have not seen where the administration is sending these Operation Legend agents to Baltimore. Why the spike in violence in the city, and do you need the kinds of federal agents? The administration is sending to other cities being sent. Should be sent to Baltimore whether to different parts of the conversation one, the city of Baltimore. I talk about this in my book. So we had in the early days of the black lives matter movement we with the death of Freddie Gray Eighty, nine days. After I was governor, we had the worst violence in forty seven years break out in our largest city with a lot of violence and destruction. Just in the first few hours about four hundred buildings were burned and looted and destroyed. Hundred, twenty, seven police and firefighters were injured. City was overwhelmed that I had to send in a thousand extra police, officers, and four thousand members of the National Guard to kind of protect the citizens of Baltimore people safe, and we were very careful to continue to allow. Allow peaceful protests continue to go on day and night for vo a week. But we stop the violence almost immediately. We didn't allow anything else to be burned or anybody else be hurt or anymore bricks be thrown through windows and and so there are some lessons to be learned there, but we had no almost no violence in Baltimore this year unlike almost every city in America, we had very peaceful protests and I was really proud of that. We had one situation of a a statue being torn down. But that was it I think better than any state in America because we learned some lessons and I was proud of the citizens of Baltimore and the way that police. Know reserved way you know help to keep things under control, our citizens we're operating with the law enforcement. It was really model. I think for the nation. So there's no need to send any federal troops in to our city for any any reason with respect to that, but we do have a violent crime problem and city Baltimore, which we have for many many years, which is is out of control with the repeat violent offenders, murderers, and something that we've been working very hard trying to get city leaders and the legislature to work with us, and we have had great cooperation from the Federal Government, and we have seven different federal agencies. cooperating, we have the Aches Joint Strike Force of twenty, six federal state and local law enforcement agencies that are working on things like project exile for gun crimes and We put state money into the US Attorney's office. So they hire more prosecutors for federal gun crimes. We've got a joint gang taskforce that's tracking some of the criminal activity and trying to stop the violence but So there are things that the federal government needs the work and help in conjunction with mayors and governors on to stop violent crime. But that's different than you know violent much of the world and very peaceful, but there's been some. Destruction and violence that. Should be taking care of, but why? Why the spike now I mean I'm looking just last night. You had four shootings in Baltimore two, sixteen year old boys were were shot. Does seem that there is a substantial uptick in violent crime in your state's biggest city and I guess I'm asking, why do you think that is happening now? Yeah, it's not just happening. Now, we've had this for many many years. We average about three, hundred, fifty murders a year it's been something that we've been focused on trying to get the city leaders in the legislature. Do something about I pushed the tough crime package through the legislature that ninety percent of the citizens of Baltimore supported in the last legislative session, it passed the Senate and the House failed to act on it to try to do something about repeat violent offenders about stolen guns about You know about witness intimidation and all kinds of other things that could have helped this with this problem, but it's not a new. A. New thing this has been going on since the death of Freddie Gray, we've had one thousand, seven, hundred, eighty, two people murdered in Baltimore City, and so you know we talk about the importance of the black lives matter moving. But is a critical discussion we need to have, and about what we do about improvements, we make with our our police departments and police community relations, and but we also have to do something about this violent crime because those black lives matter also, and we've got we're losing too many people in the streets of our urban areas. What were the opposition to your bill for tougher action on violent repeat offenders? What was the? What was the objection who opposed it, and why the objection wise it broke down into an argument about. So I pass at criminal justice reform, which lowered the prison sentences for many crimes like possessions small or crimes, but we wanted to increase penalties for repeat violent offenders who continue to commit crimes with guns. And, the the the very progressive house is very much opposed to incarceration in any for any crimes or for any reason and thought it was they were calling mass incarceration even though we were only talking about the most violent criminals and so My my seventy percent democratic. Senate, passed it nearly unanimously, but the House refused to act on governor back to Cova for a moment because that is the subject on everybody's mind. everybody is a I'm assuming that schools will be all virtual in. Maryland. Come next month when they start or after Labor. Day you move schools back to after Labor Day I. I recall. But when do you think that you'll be able to have actual kids going to actual schools in the state of Maryland? Well, we're going to have some of them back to school relatively soon. So we our state suit. We have put a plan together about I. Guess It's five six weeks ago that our State Superintendent the State Board of Education. Put out a a safe reopening plan took into consideration the CDC guidelines. And We'd it offers a lot of flexibility to local school systems to make those decisions and to submit plans to the state No, no. Later than August, fourteenth, many of our systems have already submitted their plans. Some of them have not yet most of our largest jurisdictions with the higher populations. The more suburban and urban areas are all going to start with virtual learning online learning their goal is to try to get kids back in the. The classroom because it is important when they can do so safely. But some of our more rural areas are going to try to get kids in some type of hybrid where they're getting them into the classroom. Not all gives at one time, but some staggered thing, and that's GonNa Start, right away. So we have that flexibility. The largest percentage in those areas are probably won't be right away, but some of them are going to get some. Some kids classrooms relatively soon, and we're going to try to make sure that we we try to get our kids back as quickly as possible. But in the in the way, we can keep them safe governor I. Know We have to let you go. I just got one very quick Cova Question I. Remember that The feds had promised to set up testing sites in Maryland. Did that come through? Did they do that? No, we ended up setting. Setting up two hundred, thirty testing sites in the state of building our own state lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and acquiring are cast from South Korea. But the federal government, did we we? We figured with the four, hundred, thousand federal workers. We have here in this area that we could do something jointly with an I h, they have thirty six federal here. But so far, we've had no no help from them whatsoever on that. And My last quick question you talked about or possibly running for president in twenty twenty, four. Wendy. Think you'll make up your mind about that one. Well, I, think the long way off we get through this election I'm in the middle of you know still trying to run the governors association and we're in the middle of pandemic and economic collapse, and I've got a job running running the state of Maryland until January of Twenty, twenty three. So that would be a good time to think about this thing. All right, governor, and when you do, we'll have you back. Until January? Avenue. We now have with us the governor of Illinois J. B., Pritzker, governor, welcome to skulduggery. Thanks so much glad to be with you. So a lot to talk about here, but I want to start out with an issue that has generated a lot of controversy and got a lot of attention of late, and that is president trump's plans under operation legend to send up to one. One hundred fifty federal agents to Chicago as part of an urban crime fighting strategy, where does that stand? Are you welcoming them? Well, let me begin by saying we're always on alert and deeply concerned that president trump will try to do in Chicago, what he has done in Portland sending those federal protective service troops to really cause mayhem where there didn't need to be any. That was a deep concern of mine, and I, expressed it loudly, and often before we any agents arrive now, I spoke with the head of the Chicago. FBI. Office before any agents arrived I spoke with my own head of the Illinois State, police about his interactions with the federal agencies and assured on both fronts from the federal government that the agents that were coming sky. We're actually from the ATS and from the DA and from the FBI who had intended for many weeks before to come and work with the Chicago Department, as well as Illinois state police, and other departments around the state to help solve existing gang crime murderers, etc.. That's obviously something that is the normal purview of the DA, the FBI, the ATF, and so by itself, it doesn't concern me that they would be coming to work. You know in the offices with our police departments to help solve crimes. That's something we always welcome. But I, you know frankly every day I wake up concerned that the federal government that Donald Trump will turn it into. PORTLAND? So right now, it appears that they are indeed working on cases together. I've seen that with my own Illinois State police and I'm glad to see that that happening governor. It's Dan Kleinman. There isn't a big city in the country that. Doesn't have some partnership with federal law enforcement to work on crime, his gangs drug intervention as you mentioned, but Chicago is a unique case right now. Wouldn't you acknowledge I mean you? You have a crisis of crime in that city. May thirty first. Date that I'm sure you're very familiar with eighteen murders in twenty four hours. The most violent day in Chicago's modern history. What is going on in Chicago right now, and regardless of whether you think trump is well motivated or not here doesn't he have a point that things are out of control right now and you really need as much help as you can get from the feds. Yeah. But remember the kind of that we need is really in supporting the families that live in communities that have been left out left behind. That's the the real help that. That we need. You know when I came into office a year and a half ago. It's what I began to do and have continued to do I know that the mayor continues to focus on the south and westside trying to get investment in those areas that that again have been disinvested from, and we need help from the federal government on that front to what we don't need is a massive number of troops or police. You know what? We really need to help these families out and that that does as much as anything to reduce violent now. As. You've seen in our economy across the nation has deteriorated as a result of covid nineteen, and of course, a recessionary economy feeds into the challenge of fighting crime. You know people who are out of work. We have people really hurting, and we see what that does to the violence on the streets everywhere in the country. So but Chicago certainly needs help. There's no doubt about it, but the kind of help we need with mental health funding with physical health funding. Frankly, we need help, you know attracting investment to support small businesses. These are all things that big cities need, but especially Chicago. Again, you know I and my administration, the mayor and her administration, both trying to do that, we wish that the federal government would step up to the plate and help us out with that. We're providing you know these kinds of things at the state and local level, but it's the federal government that we need assistance. But governor, do you need more police because? Looking at the numbers four, hundred and fourteen murders in Chicago. This year up from two hundred and seventy-five last year at this point in time six, over sixteen, hundred shootings, nine children killed in just the last month. There are a lot of people say you need more cops on the streets yet? This is coming at a time that people are protesting saying fund the police. Police, we don't need more cops. The street. What we need is support again in the communities, the underlying root causes of violence or the things that need to be addressed otherwise, this is just going to happen. You know periodically you know every year, every couple of years spike in violence because you know people people who are left out have nothing to really engage in society. Society with I mean, why would they if they're if they're not being listened to? So that's something that needs to change and again this federal administration and the Congress the Senate in particular are looking to de fund hideous I. Mean, that is what this guy. This president is trying to do de-fund cities, and right now we have an opportunity to provide local governments with badly. Badly needed funding that they've lost revenue that they've lost from covid nineteen and yet look what Mitch McConnell is doing. He's actually advocating that states and localities just declare bankruptcy. Well, that's not helpful for quelling, violence, governor. Let me ask you about President trump because you have clashed very publicly with the president have been willing to take him on to his face in meetings. And you seem rather unintimidated by him. But not all of your fellow governors have even democratic governors have been willing to do that. Maybe there are concerned about funding. Maybe there are other issues. What do you think that is, and do you have a strategy in taking on the president? The way you have you trying to get inside his head? Well. I am trying to do however is you know when people make promises and don't deliver on those promises, I lose patience with that and I'm willing to speak out because I've learned that this White House sometimes react better when they hear criticism than when they're you know fond over and so that's you know one reason and the other is I genuinely. We needed help early on here in the Cova crisis and the White House was giving it lip service and then not delivering their were saying things in the national media and then not doing them on the ground and then eventually. They had made so many promises and not delivered on any of them. They decided. You know what? We're going to just shove the entire matter onto governors themselves. Good news for us. I stop trusting them long before they decided to shove the problem onto the governor. So we went it alone. In many ways we fought for our own testing regime and the state, and we're now one of the best in the country in terms of. We copied the Massachusetts contact tracing collaborative for the State of Illinois. We're building that up. We've been working at this for some time on our own. It's not that I don't need help from the federal government I do and I asked for and I'm grateful when I get it. But honestly when the White House makes a promise I. Wait to see if they actually deliver on that promise before I give. Any praise. Did you discuss operation legend with President trump at all I did not. He didn't call me offer is not done. Right Oh. Yeah. I was just GONNA ask on Kuroda virus what the situation is right now in Illinois I, think I've read that they're you're concerned about an uptick, what are the numbers look like and do you have a mask mandate in Illinois or if not? Are you considering one? That's obviously a subject of great controversy across the country, we actually have one of the earliest mask mandates. May I put masks mandate in I? Think there should be a national mass mandate. Remember one of the challenges we have an Illinois is that we push down the you know we did well early on, we had a very, we had a spike that we were pushing down. You know working hard at in. April early May and we succeeded to a large extent, the states around us Wisconsin, Iowa Kentucky. INDIANA. Missouri all have much higher positivity rates than we do and you know you don't build walls around states. Here. We have people who live in Illinois and work in those states around us and vice versa, and so you know that that's why you need it national strategy. This is shouldn't be every state for itself, but that's the way the president has set it up. The result is that when you succeed in a A state like ours, you're nevertheless You know at the whim of the success or failure of the states around you. So we have seen an uptick recently, you know we drove are positively rates down under three percent. We were all the way up at twenty three at the peak, and you know we're doing very well, and then we've seen as we open up ours and restaurants we saw we started to see picks up and then all the states around us were picking up even faster than we are. and. So that's obviously feeding into the problem. We also have you know Donald Trump's messaging. To. You know the thirty percent of people in Illinois, who support him? Has Been, don't wear a mask. It's unconstitutional or you know it's it's infringing on your freedom and so many of those who are not wearing masks today because they're listening to the president and yet you and I both know all know that the science tells us masks reduce the transmission rate by eighty percent. We get everybody to wear a mask. We could lick this thing, but you know I I. Instead I've got you know every day day in and day out, I've got a message wear masks mass. You know this isn't political. Political, this has nothing to do with what party you belong to. It's about staying alive and keeping your family safe and healthy. So you know I. I. Wish that that that Moore was being done on the national level to fight this thing as you. Now you know we have the perfect storm of president who has failed as a leader, a president who doesn't believe in science and a party that controls the Senate that backs him up at every turn. You mentioned, you'd like to see a national mask mandate ordered by the president. and. Practical in any way and would that be enough. There are some who say we need to go further and have some kind of given the spike especially in the southern states right now and in California that more we should have a national shut down for a period of time look I'm not a doctor or scientist, but I do listen to the epidemiologists and they all point two masked. Masked says the simplest and best thing that we can do, are there other things to do? Of course, we there's much more, but I would just say that you know whether it's look we're in the national emergency. We either need the congress passed mass mandate and the president to sign it or of the executive order by the president if that can be done legally, how would you enforce it? Well, a again, I have the same challenge here in the State of Illinois, we local law enforcement has some follow the lead of the state or the federal. Government. They're the ones who ultimately enforce it, and I'm not talking about arresting people were walking on the street, not wearing a mask. That's not. What we're suggest here, what we are suggesting that if everybody understands that you have the speed limit is fifty five or sixty five, you know everybody understands that you can have it enforced upon you. So you try fifty, Congress, sixty, five whatever that's limited. People wear a seatbelt because they know it's a requirement and that's what people need to know about maths. It will help a great deal. Are there other things you can do? Of course, but you know they're different reactions you can have. have in different places. Some places have outbreaks as a result of youth sports. Some places have outbreaks as a result of you know, the number of bars that exist and whether or not they're. You know they're enforcing capacity limits and so on. Those could be done on a state level or local level, but masks should be everywhere and unfortunately the president of the United States doesn't seem to really believe in them. Yes. He's recently changed. I'm glad of that, but he be loud and clear. Governor, I just want to go back to the law enforcement question for a second because you mentioned Portland a couple of times and I think you were suggesting you did not want a situation in Chicago, like Portland with some of these heavy handed tactics from federal law enforcement in that's going on in Portland, but I guess two questions, one substantive and the other. Other. A little more political. A the underlying question is, wouldn't you agree that while during the day you know there's been a lot of peaceful protesting there and grandmothers and people who are protesting and demonstrating racial reconciliation and reforms. But at night, there are a significant number of people coming out whether they're ANTIFA or not. You know dressed in black who are. Who are more violent who are attacking the federal courthouse they're looting, is that something that needs to be acknowledged by Democrats? The political piece of that is, is you think that Joe Biden maybe should separate himself from those more radical elements if he's going to continue to do well in among suburban voters, for example, what what, what do you think of that situation? Well, we need to take the temperature down and putting out secret police forces that people don't know where they came from or what they're doing. They're set. Set, doesn't help at all and the fact is that in Chicago. Look, you know the black lives matter protests were peaceful. There was looting. But as I think many of us have discovered much of that actually ended up being organized, criminal, doing that using the cover of the Elim protests. So we ended up with a lot of bus of those organized elements. So the idea that the black lives matter protesters were cover for some kind of left wing conspiracy or Antifa is just a construct of the president's mind. The fact is that we don't have violent protests in Chicago. Now, we have peaceful protests. We have not seen that kind of looting since you know a month ago or more during the middle of the George Floyd protests around his murder, and so these are not, it's something that the president's made up in his head that there's massive unrests round the nation look there were there were protests that were very important for. For. People to hear around the racial inequities that exists in our society and I, think people of all stripes, political stripes and otherwise have come to understand that must address that. Now, that is not something that needs to be put down by police. You saw an I saw with the president did in Washington DC. There were peaceful protesters standing there. They weren't doing anything wrong and all of a sudden his troopers. you know push these people threw tear gas at them, ran them over I. Mean. That's what he wants to show to. The American public is he wants to make it seem like. It's time for law and order because that's the only thing he can think of that might win him this election. It won't, and I think there is a recognition around the nation that this president is just making things up in order to try to win his collection governor, I want to switch gears a little bit Illinois has a long and storied history of corruption. Corruption in its politics I. Know You would hope that that was a thing of the past, but the speaker of the Illinois House and the Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. Michael Madigan was recently implicated in a pay to play scandal involving Com ed a growing number of Democratic lawmakers are calling on matic into resign one the other day state Senator Heather? Stein. said. He needs to quit. Now what she called a sordid picture of bribery influence, peddling and insider dealing. Now, you have not called on Madigan to resign. You said only if the allegations are proven to be true or if he is indicted and convicted, is that really the only standard for participating in public life in Illinois either you're convicted or it's okay to serve that not the standard. Standard? That I I did say that the speaker would need to resign if the allegations are true and I have, we have unfortunately, as you know at other corrupt politicians who've been indicted over the last year and a half and the same standard here that you know when their offices get raided. When they're indicted, you know when the facts come forward that are directed at them. That is when it is time for people in important positions to either resign their position within the legislature or resign the legislature altogether, and in either of those you know any circumstance of these allegations being shown to be true or as I've said with the other legislators, you know when there is a preponderance of this kind of activity, you know raids of their offices, etc. That is when people need to be resigning look. There is a growing belief that the speaker has a lot to answer for. There is an awful. They're an awful lot of questions that he needs to answer it. I, have called for him to answer those questions. But the far, we have not heard from him, right? I mean. But look he has been identified in a federal indictment as public official number one. The facts have are laid out in that indictment of all sorts of payments going to friends and associates of his in exchange for favorable legislation for Com ed. What more do you need to know at this point to say? Yes. Madigan has to go. Well, that's what I'm saying is those are serious allegations. Well, let's start with the fact that this massive utilities. has committed massive infractions, right. They've been found guilty essentially, and in the process of that, all kinds of things are coming to light and we need answers to those questions because there hasn't been any direct indictment. There's an implication absolutely about a number of people in there. We need to know much much more, but the truth is that we have a real problem here. There is no doubt about it. A need for ethics legislation in our state that we have not seen before I have called for major changes in the law. For example, we need to stop this. The idea that a legislator can quit one day become lobbyists slash consultant the next day. You know that that kind of revolving has existed in Illinois. It's gotTa go and legislators can no longer while they're legislators be lobbyists at other levels of government. Those are two examples of loopholes that exist in the state of Illinois that don't exist elsewhere that we need to close, and then we need to see exactly what it is that comment did that we don't have a law that covers. And then make sure that we're closing those loopholes, and that I think is going to be revealed in the process of the conviction of comment and the revelations around the people who are written about in the comrade indictment governor. Do you have a The ABA candidate for Biden's vice presidential pick? Of course I do our junior senator Tammy Duckworth awarded hero would make a Caribbean Vice. President? President of the United States I think that she not only has proven herself to be a great legislator, but also she will show up donald trump as someone who ran away from service at a time when the country needed him and he's not somebody that stands up for the military he runs away. Have you made your feelings about this known to former Vice President Biden? Yes, I have. Okay, good. Okay. All right. Well, we will see if he takes your advice, but we want to thank you for joining us. I. Thank you. Thanks to Illinois Governor Jay Pritzker and Maryland governor Larry Hogan for joining us on skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe skullduggery and Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think. Leave a review. Be Sure to follow us on social media at skulduggery pot talk to you soon.

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Whistleblower at the DHS

Skullduggery

48:12 min | 2 months ago

Whistleblower at the DHS

"The. The charges a constant one throughout the trump administration, the president and his top aides have been manipulating intelligence for political purposes playing down or concealing reports that could embarrass the White House a reveal misconduct. Such allegations were at the heart of the events that led last year to trump's impeachment, and they have resurfaced again this week when Brian Murphy a top homeland security official step forward with a whistle blower complaint alleging that. He was ordered to stop producing reports on Russian interference in the US election. In one case because he claims he was told by Acting Secretary Chad Wolf it would quote make the president look bad. We'll talk to Murphy's lawyer Mark Zayd. Yes. The very same Mark Zayd represented the whistle blower the impeachment Saga Amil discuss the continued controversy over the bombshell tapes revealed in Bob Woodward's new book on this episode of Skulduggery. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president's across. I'm not a crop I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostile to my heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. I did not have sexual relations without one there will be no lies we will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else. Michael, ISIKOFF chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, and I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo. News you know in one sense. This is such a classic, Washington story, Mark Zayd somebody you and I have known for years. One of the sort of lead intelligence lawyers in Washington who got a lot of attention a hung late last year when he was representing the still anonymous whistleblower that led to trump's impeachment, and here he is again representing Brian Murphy in these rather significant allegations about. Homeland Security but I gotta say what's really striking about this one is murphy was no low level guy. He was the acting undersecretary for intelligence at the Department of Homeland Security, and that makes this one really leap out. Yeah. We talked about this the other day. Usually these whistle blowers are these kind of anonymous bureaucrats. You know just kind of toiling away deep in the bowels of the bureaucracy, and that sometimes opens them up to charges of being maybe flaky or not as credible or. Sometimes, you know whistle blowers are crusaders, and so it's really unusual for someone to be this senior who has risen through different bureaucracies, the FBI now homeland security, and so starts with kind of credibility that a lot of whistle blowers don't actually start with and I think that does make this difference. Right that said, he does have some baggage. He was demoted in August over reports that he had been collecting intelligence on journalists including our friend Ben with us now we're GONNA ask about that and I think you'll have an explanation that we should at least listen to but you. Know, it's going to inevitably raise questions. Okay. you are come for your coming forward now but the events you are describing in this whistleblower complaint took place prior to your demotion. If you felt that strongly, why didn't you come forward then and that's inevitable in a complaint such as this right and was he disgruntled is there safe and data because he was demoted. So all of those questions will get aired. I will say that the story he tells is going to a lot of people's minds confirm a narrative that people are predisposed to believe because there have been so many. Good reason to believe. Yeah Yeah exactly right. And Look. You know there was always something a little bit hinky about the fact that you know when they did that intelligence report a month or so ago and tried to put equivalence between Russia, which was clearly been involved in direct interference, social media manipulation, hacking, all the all that sort of stuff that we saw in two, thousand, sixteen and China suggesting that Russia wanted to help trump but China wants to help Biden. You know we haven't seen the evidence of Chinese interference in the same way certainly, the Chinese one would not put them pass doing something. We just haven't seen any evidence of it where we've seen plenty of evidence on the Russian side. So that did make a lot of people suspicious was that being done for political purposes to try to produce a false equivalence that would take away the sting of further attention on Russian manipulation at the at the end of the day, this is only going to have real political impact if. The whistle blower if Murphy. Documents has emails or if there are other. Individuals inside the government who can corroborate his allegations. We'll just have to see one other bit I'd like to just sort of bring up here since we were talking about you know raising the question why didn't murphy come forward earlier everybody in Washington and around the country of course has been. The cussing the Bob, Woodward revelations, those tapes, those damning tapes he has. The president saying that he deliberately played down the threat of Corona virus because he didn't WanNA panic the public and people saying why Woodward? Did you sit on this for your book? Why didn't you disclose it at the time? You had these tapes because this was clearly newsworthy information and Should have been known to the public at the time perhaps it could have saved lives, I. GotTa say there are a lot of factors that go into something like this you and I both written books and you know obviously you want to have revelation newsworthy revelations when they come out to get attention. But in this one I'll say I'll stick up for Woodward a bit here and we hope to talk to him about this look at the timeline he reports that in. Late January January thirty first you know trump gets told Gerona virus the biggest national security threat of your presidency that comes from Robert O'Brien. The National Security Adviser in early February trump is telling Woodward on tape. Hey, this is really serious. This is a lot worse than the flu. It's a lot more deadly one could argue that Woodward come forward then but if he had done so. He wouldn't have had the later conversation in March in which trump confesses that he was deliberately playing down the threat of corona virus. So that this Russia reporting process right now I agree with that I mean, you know sometimes you have to think about the you know the long game here, and if you're cultivating a source and win that source is the president of the United. States. You may want to you sometimes, you have to make those kinds of compromises I think there are a couple of things here. First of all, as you point out, you know this is not the first time that someone writing a book in an investigative book has held onto to material. We face this at Newsweek because every four years we did the Newsweek campaign project where we cut deals with both campaigns and said, in fact all the campaigns and said, we're going to have a separate team reporters reporting under embargo. We're not going to report anything until after the election results and we were. Always. Worried that what if we learn something that could actually alter the race itself that we would be faced with a huge ethical dilemma what would we do about that? We would never confronted with that but it was something that we were mindful of I think with Woodward. What he says I've read some of the interviews that he's given. What he said was he learns he has that conversation with trump in February. He does not know until I think may that trump learned this in a national security briefing so when he has the conversation with with trump, he doesn't know if it's true. It's Donald. Trump after. Yeah. Okay. So then that raises the question should he have published it in May what he did learn about the national security briefing what he says is his job is to tell. The fullest version of the truth with all the contacts and his and the demarcation line is the election as long as reported before the election I think the reality with Woodward is that he is no longer a daily journalist says. He is a book writer that his his State of mind. He has a some kind of hazy relationship with the Washington Post, he's not even an employee as far as I know who's GonNa Get Five dollars according to. Something like that. Yeah. So it looked it's a legitimate debate I. think there are good arguments on both side I think at the end of the day, what people are going to remember is what Bob Woodward reported not what he didn't publish a few months before we'll see right? Well, we hope to have him on skulduggery to discuss all of this and all the rest that's in his book but right now we have. Mark. Zayd. So let's get to it. Look. We now have with US Mark Zayd lawyer for Brian, Murphy lawyer for every whistle blower who makes waves in Washington it seems these days mark. Welcome back to skulduggery. Thanks guys pleasure to be here. So quite a story your client Brian Murphy has to tell tell us a little bit about how this came about when he filed his complaint when he retained you to represent him in this matter sure and you know interesting to know quite a story because if this had been ten years ago, fifteen years ago, this will be right a front page story and constant new wrong. It wasn't even the main story going up against. Bob. Woodward is pretty tough. So well, it's you're going up against Bob Woodward but you're also going up against you know the kind of how inured people are these shocking revelations that come. This administration exactly and and that's a sad story to tell in I'm sure historians will tell it so. We filed this complaint with the Inspector General's Office at the Department of Homeland. Security? Technically I think it was the eighth it's dated September eighth, but they would have received at the morning of. September. Ninth, we only entered into the case not quite frankly not long ago end of August or so I mean, we really put this together fairly quickly so that we could get it into the cycle of everything because these this process takes a while and particularly because Congress is about to go out of. Session of course, in anticipation of having to run for re election for the house for every member after two years. So we put this together fairly rapidly in order to to push this forward but it's been in the works at least for a while because as noted in the complaint what Murphy acknowledged that he was the author of two cryer anonymous I g complaints back in two, thousand, eighteen, twenty, nineteen, or so That are part of the protected disclosures that he made. Now because it seemed to him to be clear that senior government officials, dhs either new or at least suspected, he had been the author of the anonymous complaints and so that triggered whistleblower protection even if he had been the actual author and what were those, what were those complaints about those ads do with some of the testimony that was being put forth about? The border wall and the number of terrorists coming in through the united. States. As well as I think I have to go back myself actually in in look I haven't memorized everything in this complaint because at the end of the day, it's his allegations not mine. My objectives are twofold one make sure the allegations get to the appropriate oversight authorities in the legislative and executive branches and to protect the whistle blower from retaliation. You'd have lawful retaliation but retaliation the merits of the case fall to Murphy especially because you know we have conversations of Murphy and wolf the acting secretary ending nominee as well as Murphy and coach Anneli. The Deputy Secretary Yeah we'll walk mark walk us through the specific allegations of abuse that Murphy Alleging Chore So there were seven or eight disclosures as I recall one had to do with whether there was perjured testimony before. Congress concerning the border wall in twenty eighteen, twenty, nineteen. Another had to do with whether or not Kuch. Anneli was trying to distort intelligence that was coming in regarding Guatemala Honduras and El Salvador El Salvador as to why were asylum what why were these individuals nationals of those countries trying to come into the United States and coach Anneli wanted to according to Murphy this is all Murphy's allegations I'd I know nothing I'm Conveying what the client states. Kucha wanted to make changes outlining all these high levels of corruption in violence and poor economic conditions, which is not what the intelligence reports were reflecting and when he saw the Intel reports according to Murphy, he accused unknown in deep state intelligence analyst where we heard that before deep state intelligence analysts were compiling this information to undermine President Donald J trump's policy objectives with respect to asylum. Any wanted this to be changed and Kucha Anna Murphy said no in fact coach Anneli wanted Murphy and Murphy's boss at the time David glower. Was the intelligence chief for DHS wanted to identify the names of the individuals who compiled the reports and either buyer or reassigned them immediately and both cloudy and Murphy refused to do. So that was the second one the third at least how I'm counting it. Had to do with again attempted censorship of intelligence analysis pertaining to Russian efforts to influence undermine US interests and this had to do in particular with information that the Russians were trying to undermine elections etcetera and dealing with a whole host of disclosures and Murphy again was saying look I'm not going to change what the Intel report says day this case it was it was the acting secretary erect Chad Wolf who ordered him to hold back that intelligence wanted to hold back on Intel assessments on the threat of Russian interference. Which of course was making again, raising all these questions of the trump administration and Russia and instead report more on interference activities by China Iran which as you know has been in is a completely different view relationship with which we have with those countries. Okay. Too quick questions on that one. What was Chad? Wolf stated reason for directing Murphy to do that. That's the first question that I have a second one. So you know again I know what's in the four corners of the plate at least from the complaint Wolf. Told Murphy that those instructions originated from the National Security? Adviser Robert O'Brien. Now O'Brien interviewed on Fox News the other day and was asked about this and I thought gave striking statements because I at least in the The excerpts that I heard, which perhaps were not the entire segment of the interview with the experts that I heard did not have actually denying it but instead was more about deflection saying, well, Hey, I don't know who murphy is I never met Murphy, which is fine because we never said Murphy met O'Brien we said Wolfe told Murphy that these instructions came from O'Brien and O'Brien said I've been one of the most strongest strident people against Russia again, I don't really care about doesn't your client's alleged that Wolfe said this needs to be done. So we don't embarrass the president the President does look bad. Look bad Y- in a different. There's multiple disclosures and multiple interactions in a different meeting on July eighth of twenty. Twenty. Murphy says that Wolf told him that the intelligence notification should be held in quotes meaning that's what he said because it quote made the President Look Bad and quote that is what Murphy says. Wolf told him. So Murphy is a political appointee. Correct. I you know it's good. He is a career federal civil servants. I. was elevated what his appointment process was be. But he he was the acting undersecretary for intelligence. At the time because his boss retired in May, right well that that's a political level I guess if he was career he was. Elevated by political appointees and you know one obvious lots of questions always arise when one when a whistle blower comes forward does he have emails documents any material that would corroborate what he is saying? Yes. With the caveat when you say has right they're all their classify well, many of them will be classified. So it's in the secure system. Now he's still works at DHS. When we have an opportunity to meet with. The inspector. General. Or the hill, we will be able to provide that classified information to both entities or at a minimum be able to identify where that information can be found. But is it your understanding that the emails will corroborate the gist of what he's saying that he was directed to remove information about Russian interference and play up information about Chinese and Arabian interference some of IT I. Honest. I, have to check to see to what extent there are the documents that support that again if you look at the complaint. The protected disclosures that are detailed, many of which are verbal. So there were. Multiple people in the room. So those individuals will need to be interviewed by the oversight authorities and there are, as you see with respect to the homeland threat assessment as to whether or not the administration and Mr Murphy was told you need to include downplay the information on white supremacy and up play. A place a word, but it is now up play of violent left-wing groups Antifa in the like there are drafts of those documents. They're our emails regarding the evolution of these documents in a we're we're all veterans here of Washington dc we we know that a final document in the federal government doesn't exist in a vacuum right? You know it's gone through multiple iterations with lots of discussion within unclassified and classified systems. So presumably, all of that is still there would still need to be maintained by law I have no idea if anyone destroyed it hopefully nobody did but there's nothing there's nothing you have access to right now right now. Corroborate his story. So when I represent whistleblowers one I never take possession of classified information but even beyond that. I tend not to take possession of even unclassified information because even if it's marked EPO for official use only, which is not a designation by classification in agency can make an issue of an employee providing even EPO or SBU sensitive, but unclassified documents to an unauthorized third party. Again, my job is to protect the whistle or client from retaliation and I don't WanNa hand an agency, any opportunity as a means by which to take disciplinary action. So I tend to stay away from documents until I have a pathway to an I G or congressional oversight before we start to go down that. Now in addition to documents and emails, and the like there are potentially I witnesses like your clients, former boss, David Law, who you mentioned before the undersecretary for for intelligence at dhs he was in many of these meetings he was interacting with all of the key people and based on the complaint he seemed to take your client side in many of these instances. So we'll. He testified you think, well, he support Murphy's contentions I. Hope. So and I apologize to glow if I'm risk pronouncing his name Glauber I thought it was glauber but you you. have no idea. So take it from me I'll stay. That because I think that's how you pronounce it but. However one pronounces his name. You know this is the predicament that we always have in whistleblower cases. You certainly hope. that. The folks who you are identifying as supportive of what you heard and what you said or what you read, etc or your interpretations are going to fall in line. With. These assertions you haven't talked. You haven't talked to him of not spoken to him. He is in the private in private arena now. So I hope he will step up and do the right thing, and really what I hope is that he will step up and tell the truth and whatever that truth may be to the best of his recollection and we'll see you. Again, when when I have whistle blowers, sometimes whistleblowers are wrong. Sometimes, they misunderstand things I'm not saying that this is the case for this whistle blowing. That caveat explain explain that because I think for a lot of people. It's a little surprising to hear and I understand that whistle blower cases maybe different. It's a little surprising to hear a lawyer talk about his client in this way and say, well, this is what he's saying I. Don't know if it's true. That's usually lawyers are staunch advocates for their clients and I know you are in certain ways but our whistle blower cases different in that regard or. It may absolutely differ by how lawyers handle the case. So this is how my firm in the colleagues who I work with handle these cases a whistle blower by law just needs to have a good faith belief. That there is a violation of law misconduct gross mismanagement. What you know you go down the definition of what a whistle blower allegation is. oftentimes, our clients are within the intelligence community. and Mr Murphy is a member of the intelligence community by virtue of this specific office in the DHS that means I can't verify much of what intelligence officer tells me just like when we did the icy whistleblower case now I was not involved with the drafting of the complaint because I wasn't in the case yet I came in at the third week of September my colleague. Andrew Buckeye who is on this case with me Now, was the coat was the lead counsel, but even he did not write the whistleblower complaint in the impeachment proceeding last year because it was all classified. So what we do is we guide a client as to how to write the complaint. Now, because this is an unclassified complaint, we can receive at a high level thirty thousand foot view what are the beliefs and understandings of the client, and this client is a former marine. A former FBI special agent for almost two or at two decades he a career federal official in the intelligence community, and if he tells me his view is this is what I heard. This is how I interpreted it. I tell him what all the risks are with that, and obviously your credibility your motivation may be at stake especially when it is. Private conversations that you the whistleblower happening in a small number group of number of people. That are you willing to accept that risk and he was willing to stand up tall and proud and publicly and vocally say, this is my view. This is my concern and I'm gonNA stand by now as more information comes to light you know I, I will assess those facts but again, our job as visible lawyers. Are. To, ensure the relevant oversight authorities investigated independently and protect the whistleblower from retaliation even if the whistle blower ends up being wrong or misunderstanding thanks and I have had that happen with cases before especially in the Intel community where it's so compartmentalized that they didn't see the whole picture now that's not this case because this individual Brian Murphy was so senior. That he was the policymaker maker involved with the drafting of of the way I know. Mike. Wants to get in here but that is pretty unusual for a whistle blower to be at this high level and the government have you had many. Cases with someone who is at the I, mean the at least the acting under secretary level. A pause 'cause I'm thinking back I mean I I think I could probably say I probably have never had anyone at this level in almost. Twenty. Five to thirty twenty. Practicing Law Twenty eight years. And I'm just trying to think of someone even at this level being a whistleblower historically out John Dean. You Know White House one of the White House counsel I. It's not usual it. You know and that's why I hesitated. Mike, when you're mentioning about is political appointee because obviously especially in this administration, you tend to have political appointees. Toting the water or whatever the phraseology for that towing the line and sticking with the president's message. So he might have been by virtue of the fact of his boss retiring in stepping up temporarily, but he's a career federal civil service and you say he was an FBI special agent. Yeah from. The like nineteen ninety. Here was an active duty marine in the mid nineties and then FBI special agent from nineteen, Ninety Eight. To Two thousand two, twenty, eighteen other than a stint where he went back on active duty in like two thousand, mid two, thousand, four, zero, six something like that. It's in the complaint. When he went overseas to the war zone in fact, he was with the FBI at the field office in New, York on the nine eleven. Did he work the nine eleven case? He. Presumed I can't imagine that there was anyone in the field office in New York. City who did it but I I don't know what what is. Look needless to say this complaint goes to the heart of what critics have alleged for quite some time and that is the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes by the trump administration. But that said, we should point out that the immediate response from. The White House is that Mr Murphy is a disgruntled former employee and it is true that in August after the events he describes in this complaint, he was demoted because of a finding that he'd been collect improperly collecting intelligence about journalists, something dhs and everybody agrees should not be doing including our friend. Ben Widows One of the targets of the intelligence collection that Murphy had ordered. So one can say look, he did not come forward when these events took place in the spring and summer than after his demotion he does come forward and file this complaint that would seem to fit the category of somebody who is a disgruntled employee, right? So let's start with first that the typical right out of the playbook of whether. It's the federal government state government or private company when there's a whistle blower, the first thing that one says is trying to undermine their credibility and say there are disgruntled employee right I. Mean That's right. Standard. You know it's pretty rare in where you have an entity say oh yeah. By the way Oh really yet he's right is right we luckily retaliated etc and as a side note, right my co counsel Andrew. Again the WHO was the lead counsel on the whistleblower case when that case surfaced last year, we were in the midst of reporting and who right who might long longtime relationship with reported how we had the DA to we were able to persuade the DHS. Office. The same one that's investigating Murphy's allegations that Andrew. who was a whistle or himself I was his lawyer was unlawfully retaliated against by the CIA. Right. And I can guarantee you that the CIA g denied that vehemently every step of the way until we had an Say to the contrary. So this case, a few things on that. Journalists. I represent many journalists many of your friends and colleagues and entities I think you've probably have worked for. That never should be under surveillance by the government and you know unless they're criminals, of course, trying to really be bad criminals or terrorists, but that doesn't happen. I know it's not you guys know people like Ben Witness no should not be under investigation and Brian Murphy agrees absolutely because that's not what was happening in that situation and we AH detail that slightly in the complaint because it's not directly related to the complaint but we wanted to have that in there because he he finds that during ported because he wants it known that that's not what they were doing. What they were doing was monitoring how the Russians were using US reporter reporting and distorting that for disinformation purposes. And I don't I can't go into more detail that because I don't know enough about the details of that. But what I can tell you again by the complaint is that Murphy says Chad. Wolf. told him specifically. That I know that's not what you were doing I know that what the office was not what the that does word what the office was not doing but if I remove you, it's GonNa make me look better I'm going to reassign you gonNA. Make me look better because I want to be the nominee arrate Chad wealth actually said that to Brian Murphy. His. Going Better I. Think I have that in quotes we'll have to look it up in the complaint BA great if you had that in an email but. No. That's going to be verbal, and now of course, wolf got to deny that. I mean, I don't think any reasonable person's going to believe otherwise but you know at the end of the day, there may be some credibility determinations that are going to be relevant to this case, and that's fine because I'll put my clients credibility out there and so we'll he and we'll see we'll happen. But what's also really important on this issue? It wasn't just that Oh look we filed a complaint. Host Demotion. So air go is a disgruntled employee. We acknowledged in the complaint for the first time that actually Murphy was the author of two anonymous. Complaints that were filed back in eighty, two, thousand, eighteen, twenty, nineteen about some of very protected disclosures that we are identifying now. And those were filed with the Deitch sl and apparently they went nowhere because Murphy never heard anything about it and he would. Just, can I ask just one more follow up on that? Arc. Why didn't he file his complaint back in March I believe when he says, Wolf, told him to play down the Russian interference well, because he he did what most are. So you guys ask a legitimate question of wow. Have we ever seen a whistle blower so publicly come out who was so senior we don't because most of the time they try to work it through the system and persuade the other officials that no, they're not GonNa do it. They're going to take a stand and not do it or try to get them to change it change their position if you look at the IC whistleblower case last year. Not My client, but look at the others look at lieutenant colonel. Alex Vincent who was lawfully a whistle blower but didn't go public because he went to his chain of command to Bolton look at Bolton who actually was a whistle or by complaining to the president didn't come forward publicly but said, no, you shouldn't do this. You know that's most people at that level especially, the undersecretary they they don't because again either their political or they end or their career federal civil servants in they try to work it through the system if they if they go public. What happens is what we're experiencing right now, massive attacks from the from their bosses and it places them at risk what will happen at the end of the day to Brian Murphy whether he's proven to be correct or he's proven to be mistaken does he have a future in dhs in the trump administration? Let's say for the remainder of this administration or let's say trump wins reelection what realistically will happen by his coming forward even if it's proven that he he was accurate is probably not going to have a role there and that's why you don't see people come forward. I said it took place in margin I am reading I see was in May. Directive about playing down the Russian eight. Dan By all means ask but let me just say final on this motive for whistleblowers is generally irrelevant credibility for certainly is relevant because especially when you're talking about, he said, she said, he said he said type conversations but motive is irrelevant because it's the substance of the allegations that need to be investigated. And motive can go to credibility course. But if a disgruntled employee reveals that the company president is embezzling funds doesn't matter that the person had been fired. If in fact, the company President was embezzling funds now and more importantly. We should praise folks like Murphy whether his allegations tent turn out to be true or not. Again only needs is a good faith belief because he has been willing to step up publicly which doesn't mean those who don't step up like the anonymous whistleblower blower did anything wrong but he was willing because of the virtue of his the statue of his position. In there's no way to hide his his identity to step up and say I, think, this is wrong. We should be raising that because we want more officials to do that rather than start to question why didn't you do it sooner? I swear understand was he demoted because Chad Wolf wanted to look better after the story leaked about monitoring reporters or was he demoted because he was not doing what they were ordering him to do he was balking and being recalcitrant about. Cooking the books with the with the Intel. So it is our allegation that I think it's both is going to be the answer, the public allegations of. A which Mr Murphy was the acting undersecretary ex secretary for the allegations that he and they or it were monitoring journalists gave cover to wolf to use that as an excuse to reassign him to mowed him. When the reality is Wolf didn't think I was doing that Wolf didn't think Murphy did anything wrong but Wolf is completely annoyed and upset with all the instances and examples where Murphy was declining to follow his and White House instructions to cook the books and politicize intelligence. So this gave him the opportunity to demote him. Needless to say the House Intelligence Committee shared by Adam. Schiff is all over this and I gather murphy is going to be deposed. Twenty. By the committee. So I received a letter from congressman ship that indicated they. Wish to depose him Murphy on Monday September twenty first and that they will issue a subpoena for his testimony I have written. To DHS acting general counsel and the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs. I did. So this morning Thursday the I asked them two things. One does the department intend to prohibit or preclude. Murphy from testifying under subpoena on the twenty-first, and secondly with respect to that testimony, as well as the Inspector General Investigation we the lawyers need to be cleared to have authorized access to classified information up to the. Level, which for the folks who don't know what that is that's the highest essentially classification level because we are unable to represent our clients interests if we are not present while he conveys his evidence of whistleblowing activities and retaliation and I asked that VHS respond to those two questions by Friday September eleventh on what grounds can they say? No, well, two separate answers for those two questions that I asked one I would certainly hope that any administration would honor a lawfully issued subpoena. From Congress, to a federal employees, I think we've had a track record on that. It is not necessarily encouraging for your. Rate, which is why I asked the HFS as to what is your intent again, what is my objective as the lawyer to protect the client from retaliation? So I wanNA know what is DHS's position? If vhs says no, we absolutely honor the subpoena he is authorized to testify. Then there's no issue with any retaliation on that point. But if D. H. says, no, we are. We are ordering him not to comply with the subpoena. than. Mr Murphy has a choice to make as to what he wants to do and I'm not GonNa I. Don't know what will do because quite honestly we're not in that position yet. 'cause we don't know what? is going to say, and again, then the answer to the second question is executive branch agencies routinely make my life difficult with giving me access to classified information when I represent whistleblowers. That's not. Has By no means isolated to this administration that has been every administration since I've been practicing law isolated to you. That is related to any private attorney other than if you're David Kendall Secretary Clinton's former lawyer who was able to have safe and store classified information in his office during the whole e mail fiasco I have never been allowed to have a safe in my office and store classified information notwithstanding the fact I have asked many times or such K. Mark you know how toxic a political climate is out there has your client received any threatening emails or been attacked on social media what what's What's the reaction been? I am not aware of the client receiving anything and I have not a checked social media yet I try not to checks. But unfortunately, because of the nature of this. Vitriolic atmosphere I need to check social media to see if there's any threats out there that look credible I have received the usual. Hey, emails very few it so far in this case, certainly less than I did when I was representing the icy whistle blower and very. Consistent with the hate emails we have received for years depending on what ideological bent the case was against or perceived to be against bottom line mark. What do you think the likelihood is we will hear from Brian Murphy in public before Election Day. Unknown. So again, the way I handle my whistleblower cases is. I still have a client who's employed by the federal government. And his agency like every agency has rules governing whether that employee is permitted to speak to the media without authorization. And I will request from dhs the granting of that authorization, and we'll see what they do in response again, I wanNa make sure that I never put my clients in a posture where the agency has legitimate grounds to indicate or rely on a violation of rules or regulations internal to the agency that they could use for disciplinary action. Lawfully prevent him from appearing on the media or testifying no only to the extent that might be classified, but they could fire him for doing. So and that's not what we want. He wants to continue working and serving the US government in the constitution. skulduggery. Is Willing to test. That that case but as Invitation Yeah. Mark you say he wants to continue doing his job working for the government. What is it like it has been going into the office since all of this happened so far now, obviously, what is we're recording this on Thursday September eighth and the complaints only became public Oh my God was it yesterday was yeah and it was yesterday. Yeah. Okay. Well, only yesterday and I imagine that's probably when when they ask Aspel, they might have found out about it on Tuesday because I. Copies I think were given to the to the hill on that time, but it's been a very short period of time. I will say at least this to my knowledge, there hasn't been any indication of any negative activity or comments by the government internally to him. so He's been going into work and he'll continue to go into work until he's told differently and he'll continue to to do exactly what he's always done. I would say to you guys again on the invitation for skulduggery to interview him, you should contact public affairs and. S and asked to interview him. I'm sure that will get us a a prompt positive. green light to. Interview him well, there there is. Or our rules and regs out there laws that we have been using in certain cases. That actually allow a whistleblower to talk to the media even though the agency doesn't want them to. As long as it's not unclassified, that is part of a protected disclosure. Now, there are steps that I need to take as the lawyer set that up, and that is to talk to the agency the Department is. And say, this is what we want to do. What is your position on it because again I hey, if they're going to say, no, I want them to say no on the record. Well, as long as we don't have to pay you your your customary hefty legal fees, gopher, it mark. Set it up. Yeah. I will work on it. Anyway and short. Of Your client We will have you back a- as more about this case comes out which I fully expect. It will mark thanks again for joining us and as we say, we will definitely have you back. Gentlemen is always a pleasure and I look forward to it. Yeah. Thanks a lot mark. It's a fascinating case.

Brian Murphy DHS President Donald J trump Chad Wolf president US undersecretary Washington Bob Woodward Mark Zayd secretary FBI DHS Skulduggery Russia Intel official Bob Congress White House
The Mattis Moment

Skullduggery

43:49 min | 6 months ago

The Mattis Moment

"A Michael isikoff chip. Correspondent, for Yahoo News and I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News, and a quick reminder that you can follow us at skulduggery Pod, and by the way. If you've got any questions, thoughts ideas, you wanNA share tweet right out us now. Let's get on with the show. Finally the general speaks out ever since he resigned. Donald Trump's secretary of defense, James, Mattis has been besieged with entreaties to tell what he knows, and what he thinks about the erotic blustery behavior of his former commander in chief, but Mattis held his tongue until this week, when he issued a blistering rebuke of the president, he wants served his breaking point where the protests over the death of George Floyd and the president's vow to use military force to contain them. Never did I dream that troops would be ordered under any circumstances to violate the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens much less to provide a bizarre photo-op for the elected commander in chief with military leadership standing alongside Mattis, said, and then this Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people does not even pretend to try instead he tries to divide. Divide, US it was an extraordinary statement that may have already given cover some Republican senators to voice their misgivings about president trump, but what prompted mattis to break his vow of silence, we'll talk to his former top speechwriter. Guys snodgrass, who's also the author of a book about his tenure as Secretary of Defense and explore what his statement means for the military and the country on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president. Trump I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostile my heart, my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence. Tell me it is not I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the Truth and nothing else. Michael isikoff investigative correspondent for Yahoo News and Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News I think it's fair to say that. A lot of people were blown away by Madison's statement, not just that he spoke out, although that was pretty extrordinary in and of itself, but those were amazingly stinging words that he says about his former boss, the president and it's so out of keeping Mattis. A Marine General Guy who's respected chain of command all his life, his kept silent ever since he resigned at the end of two thousand eighteen, but you know man when he finally chose to go public. It was more than I think anybody ever expected. He. He said he violated the Constitution. I mean basically he said that the president of the United States in going after protesters in the way that he did was a violation of the United States Constitution Constitution that all members of the military are sworn to uphold, and there have been many other retired generals who have spoken out against president trump, but none had the weight of Jim Mattis. Some Republican recently described it somewhere between Ronald Reagan, and the pope so so some circles. But look not all, but can I just say what prompted this? Okay? Madison's pointing to sending military troops to police the streets of American cities, and it is worth pointing out that like much else with Donald Trump. You know there's a big talk. Blustery Talk. Trump has talked about invoking the insurrection act. He's talked about bringing in the military to. To crack down, but let's be clear. He hasn't actually done it. Yes, National Guard has been called out in Washington DC but what? What what what happened on Monday? Yeah it was. White is but mean, but it wasn't active duty military. Like any was so. It was military troops under the supervision of the president of the United States. They don't report to the Chief Executive of Washington DC, unlike every other state where the governor they report to the governor in Washington DC, they report to the commander in chief, so he activated military troops to no, no, no wait hold on the disbursement of the protesters in Lafayette Square involve as art is done by the park police. Police Guard and other federal agencies and some National Guard. I'm just making the distinction between National Guard which has been used in many instances, you know almost every year to help with some national catastrophe, a right hurricane, or whatever historically by Kennedy and by Johnson to an historically by by Kennedy and Johnson and Eisenhower for like the opposite purposes, which would to say to deal with the racism in this country so. Look what happened. As we have pointed out into the last show was horrible, and was clearly a a violation of the rights of those protesters to peacefully demonstrate about something that is is clearly a case of blatant racist police brutality question about that, but I want to just broaden this to the point. I made in the opening their. That Madison statement is contagious. Have come late. Others may have spoken I. Like, Admiral. Mullen for instance the day before Mattis, spoke out, but then you have no sooner. Does he do this than Lisa Murkowski goes public and says she's struggling with other. She can even weather. She can even support president trump for reelection, and then Charles. Grassley of all people finally get some spine on the inspector general issue the firing of those. Saying, he's going to hold up as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee appointments by the President, unless he provides an explanation for his firing of inspectors general. So I you know there may, this may have been a moment in which the needle has moved as a result of Mattis. I think we said the other day that this was a kind of a watershed moment. In terms of this presidency, you put it in the context of other moments like this with hoover and I can't remember the other. Daily in Chicago, Convention Right Nineteen Sixty Eight and I think when people look back at this moment you know twenty years from now it's going to loom large, but I also get the census. You're saying that actually in the moment it's having real impact, and also you mentioned the some of the General's General Allen Jon Allen. Who's been on our podcast also went after the president in an oppy foreign policy, and just today is were recording this podcast on Friday General John Kelly. The president's former chief of staff who has criticized him since he's left office, but in fairly muted terms came to the defense of Mattis for his statement and I'll read you what he said I think we need to look harder at who we. I think we should look at people that are running for office and put them through the filter. What is what is their character like? What are their ethics? Some people have said that that's a backhanded slap at trump i. don't think there's anything. Back saying, we have to look harder at who we elect I E, we should not have elected donald trump, so that is from Donald, trump's former homeland, security secretary, and his former chief of staff the White House Chief of staff under Donald Trump so you have the former chief of staff, the former secretary of defense, both of them, speaking out against the president. They once served I. Don't can't think of a precedent for this, can you? That no I mean it's not even ember. Off. Watergate, not even the Nixon era did cabinet secretaries or former cabinet secretaries as far as I recall break with him for all of the criminality. John Dean did but the. White House Counsel Right, yeah, but you know at this level people who were so close to a sitting president speaking out and denouncing him is pretty extreme. We'll see how to see whether whether this is sustained it all and today also as we record this podcast, the president got and the country got good news, which is that the job numbers came out and unemployment actually went down by several points to a little more than thirteen percent low more than thirteen percent. The expectation among everyone was that it was going to be close to twenty percent. Almost depression levels, and so that and as a result, the stock market kind of went through the roof. This is what what trump has been saying all along that the. All this pent up energy. The economy was going to come roaring back. A we'll have to see if that's true and be. We'll have to see if in the end that really is decisive politically and I'm not sure that anyone knows the answer to that. I'M GONNA make a bold prediction among those who will not break with the president and speak out against him. Is Attorney General William Bar? Yeah. I think you're probably right about that. Okay. I don't know how bold prediction is I. Think I hear your wagers. Somebody wants to bet I is. One hundred to one. I I hear the s the slight towed of sarcasm there. You know speaking of Bar I. Did have a little bit of kind of revelation about his involvement in all of this over the last couple of days, because I remembered one of the first stories I ever wrote about him. And you know we've talked on this podcast. We've covered bill bar all the way back to when he was. Assistant Attorney General at the Justice Department in the late eighties, but in one thousand, nine, hundred ninety one September nineteen ninety one. He was the acting Attorney General Dick Thornburgh had left to run for Senator in Pennsylvania and there was a hostage crisis unfolding at a federal penitentiary in Talladega Alabama, and so far as the acting attorney general was thrust into this very tense. Situation and he made the decision along with people from the FBI and from other law enforcement agencies to launch a pretty daring pre dawn assault on this prison to rescue. The hostages were being held by Cuban inmates, who didn't want to be sent back to Cuba and this particular event actually probably why George H W Bush then picked him to be his attorney, general and kind of set him on his that. That part of his career. I bring it up because I get the sense. That bar has always relished sort of tactical part of his job, and it made me think that over the last few days, and that that clearing out of protesters on Sunday maybe had something to do with that, and also as we've talked before on this podcast back in one, thousand, nine, hundred, sixty, eight when he was on. The campus of Columbia as an undergraduate student there, and the the radical students took over load library, and the the president of the University of his office bill bar was on the other side of that, and what he wanted was for the university, the Administration to storm the building and take back the president's president's office, so it got me thinking that these two kind of formative experiences in bill bars life kind of came together in this moment in front of the White House so here was an opportunity for him to use all of his. kind of tactical skills, and that he'd learned over the course of his career to clear out the radicals and rabble-rousers in front of the seat of power in DC the White House. What do you think of that? What I think? Is that your little Soliloquy? There is a reminder that if nothing else on this podcast, we have long memories we are. Hold we are. Yeah we should. We should probably just be farmed out to the history channel. But. Anyway no I think that's that's an excellent point. I think that Bar reliving his Columbia days this past week and ordering. The dispersal of those protesters. was probably a sort of visceral moment for him, but he got to do what he always wanted done years ago. Anyway before we go one other point, we should bring up a really good story from our Yahoo. Colleague Jonah Winter who got a hold of Internal Department of Homeland Security documents revealing what the trump administration has refused to turn over to Congress, despite multiple demands, which is just is guarding the national capital and other cities right now from what agencies at how many of them and it turns out right here in DC, the trump. White House under bill bars direction as attorney general has amassed a forest of one thousand, three hundred from agencies across the government. The Secret Service National Guard Customs and Border Protection Park Police Border Patrol you immigration and Customs Enforcement Tsa. Coastguard Federal Protective Service and on the list goes in virtually every federal law enforcement agency has been tapped to bring in and police the streets of Washington and as we speak, there's scheduled to be a massive demonstration in Washington DC this weekend starting on Saturday, people are talking about as many as a million protesters will see how many actually show up, but. This could be an ingredient for a clash between all those federal. Officers and the protesters will see. We hope not, but it's something we'll all be watching and we'll. We'll have to see how the elite Swat teams from the Border Patrol and sniper sniper trained units ice deal with us. They are also part of this contingent of federal law enforcement and TSA's air marshalls and the Air Marshals Viper teams, which I had never actually heard of the Ip art teams I don't know it sounds. Sounds Cool I. Don't know what a viper team is I. Don't know what VIP stands for but I, do know it's pronounced fiber coastguard, i. thought coastguards patrolled the waters, but actually they're apparently at the White House as well I will say last thing on this is that this is information that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have been trying to get. They wrote a letter to the White House about this on Thursday. Miriam Bowser, the mayor of Washington DC has also tried to find this information out. They want to know who's their. What their mission is what their thirties are how they're supposed to interact together and with the metropolitan. Police Department and they could not get any of these answers from the trump administration, but they are now getting them from Yahoo News, thanks to the excellent reporting of Janna Winter and thanks to my own Google googling. Viper stands for visible intermodal prevention and Response Team. Organized by the TSA. Foetal intermodal! Elastic would've been better. All right all right enough frivolity. We had serious matters to discuss, so let's get on with the show. It's no secret that our world has been interrupted. World interrupted is a daily podcast telling stories of coronavirus and its impact on the economy. We want to cover the issues in macro global economics, stock market, and our political climate also cover the micro stories. Maybe the ones you don't hear much about in the news or the media. We hope you'll listen and be a part of the journey subscribed today on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. We now have with US retired commander guys snodgrass former Pentagon director communications and chief speechwriter to then Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The author of holding the line inside trump's Pentagon with Secretary Mattis Commander Snodgrass, welcome to skulduggery. Yeah, thanks my to be with you so quite a statement from your former boss this week. That really has driven the entire conversation about what's going on former secretary, Mattis just unloading on the president of the United States were you surprised. And what did you make? Make of it, so yes, I would say I was surprised. Actually he throughout his tenure. You know for a year and a half I would attend all the events with him, he he actually would give a course on a quarterly basis called capstone. It's for all the rising one star admirals and generals, and all the new members of the senior executive service on the civilian side for the department defense and the one thing he was adamant about was that when you retire your? Your uniform when you retire from a very senior public position, you retire your tongue, and so I was frankly surprised, not only that he spoke out in the way did, but that he did so while going after current secretary of Defense Mark. Esper- for his poor choice of words when he talked about dominating the battlespace, so commanders guess. Why was this a breaking point for him? You know it's interesting when you look at his statement that was released is using a lot of lofty. Lofty nationwide. You know it's not it's not specifically about the military, but I think that was the breaking point you had Admiral Mike Mullen the former chairman of the Joint Chiesa Staff, who's of course widely respected on both sides of the aisle was the first one out the gate to release a statement, saying that he deplored trump's leadership and his use of military in a very politicized fashion, because it risks the longstanding, you know what's known as the civilian or civil military. Relationship There's GonNa. Be a significant breach there when you see active duty US troops, being paraded down the street and forcibly putting down. Demonstrators are being seen as a position to do so and frankly I. think there's an element of Mattis didn't WanNa. Miss the boat. When he left the trump administration, he made a big point to shape the perception of his departure by preparing in advance statement, he releases that statement to help solidify that he was walking away from President trump. He didn't want to give president trump the decision space to claim had fired him. Although that's happened since then, and so now you have this situation where Madison watching the US, military being used for incredibly. Incredibly political purposes. There's a lot of danger. They're both domestically for the long term relationship and confidence in the US military and I would say also internationally. It just looks a lot like an authoritarian government and mattis that pulled him off the sideline. So you as you detailed in your Balk Mattis? Had had his frustrations with trump for quite some time I mean. He resigned at the end of two thousand eighteen over the president's decision to pull US troops out of Syria and abandoned the Kurds, but his problems with the president were long standing going back to that initial briefing at the Pentagon for the president, the idea of using of of staging a grand military parade down. Pennsylvania Avenue. Madison saying he would rather swallow acid then. See such a parade, tell us a bit about Mattis's frustrations over time with trump, and how he would process it, you bet, and as you mentioned, that is the entire arc of my book. I was to capture the two year relationship that existed from the moment. That vice president elect Mike Pence had reached out to mattis to invite them to Bedminster for the to interview as Secretary of defense all the way through to his resignation, and in between I would tell you. It was a fundamentally untenable position for Mattis. From the time he accepted that interview and Madison has spoken about the fact that when he went to Bedminster and interviewed with pants and with trump. That on all three questions, president trump raise. They disagreed on every single point, so there was no mystery here for madness when he took the job that he was going to be working for a president where they disagreed on a lot things. I would say you can break down his arc with the president. Basically into three phases, the first phase lasted about six months, maybe maybe closer to eight months where president trump was brand new to the job new to government service new to the US military, and that gave Mattis and then national security advisor, hr McMaster and others the opportunity to. Kind of shape and guide the president more actively than they could. Later on, so the president was more deferential, he was much more likely to meet with Mattis on a regular basis to take counsel, and he would act on its council, so maddest could temper some of the president's more. Ad Hoc instincts is I get you through the first eight months after that the president becomes much more confident in his position. Confident is the president of the United States. He begins to. He'll take Madison Council, but he'll still goes away and expect mattis to simply carry out his directors. You mentioned the parade. That president trump long-sought down Pennsylvania, avenue. So that gets you through about another six period, and for the remainder of Madison tenure almost Probably the last eight months. You reach the. Point where Madison was cut out of the loop, you then had John Bolton as the national security adviser who would keep mattis of the loop. They would not share information from the White House to the Department of Defense, so all the different elements that matters would normally have weighed in on had disappeared, which was incredibly frustrating to Madison, camped out of the loop on what you about kept als on when when you had the summer of two thousand eighteen in June. When trump goes to Singapore to have the you know, Confab with Kim Jong Hoon of North Korea and then takes the podium and says. Forthwith, we will not be doing any large military exercises with our longstanding allies. South Korea surprised everybody. We had no advance notice of that even though he claimed we did. We didn't have any advance notice so that same thing with the space force you had president. Trump takes to the podium point General Dunford. Show of join Thiessen said. We're creating a space for she got general and about five minutes after that press conference ended. You had then chief of staff for the President General. John Kelly frantically dialing our office, saying hey, Mister, secretary. They just he just. ordered. The creation of Space Force rights hope the president learned pretty quick. If Mattis was GONNA to slow down, he just box mattis out and publicly create policy that matters within have to enact commander I. WanNa get back to this this inflection point this breaking point that you talked about before and why Secretary Mattis decided to loosen his tongue after he said he wouldn't do that. which is the politicization of the military using the military in a domestic context? But there were moments during Madison's term when President Trump got awfully close to that kind of conduct, and one of them was I think before the midterm elections when? When he made the decision to deploy US troops to the US Mexican border. What was Mattis's response to that and did he think it was the of breach that we just saw Lafayette? square. Yeah, I think you know. Trump has long talked about his love of the military. He loves his generals and admirals, and I can see why having having worked in a pseudo political position for secretary mattis in his front office. Yeah, you have a front row seat and it's because when you're in the military. I mean your entire career Madison, for over thirty years. He had served all the way as a four star Marine. And you disagree with your boss, but you just carry out their orders, and I would say to his credit on some cases maddest would like you said with the parade. You know he'd rather swallow acid, but he would still understand the importance of carrying out what the president had asked him to do. And frankly he should I mean he'd been appointed by the president who was duly elected by the American public, so you know Madison appointed, person not an elected individual he. You know if you can't reconcile your differences with your boss, then you need to leave, but I think if you'd had someone with better political skills. You know you would realize that there's things you can do behind the scenes. Scenes to maybe helped shape the president's thinking better so largely, you know mattis would be frustrated, but he was always the good soldier, even private he he would rarely I can count on a number of times on two hands where he would either board the aircraft after particularly contentious meeting overseas with something that the president had done like an unannounced twitter feed, blast or something that would complicate his efforts at NATO or complicated efforts in the Middle East meaning complicate Madison to serve as the President's representative yet he would come on. He would kind of I roll, or he'd say something for about ten fifteen seconds about his displeasure, and then it was okay. We've got a job to do. Let's get it. It done. How would he express his displeasure? Like I said I mean you know he's such an amazingly controlled individual. He'll use invective. He'll be upset and frustrated. I've seen him throw some stuff before because of his just sheer level of stress and frustration, but again I mean he. He's long been here aren't to stoicism. He believes in trying to master control of yourself, realizing that you gotta take the world as it comes not as you necessarily want to be, and he's got such depth of history and so much experience as a senior leader in the military that I think he realizes look I mean taking out your frustration on your subordinates or acting petulance, not gonNa really get you anywhere. Anywhere it's it's you just have to roller sleeves. Get to work and go. But how did he react to trump's decision to deploy troops to the border, was he did he support that, did he? Just salute? Did he oppose it and salute I mean what was his reaction to that? Sure, so it's reaction was one of I. Think you know initially because this memory serves that really came to a head kind of in the springtime like you mentioned in advance of the midterms, so it was it president trump wanted to employees active duty troops to the border. Mattis was slaying him towards using members of the guard or serve so you can stay away from active duty in Madison always such a well-founded. What's the rules regulation? He was very concerned of course about posse comitatus and the use of active-duty troops for law enforcement purposes. We have the representatives from the Office of the the attorneys for the Department of Defense who would come in on a routine basis to brief Madison what was legal? What was not so? He was I, mean he wanted to. I think what matters always did and I thought for the most part did really nice job of this was he understood the president's intent, but he sought to enact it in a way that was always legal, always ethical. If you had to break down. How much of Mattis's frustrations were policy oriented? His disagreement with the president's wanting to pull out of international treaties and agreements versus the sort of erratic behavior of the president personally and the his failure to take in information to Listen to briefings to listen to what subordinates had to say. How would you navigate between those two matters? You know I really don't think you can there so. Let's take for example the president's decision to. Deny transgender individuals the opportunity to serve in the military, so they're. If you look at that from a policy standpoint, Mattis understood the president's intent and desire to take that path. But, he also knew it was going to be incredibly contentious is it would definitely be challenged in the courts, so Madison took a pathway to form a study to use a data intensive approach, basically something that would be defensible or at least have a veneer of being defensible in front of the courts in, and that's when you had those series of three tweets. Come out from the president. Basically while Mattis was on vacation, saying here's what we're GONNA do make it happen, and so so they're so intertwined. The president took a very impulsive reaction to to force what he wanted, but then at the same time. It's about policy, so it's hard. Hard to say that you can really separate one from the other. They're so closely woven together commander Snodgrass we've been talking mostly about Mattis, but I'm curious. You spent your career in the military. How did you view what happened? On Monday with the clearing of Lafayette Square the use of not active duty, but national guard military troops president's threat to invoke the answer insurrection act. How do you view that? How worried should the American people be about that kind of conduct by the president of the United States? And how do you think it's more widely viewed in the military, not just among the brass, but also among the rank and file. So, okay, personally I think it was the horn and the reason. Why is so for twenty years of my career? I was a navy fighter pilot right former top gun instructor I focused on operations on warfighting, and frankly loved every minute of it, and so just by happenstance I got pulled into a speechwriting job early my career for the chief of naval operations. That's the senior uniform leader for the US, Navy. Navy because of that. That's how I was on Madison radar to get pulled in for him, so I had a chance throughout my career to spend about four years as a strategic communicator and that's what I don't like about what I'm seeing with the president's decision making you know I, think the president believes it's good for his base, and maybe it is that he's being the the president of law and order. The danger comes into account where ninety nine percent of Americans will not distinguish between active duty and guard. They will not distinguish between. They're not going to deep dive into what is posse comitatus, or what is the insurrection act, and all these vary, you know convoluted laws and regulations. What they're going to see is an optic of men and women in uniform with riot, gear, guns and some. Some cases assault rifles and sniper rifles on the streets of Washington DC. They're going to immediately draw a just a very clear line from the military putting down civilians, and that's the again. That's the crux of the matter for Molin for John Allen for I think it was General Dempsey as well. He jumped into this I. Mean you've had a senior leaders, so it gets the? The second part of your question, what do the rank and file thank you? I only retired recently within the last two years. A lot of my peers are now in their kind of I. Guess You'd say Middle Senior. Leadership right there. The navy captains of the Army Marine Corps colonels. Air Force colonels and one stars. They don't like what they're seeing because again. It's putting them it's. It's pulling the military away from its apolitical nonpartisan bedrock, and you're constantly thrusting it like you, said the border wall or your thrust they get into issues of immigration, or you're throwing it into issues of policing the streets, and you risk that longstanding trust and confidence with the American public. The military's been the most trusted institution in America since the seventies and you could easily evaporate that. And we've seen other long-standing institutions have their credibility eroded like the FBI, like law enforcement during president, trump's tenure, and so you can say you like or dislike the president's policies, but I do think that the way you get. There is incredibly important, so one of the most controversial aspects of the events on Monday in terms of the optics was Mark Milley the chairman. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in full battle, fatigue and secretary of Defense Mark Asper, participating in that photo op in front of a Saint, John's Episcopal Church. So my question to you is what J. Mattis had been secretary of defense at the time, and had been there with President trump trumpet, said, come on, let's go over to the church. What would he have done? Such a challenging question because I think the. The intellectually honest responses. It depends the way that Esperer and have both stated. This went down that they were in a meeting with the president. He basically says. Hey, let's let's go. We're going across the street and commander in chief, and so it wasn't. Let's go across the street for a photo op with the Bible. We're going to use military or police force to. To clear demonstrators to do it, so there's so much context that has to go into what happen at the moment. Yup Mattis, sometimes he runs the risk. If he's a little bit of a paper tiger, he'll, he'll come out with an amazing statement or he'll. He'll hold up these lofty ideals, but there are plenty of times during his own tenure where he would. Back Down and be very subservient to the president that he worked for, and and again I think this is something. Historians are going to chew over for a long period of time which is. You got camp. That says matter should have been more vocal in his dissent, and you've got camp that says Mattis as the appointed secretary defensive just carried out whatever president trump wanted him to do. Obviously the truth that somewhere in the middle you know. He Fed the idea that he should have spoken out earlier in that statement because I mean in the most remarkable paragraph. Talks trump as the first president of my lifetime does not try to unite the American people. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership, so he was there for. Two of those years of serving a president without serving an administration without mature leadership that only begs the question. Why didn't you say something earlier? You know again. I think Madison's like anybody I. Mean He's a complicated individual. You can't take anything away. From the fact that he's dedicated the vast majority of his adult life to America. He served in uniform for decades. You only out of uniform around three years when he was asked by President, elect trump to come in as a secretary of defense. When you say yes to a job like that, you say. Say Yes because you believe altruistic way, you can make a difference. You all say yes, because you're very ambitious, and you want an opportunity to to jump back on the national stage, and hopefully make a positive impact and I think that underpins a lot of what mattis does. Yes, there's always an altruistic aspect. He has one of the most carefully manicured public personas of anybody I've ever met or worked for. Most leaders say I'M GONNA. I'm GonNa lead and let the chips fall where they made. Mattis was always making decisions. With an eye towards legacy. How will this reflect on me? Five years on a road ten years down the road. That's why he carefully He carefully positioned his departure from the administration. He'd met with General John Kelly months before, and they both come to the agreement when Madison Depart and how he was going to do it, and the fact that would first, and then Kelly, we leave second, so that Kelly could hold on the Ford at the White. House but. The Way Madison presented to the public is that it was a spur of the moment decision because at the president's decision to withdraw from Syria, but that's not the truth, so you know you guys have been around long long enough. There's there's always the what's going on behind closed doors. And then there's what you presented the public to help shape the narrative in the way that's most advantageous either for the country for the individual for the institution. Well one of the narratives is that some of the generals that did stay in state in because at a certain point. Point they realized that it was important for them to protect the country or protect the military from this president. Maybe that was a rationalization. Maybe it's real was ever anything you heard Secretary Mattis talk about the great question I'm trying to remember. I'm trying to think back if there's ever any over, I can't recall that I can't recall Mattis speaking so freely in front of his staff that he would say I'm only here because I'm trying to protect the military from the president. I don't think he viewed the job that way, but it's much like anytime we've. We've all been in this kind of position. Just at different levels of society right it could be, it could be a private company. You've got a boss who likes to make hasty decisions. You're a more thoughtful and deliberate middle manager, and you realize hey, boss what you're about to do I. Understand your intent, but the way you want to do. It is going to harm our employees. It's going to harm the company long-term. Here's what if we do it this way. It's still gets to your desired intent, but it also preserves the relationship with our employees and means. Means that the company not only will will survive will thrive as we move into the future. That's what all these individuals are doing and I think the most recent example has been of course Dr. Burks Dr Fao Ci with Corona Virus People were decrying the fact they've been re remaining silent that that they didn't speak out more forcefully against the president's advocacy for hydroxy, chloroquine and other solutions that people thought might be kind of Kooky, but again I I heard and I've also heard. Other doctors speak openly about the fact that you have to weigh constantly. Can you do greater good for the country by remaining in your position of authority and helping to guide and shape the outcome, or do you throw up your arms in protest? Resign and have someone who's much more willing to Kowtow to the present united. States in that position, and what does come possibly look like and I I think it's tough. It's a challenging decision. You gotta make that each and every day. Did you ever hear anybody in Madison? His presence talk about invoking the twenty. Fifth Amendment to remove the President from office. Did you ever hear talk of it at all? In the Pentagon you know that's a great question. The Pentagon such a large organization. It's like any. SCUTTLEBUTT people talk. Ever someone having a serious conversation about we've hit a red line where someone might need to remove the president, I do remember though of course like the military is drawn from the civilians society right so we all come from very various political backgrounds various places around the country. You know I remember hearing couple times people lamenting if they leaned Republican. Look lamenting that man, I mean if vice president pence, where the one who kind of soon the presidency, then I think the Republican Party would be saved is kind of what I heard people talking. That's not from official I. Don't want your listeners to believe that that's some kind of a military conversation, point and I in fact I got to be careful here because I had an interview with a Japanese newspaper yesterday, and you again the perspective of them looking from the outside in towards America and one of the questions was. Is there a danger of a military coup and I myself wow. One absolutely, not nowhere close to that, but the fact that you would even think that Kinda shows you just how perilous the situation had become in the eyes of the international community. Well, let me ask another another spin on that. Since we're entertaining doomsday scenarios here. We had a guest on our podcast needed Gupta the former head of the Justice Department Civil Rights Division last week She's part of a group that is looking at all sorts of Pakalitha scenarios with the election coming up and one of them is that the president disputes the results of the election and refuses. Refuses to cede power until you know it's resolved in whatever way that is, and this is something that she said they are actively talking about considering that possibility. I don't know if you believe that that is something that could happen, but I'm curious in a situation like that. What were the military do? The president has gone beyond his constitutional authority and held onto power. What happens great question I think Americans of all flavors and stripes should be completely secure in the knowledge that there is absolutely zero chance of a military coup. Military members are incredibly well disappointed. They're trained. This would be something that would absolutely be handled by. The courts would be handled from another another process using the constitution and applicable laws as a guideline, the military would stay as far away from this as possible solely for the reason I've already mentioned that it's so important to. That civil military relationship that norm. There's zero chance military. Get involved in this so commander stock grass after all of this and after the statement. This remarkable statement that Secretary Mattis put out. What do you think his legacy is going to be and end to what extent will be affected by that? Personally professionally. I agree with a lot of what Secretary Mattis putting his letter personally I think that mattis is looking for ways to continue to bolster or salvage his legacy. He did so with his with his resignation letter, regarding Syria he wanted to show that there was a fundamental divide with what he believes and what the president believes to maybe. Diminish the fact that he'd been on any administration for two years. He's very. Madison's a very savvy political operator. There's no getting around it. You know especially for a guy who'd worn a uniform and had not been in pure politics for majority his adult life. So you know what it's going to mean for. His legacy remains to be seen I. I've been. Been surprised frankly because I was a huge madison believer. That's why I accepted the offer to come work for them. You know I've been surprised at the number of people since he's departed, who weren't as pleased with Madison's is I thought they'd be because I thought Madison Really Nice job with keeping the ship meaning the Pentagon ship on a steady course. Course getting the budget restored for two years getting the National Defense Strategy. Put out he he handled a lot of really contentious issues and I thought did so a very nice way. That kept the military out of a lot of the political fray, but I think again that's that's a distinction that gets lost on a lot of the rank and file, wearing uniforms or civilians within the department, and while they appreciate Madison his and his efforts. They realized that you know. He's now departed in and largely in the past well always difficult to predict people's legacies in in real time I guess we'll have to wait for the judgement of history, but your insights are incredibly valuable, so thank you so much. Commander SNODGRASS for coming out to the podcast today. Dan Mike. The invitation great talk with you. Thanks guys snodgrass speechwriter communications to former secretary of defense. James Mattis for joining us on skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery. Apple podcasts Arabia listening to your podcasts and tell us what you think. Leave a review. Be Sure to follow us on social media at skulduggery pot. We'll talk to you soon.

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Bonus Episode: The Crisis at Justice

Skullduggery

27:39 min | 2 years ago

Bonus Episode: The Crisis at Justice

"Well, that didn't take long. No sooner did the election returns come in with their split. Verdict. Republicans keep the Senate get shellacked in the house. The President Trump fires is beleaguered attorney general Jeff Sessions, the new acting AG Matt Whitaker is Trump loyalist barely known to anybody in Washington, except for what appears to be his only real qualification for the job in media appearances last year. He sharply criticized the Muller investigation. What happens now, we'll discuss on this special constitutional crisis edition of skulduggery. There is absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows. People have got to know whether or not their president's crook. I'm not a crook. I told the American people I did not trade arms. My heart the my contention still tell me that's true. Perfect. I did not have sexual relations with that. British government has learned the Saddam Hussein recently saw significant quantities of uranium from Africa. How many times answered this question is? Rooms. I'm Michael chief investigative correspondent for yahu news. Jayme Kleinman chief of Yahoo news. You know, Danny. This is a episode where we're at a moment here that I think is pretty unprecedented. The president firing is attorney general for the clear purpose of his fury that the attorney general Jeff Sessions didn't protect him didn't have his back in their criminal investigation of his campaign. Well, you know, the phrase that keeps ringing in my years that I think we may be mentioned on our first episode of skulduggery was Trump saying, where's my ROY Cohn? He needed narrow. We'll get to that. Yeah. We're going to have Matt Miller on the former holder Justice department public affairs spokesman, and we'll talk about that about this guy, Matt Whitaker. But you know, he wanted an attorney general who is his personal lawyer and his protector as opposed to someone who would be attorney general for the people United States protector of the rule of law. And it's interesting because we were talking before that, you know, all of a sudden Jeff Sessions is become this kind of martyr of the liberals right as you put it. Yeah. And how how I Ron ick is that, you know, Jefferson Beauregard sessions, a, you know, as conservative and attorney general probably as we've seen since what Ed Meese, maybe is the only guy you can think of in the same category. A guy who could sessions couldn't even get. Firmed, you know, a couple of decades ago for a federal judgeship because of concerns about his racial Adamus towards African Americans guy who the ACLU today declared to be the worst attorney general in American history a guy who Democrats year ago were calling on to resign because of allegations that he lied to the Senate about his own context with the Russian ambassador during the campaign. And now his firing has produced this cries of outrage about what Trump is is trying to do here, the Democrats and liberals couldn't stand Jeff Sessions policy positions. Also, the fact that he actually was fairly effective at implementing them probably the most effective cabinet secretary. Donald Trump had which is another irony. But the things that remember about sessions is look he did recuse himself. He did listen to the ethics lawyers at the Justice department. Jeff Sessions, unlike his former boss is an 'institutionalised. This is someone who was a US attorney who had kind of grown up in some ways in the Justice department, and whether you like him or not whether you like his policies are not ultimately he did believe in the rule of law. And so that put him in conflict with Donald Trump. The original sin was recusing himself. Everything flowed from that. And look I mean, you know, it's a pretty low bar there. You know? Yes. He's the former US attorney and US Senator basically accepted the. Yeah, we do have legal process in this country. We have laws we have traditions. You can't go. These days that's pretty good in Washington. And and you know, I gotta say Winokur who has I said in the cold open. Somebody who nobody has ever heard of probably until this week does have some pretty strange views out there when you talk about the rule of law back when he ran for the Senate, I think it was in two thousand four he expressed reservations about Marbury vs marriage. This is. The decision that sort of the basic suppression court ruling that says that that institutionalized judicial review that if the congress or the president violate the constitution, the supreme court's can blow the whistle and say, no, you can't do that. Yeah. Soccer seems to have some questions about whether about the Bellizzi of that basic core supreme court to get into with Matt Miller when he comes on. But yeah, that is the foundation of American constitutional law, and he is how the acting attorney general whose responsibility is to enforce American law. So it's going to be an interesting little while we'll see whether he ends up being nominated to be the permanent attorney general and whether he can get through the Senate, although that'll be easier now with. Since the midterm elections and Republicans. I don't know this this op Ed by Neil cut shell and George Conway is pretty interesting adjusting, here's appointment unconstitutional. But let's get to Miller. I think he's waiting to talk to us. Abou- get. Matt Miller former public affairs guy for the Justice department whose never lacking anything to say. Skulduggery veteran four times times unavoidable for comment. I like to say we may give you a t shirt for skulduggery t shirt for being the record older peerages. All right Miller. What are you? What do you make of this? How how serious a constitutional crisis. If that's what it is. Are we in right now? So I don't think we're in a constitutional crisis. But with certainly a crisis for the department of Justice, and I think potentially a crisis for the Muller investigation. And I have like over the last twenty four hours the world, and some of the press and people on the hill aren't really taking it seriously enough. I mean, if you go back to win Trump fired Jim Komi, everyone treated initially like the Saturday night massacre. And in that case Trump, I think, you know, wanted to interfere with the investigation they wanted to get rid of call me partly out of peak. I think but he didn't really have a plan to do it. And this time it seems like he does have a plan. Dan to at least, you know, if not I don't think he's gonna be about Witter's fire Muller. But Trump now has a weight actually reach into the investigation and kind of interfere with its with progress. We'll but Matt would occur. He understood from the beginning the firing Muller probably wasn't an option. So he had on going on CNN media, parents he kind of laid out a plan to basically neutralize him and his investigation without firing him which would have been a bridge too far. Right. Yeah. That's exactly right. The the thing that is so amazing about this is how brazen it is. I was just thinking about this imagine if like a month before the end or two months before the end of the Clinton Email investigation, if President Obama had fired Loretta Lynch and replaced her with I don't know Lanny Davis or some other person. Who had been on television? Never. Reclaim never committed a crime, another skulduggery. Yes. By the way. There you go. It would be absurd, and it would be such a dramatic act ever been tire country would have revolted and Democrats would ever voted. This is obviously ridiculous. You can't do it. But we we are in this classic. You know, frog and the boiling pot of water. Trump has been turning the the the temperature for so long, and he's interfered with jase oh many times. Now, people got accustomed to it when he finally takes the step where he could actually potentially mess with the investigation in a way that protect him or protected son protects people around, and I just don't feel like people are treated with the seriousness it deserves. It's like a dog dog dog bites man story. There's just no one's prize acting this. In fact, in fact, the cough, right? S a cough ONA skullduggery just a couple of weeks ago predicted that it would happen. This is exactly what would right after the election. Yeah. He'd fire sessions. I also said he'd could fire Rosenstein as well, which does not seem to have done but rose is now irrelevant right? Because Muller now has to report to Whitaker not Rosenstein at gives Whitaker, a staunch Trump Wallace complete visibility into everything that Muller is up to what he's planning. What further indictments if any? He's got what he's going to say in his report Winokur, we'll have total access to that. And can share that to the White House if he so chooses if he's asked which I imagine he would be. Yeah. Look, I think that Whitaker clearly is in control of this now provided he doesn't recuse himself, which I there's a very strong argument that he needs to end I suspect when he meets with career ethics officials in the coming days, which is required to do in a case. Like this base. On the questions about his impartiality. I expect they'll get a recommendation to recused himself ignore man on that point. That's it's sort of a relevant because you know, the premise of his the whole reason that he was right that he was hired was because Trump was apoplectic that sessions recused himself. And so there's no chance in the world that before hiring him Trump didn't say to him. Well, you're not going to recuse yourself, are you? So he has to already promised the president that he wouldn't do that. I think that's absolutely right. But I will say it becomes different as a political matter if their recommendation from career DOJ officials that he ought to accuse and that's known publicly, and I think it will become known publicly the it it does change the political calculus somewhat. And I wanted to mention Mike and framing this question said rod Rosenstein into relevant now. And look if Whitaker gets full control this investigation. I think that's largely true. I think rob still has a few card left to play. I think he's role. So for example, on the question of recusals. There is the question of whether he can be impartial. Given all his public comment. Whether the world can view him as partial impartial because public comment and a question about whether he can and this one is much is less a question of appearance. More hard bright line potentially whether because of his relationship with Sam Clovis whose campaign he chaired in Iowa several years ago and who texted him yesterday. Congratulations clueless texted this to Whitaker, apparently, according to Clovis whether relationship with him, he can he can supervise investigations fan close the witness been into the grand jury and the technical language in the regulations is you know, if you have a relationship with someone, you know is substantially involved whose conduct stanchly involved in the investigation and the ethics officials don't know same closes position investigation. They're gonna have to ask somebody and personal ask is rod Rosenstein, and so. If you're rod Rosenstein, and you're someone who's committed to the rule of law, and you sat and watched met Whitaker of the last year. I can't think he thinks very highly of him. I can't think he thinks very highly of this attempt by the president to get controlled investigation. And I could see him wait in there. And I could see waited a bunch of other ways. I could see him talking to people on the hill. I could seem talking to reporters. And of course, eventually he has the biggest car to play at all. Which is if he were to willing to resign and walk out, and and make noise, I don't know if he'll do any of that. But also has a number of cards. Do you think that Rosenstein has done anything to sort of protect the integrity of the Muller investigation? Other words Muller and Rosenstein, have both known for a long time that this moment could and likely would becoming. So were there things that they could do to try to insulate Muller from what I think a lot of people expect might happen now, which is that which is that Whitaker is going to try to rein in. Muller's investigation if not outright fire him. Yeah. I suspect they've always had planned for the worst. I've always thought that all of the evidence that Muller has gathered. There's probably a copy of it somewhere outside of his office. Maybe maybe with the chief judge for the circuit court in DC with a federal judge. So if he was fired and FBI came in and tried to seize the evidence, which what happened, of course, in Watergate attempted that could be blocked, and I would think in this case there are a couple of things could one there could be indictments that they've returned. The grand jury had returned already that are under seal say against Donald Trump junior or Roger stone or any other number of figures. And if that's the case, I don't see that Whitaker. Ordering Muller to move to the Smith diamonds, and I can't believe he'd fall out that order. That's one thing. It's possible that they're indicted ready to go and they've already been authorized by Rosenstein, and to to pull that back would be pretty dramatic step as well. The place thinking. Yeah. Go ahead. Yeah. I was just gonna say look we being sort of, you know, Washington inside the beltway types do obsess on these violation of norms and traditions, but at the end of the day, they really are sort of not to diminish them in the least but their procedural questions. I think the ultimate verdict on all of this is going to depend on exactly what the evidence is. Does Muller really have something that goes to the question of collusion that goes to the question of principles such as the president or his son or others who have lied under oath about key core questions relating to the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, and there's a lot of hints out there about the gathering storm in the closing in on Roger stone. You know reports today. About stone. Ramal are asking for contacts. That records of any context that stone had with Trump himself phone calls visits to Trump Tower. I mean, I think that at the end of the day, that's what's gonna count here. And I do have to say, you know, as somebody who has followed this very closely from the from the get-go, there is a lot of smoke a lot of reasons to be deeply suspicious, but we still don't really know what Moller has got. Yeah. For sure. And look if he doesn't have anything there's nothing to worry about in terms of Wigger shutting down because there's nothing to set down. So if that's the case, I don't I don't think we do much have to worry. But I do think there's one question about what the evidence is the second question, whether the American people can ever see it. And I am pretty confident that Muller would have a plan with anything that relates to this collusion side of the equation where I worry most however is on the obstruction of Justice investigation. You know, he's conducted that investigation differently. As far as we know he's been interviewing with this. But not picking them into the grand jury all these White House gaffer's, we've interviewed there have been no reports of any of them going to the grand jury probably because he doesn't think that's the case can ever be indicted because you can't sitting president according to the to the OJ. And so if he reaches a conclusion, the president broke the law instructing Justice, the only way he can make that known the American public that I can think of is in a report that either goes to congress or they really publicly it won't be a grand jury indictment. And so that is something that that that report if it's written already, obviously isn't public yet. And that is something Rediker could just directly intervene and say, I'm not authorized to be released referred. I'm putting it in a drawer, and there's nothing to do. But that's where congress comes in. Right. That's where democratic house with investigative authority and subpoena power comes in because Jerry Nadler who will be the chairman of the house to district committee could subpoena that. Report. Right. And some Muller he could subpoena that report and the Jake could fight it, and it would be litigated in a district court and take the quarter of yield and probably ultimately supreme court, and we'd be talking about this for year and a half. Maybe two years we ever to follow up on that. There is a huge issue about that that I don't think enough people had focused on which is that my understanding reporting is that much of the evidence that Muller has gathered in the course of that obstruction investigation from Don Mcgann and other White House. Aides was given to Muller under the understanding that the White House was reserving the right to invoke executive privilege on anything that Muller might want to share either in a public report or to congress, and that whatever Muller has learned from say the testimony of Don Mcgann who spent hours providing testimony to to Muller was all under. Explicit agreement that the White House could down the road invoke executive privilege Muller wanted to use that in a report. So what we could spend the much of the rest of the of next year talking about is FIT over executive privilege, the White House invoking executive privilege that insures that whatever Nadler subpoenas at the at the House Judiciary committee is redacted because the White House as invoked the privilege, and that does become illegal question that ultimately goes to the supreme court. Well, I know I've been worried about that exact same close in and it could late innings for a long time. Well, and we know we're Matt Whitaker would be on this issue since we talked in the intro about how he believes that Marbury versus Madison the foundational constitutional decision, which allows the supreme. Court to review the other branches of government, and that he believes that was wrongly decided it by the way far show returning over in his grave before this. And by by the way, I think the justices relied on Marbury versus Madison in their unanimous decision, which we've talked to a lot on this podcast United States versus Nixon. So I guess it's maybe not that surprising that Whitaker would be critical of that. Final question for mad before he goes is what did you make the Neil J, George Conway up in the New York Times? Whitaker's? I look I think that the fascinating legal debate. And there are a number of questions like this about there's one about is the Voting Rights Act to controlling statute or the DOJ succession static the trust issue. And those are great academic debates re- in reality. They make much different to to challenge his appointment under the day laid out you'd have to own withstanding, and they'd have to litigated and it had to go all the way to the supreme court and all certainly would be decided long after his tenure acting general has expired long after he done anything he wants to interfere with the mall report. So it seemed like more of an academic question to me not to take that Chris as four get caught y'all, but it does a little esoteric. Well, it's always interesting when George Conway the husband of Kellyanne Conway writes, these pieces criticizing the president of the United States. So there's that the gossip the angle of in some ways more much more. Interesting. I try to think about what happened. If I did that my wife. It would not be pretty I guess, it's an open marriage. Logically. Well, enjoy your trip overseas, or you know, wherever you're off to and I can assure you these issues will be live when you get back and you'll make yet another appearance on skulduggery and have some good meals. Miller is a foodie and we bond over good foods, I want I want a detailed accounts. I have a number of reservation. Just just fighting for me. So thanks and joy for having me. Okay. Take care. So is a cough. Matt Miller always good on on these issues knows the law, although he's not a lawyer. But knows the kind of intersection of law scandal and politics, which is kind of where we live polar opposite from that Whitaker. Who is a lawyer, but doesn't seem to know. Yeah. Exactly. At the outset in your intro. You talked about this being a constitutional crisis. Which Miller said he didn't think we were. Yet. But but Jerry Nadler who will be the chairman of the House Judiciary committee. He put out a statement yesterday. He he said the firing of sessions is CASA is a constitutionally perilous moment was how he put it. But this is what he says he says there is no mistaking what this means. And what is at stake in this constitutionally perilous moment for our country, and for the President, Donald Trump may think he has the power to hire and fire, whomever he pleases, but he cannot take such action. If it is determined that it is for the purposes of subverting the rule of law and obstructing Justice. If you've uses office in such a fashion, there will be consequences. I think they're going to really investigate the firing of sessions very aggressively. And I think that you know, if they find out that there was corrupt is there's evidence of corrupt intent. I think it is more likely than not that they will start to pursue a more kind of full throated impeachment investigation. Well, you know, we were just talking yesterday about how impeachment was likely off the table because of the results in the Senate. But you know, maybe we were on or maybe I was wrong. When I said that because you know, this does push back on the table. I should add that somebody just found some audio from Matt Whitaker last year talking about this investigation. And I'll just give you a nother quote that's worth pondering. This is Whittaker in some media parents when he was running some sort of conservative outfit. That was quite critical of the of the Muller investigation and was also calling for a reopening of the Hilary Clinton Email investigation in Whitaker said the following, quote, the left is trying to so this theory that essentially Russia. Interfered with the US election, which has been proven false. They did not have any impact in the election that is clear from Obama administration. So let's remember Muller has already brought indictments making it. Crystal clear that the Russians did into pure in the US election. They did Hackney emails and the DNC they did provide them to WikiLeaks. They did hack the pedestrian emails. They did provide them to WikiLeaks. So it is pretty crystal clear from the indictments Muller has already broad at the Russians. Did precisely what? Miller's new boss Matt Whitaker says they did not. So that's kind of sobering comment. Think about when we process what Matic met Whitaker's gonna do. I would love to be a fly on the wall for those. First conversations that Whitaker has with with Muller because they'll have to talk at some point just a coda to our last episode of that I wanted to quickly we talked about, you know, one of the consequences of this big win in the Senate for Republicans is that if there is a supreme court vacancy, they will almost certainly be able to confirm a very conservative supreme court Justice, adding one more to to the court, and you know, kind of really altering the idiological balance for a very long time. Well, there was news this week that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell and broke three ribs. We don't know exactly what our condition is. You know at her age. I think she's eighty five years old that can lead to other complications. We certainly hope that's not the case. And I will say that she is she is one strong cookie or. Justice. I guess I should say she she's five two baths of cancer. It just goes to show you that, you know, there's a lot that hangs in the balance here, and these these are perilous times and a lot of ways. Yes, they are. And we'll be discussing them regularly on skulduggery. Thanks, Matt Miller for joining us on this special episode of skulduggery don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on apple podcasts. Revie listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think review latest episode is also on Sirius XM on the weekend. Check it out on this channel one twenty four on Saturdays. Three pm eastern time with replays on Sundays at one eight AM and three PM and be sure to follow us on social media at skulduggery pond, talking we.

Muller Matt Whitaker Donald Trump president Matt Miller Senate skulduggery attorney Trump Jeff Sessions White House United States Washington rod Rosenstein Russia supreme court Jerry Nadler Justice department cough Winokur
Hiding in almost plain sight

Skullduggery

55:22 min | 2 years ago

Hiding in almost plain sight

"The. Intriguing new clue in Robert Muller's investigation hiding in almost plain sight all thanks to a botch. Filing by the lawyers for Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, the lawyers had intended to rebut accusations by Muller's prosecutors that Manafort had lied to them after agreeing to cooperate with the Russian investigation following his conviction on eight counts of financial fraud. Last August, the lawyers argued that Manafort should be cut some slack. He was suffering from severe gout, depression and anxiety, and therefore shouldn't be punished his memory about key events was a bit foggy. But when they address the specifics of Muller's accusations, they made a formatting error and sensitive material. They intended to black out in their public filing was easily readable. Once you downloaded it on the internet and printed it out. It was only then when we learned what Manafort had hidden from federal prosecutors that he had shared Trump campaign. Polling data with a business associate constantly. In Kalinic who has been identified by US officials as a Russian intelligence asset think about that the chairman of a major party presidential candidate is slipping internal campaign data to a foreign adversaries intelligence source is this hard new evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin or is it like much else in the Muller probe yet? Another ambiguous piece of a very murky puzzle. We'll discuss with one of Washington's leading scholars of the Russian investigation, and we'll take another fresh look at developments in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal kashogi with fresh insights from a former top FBI counterintelligence agent all that and more on this episode of skulduggery. There is no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I am nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows. People have gotta know whether or not their president's crop. Well, I'm not a crook. I told the American people I did not trade arms. Iheart. The my intention still tell me that's true. But the fact the evidence me it is not. I did not have sexual relations with that woman to British government has learned Saddam Hussein recently saw significant quantities of uranium from Africa. How many times have to answer this question, and you just show his their rooms? Michael Isikoff investigative correspondent for Yahoo news. And I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo news. Okay. My chief takeaway is thank the Lord for lawyers who screw up because we have now learned some new information that we wouldn't have if the Manafort lawyers hadn't screwed up their filing. Absolutely as an old courts reporter. Yeah. It is a reminder that you always have to go down to the clerk's office. And check the filings because you never know whether intentionally or as in this case, inadvertently someone that's gonna leave a bombshell in one of those filings. And you know, it's interesting Mike seems like this is happening more and more often. Because you've got this case where the defense lawyers did it but not that long ago? Federal prosecutors in the eastern district of Virginia did the same thing. And they inadvertently revealed that they were secretly charging Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case, which they filed in an uncompleted. Unrelated court docket, which really baffles me because I don't understand how you can screw up that badly. That was the prosecutors in that case in this case, it's the defense lawyers. But my recollection is that you were the beneficiary of this kind of sloppiness way back in your career. Yes. Pretty important that you were investigating. It was the Ken Starr investigation and at one point in the middle of that Starr's. Prosecutors gave me a copy of what they thought was a public filing something they had filed, and I got it was a big lengthy document. And then they got a call a few hours later saying, hey, we screwed up. Actually, we need to retrieve that document. And I said fine just give me a little time. So I could copy it then zero to them and they dispatched one Brett Cavanaugh to come to our office at Newsweek to retrieve this supposedly secret document, which I had already met a copy of and Kavanagh's. I. Recall quite sheepish when he showed up at the Newsweek bureau. Well, unfortunately, that means cabinets by his lesson. We'll probably not going to get the internal notes from the supreme court Justice conferences that they do on cases. So look a lot to digest here. This Manafort filing. What does it add up to how far does it go? We also had the indictment of Natalia vessel sky, the Russian lawyer and at the center of the Trump Tower meeting on an unrelated matter, how she obstructed Justice in civil money laundering lawsuit. Brought by the southern district of New York. And we have the news that rod Rosenstein is expected to be leaving the department of Justice very soon. Rod, of course, has been overseeing the Muller investigation. And we have probably one of the best people in Washington to dissect all this for us. Ben witness senior fellow at the Brookings institute and editor and chief and. Founder of law fair, and my old colleague from legal times of blessed memory, which was a terrific newspaper that covered law and lobbying nation's capital is I think the slogan was Ben welcome to skulduggery. It's good to be here. Thanks for having me. So then I got to say first of all you have gotten a lot of attention because you kind of pioneered the whole idea of the tick tock cannon about to blow off explode every time. There's a new development in the Russia investigation. Oh you wearing a cannon on your lapel. I am this podcast. Well, this actually on video, isn't it? Yeah. Maybe zero in witticisms cannon. All right. So what do you make of the new Manafort filing and the other developments this week? Scientists don't know what to make of the Manafort filing. I think there's basically two ways to read it or maybe maybe more, but two obvious ways that I can see one of them explosive and really important and the other much less explosive and much less. Important. So if you're inclined to the explosive side, you say, well, his lawyers acknowledged that Mahler had alleged acknowledged that appears to be true that he a met with the sky Kalinic, whose former Russian intelligence guy who's now associated with Elektra pasta and gave him a met with him secretly during the transition in Madrid gave him during the same period in which the Russians are interfering in the election. Gives him some kind of poll data internal poll data or some kind of whole data from the campaign at self and also discusses with him a peace plan for Ukraine. And so I mean, I think it is perfectly reasonable to read that material as highly suggestive of some kind of collusion, whatever collusion is right. But it's some kind of additional level of. Contacts between the campaign and Russian intelligence connected. People in the heat of the campaign. Here's the less, not necessarily less bad for Manafort, but less bad for Trump way to understand it Manafort, we knew that he was in significant debt to der pasta Kalinic is kinda Dera POSCO's into his intermediary to Dera pasta. And he we'd known for some time that he was trying to leverage his position as Trump's campaign chairman to as he put it get whole with Dera POSCO kinda currying favor on occurring with pasta because he's indebted exactly pasta had alleged in court filing in the Cayman Islands, which by the way. I I reported on in in. I think it was April of two thousand sixteen that Manafort had rip them off to the tune of twenty million Bonnie million dollars on a Ukrainian cable deal and. You know on its face. This seemed to be a somewhat disturbing development that the new campaign chairman of the Trump campaign was in debt to a well connected. Putin billionaire oligarch a who was pursuing him for his money. Right. So I mean, I think you you can see that. And I you know, half of me does as that. The chairman of the Trump campaign is dishing information to the Putin connected. Oligarch through the intermediary of a former Russian intelligence military intelligence operative on the other hand. I it's possible to see look he had said pretty early on that we known pretty early that his idea was to use this position to get himself right with Dera pasta and get himself back in business. And so you can see as him manipu-. Relating his position at the Trump campaign rather than the Trump campaign actually doing any of this collusion. And I don't think we're gonna know which that is until we hear from Muller about it rather than here from manafort's lawyers about what Muller, right? Although what we believed to be the case from the filing and from some reporting that's been done after this filing. Is that Manafort lied about this, right? So I guess the question is if he lied about it, and if you lied to Muller about it, then why wasn't he charged and if he wasn't charged then that may support the less explosive theory. I think that's right. I think you know, one problem is it's an over determined variable because Manafort seems to lie about everything so true. So I sort of like the guy who's campaign. He was chairing. It's not distinguish him from the lawn. This group. But I think you can tell yourself a lot of stories based on this very spare set of facts, and it's really important to remember what the posture of this memorandum was it is not unelucidated of the facts. It is manafort's lawyers responding to Muller's people making a set of allegations in which they're assuming the facts have already been laid out. And they're just saying, hey, here's how we interpret this. Here's how we interpret that. So it's very hard to know from that document, what it is that Muller thinks his his own theory of the cases, I think it's potentially a very big deal. I guess my caution is, you know, let's wait to see what Muller actually thinks there's a possibility that the two narratives are not mutually exclusive that he's trying to get right with their a pasta. Also sees an opportunity to collude with the Russians to help Trump. And right, although that ladder theory. Would be possibly lesson. Culpa, Tori, vis-a-vis Trump. Right. He's doing it on his if he's doing freelancing on his own to get right there pasta. And oh, maybe I'll get something. Good for the campaign here. That's a much more containable problem for Trump. Then if this was the secret channel between Putin through Dera, pasta through Kalymnos through Manafort campaign. I want to throw out some provocative theories to you on this in a moment. But just talking about the duality in the two ways of looking at this. The New York Times played this up on the top of the front page saying, you know, this is the closest we've come in fact, they quoted Clint watts former FBI Intel analysts saying, this is the closest we've seen to collusion, but then they undercut the story a little bit by saying that most of the polling data that Manafort provided Kalinic was in the spring of two thousand sixteen was public. But some of it was developed by a private. Polling firm working for the campaign. So it kinda does depend a devil. In is in the details. What was this polling data? Was it really sensitive stuff that allowed say hypothetically, the Russian troll farm in Saint Petersburg to target. It's Facebook ads to interfere in the election. Or was it just, you know, the kind of stuff you can see on real clear politics every day. Right. Right. So look, I think the world of Clint watts. I think has done a lot of really interesting, but I actually disagree with him about this, even if this is a window into the most extreme collusion, right? It is only like a keyhole. We're not seeing the picture here yet. And by the way, that's in pretty sharp contrast to the Trump Tower meeting where there is an overt approach about which we have no dispute we would like to help this campaign. And by the way, it's it's not at the level to me at any way of of the Trump Tower Moscow deal. Rare where we have still. All of these rebel exactly where we have a fully developed record of an attempt to make a deal about which they were lying at the time. And lied in retrospect that continued well into the period in which Trump was the nominee of the Republican party to build a tower and potentially kickback fifty million dollars to the president of Russia. Like that strikes me as as much much evidence. Finish that thought and potentially also make president in in the constant prison and profoundly influencing the policy that he pursues to be much more accommodation as toward a rival of the United States. Correct. So I think, you know, I'm a fan of Clint watts and I think he's been really really important work. I do think I do disagree with that statement, even if we assume that this is on the collusion the end of the possibilities that are before. Right, right. And I do have I want I'll be a little bit cryptic here. But I do have reason to believe we may be hearing more about that Trump Tower Moscow deal fairly shortly. I I just wanna tease Ben baby cannon wavering. Get the really know what this is. But you heard it first here on skulduggery. Right. So look let me throw out some provocative theories on this and want to get your thoughts. You recently published on law fair a piece co-authored by Chuck Rosenberg former chief-of-staff to Robert Muller giving us somewhat generous assessment of the Steele dossier suggesting that a much of it lined up with Muller's actual filings. Now, others have taken issue with that pointing out including me among them that some of the more specific allegations that got the big headlines about the Steele dossier, namely, the golden showers episode with prostitutes in the hotel room and the Michael Cohen visit to Prague remain unproven uncorroborated and not supported by anything in the public record. But a story that I think a lot of people missed and. I I may include you in this. But is a New York Times story from last September pointing out that among the people that Steele was working for at the time that he was preparing the dossier was a lawyer for one Oleg Dera pasta. The very guy who Manafort was trying to stave off and mollify after ripping him off for twenty million dollars. Now, the dossier does identify Manafort as the key guy who was in charge of collusion with the Russian effort to interfere in the election. And it does raise the question. I think and I want to get your thoughts on this Ben as to whether or not some of what was in the dossier had been fed by Dera, pasta or Dera POSCO's people to steal as a way of screwing an embarrassing and putting the heat. On Paul Manafort. So a few things first of all with regard to Chuck Rosenberg and Sarah grants peas, I think the point of the piece was that. There are pieces of the document that have tracked rather well with developments in the public record generally at a high level of generality and disagree with their pieces that are there's large swats of it that are neither corroborated nor refuted. And there are these. Yes, there are these discrete very high profile areas where I personally see very little reason to think the Prague meeting took place as your recent. Recently discussed about prog meetings, new and old. I also true listener skulduggery passively, right? Jerry treasury. But I think the point of the pieces as I read it was that we shouldn't lose in these discussions of these discreet, high profile things that everybody focused on including by the way, the president who sort of obsessed with these you know, that there were some broader thematic points that the dossier was or that Steele's work was making that have actually aged rather. Well, now that is a thesis that will stand or fall on the ladder developments in that that we haven't seen yet. But I think I think that was the point that they were trying to make look as to your theory. And I have not you're right. If if I had I'm sure I read this piece at the time, but I it was not at the front of my mind. I have always believed that the principle risk associated with. Steel material was that he was being fed stuff in a fashion that by the way, when you do intelligence collection of an analysis of that's what you always have to wonder what you're actually collecting and what you are being given. And there was always a risk that Steele was being indirectly because he wasn't actually collecting the material. He had a collector. He didn't go to Moscow. He didn't talk to any of the sources cited in the Dosso memo. So it's pretty you know, you can imagine a lot of levels at which disinformation could have come his way either inadvertent or intentional, and you raise a very interesting possibility as to what some of one of the sources of that could have been I think at the end of the day, the integrity of the steel material is a less important question than a lot of people think it is. Is because you know, if you're on the far right interested in discrediting the investigation the sort of Devon Nunez trae gal dis of the world, Mark meadows. Then the discrediting of the Steele dossier is a way of suggesting that the investigation itself was kind of born in original sin, and that some exclusionary rule applies to the entire rest of Ryan the aggregate. But when you're looking at these allegations, and you're looking at what's in the seal report, you do have to look case by case. And this is always the truth with intelligence and look to see whether there are genders behind the information that is flowed into a report like this. And in this particular case that we started out talking about today Manafort and Deripaska and the passing of polling data, it could be I think we have to allow for the possibility that this was a product of a nasty dispute between two sleazy businessman. Yes. Absolutely. And by the way, one of the problem. Gms with Manafort reneging on his plea agreement which by the way for those listeners who may at some time get in trouble with federal law enforcement when you make a plea agreement. Follow the terms of it because poor Paul Manafort is going to spend way more time in prison than he actually should under the terms that his lawyers worked out for him. And it is because he wouldn't tell the truth. Even after this one of the problems with that is that resolving that question that you raise is going to be very difficult now because there is this person who's in federal custody who knows the answer to a lot of these questions and don't you don't accept the arguments of his lawyers that he's suffering from depression, anxiety and severe gout in that out. Mark is you know? Dalla sucks, and I can totally see out would make severe gout would make you really grouchy. I'm not sure gout would make me want to lie to Bob Molle. Okay. All right. So more broadly, rod Rosenstein 's bresnik nation or apparent resignation soon. I think a couple of months or next month. He wants a wait wait 'til William Bill bars confirmation hearing is next week could be a turning that's going to be a very interesting hearing in and of itself, there's going to be a lot of questions about some of what we've reported, including the fact that before he was offered the job of attorney general he was offered the job of being chief defense lawyer by Trump in the investigation. He's now going to oversee and clearly has some very strong views on it. What do you make if rod Rosenstein goes? And then it's now all under Bill bar. What do you make three things? One is I do tentatively take rods willingness to resign and step down at the stage as a pretty significant indicator that your reporting to the effect that the investigation really is in winding down stage is accurate that is I think, you know, rods journey back to respect ability after his sort of tawdry involvement in the Komi firing is almost entirely a function of the fact that he's responsible for the appointment of Mahler and the protection of Mahler, why was his involvement tawdry. Well, I mean, I say this as somebody who's not I suppose not entirely dispassionate on the subject, but by most accounts, he to one degree or another of knowingly wrote a memo for the president justifying fully protect jewel fashion afire. Thing knowing having read the president's proposed letter from Bedminster, knowing that in fact, this was not a reflection of the grave injustice that Jim Komi had done to Hillary Clinton. And so I do think rods origin story in this investigation is not a pretty one and his journey back. And look, I think he has you know, he's made some mistakes over the last couple of years, but he has in a very meaningful sense redeemed himself in very important ways. And core to all of that is both the selection of Mahler, and then the willingness to put himself between Muller and the president and Muller, and the congress and absorb the blows that really were intended for to disrupt that investigation, and he's been done that with some missteps, very Abeille, and and very tenacious. Asli? And I think in I say this because I'm not, you know, I'm not his biggest fan, but I do think very honorably. And so I. This is really interesting take on rod Rosenstein because before a cough, and I were talking about what would his legacy be? And we were talking that the sort of either. Or was he a political hack in the end who gave cover to Trump to fire Komi or was he as some people began to think kind of almost a member of the resistance, and a guardrail inside the Justice department when it's either somewhere in between or it may be both as what you're suggesting get started one way. And who knows we haven't we known rod for years, but we haven't had a chance to sort of plumb his soul about these issues. It is possible. At least that he has been angst ridden about his role early on. And he's trying to figure out how to redeem himself to use your word. So you know, what his psychodrama is about. It is is not my I'm not a therapist a great school. Great conversation for you guys. One day, I'm dealing with the facts of what he did. And I do think that the first five weeks of rod Rosenstein or three weeks of rod Rosenstein in office is a genuinely terrible you met. You mentioned the bed minister letter. And I think it's it it's worth reminding listeners and viewers what that was because this took place I think in early may of two thousand seventeen at Trump's golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, he essentially wrote this memo or this letter with Stephen Miller seems to have dictated dictated hand. It was the New York Times called it a screed. We haven't seen the letter. But we believe it specifically talked about the Russia investigation being political. And being I can't remember, exactly. And we know that that letter was a few days later in the Oval Office given to rod Rosenstein. Stein. And rod took it. And then wrote his memorandum focusing on the Hillary Clinton investigation commes handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation that form the basis of the Jeff Sessions letter firing Comey exactly, and I think that me instead at some level rod knew he was being used as a set piece. And I think what his psychological experience of that period. Was is something that, you know. I'm sure people who chronicle the events will spend a lot of time on my point is simply as observer of the events. I think there is very little to say in defense of his behavior early on. And then he clearly pivots and he makes a decision whether it's because he acknowledges error or because he sees something else. I don't know. He makes a decision that would he needs to do is appoint a special prosecutor special counsel as we call them now, and defend that person and make sure. Sure that he can do that job. All right. I'm gonna and hang on. I don't believe that rod would be comfortably walking away from the situation. If he thought that that might mean that Muller did not get to finish his work in a significant. Right. Well, I'm gonna play defense lawyer for Rosenstein here for a little bit just for the purpose of this conversation, which is that I was trying to praise. Well. Well, his memo laying out commes transgressions. I see no reason to believe that that wasn't absolutely sincere and reflect his belief about the way a federal prosecutor department of Justice official should behave that Komi had no business going out on his own. And as high went on on the point. Well, no, no, no is that he had reason to believe that he already knew why Trump wanted to get rid of coma. And it wasn't really about his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation by reasonably that Trump. Yes, you're one argue that regardless of what Trump intended rod Rosenstein is the number to fish on the Justice department believe that commes transgressions were real that they presented a real danger to the way the Justice department should operate. You can't have FBI director's going off on their own without approval from the Justice department making pronouncements about ongoing investigations that's not their role. And his letter at the end, you know, which probably most people agree influence the election more than anything else, including probably what the Russians did was a violation of Justice department protocol, and you can sincerely believe that. And regardless of what the intentions are of the commander in chief. You can lay out what your concerns are. Which is what he did. Yeah. So I actually agree with all of that. And I have met doesn't make this Mary much. But yeah, but I'm gonna stick in your eye now. So like, I look I I actually agree with all that. And I have no reason to believe that rod does not sincerely believe all of his criticisms. And by the way, his criticisms are the orthodox position. I mean move most former senior Justice department officials agree with rod on the merits of that not with gem. And so, but even the even that he should have been fired. Well, that's a that's a different question. But agree on the on the merits the criticism. You know, rods position is not. Stanchly different from what the inspector general found in criticizing. Jim's was what the inspector general, right? So so my point is not a point about the merits of the issue, but number one if you feel that way enough to recommend to the president that as a pretext for something, you know, he's going to do for other. And by the way, corrupt reasons, perhaps you should not invite the director of the FBI to address your staff at the US attorney's office in Baltimore introduce him as an inspirational leader and make no reference to any of them, and Jim took some tough questions from the a as on the subject, but you know, rods Ron sense of offense at that was not enough that he did not invite Jim to come speak to the US attorney's office at Baltimore on in a discussion of leaders. Ship and introduce him in glowing terms. So I have no doubt that rod believes what he believed, and I have no doubt as well. At least from the public reporting that he was kind of aware he was being used as a sec piece. And I also know that three or four months earlier five months earlier, he was content to introduce Komi dang terms. That makes you wonder whether it was his intention to start with fire. Right. Right. Although again to be fair to rod. He did make a point of noting that when Komi testified in February he said he would do the same thing again. And I think Rosenstein focused on that like he was he was not reflective about what he had done wrong. He being Komi he was prepared to defend and redo what he had previously done. So I'm going to pull a George Conway here and start asking you questions. Yeah. Let me ask you something. Do you think that if rod had not known that the president wanted to fire Jim Komi for other reasons, he would have written that memo suicide Ponte? I love that term so respond spont-. I remember an old editor barking that at me on a different content. Not answering. Question. I'm filibustering. We have no more time for you. Let's just showing right? You're probably right. But you know, it does raise the broader question of this is the core of the Muller obstruction investigation. And how it is that somebody like rod Rosenstein who was so intimately involved in the events that are under investigation as part of that obstruction investigation can be the overseer can have been the overseer of the investigation has been something that's been puzzling. A lot of people for a long time, and we'll continue to it's one of the enduring mysteries of the period. Well, the good thing is I suspect much of this is going to be aired next week at Bill bars confirmation hearing to be attorney general and Ben witness. We would love to have you back on to talk about Bill bar and the continuing Muller investigation, and all of these things that you have so much insight into anytime. Thanks for having me and keep the cannon polished for. You know, just give me a heads up stuff. Coming. Okay. Very soon. Thanks, man. Thanks, man. After taping. This interview you wanted to give you two updates. I the New York Times posted a correction to its original story about Manafort, and that polling data saying the former Trump campaign chair did not pass the information to Oleg Derek pasta. The Putin connected oligarch in Russia, but to to Ukrainian oligarchs for whom he'd worked in that country. And Secondly, and more importantly, Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen has now agreed to testify in public before the house oversight committee on February seventh it should be quite the hearing. So stay tuned as we will be here at skulduggery. We are now joined by one of our favorites. Skulduggery guests the decorated famous FBI former counterintelligence agent Ali Savan, what brings you to Washington this week. Well, we're coordinating with the house and few senators an event to Mark the hundred day in the death of Jamal Khashoggi Jamal because she is one of fifty three journalists were killed in two thousand eighteen that is an astronomer call number. It's a it's a huge number and Jamal Khashoggi. Because of the way he was killed because of the brutal of the murder and the way he would dismiss was dismembered and everything became a symbol for standing up for journalists. I on the world we're having an event on Capitol Hill that event will include people from both sides of the aisle. It is co sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats and many organisms. Nations human rights organizations. Many journalists many groups at advocate for journalism, and the protection of journalist will be also part of that event. What's the message? You want people to take from this? The message is basically we're not going to stand on the side. And allow these attacks on journalism and journalists are doing their job to bring the truth to the people worldwide. That's number one number two freedom of speech. Freedom of expression is an American value in American principal. And I think we need to stand up with our values and our principal and hold everybody accountable, including our allies because if we don't hold out allies accountable, we're gonna look so hypocrites when we're dealing with the enemies and the United States is about value when I took an oath, I took an oath to defend the constitution that have all the values and the principles that America stands for the very first. First amendment of the constitution before any other amendment is freedom of speech. And I think if we don't stand up for that who who are we well, we certainly appreciate you putting so much emphasis on freedom of expression on on the press in the first amendment. But clearly, this is an issue. That's touched a nerve among Democrats Republicans all people and part of the issue here is what you began to talk about about accountability, holding our allies accountable. And I guess my question is one hundred days after this brutal murder. My sense is that this is not an issue that people are talking about nearly as much and that Donald Trump who has not really acknowledged who was responsible for this, namely, the Saudi regime, and in all likelihood, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, first of all give us a sense of where you think that as you stands right now. And how you keep attention on that. And how concerned you are that that Trump is just going to move onto the next controversy the way he does and kind of escape accountability on this issue. You know, I I think we have American we have Trump, and we have to do our job as American citizens people who believe in what country and what we stand for. And if the president doesn't want to talk about this, it's fine. We are going to be talking about it. You're gonna find out many Republicans, many Democrats members of the house members of the Senate, you're going to have human rights organizations. You're going to have pen you're going to have CPJ you're going to have the writers guild of America. You're gonna have all these organizations who stand up for freedom of speech and freedom of expression and journalism on the world. We're going to be hand in hand together. Trying to keep the memory of Jamal cashew GM because it's Jamal Khashoggi is just a journalist. But also show mocha shook she became a symbol. And that's why we. Linking the hundred day of his death to this big event that were doing on Capitol Hill. This is amazing to do an event like this on Capitol Hill with bipartisan support that means a lot of America care about this a lot of people in congress care about this. You know, I know in this age and the age of Trump everybody look at the, you know, the glass half empty half full I would like to instead of focusing on the tweets of the president's on the statements of the president of the on the entertainment aspect of the presidency. I would like to focus on the people who are doing the job and and work in hard when our institutions on our principles because this is what America is all about America is way more than a tweet or or or a statement. Right. But look the key question Ali is is is whether we're going to hold the Saudis responsible for what was done here. They have been a key ally, including on counter-terrorism K. Cases that you worked for many years. Let's all it's questionable. Right. Okay. But, but, but you know, they have been a strategic ally as a bulwark against the Iranian certainly this is the Trump White House showing anyway. So look what do we do with an ally along standing ally under both administrations like the Saudis when they behave like this? What would you be done? I think a lot of things is being done as we speak. I mean, there is a bipartisan support okay to blaming and Bs Mohammed bin Salman dacron robbers have Saudi Arabia for the for the murder of dramatic sugary. When you have people like Senator Rubio when you have people like Senator Graham who are supporters of the president when it comes to foreign policy on a lot of other issues when you have people in both house in congress from the house and the Senate Republicans and Democrats all of them criticizing an ally. Saudi Arabia something that we didn't see before. That is big Saudi Arabia after the death of Jamal Khashoggi is not the same Saudi Arabia before the death of your mouthwash Shuki. I think king soman had an opportunity to choose between his son and between the stability of the house of Cy. Unfortunately, he chose his son. We need Saudi Arabia as a strong ally. Saudi Arabia is a strong ally. Because with a strong ally, we can counter terrorism was a strong ally, we can counter Iran with a strong allied. So what do we do? Do we demand that NBS be removed from his as crown prince? You know, what they can is it our job to do. Well, they can do whatever they're going to do. The only thing. The only leverage. We have is a what you start to see now exerting pressure on them in congress. And that's really big, you know, that's something the Saudis never experienced before. Not even after nine eleven had a unanimous Bill blaming them for the fifteenth Saudis who, you know, flew planes into Bill. Killing three thousand Americans. All you know, I investigated day Suffolk embassy bombing. Guess what? There are Saudi suicide bombers their US school. Guess what Saudi suicide bombers nine eleven? Guess what's already suicide bombers a lot of that docks that took place in Syria and Iraq with a at least at the very beginning for the first two years of the series of more than eighty percent of the suicide bombers would from Saudi Arabia. So there is a problem there. We're not talking about a lot of these things, but we're talking if you want it to be our ally. If you want to be our partner encountering, Iran, if you want to be able to partner encountering Al Qaeda and ISIS on extremism, you have to live up to a particular standard, and you can have the lobbyists groups in DC, and they have the best you can have relationship with the White House, but you don't want you cannot buy off all of America, and the unanimous Bill that team in the house and the Senate was a first message. Now, if it's been so long continues in his reckless behavior, and we can see what's happening in Yemen. Can so what happened with the Lebanese Prime Minister? We saw what happened with Kaji. We saw what happened with his coup against them. How bin naive who was the number one counter terrorism partner, we have right? You can see all the reckless behavior. The palace intrigue were with arresting all businessmen the Princess and putting them in the Ritz Carlton and Saudi Arabia. If this is going to continue I can guarantee you that Saudi Arabia will cease to have the relationship with the west and with the United States that they had before. Right. Well, you're you're a legendary investigator. I don't know that what is your theory of the case as to why this president has not been willing to hold the salaries accountable and not even acknowledge what his own CIA has has told them. Was responsible for this. And let me just mentioned this last week on this podcast. We interviewed congressman swallow from California who sits on the house intelligence committee. He told us that the intelligence committee is going to be investigating whether Donald Trump's financial interests may have something to do with his stance towards the Saudi's in the aftermath of this killing. Do you buy that? Absolutely. There's a lot of possibility. I mean, Donald Trump was the guy during his speech speeches say, hey, what should I hit the Saudis? They give me a lot of money. I get millions and millions of the Saudi they've all my stuff on. That's almost an exact quote. So yeah, he has a relationship with them. There is some kind of transactional relationship with him and some elements of the house of salad, maybe specifically with MB us, and I allow me to go a little bit beyond the presentative said I hope that with the final report of my former boss director Muller. I hope that we can probably. Have a better answer. Probably have a better answer about Trump's connections with the Saudi. Absolutely. Well, he's I mean that's not within his mandate. He's investigating the links to Russia not to the Saudi well, the Russians it seems to me that the Russians that a lot of things. But it seems to me somebody else paid the money. Why explain? No, this is this is my own personal assessment of reading stuff. I mean, the shell meeting was coordinated by the Imerys in the Seychelles the meeting that took place in New York with all the folks to hear about that was also coordinated not only with Imerys. But also with George Nader who works with them, how madman soman unim- Hamad bin Zayed, a prince of the and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. So every time there is something really interesting and important they appear to be in the middle of it. So I don't know that has something to do with it. But as an investigator definitely I'll be following this lead. Maybe they will lead to something. Maybe they will lead to nothing. And that's why I hope that we will probably know more. If we if we wait until to follow the money, all the money the money. This is the most important thing. All right. Let's go back to following the tweets because President Trump tweeted just a few days ago that a US air strike. Had killed the leader of the US as Cole bombing in October two thousand killed I think seventeen US sailors, you were the principal investigator of the Cole. Bombing was Dowie the guy we got the leader of the attack. No, he was the logistic. Trump was wrong in his tweet while surprise. That's right. It's not even worth challenging at this point. You know, the leader of the US has called a talk of the Rahima Noshehra, and he is currently in Guantanamo Bay. He was involved not only with that tack on the US as call, but he was also involved in talk on the lemberg and many other terrorist plots took place and the Saudi citizens, and he's a Saudi citizen the person that was killed last week is Jamal, by the way as your model. But we was one of the first people we arrested in connection to the us goal. Let me rephrase that first subject. We arrested. I interrupted him with few of my colleagues early on in. He was a logistics person. He was a kite a member he fought with Okada in Bosnia during the war. He went to Ghana STAN he became close to the network of Osama bin Laden, especially to a lot been. Attaches also in Guantanamo Bay. And he was involved in the key figure. I remember a lot. Yeah. Figure love he was in the Malaysia Malaysia. Acer? Exactly. And a lot is the one who introduced him to Nasha and told him to assist Sherie. So I'm not sure he came to Aden. He reached out to we and national. He was the oldest guy in a way, you know, they got father of the cell the Aden. Cell of al-qaeda. Butter. We help not Schutte select operatives from Aden to participate in the operation. He helped him rent facilities that were used to plot the call attack, for example, they rented a safe house. They rented a bomb factory house that the use as a bomb factory. The rented an observation post where they monitored the port. He was supposed to videotape the operation, but we, but he gave the job to another guy. So yes alarm clock. Didn't go on recall that we never you. The other thing. I remember just very quickly is I think there was a dry run. Tell me if I'm right about this. And they actually went in with a little skiff. But but it got stuck in the mud in the in the right? That was actually the evening of the millennium almost actually January fifth a couple of days before the millennium, and it was the same boat with the same explosives that the using the Osasco at the USS Cole later on. But what happened is it sung in the sand and the boat, you know, had to be lifted. So they seem like they game they couldn't shoot straight. But in the absolutely been the. The horrible attack. But let's get to a on Cherie because he ends up in Guantanamo after. I mean, I think he's arrested or detained in Dubai in two thousand and two actually goes to a to a black site, right? Then sent the multiple black site prisons in Poland and Romania and elsewhere is waterboarded is clearly subjected to grotesque enhanced interrogation techniques, which did not produce anything which did not produce. Any? Did you interrogate Nesher? Now, it wasn't a loved if you weren't allowed time became for on on the ground. Absolutely. Yes. So we should make. That point Ali is the guy who stood his ground and said, no, we're not going to engage in these kind of enhanced interrogation techniques, by the way, line torture. Supported by Bob Muller, right up -solutely, director model or supported us. Very well. And you know, what the point that we made at the time. First of all, it's not a producing anything. Then think about the end game. What are you going to do with those guys after he do these things to them? And while our local what's happening in Guantanamo Bay today. Look what's happening in the USA's. Cole case today. How many judges laughed how many prosecutors laugh how many defense attorneys resigned in sheer after he was tortured waterboarded everything they held a gun to his head a drill was head to threaten them and all that he's sent to Guantanamo. He's indicted under the original Bush military commissions in two thousand eight more than a decade ago. And then he's reindicted, and I think two thousand eleven here we are two thousand nineteen. He has not been brought to trial. There's been no Justice in the Cole bombing. And it doesn't even look like it's on the horizon, the military commissions. What do you make of the military commission system at this point? I I mean, do I have to make a point I'm going to be never prosecuted anyone since I won their four bul and for Hamdan low level, not a high level when we know, you know, those people who were involved in nine eleven college Mohamed is probably one of the worst masterminds terror masterminds murderers in the twenty first century at least the first half of the twenty first century. And and he killed he admitted he bragged about killing three thousand Americans, and we cannot even prosecute him. So that gives you on idea about how much this system is affective. This is horrible. This is horrific if these guys had been flown into Manhattan to the southern district of New York and put on trial there in article three courts, I can go into you could have been done death penalty, the stuff that we have on Nash ary. I helped the Emmys because there was a decision at the time on nationally bodily on Crusoe that let's prosecute the coal in Sunol and Yemen. So I went there with my team, and we helped a Yemeni prosecutor the prosecutor general in Yemen to prosecute the case, we one death penalty on better we and unnecessary based on the investigation based on the evidence based on the forensic based on the statements of witnesses and based on the integration of Jamal butter. We. So we have so much evidence that can be brought in federal court to includes nationally is alleged role in the east Africa embassy bombings, one of the suicide bombers in the east Africa embassy bombing in the Nairobi bombing was his cousin here. Recruited hill for the operation and the day before the bombing Nasha ary called his aunt in Saudi Arabia and told her her son received martyrdom because he didn't want the Saudis to conduct the suicide attack against our embassy to his cousin. So he told her the day before that her son received martyrdom, he was involved in so many plots and all these things were obtained through FBI investigations every person, including Butto, we every time we talked about it. We read him his Miranda rights in Arabic every time. He waived his Miranda rights. Before talking to us. So we have a lot of statements lot of evidence. A lot of FBI agents who can go to court brace the right hand and testify under oath about statements that they got about evidence that they collected about DNA samples. I mean, unfortunately, we took the wrong path on this. And that's why real Justice hasn't been, sir. Okay. So we're almost at a time but very quickly. What do we do? Now, what should be done on what with with all these high level detainees and get MO terrorists who we have all this evidence against no Sheree ks the others. What is the next step? I mean, she we just dissolve these military commissions and bring a mortar fellow look, you know, what I think before we even go to that level. What do we need to do is calm and peace with E IT's and hand? Enhanced interrogation techniques with the black declassify everything because I believe ninety nine point nine nine nine percent of all the problems is basically you're trying to do a court case for these individuals. But you cannot talk about what happened during a BRAC site, even with these commissions or not part of military law as you know, and not part of. Article three courts, even with these commissions. They are not kangaroo courts. A no judge is just going to allow this to know. And that's that's what the big problem is are we willing to talk publicly about all these things in a quarter flaw or not if we're not ten years from now, we're going to be at the same position as we are now. And unfortunately as long as some people still feel that they can classy overclassify redact rewrite history with no accountability whatsoever. This thing is going to continue to happen. Ali of this is going to go on for another ten years. We'll have plenty of opportunity to have you back on skulduggery to keep talking about this because it's a really important issue. I would always love to come. But I don't wanna talk about this. On talk about I'll Ha's me and on the Dr Asia summit meeting. Oh, you're really in the weeds. They're golly. Thanks for coming back. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks to Ben with us and all these fun for joining us on this episode of skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe skulduggery arm, apple podcasts or Revie, listen to your pockets and tell us what you think leave a review. The latest episode is also on Sirius XM on the weekend. Check it out on channel. One twenty four on Saturdays at three pm eastern time with replays on Sundays at one AM and three PM and be sure to follow us on social media at skulduggery pot talk to you next week.

President Trump Robert Muller president Paul Manafort rod Rosenstein Trump United States skulduggery Saudi Arabia FBI Muller Ben Jim Komi Trump Tower Ali Savan director Putin Washington Russia
Should Barr be disbarred?

Skullduggery

1:13:10 hr | 6 months ago

Should Barr be disbarred?

"A Michael isikoff chest correspondent for Yahoo News and I'm Dan. Kleinman editor in chief, of Yahoo News and a quick reminder that you can follow us at skulduggery Pod, and by the way. If you've got any questions, thoughts ideas, you wanNA share. tweet right out us now. Let's get on with the show. The order came from William Bar early. Monday evening. The Attorney General of the United States walked out of the white. House spotted hundreds of protesters in Lafayette Park and ordered. Park police officers some on horseback to clear them out. What happened next seems destined to become one of the iconic moments of the trump era. The park, police and other federal officers on the scene you smoke canisters, pepper, polls, riot, shields, and flash bangs sending the demonstrators fleeing from the park, many of them choking for air, thereby allowing president trump to stroll over to Saint John's church across from the park, so we can hold up a Bible for a photo op. What does the scene tell us about his attitude toward the protests and is larger view about the use of federal power to enforce his vision of law and order. We'll discuss with a member of the house. Judiciary Committee Democrat Jamie Raskin in Maryland. Hamill talk to to Amazon whistleblowers about the revelation that the company prepared prepackaged new spots, touting its purported record for safety that wound up unedited word for word on TV, channels across the country corporate propaganda, masquerading as news all that and more on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president's a pro bowl. I'm not a crook. I told the American people I did not trade arms, but hostile. My heart to my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence. Tell me it is not I did not have sexual relations with that one will be no lives. We will honor the American people with the Truth and nothing else. I'm Michael, ISIKOFF chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News and I've Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News, so we like historical analogies on this show and. I was inspired by our old colleague John Harris the editor in chief emeritus of politico who pointed to to. Events in a tweet this morning one was nineteen thirty two herbert hoover orders. General Douglas MacArthur to clear out the bonus marchers from Anticosti. Thousands of World War One veterans. Who'd come? They're demanding their bonus. Nineteen sixty eight mayor Daley of Chicago unleashes the Chicago Police on the demonstrators at the Chicago. Democratic convention in that year and now we have an event that will probably rank up with. With both of those and that is William Bars. In order to clear the protesters out of Lafayette Park, so trump can have that photo op at Saint John's Church. This one really struck a nerve. I think with a lot of Americans and in fact even with people inside the trump administration and we saw just today on Wednesday as we record this podcast that Defense Secretary Esperer. Spectacle has. Started to backtrack and backpedal and walk away from it. You know it was frankly there. Something obscene about it to US essentially military force, you know we're GonNa talk to Hunter Walker who was actually there but I believe there was national guard on the scene as well to clear a path to that the president can go and pull off a totally political stunt in front of a church in fun of the Saint John's Episcopal Church, the Church of presidents to both show a show of force to show how tough he is and that he's not weak. Weak, but at the same time brandishing a Bible to appeal to evangelical voters, we should point out that the Justice Department insists that the decision to expand the perimeter at Lafayette Park had already been made, and then it's only when bars strolls out moments before the president has that walked to Saint John's that he sees that hasn't been done orders that it be done, but we've got our colleague. Are Walker on the phone here? He was there that night saw the protesters as they were being driven from Lafayette Park. Hunter tell us what you saw. There's a lot of pressure I mean I. Guess the first thing to do is to situate myself I i. have been at the protest every day since they started which was last Friday, when protesters breached the barricades and Lafayette Park which is just across from Saint John's Church really between the Church and the White House off H street here in in Washington DC so I've. I've been out there every day, but you know I. You know normally report on on civil unrest in the streets. I'm. White House correspondent, so I get the White, house. Pool reports and essentially we either receives citywide seven PM curfew in Washington which has been instituted amid the violence and unrest. We've seen with some of these protests. I was heading down there at. Half past six, or so to report on the enforcement of the curfew, and as I was walking on the fringes of the park, seeing what was largely peaceful protest including no one thing I was photographing. When did it start? Young people who have missed their graduation in light of the Corona virus have been wearing graduation gowns. These protests I think to also highlight that sort of African. American people are often represented in more urban clothing when I following these incidents where there were killed. So, literally, photographing a couple of these guys in A. Graduation gowns and I start hearing these periodic explosions. These booms that we've come to know your Washington. It's amazing. How quickly this becomes routine. Are you know tear gas and Flashbang and again? You know we're of used to this. So I don't think it's a huge thing. And all of a sudden. The crowd is searching all around me. And I see this contingent of Park Police on horseback. And in front of them I believe or these guys in sort of black gear. There's a slew of law enforcement agencies on the streets in DC, now including the national garnered including. ATS and Ta Drug Enforcement Agents. I'm not sure who the people on the ground, or but the park police were behind them on horseback, and they just started firing the tear gas canisters while they were also hitting people with batons and shields, which really been studying about this in the You know I guess twenty four ish hours or Date is anymore. I think forty eight hours since then you've seen the park police. The White House, the trump campaign allies such as Fox News is Laura Ingram. Deny what we all clearly saw and say that there wasn't tear. Gas used to disperse these people from the park. Yeah, they're saying. It was some other chemical agents, but it wasn't tear-gas, although it seems a distinction without a difference. Yeah and I I should be clear up. Sorry I'm there so much again? There's so much to unpack you, but you know part of the reason I noted that I'm a White House reporter I was getting pulled reports from the White House. Press Pool as this was happening and. I'm literally seeing the email alert on my phone pop over these these images and I'm looking at through the screen of cheer. Gasping deployed employing me that president trump was on the you know was I, speaking in the Rose Garden, and then on the move from the White House to Saint John's Church, which had been somewhat burned in the basement during Sunday's protests so essentially, and I will never forget this time the according to Muriel Bowser the the mayor of DC the disbursement with tear-gas. tear-gas began twenty five minutes before the seven PM curfew, and exactly seven oh one with tear-gas, still wafting through the air president trump and his entourage walked out of the front of the White House to the church through the park where they just been cleared, protesters had just been cleared with the tear gas. Hey, Hunter! I think we've got a clip of that video. You made that night. We're going to play it now, so let's take a listen to this. Chaotic scene is playing out. Basically as the president is set to speak in the Rose Garden. This is the backdrop to his remarks. So I'm not clear. If those devices! are going all around me. Are Coming from the protesters from the police. Protesters have thrown fireworks. This seems way larger than that. Yes. These our police. Pepper And tear gas incendiary devices. So There's tear gas in the streets. Fifteen minutes ahead of the citywide curfew. As protesters are being pushed away from the White House complex. In advance of president trump's speech. I posted up the video because it to me in light of again the trump campaign the park police, you know conservative pundits, dismissing the objective reality I had this. You Know Ten plus minute unedited cut where people can see exactly what I saw. They can see the multiple colors of gas because again as you alluded to Mike One of the. Defenses here is that this was some other gas? This was smoke canisters. Those are usually. Those are usually white and less irritating. They can see and hear my own irritation. Even on the fringes of this they can see protesters running irritated by the gas, pouring water, so I. Really. I I took extra time and took the step of putting a long length of footage up. Because again we're in this place where people are trying to deny the objective reality and I wanted to make sure that everyone saw what I saw, so they can understand the reality is. Puncher, have you been able to confirm what the US, Park I think it's the park police. It said that they actually warned the protesters and gave them an opportunity to disperse on their own before they had to take more. Aggressive measures, do you. There may be a fog of war situation here where some of the purchases may have heard it, but others didn't. What do you make of that? You know and as I was saying. I think in this time of you know frankly misinformation coming from official sources, it's so important more important than ever that we journalists are really precise and detailed in our information, and as I was earlier, you know high was just coming upon the park at the moments that this began right so I don't know if potentially you know closer to the barricade between law enforcement and the protesters they had made. Made some type of announcement. I certainly didn't hear it myself and the other question I have. Have you had a chance to follow up with any of your? White? House sources because there is reporting out there that people inside the White House and they're saying this anonymously are appalled at how this all unfolded that this seems to have shaken. People who are actually working in the White House this episode. Dan! I A reporter value, my sources, I value keeping things off record. When I say they will be, and that is all I have to say about that, but what I will say is that you know the parks department. A lot of people are latching onto this official statements and the parks department that they used smoke canisters instead of tear gas and it's. It's a bizarre distinction to me. Your gas is more of a colloquial term referring to a suite of lacquer maters your attention, and technically technically you know multiple encyclopedias, and even the CDC identifies pepper spray tear-gas. Right I don't go that far, but but. But this was clearly tear-gas again. Yellow and white smokes the parks department said it's not what what my understanding is. The Parks Department has a pretty unique role in DC given how much of the spaces of the federal spaces in DC are under their jurisdiction, they actually are giving equal standing to the DC Metropolitan Police Department and people I've spoken to believe there's no way that this incident could have begun unless parks department had deputized other agencies. It was the guys in black ahead of the Parks Department officers on horseback who were deploying tear gas, but from what I've heard. There would be no way that. That parks department wasn't leading that. Even if that's not correct, it was clearly coordinated. Parks was unquestionably involved and I think you flight distinctions you know. Was it see six or another chemical? Lack remainder you know. Was it parks or parks behind in helping the guys who did it? These distinctions are way less important than the fact that anyone can open their eyes. We saw live television. Even Fox News is saying that protesters were tear gassed in the park just ahead of the president coming out for a photo op hunter, it's called an all of government approach, but I do want to Just tip my. My hat to the superb work. You've been doing chronicling what's going on in the streets of our nation's capital we you on the other day when it was pretty harrowing, after the looting and rioting took place, Sunday night, but your updates on what took place on Monday is are invaluable and Keep at a man and stay safe. How are we know you have to go? But you do have a little bit of breaking news, which maybe you can just very very quickly. Tell us about what you've learned from some of the protest groups. Yeah, I just want if I if. If you if you guys will indulge me, I, want to interject because Mike made a great historical analogy earlier, and there's one that I have been thinking of extensively in the past couple of days, and it involves Zimbabwe the late Zimababwean. Strongman Robert Mugabe and you know. When he took power in Zimbabwe in nineteen eighty, he was at that time at Darling of the left who thought that he might be this great African nationalist populist figure any hosted this independence concert Prince Charles was there to hand off. The country and Bob Marley was actually one of the head performers and he wrote A. A song for the occasion and there were crowds at the stadium and in Gob. He's troops, just a grisly aggressively to your guest, everyone. You can read about this in the Marley theocracy. Catch a fire and Bob Marley was apparently on stage getting hit with this. Tear gas. Just like you know permanently disillusioned. Him Somewhat unscarred him a big supporter of Mugabe and African. National Movements in general and I. Bring that up, just because yes, we have analogies to this in American history, but this is spectacles. That I've seen know within the past week here in. DC are really like something out of another country really. Really like these stories strongman that we've seen over the years but yes. Dan I'm sorry. That's not what you actually asked me. One thing that we're I. Believe Momentarily publishing on Yahoo is that a group of the protesters to veteran activist and actually a young woman was one of the park land. Survivors from Florida has come together. They form the group Cullum certain citizens and their airing a list of demands both national and local including charges for all the officers involved in Georgia Floyd's death charges for the officers involved in the march, killing Brianna Taylor and criminal justice reforms including marijuana decriminalization these. These people have told me that you know they. They've seen everyone chanting in front of the White. House we all have and they were very eager to make sure that there was a concerted and coordinated message, including demands to go with these protests and maximize well. That story is already up I've already tweeted it so congratulations and I will just say coming back to Bob Marley. One of my favorite of his songs was I. Think from the album survival was called so much trouble in the world. So that's where we are. The late Great Bob Marley hope there will be no burning and looting tonight and. Let's hope so stay safe. Take care of her. We now have with US Jamie Raskin A. Congressman from Maryland member of the House, Judiciary Committee and regular skulduggery guest Congressman Raskin. Welcome back to skulduggery well, I'm delighted to be with you guys. I hear as the republic hangs on the thread momentous times, so let's start out with. Attorney General Bar, giving that order the other night to clear the protesters out of Lafayette Park your reaction to what you've seen about and what you know about it. Well I looked at that scene and being a constitutional law nerd as I am I said they just violated. The right to peaceably assemble the right to petition for redress of grievances, the right of freedom of speech, and then also they really burden free exercise when you think about it with the president crashing church, and then wait in the Bible above his head, so I tweeted out immediately. The president just violated the First Amendment to clear the street, so he could go and violate the first commandment essentially created a God above the Lord of the Bible himself him and his political agenda and meantime wiped out the First Amendment Rights of all. All the people in the street and the event has really been a breaking point for I think millions of people across the country to see that we've got somebody in office who can act like just in an old fashioned tinpot dictator, and used the military to crush dissent move people out of the street as they exercise their constitutional rights, and then go and wave a Bible over his head. Now as you know, the park police is put out a statement saying that they had intelligence out potentially violent acts by some of the protesters that. Some projectiles being hurled at some of their officers, and they gave the protesters advance warning to clear out three occasions, and they refuse to do so well in America, we have a system of individualized due process, and we don't believe in collective guilt, and we don't believe in mass punishment. That's why officer show then should be prosecuted for second degree murder, but he's being prosecuted for manslaughter. They're supposed to the charges today, Congressman. A. Announcement that and then the other officer should be charged with aiding and abetting being honest, but the other officers on the force they should not be prosecuted for it, and similarly if somebody throws a rock and breaks the window arrests that person arrest that right wing provocateur don white supremacist. Websites that are sending mount their arrests that person and cart them off whoever it is, but you don't wipe out everybody else's free speech rights in the process that's completely phony and artificial and people understand that congressman, a couple of quick follow up questions on that event. One is get your thoughts about the role of the Attorney General Role, giving the order to disperse the crowd at my understanding is there were no law enforcement agencies are directly under his jurisdiction. Perhaps he was directed to do this by the president. President maybe the president has the constitutional authority to do that. But what is your reaction? Turn General bill bars role in this and then I want to ask you about the military role. After you've answer that question well. I suppose we haven't learned that much new about attorney general bar except the depths to which she will go I mean he's a fraud. He's a charlatan. He's a sycophantically the political hack. He has no respect or love through our Constitution and the thing that define our country, but the irony. Irony of course was that a week or two before he was posing as a great defender of the constitution against the governors and mayors who had public health orders that was too much for him, so he there he was egging on the right wing, who are showing up armed Melissa Mun protesters like at the Michigan capital, and saying that these people who are just exercising their civil rights and civil liberties. Then you've got hundreds of thousands of nonviolent peaceful protesters in the streets, objecting to police, murder and official. Official brutality, and at that point they revert back to their law and order norm, so to speak and decide. They want to crush the dissent, but you know law and order starts at home, and it's Donald Trump's interesting law and order he should stop pocketing millions of dollars from the government in violation of the domestic emoluments clause with all the money that they're directing his hotels golf courses every time they go there, and you should stop pocketing millions of dollars. Tens of millions of dollars from foreign princes kings. States in violation of the foreign emoluments clause what you make of the fact that Defense Secretary Mark Aspiration, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley General Milley were were present with the president's in front of Saint John's Episcopal Church milly by the way in full battle fatigue, the president has never distinguished between military and civilian authority, and would not be able to give you any explanation of how they're different for what the profit relationship is under our constitutional order. And we saw that when I think he was in Paris and witness a field day parade, and decided that he wanted to have the military perform like that for him in connection with the fourth of July he also does not. Not Distinguish between his personal political agenda and the official business of the United States. So this is why it's a work in a moment of tremendous danger as his polling numbers plummet, and he loses support all over the country and a big majority of American people have turned against the fraud of his administration. You're a constitutional law professor, your thoughts on the president's threats to invoke the insurrection act to bring in the military to police streets around the country. Well, the the concert analogy interaction actors never been tested in the Supreme Court I don't think it has been tested certainly not for a long time, and this goes back to I believe it's the eighteen o seven Thomas. Jefferson's administration, yes. I mean if the Congress had the authority to cast at it had the authority to it under Article Four. Section for the Republican Guarantee Clause I don't have in front of me, but it basically says the united. States so guarantee to every state, a Republican form of government, and that's not by the way a Republican Party form of government. It's a Republican form of government and that the state legislatures can ask the president to send out the. The militias to put down domestic violence, and if the state legislature can't condemn, can't meet than the governor's can do it, but all of it hinges constitutionally on the action of the states, the president does not have the power to order a military invasion of the United States or of any individual state or in the individual city or town which is why it requires the action in order for there to be a federal izing and a Deputies Ation of the Guard to go into the state. So you're saying the president cannot invoke the insurrection act on its own. It has the only in response to her request from one of the states I think they in order to conform to the constitution. Now the president does have the power to federalize the guard on his own in order to prepare or Or get ready for a crisis, but he does not have the power to send the guard into the states without the petition of the state legislature or the governor in the event that you can't meet although I think he may have the right to do that in the District of Columbia, which is you know as a federal? They've all right, and then that's. That's a different kettle of fish. Of course, because is congress exercises exclusive legislation over the seat of government, and the president has traditionally exercised. The is traditionally exercise that control so I think that's probably why they decided to do it in DC and to target the protesters there all the more reason for people in DC to get the hell out of that situation. Situation and to become a state, and to stand on a plane well quality well actually I want to follow up on that congressman because you grew up in Washington. I I know that you're a passionate supporter of home rule. One of the things that I think has not gotten a lot of attention. Maybe overlooked somewhat. The Washington Post reported that the White House. To, take control of the police and effort that mayor. Rejected, but would that have been legal I mean I, think as a federal clave law says that under certain emergency conditions. The president actually has the authority to do that. But what do you think of the White House actually pushing to take over the district of Columbia police force well, I would argue that that powered not absent congressional action it's. Article one section eight clause seventeen says that Congress exercise exclusive legislation over the district that has become the seat of government by the session of lands from other states, so private thing would not have any unilateral authority to do that. You know we know from the steel seizure decision that the president gets his Howard in only two ways, either directly explicitly in the constitution like he's got the power to veto legislation, and of course, then to suffer an override, his veto by the House the by the House and Senate or the president gets his power through a congressional delegation of power. So I am unaware that Congress has ever said the. The President can exercise unilateral control over the Metropolitan Police Department. And that was precisely you know the kind of government that that was transcended in nineteen, seventy three with the DC home rule act I, mean there were three commissioners basically rammed the district before nineteen seventy-three, there was very little electoral self-government popular self government by the people there, and there might have been those kinds of powers before and I seem to be Rick. recollecting some images of the president sending National Guard after the assassination of Doctor King to put down different kinds of protests, but I don't think that the president has that power now I'm not aware of it. I to push back a little bit on. Research in that, it'd be unconstitutional for the President to invoke the insurrection act on his own. Of course. It was last invoked by President George. W Bush in the LA riots in Nineteen ninety-two, that was in response to a request from the state, but it was also invoked by President Eisenhower in one, thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, seven to protect the little rock nine the African American school children who were trying to go to integrated schools, and that wasn't done at the. The request of Orval Faubus the segregation as governor of Arkansas. So you know the the president may have the authority to do this whether it's wiser not is another question, but I want to come back to William Bar for a moment I. Remember I think it was no more than a month or so ago. That chairman Nadler of the Judiciary Committee which you're on had announced bar was Gonna come before the Committee for a hearing we haven't heard. Heard anything more about that sense. Why hasn't bar been called by the committee? Well, you know we're between a rock and a hard place. We assert an absolute congressional right to every citizen testimony and got includes the Attorney General and anybody else that we call traditionally. This has been a realm reasonable people negotiating. What makes sense I mean? Obviously we're not going to make him testify for twenty four hours, straight or something like that, but at the same time he must. Must Come and testify about what's taking place in the Department of Justice. The president has rebuffed I think over sixty five or seventy congressional subunits, and the man's for information and requests, and we are litigating all of this in court, so we know exactly which way it will lead if we started showing subpoenas to attorney general Bar, but did didn't bar agree to come well the yeah, I mean. He said he's company every time there. There's a reason camp come. You know whatever it might be. You know it might be Koga Nineteen or So we I mean he's demonstrated. He's not serious about coming before the House Judiciary Committee Congressman I I'd like to just switch gears for a moment here and talk about the seemingly intractable issue of police, brutality and racial bias in American policing, and you sit on the House Judiciary Committee, and after crisis like this Congress, often tries to institute reform through legislation, so let's talk a little bit about what Congress might do to deal with these issues and about specific. Specific legislative proposals that US support that you think ought to ought to Pasa-. One would be legislation that would ban the use of choke holds. Another might be lowering the bar for federal civil rights, prosecutions and police brutality cases talked to us about what you think needs to be done on the legislative front, and what you think has actually has a chance of succeeding great and I. See why you say it seemingly intractable the problem of police brutality it's. It's because it has been so historically entrenched that police forces have felt in so many places. It's so many different times in our history. That drafted Americans have no right. The white man is bound to respect as the Supreme Court so delicate. Put in the dread Scott Decision finding that dread Scott could not sue for his liberty, because he could not be a citizen within the meaning of the diversity jurisdiction clause, so yes, that has been the baseline pattern of. Of American history on the other hand, it is not intractable in the sense that we know exactly the kinds of things that to be done in order to make it better, and there are lots of success stories around the country. I mean take Oakland for example which used to have nine or ten police killings of civilians a year, and now is down to zero. Because there was the political leadership in place that said we've got to act in order. Order to address this problem and there are things that we can do, and generally they involve categorical bright line rules we do not use choke holds for example we do not use other mechanisms of its fictionalization as a law enforcement tactic well, that works that without one way that you work to dramatically reduce the killings of civilians you integrate the police forces too aggressive, affirmative action and diversity efforts that works, so you know we already have a list of about? About. Fifteen or twenty different things that need to happen if we're going to get serious about this problem, but do we allow police, departments, states, and municipalities to get there on their own or do we need federal mandates well I think we're GONNA need to struggle at every level of government at the local government, the state level and at the federal level, and I think history teaches us that. If you do it just at one level, it is not. Not Lasting and enduring I mean that's kind of the story of the reconstruction. After the civil war where you know, reconsider the descending federal forces into the states for the purposes of transferring land and or and voting rights to the the free play population to African Americans succeeded as long as they were there, and then there was a political deal ended, and then you know the redeemers took over and the many of the southern states most of the southern states. States just slipped back into all of the habits of political white supremacy, and here's a great book by its Wall Street, Journal in Douglas Black men. Yeah, slavery by name with which you know describes that process so I think we're GONNA have to do it at every level. Well we can do at the federal level is. We can be conditional to federal police funding that we send out to the states to make sure that their use of of. Lethal force is restricted to only the most extreme necessity and believe it or not. Most jurisdictions still don't have that in other words, they don't have a definition of when you can use when the police can use force or even deadly force against the population, so we want to define that very clearly that will be categorical rule, and then you cross that then all bets are off in terms of what happens to you, but we've got a a bolster and strengthen. Strengthen section nineteen eighty-three civil damages against officers, so they don't get off scot-free and by the way we need to do that against ourselves against the federal government, because the right wing courts and the supreme court have been undermining the so called bins. Remedy is your ability to get civil damages against police officers, FBI, and so on they violate your civil rights that's been whittled down to a shadow of itself, and we've got gotta greet some light back into that. all of these federal officers who are now unleashed on the street to understand that it's can't be a field day on the the people. How `bout as one condition requiring every cop and every police academy would be competently. It's going to have to watch the George Floyd video and describe exactly what those cops were doing. That was wrong. Well. The the video definitely has a profound effect on people are seeing it as you can tell from the hundreds of thousands or millions of people who've taken to the streets in non violent protests against. Against what took place and there are a lot of police officers by the way a lot of law enforcement people who are taking a knee and are participating in these protests, and so that's an important point to make, but generally your point is correct that the it's gotta be a critical aspect of training, not just treat people in a decent and civil way the way that you would want a member of your. Your family to be treated if they were to protest or they were arrested by the police, but also making clear to them, what the very clear criminal penalties than civil penalties are for violating it because they're in these cultures of life sensuousness in violence on so many things so many police departments for a long time, and we've got to break that culture and make people understand that all of us who are in. The public service are nothing, but the servants of the people and you don't abuse the rights of the People here in American, democracy visible are the masters. Is there a opportunity here for bipartisan legislation that could also passed the Senate as well I gotta say I was cheered by what the ranking Republican said today on the Constitution Subcommittee of. House Judiciary Mister Johnson movies. He started by saying that he watched the tape, and he could not conclude anything other than it was cold, blooded murder, and he said and I wrote it down, and I told him I was going to quote it on him. We need transformation transformative solutions for systemic change, so I I want to take them at their word here you know. Some of them have already decided that all they wanNA. Talk about is the Ludik and the the violence which is I think you become wrong way of thinking about this. You know there. We don't know first of all we're. The looting and violence is coming from it's. It's gotTa stop. And we were all opposed to it, but what the vast majority of people in the streets are out agitating for reform of the police department, so we don't get similarly excessive violence and antisocial behavior by individual backups back to attorney general bar. What would you like to see him do right now. What is he not doing that? You would to see the attorney general to at this moment. Well I needed that that is such a fantastic hypothetical. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around that The let's say we had a real attorney. Then he would take advice from you basically. It wouldn't happen, but but imagine we had a real attorney general like Eric holder, their colder first of all probably would be in the streets, trying to calm the situation, but then he also would be working closely with Congress to say, here's what his worked in different jurisdictions to dramatically lower incidences of police, abusive civilian rights in, and here's the package that we're going to send you over from the administration. We love to work with the House judiciary. Committee in coming up with a comprehensive package. We would not be on our own instead. You Got William Bar out there. As the conciliatory to Donald Trump figuring out how to shutdown protest out in the street when Donald Trump. Trump finally emerged from the bunker and figured he wasn't too scared to walk across the street to pick up a Bible. He's never opened a day in his life in wave it over his head you know, and all of that was concocted and choreographed by William Bar so William Bar in a better world would be disbarred for his repeated attacks on the rule of law and on the Constitution and the Constitution for William Far. Just like Donald Trump means whatever he wants it to mean for his political purposes on any given day well, the Congress doesn't have the power to disbar him, but then you have the power to impeach him. Is that something you would support? It, you know it's all a question of of allocating our energies at this point I mean we're in the fight of our lives here to defend American democracy and the constitution into civil rights and liberties of the people, and if I thought that was a productive way to go that there was any hope of it in the Senate in that might. Change the bellicose and belligerent in unlawful policies administration would do it, but I i. don't have any real hope for the Republicans in the Senate and I I probably don't think that that's the best I don't think use of our time right now. I got one final question on a subject. We amazingly haven't touched on. And that's the COVID crisis. You Represent Montgomery County which is one of the wealthier suburbs in the country, and yet remarkably as I understand it montgomery. County has the highest rates of Covid in the state of Maryland, which has very high numbers. Why is that the case and what is being done about it? First of all I represent Montgomery County and Frederick. Frederick County and Carroll County so I have both a suburban district very suburban, which is Montgomery a very rural district which is caroline kind of a mixed district Frederick? which also is politically kind of purple, she on in the middle full looking Koga, nineteen attack to everybody I mean I thought it was absolutely sinful and unforgivable when Republicans started to say that this is a blue state, disease or Mitch, McConnell said Oh. Oh, well, we'll let the states and counties and local governments go bankrupt. I mean that is the most unpatriotic sentiment I can imagine anybody expressing in the middle of played. You know now in terms of Montgomery County I mean I have constituents all over the county who have come down with covid nineteen. We have a lot of nursing homes in Montgomery County and we also have very large minority communities that have fallen disproportionately victim. Victim to the disease especially right around where I live in Silver Spring and Wheaton and Langley Park and so You know who's getting it now. The frontline workers and people who have to go out to work people who were living in more densely populated housing in apartment buildings. People who have to use elevators you know, congregate down at the mailboxes I mean it's just like New York City and of course in New York. Not just in a poor people's disease affects everybody and we. We've got to try to unify the country around fighting the disease. We need precisely what the administration is given us, which is a national public health strategy organized around aggressive testing contact, tracing quarantine, and then public health measures, and it's been scandalous the way that they've moved to reopen business and restaurants and bars without getting the virus under control, the very scary situation kind of crazy that the last question and the only question about a pandemic. You know taken the lives of over one hundred thousand American. That's that's where we are in this country right now. But Congressman! Good of you to give us your time again and. We look forward to having you back on the podcast many times in the future could I look forward to it and know that not my political party or any leader I support who's shoving around the reporters in tear taxing them right now are the media are the People's best friend, not the not their worst enemy. The thank you for what you do. It's no secret that our worlds has been interrupted. World interrupted daily Podcast, telling stories of coronavirus and its impact on the economy. We want to cover the issues in the macro global economics, stock market, and our political climate also cover the micro stories. Maybe the ones you don't hear as much about in the news media. We hope you'll listen and be. A part of the journey subscribed today on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. We now have with US Marin Kosta and Emily Cunningham the to Amazon. Whistleblowers. We had on a few weeks ago. There with the Amazon employees for climate justice, who had a lot of really eye-opening things to say about Amazon and there are new developments over the past week. Which is why we want to have them back Marin and emily welcome back to skulduggery. Breath, so what really grabbed my attention? We had the great discussion a few weeks ago. About conditions in Amazon warehouses during the Cova crisis, the firing of the two of you for speaking out about problems within Amazon Amazon counters beyond firing the too few by producing this video masquerading as a news report about all the great things Amazon is doing to protect its workers and this Amazon produced news report then shows up on over a dozen TV stations around the country I. WanNa talk about that, but let's play. Play some clips from this Amazon produced TV spot that aired as a real TV spot on some local TV stations. Millions of American staying at home are relying. On Amazon millions of Americans staying at home are relying on Amazon millions of Americans staying at home are relying on Amazon. Amazon has transformed its operations in response to cove nineteen to protect employees and keep packages. Flowing Amazon is transformed its operations in response to Kuban nineteen to protect employees and keep packages flowing companies, employees, safe and healthy. The company is. Employees, safe and healthy company is keeping its employees safe and healthy was. It's really it's. It's funny on the one hand, and it's really kind of terrifying other. You know. Is Sort of brainwashing in plain sight you know in and they decided that that was okay to just read that verbatim. I mean that's not. That's not real journalism and we should be very concerned that. That many stations and reporters and news people were willing to just be like fed like a fat boost. You know it's. Pretty shocking your thoughts, emily. Yeah, well similarly to It would be funny if it wasn't so appalling devastating, and when people don't have the real information, people's lives are on the line, and so it's not actually funny and Amazon's head of PR, Jay? Carney used to be a journalist for many many years, and it's really disappointing. When journalists turned to basically the dark, and are willing to spend lies and misinformation swore prophet rather than protecting both workers, health and public safety. While we know Jay well. We competed against him when he was in the Washington Bureau of Time magazine and we were. Working at Newsweek Mike First. Of all I gotTA. Say you disappointed that Jay? Didn't try to didn't send one of those transcripts to skulduggery. Field Day lampooning it. But I should point out that I did reach out to Jay Carney and the rest of the Amazon PR team last night to let them know. We were GonNa do this episode and asked Jay and his people a bunch of specific questions, one of which was on the scripted TV spot why Amazon felt the need to script new stories for local TV stations, and from Jeff bezos is perspective as owner of a newspaper. Would he ever permit? Company scripted stories to run in the Washington Post and. Did Not get back, but he had one of his minions do so who gave us a bunch of statements that I want Marin and emily to react to and the first one in response to the questions about the video, the on the record statement from an Amazon spokesperson, no-name identified quote, we welcome reporters into our buildings, and it's misleading to suggest otherwise this type of video was created to share an inside look into the health and safety measures. We've rolled out in our buildings and was intended for reporters who for a variety of reasons weren't able to come tour one of our sites themselves. What are you folks make that response. It's so transparent. It's like almost as even deserve a response. If Amazon really it wants transparency, why isn't it releasing the number of Kobe cases in its warehouses why it's not releasing the number of deaths of warehouse workers if it really cared so much about transparency so much about the truth, why aren't they providing that information? When it has been asked Berry directly numerous times by numerous news outlets, and I had just point out by the way that obviously the Amazon spokesperson did not addressed the particular question about why the? The company felt the need to manufacturer that video. Feed it to TV stations, but go ahead mark, but they also just always have their convenient glossed over response like you say it doesn't address the question. You know just like when you ask them. How many covid cases in their house? Well? That's not an important number. We're just not gonNA. Share that number, because it's not an important number or why we were fired, they broke numerous or any any of the eight people that were fired. They broke numerous policies. It's all so hand wavy and it doesn't. It doesn't sound truthful I wish I would make just clip of of all of the Amazon exact lugging around stumbling around, not answering the question of how many Kobe cases are there and it's like Oh, well, that's not important. What's not important is not important to you. Maybe but to those workers to their families to their coworkers do the public. It's pretty damn important and. That import everybody else's reporting numbers. That's all we hear all day. Long in the news is numbers so I don't know what's more, cynical or much more appalling, the cynicism of the Amazon. Pr Department put out scripts like this to. Local outlets, anchors or the news outlets actually running with it I mean it does say something about the kind of poor state of local news in this country, and their resources are pretty badly dried up and I guess they feel the need to cut these kinds of corners, I wonder, do you know if now that these outlets and these anchors have been exposed? have any of them come forward and acknowledge that what they did was a mistake i. Haven't heard that, but it's possible. But I I haven't heard that just to close the loop on the failure to release the numbers needless to say my second question to Amazon last night. was what can you tell us? About? The numbers of people who have been infected and died in your warehouses, working in your warehouses, and the response from the Amazon spokesperson on the record is our rates of infection are at or below the rates of the communities where we operate. We see that in our quarantine rates. Quarantine rates are a critical part. Part to understanding what's happening in the workplace? So they did not respond to the question of how many they simply said. The rates of infection are at or below the rates of communities. Where we actually question, not I would ask Amazon's. Let's have a third party. Independent Observer look at those numbers and analyze how they're counting cases, and and really look into that because I if they're not willing to release the numbers I think we should be very skeptical of any information that they're telling US exactly. And we know that that's true. It's the same thing that they also say that there bar lately seems to be. We are as good as the worst person in the room. You know we are at least as good as the worst person in the room. They say that for the same. That's their same argument for. Are you paying workers enough? Are you giving them enough sick leave? Are you know? Since when is Amazon's bar? That low I mean, they're the richest come down, but by the man and we're talking. We're talking about human lives. We're talking about people. These aren't just numbers. These are people's sisters and daughters and brothers and ankles and grandmothers. These are people that other people love and I. Think it's so important to talk about how racism is a part of this that indigenous communities in black communities are dying at such higher rates, and there's such a big portion of Amazon warehouse workers that are black employees now. Now there are people of Color and day are putting their lives on the line in right now. When you know, we have George Floyd murdered by cops in. We have this kind of disregard for Black and Brown lives I, it's just it's so. It's hard to stomach, and it's completely wrong and needs to be. stood up against so Marin Emily the other thing that happened. Is that Amazon held a virtual shareholder meeting and you're able to attend it. There were a bunch of proposals that were made I. Think you were able to have your voices heard a little bit. Take US inside a Jeff bezos Amazon shareholder meeting. What was that? Like? What kinds of opportunities did you get to have your voices heard? And what do you think it achieved the first thing that was very striking, and not surprising was the huge PR megaphone. The meeting started out just blasting about how Amazon is doing such a great job during this time of covid and keeping their workers safe. was that with videos? How do they? How do they blast that out yet? They played a video. Just video, but I felt like it was. Videos they spent. For how much time that the annual general meeting was shareholder resolutions were proposed and voted on. It was a huge, very significant amount of time, and it was. It was just infuriating. They had things like had a worker on Saint. Something like it's like a chocolate factory. Tackle, it was emily. Even overboard on protection overboard is so much safety happening. And so meanwhile, the L. A. Times just reported on the death of. Harry Santoso Kusan Evan reached out tomorrow night two days after the story broke of us being fired, saying that his had passed away four days prior, and he was just quote sixty three years old, just on the edge of retirement, it had a little bit more money before going into retirement and contract with Kobe and went into work, actually sick with Kobe because you know. Amazon doesn't provide health insurance. Many of US employees in died and infected his wife as well and so his son Evan, who contacted US didn't even get to say goodbye to his father. was his father's job. He was a warehouse worker. Warehouse worker where insight cornea and I think Irvine, California. Yet, he had just started another contract, so he was only a week or two in when when he died, he had always wanted to be full-time so that he could have more of that more of the benefits and more of the security, but he would always get off seasonally as the work went down, so bazo spoke at the shareholder meeting. Tell us what he said. Well I wanted to say to the other the other thing sides safety in the warehouses during Kovin the other you know megaphone moment in the meeting. Meeting was climate, so they were blasting about Kobe and climate and I think it's really interesting, because those are the issues that that we have been pressuring them on and in some ways it's really positive to think that it. It sounds like they are actually responding without admitting that they're responding to us, but they're. They're hearing US and responding to us, and they know that that those are the two places where they're week, so they're really trying to build their story that they're doing a great job on both of those. Say in the meeting. You was asked directly something like a where these workers and it wasn't just Martin who were fired for organizing for better working conditions houses was warehouse workers, actually that came first and have been fired for organizing simply for having basic. Safety conditions like cleaning the warehouse. Adequately I mean very very basic things. People were targeted and and fired her standing up and in Tim Bray the the VP the Amazon. Vp who resigned over Amazon firing whistle blowers. He mentions that the people that have been fired has been people of color or women, or both in all of the workers in his blog post were all warehouse. Workers were all black employees, three black men and black women, and then you have than Ihor two white women, tech workers, and so yeah, so anyways he was asked directly. Simple lakes are these workers being fired for speaking out, and he said no, and he repeated the lines that had such the last month. People can speak up, but that doesn't give them immunity to break any kind of policy that they want something like it was as Bray said his black host is brexit nation blog post, the justifications for firing Marin I and the other warehouse workers are laughable on top of that. There were fifteen shareholder resolutions. Off Fifteen of them were turned down and the response is always. You know from Amazon from Jeff. We're already doing that. It's sort of a real out of touch arrogance. Even in response to you know we had an environmental justice, environmental racism, shareholder, resolution and the responses. We're already taking care of. We're already doing that well. How would you know that you're doing that? When you're not even talking to the people on the ground, it's like they're believing their own PR spin, so one of the things I mean I, assume those resolutions get voted down because you just don't have the votes I, mean bezos probably I? Don't know what percentage of. Fifteen fifteen percent, and then you have these big institutional institutional shareholders, but I wonder if as part of your activism what you are doing or might do in the future is to try to organize among shareholders to see if you can make any dent there and and. Try to just a little bit of kind of shareholder activism, and whether that's a strategy you might pursue. The shareholder resolutions even when they pass their non-binding, but what they do, do send a powerful message to companies about the interns, shareholders, and so last year. When we did our climate shareholder resolution, there is to firms I'm forgetting their names, but they basically have ninety seven percent of the proxy advisor market. So you know all of the companies they don't have time to research all the different resolutions, so they hire these kind of firms to to advise them on how to vote and these firms. Firms cited with us on our Schaller resolution last year, and so it's really about I. Think Shareholder Activism. There's many different dimensions to it, but it's about sending a signal to the company. It's about, but it's also about mobilizing workers in the public, and because it's it's out there, and it has these very reliable things that okay, at this date that you, you submit the state, they have a chance to respond so that there's always are already sort of cycle built into it and so i. I I think that shareholders are important part of the Knicks, but I also think that you know workers are a big part of that as well as different community members, and so for this year we partnered with an organization in nonprofit I believe they're nonprofit in inland empire called C. C. J. and they are a group focused on environmental racism, because our research showed that eighty percents of Amazon's non tech buildings so like we're houses are in communities that have a large percentage of people of. Of Color in them, and so you had like twenty thousand trucks per day coming out of these communities that are hurting the long health hurting cancer rates are up all of these things, and if you think about young children being exposed to this kind of pollution, we have two people from our climate group who were raised in this part of the country. Right in this area. This zip code and one of them describes need. Their mom could not open the window when it was hot because. There was. A, like this black dust like on window sills in their home. If you can imagine his breathing in this kind of air every day, Harvard study showed that people with reduced lung capacity are more likely to die of Kobe. So this is all related, and of course these are in black and brown communities and are treated as sacrificial domes. We had two kids from VAT community. Speak each url. Resolution is given two minutes to speak during the meeting and we got a couple of them to join our. Our two minutes to tell their story directly and it was incredibly powerful. You know they have all of their friends have asthma. Their mom works in the warehouses. They don't feel that she herself is protected. They don't feel that her is valued. You know this is what they grow up with this is this is everybody's life in that community. You know it's really sad, also like Amazon say. Oh were being these jobs. Actually the jobs third bringing are not good jobs. Temporary jobs there be part Teichmann. Daydream are on your body physically hard on your body and no health insurance. As you pointed out the last time, contractors don't go a community agreement so if you're going to be coming to our community hurting our community, we need you to do these things to make it more manageable for us. When we had you on the last time you had some fascinating insights into basis himself You're a senior product designer. You said that in the old days Bezos was very accessible would even go into the warehouses and help. Package Some of the the items that people were ordering, but that he's become increasingly sort of removed and doesn't do that anymore. Was your sense of bezos attitude during this fair shareholder meeting? Did he seem to be taking the criticisms and complaints seriously was he brushing them off? Give us your sense, 'cause you know him of how Bazo 's seem to be processing. All this I have not heard any openness. Openness to this. It is all deflection I don't there is no admission of possibility that Amazon has done anything other than what is absolutely perfect. There's a real arrogance there, and it's not the kind you know. There was always an arrogance at Amazon. Then you'd have to have a certain amount of arrogance to get to the place where Amazon has gotten to Jeff, has always been like. We're not gonNA, worry about. Shareholders Wall. Street isn't gonNA short term value. We're going to keep going to stick to our guns in our path and our and our. Plan and you know in that has borne out to be true. He's definitely a great corporate leader. CEO I don't see him as somebody who understands how things land on people. He's not someone with a great deal of empathy or intuition about human beings, and the more he is allowed to sort of run free, and not have those checks and balances from people who do have the capacity to sort of see humans as humans, not robots I think he gets into really dangerous territory while Amazon has been very well position done very well in this age that we've been in, we are heading into completely different transformative time that our values are being reconsidered. Our priorities are infrastructure because scientists from around the world the. The United Nations have gathered changes. scientists are saying meeting transformation in our societies at all levels from our technology to our values, and so you know incumbents and people have been doing well in this time. Really really really need need to listen to others and to see what's coming. Because big changes are already underway and we're GONNA radical transformation I'm interested in that. Emily because I was GONNA. Ask you how you guys would define success in this struggle that you're waging and I guess the other question that what you just said. Props to ask. Is You know you talk about things are changing. People's values would be reconsidered transformational change, but bezos meanwhile is making nine million dollars an hour. He doesn't seem like he's changing a lot. I mean what makes you say that he is going to have to change? And what makes you optimistic that this transformation is going to happen? And is there anything that you have seen so far? In terms of his behavior or Amazon's is a corporation that gives you hope that things will change why hope is not will. Rely on my help about anything to do with Basil's himself I just look at the world me like if you looked a year and a half ago, degree new deal wasn't anything anyone knew about, and it was sunrise movement and other youth activists that took that by storm, and then you had the force the Democratic contenders for for President Hugh. Really push climate forward. You Have Greta Turn Berg, who started as one person in front of Swedish parliament, just one person with one sign, and now you have new millions of people around the world. World both huge antidotes on this is before Cohen when we could still march taking the world by storm, and you just look even product design and s curves as far as you infiltration you know before there was like hardly any cellphones anywhere, she and then it started to gather Lynn Boom. It just exploded same with electric vehicles. It used to be the sort of luxury high end sort of thing that people did, and now we're seeing automotive companies do full on full electric, and so this is where if you just look at the even. Even the market when you look at the market win, it's now it's not going fast enough, but the market itself is showing that wind and solar are outperforming oil and gas and will very quickly take that over. We're already seeing the a peak in an oil. So that doesn't mean that we don't. We still have to have the policy in place because we'll still have oil dependency unless we have the policy behind it, but this is where the entire world is shifting, and it needs to shift, because more and more people are waking up. Up to these extreme weather events, crop failures, all kinds of harm, and we know that it's only GonNa get worse and worse. I want to correct myself. I said before that Bay Zone fifteen percent of Amazon stock. It's actually I. Just checked eleven percent worth about one hundred thirty eight billion dollars at least as of a few weeks ago, he did have fifteen percent, but he four percent went to Mackenzie bays his ex wife as part of the divorce settlement, so just want to be precise about all things we say on. SKULDUGGERY Marin go ahead. Response to to that question, and and also in response to you know. Are We considering organizing shareholders? The other important audience at these annual shareholder meetings are investors, and what gives me hope is that we start to see money moving from big oil into or just out of big oil, because it's becoming a liability, people are understanding beginning to understand the concept of stranded assets and. Ensuring? These companies who are going to? Be In. Big trouble in the next. It's like as if you were in investing in its best or something like. Insanity like this where the world is going EEC these? Financial wonks on the news talking about how your they're out. They're out of oil and gas, have you? This is even before the pandemic started you. This is like oiling gas, brilliant, death-knell, new a when in capitalism when the money moves. The power shifts. Recently said that they had their cloud computing business in artificial intelligence that was helping oil and gas companies to accelerate oil and gas extraction, and they are now out of that business, unfortunately, Microsoft and Amazon still in partnership, and in bed with oil and gas companies, helping them in addition to find new wells that used to take. To find now takes about at eight hours row. Let me just drop in here I. Think Marin. You said when the money moves, companies respond well. The fact is that more money is moving to Amazon today I. During this Kobe crisis than ever before, and the company is getting wealthier and base os getting wealthier while his warehouse workers, some unknown percentage of which are getting sick We don't know, but it's an important story. This is a company that we are all increasingly reliant on during this crisis, so It was great to have your perspectives, Marin and emily thanks for joining us again and I will say that anybody who listens to this podcast. Will be one hundred percent sure that we did not get the Amazon. Public Relations. scrimped. and. Maren and emily were definitely off script and I. Think will remain so so thanks. Of course, of course we're losing the chance to get any Amazon advertising by keep having Lauren and emily on, but we'll take that hit. Thanks next to him abuse. Thanks so much. Thank you for telling the sugar real story I would say. Okay. Thanks Yahoo News. White House correspondent, Hundred Walker and Congressman Jamie Raskin joining us on skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think. Leave a review the sure to follow us on social media at skulduggery pot. We'll talk to you soon.

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Russia, Russia, Russia

Skullduggery

1:11:23 hr | 5 months ago

Russia, Russia, Russia

"Russia, Russia Russia it's been the story that has defined the trump presidency from the start driven by hard evidence that the Kremlin's intelligence services mounted an unprecedented campaign to interfere in the two thousand sixteen American election, stealing e mails, dumping them through wikileaks, all in order to Torment Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump president of the United States, but now a new story about Russian misbehavior has broken arguably more shocking than any that has come. Come before as the new. York Times first reported since confirmed by The Washington Post Wall Street Journal the Russian Gru the country's military intelligence arm was paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. We'll discuss what that means with. Michael mcfaul, the former US ambassador to Moscow under President Obama, and we'll talk to cybersecurity expert Thomas Rid about his new book about the long history of Russian active measures on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have got to know whether or not their president's across while I'm not a crook. I told the American people not trade arms for hostile. My heart to my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not I, did not have sexual relations with that one, there will be no allies. We will honor American people with the Truth and nothing else. Michael ISIKOFF chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, and I'm Dan Clyde chief of Yahoo News. You know I gotTa say the paying bounties to the Taliban to kill. Americans this one I. Think stunned a lot of people. The reports are that US in dense I. Pick this up some time ago last year, and as the intelligence came together largely from folks on the ground, military intelligence on the ground in Afghanistan, it made its way up to the highest levels of. Of the national. Security Council not apparently according to the White House, the president himself well I mean. Let's see about that. There were reports that it made its way into the presidential daily briefing. The so-called PD I don't as though trump reads those well. I mean that's what I was gonNA. Say you know any other president if it's in the PD, be that by definition means it goes to the president. It's called the president's daily brief exactly this president apparently. Likes to a intelligence briefings with drawings and pictures, and not a lot of words from what I can gather look. This intelligence clearly was finished enough finished being the term that intelligence analyst use. That was a debate going on about what to do about it. What should the US policy response and they talked about? You know a diplomatic a complaint. They talked about further sanctions. You don't start figuring out. How to punish your enemy for doing something like this unless you believe that the intelligence is is accurate, so it just doesn't hold water either. Trump wouldn't be briefed I. Take a very different view now that trump wouldn't be briefed. Either trump was briefed or he wasn't briefed, and that is a dereliction of duty as shocking one. Right yeah, look. My view on that is knowing how trump is prone to paroxysms of rage about anything to do with Russia and Putin, because he views everything through the prism of the two thousand sixteen election, which and the Muller investigation, which he views as Russia hoax so anytime folks come to him with evidence of Russian misbehavior. He blows up and and views it as politically. Motivated and he doesn't. WanNa. Hear it so I. Think it's entirely plausible. Given his long track record on this that the senior national security team chose not to brief him, knowing how he would likely react and knowing that he would resist any sort of of US response to Russia targeting American soldiers. You know what I say to that. So what that the president's going to blow up? I mean. Mean you know. The Russians are targeting US servicemembers in Afghanistan. They are paying money to have them killed and the national security advisor or other top foreign policy and intelligence officials in the trump administration aren't going to bring it up with the president because they're scared of him well, that's easy for you to say on this podcast, but I wanna see you go into the Oval Office and While you're working in the White House and tell it to trump and survive. More than a day or two, but I take your point and I agree with you that if the White House is telling the truth and the president was never told about this. It raises if anything more questions than if he had been brief. Line is that they didn't tell him. Because the intelligence hasn't been completely verified that the intelligence community, there wasn't a consensus within the intelligence community that it was. It was accurate and if found. Competent President would want to know what that intelligence debate. If it was a debate was all about and how strong the evidence was, and he would question the Intel briefers. It because it's clear that you have to that, this is a factor in formulating your policy with Moscow, and it is worth pointing out that and look at the time line here. This is reported to have gone up to the National Security Council in late March and starting at the end of March march thirtieth. Putin and trump talk on the telephone. They have five calls over a three week period. They're talking about oil prices They're talking about the covert nineteen They're talking about a lot of matters relating to the US Russia relationship, and if this didn't come up, if trump was actually kept in the dark about what may have been Putin's most outrageous or Russia's most outrageous attack on Americans yet, that is pretty telling of itself. It didn't seem like you know the standard for when you tell the president about. Some some like intelligence that you learn overseas in, say a country like Ukraine about say a potential. Presidential election rival like Joe. Biden like. Trump wouldn't want that information. Completely verified before he was briefed on that by Rudy Giuliani right. Yes we know the very strict standards that trump applies to any reports. About Foreign Adventures. I can talk about here. Say We got a couple of great guests on Russia to talk about this story, and to talk about Russian active measures and other kinds of intelligence operations that the Russians are doing for decades actually for more than a century, but before we get to that just one piece of I think very significant news that broke today on Monday as we record this podcast, which is a major supreme court decision that went against the Conservatives and that was a victory for pro choice forces in this country and that. That is the case out of Louisiana that means that many abortion clinics in Louisiana and really across the country will remain open, and what's really significant about this decision. Is that once again? Chief Justice John Roberts was in the majority on the liberal side and he is therefore i. think cemented himself as the swing justice on this Supreme Court the successor to Kennedy Justice. Kennedy except that he's the chief justice, and I don't think that has happened in a very long time where you had a chief justice. Justice who emerged as the swing, justice, and equally important I think is I. Think this strongly suggests that John. Roberts is not likely to overturn. Roe Versus Wade once again this decision he cited starry decisive, a another supreme court case that ruled in a similar fashion and so justice chief. Justice Roberts view is that that is settled. Law Story Sizes Meeting to stand by that which is decided, and we can't say for sure what he would do in a case squarely sought to overturn Roe Versus Wade but. But, I think this is a pretty strong evidence that he that he would vote to overturn Roe versus Wade. So the current the current court stays, as is which of course is going to depend on who wins the election I. think that means that Roe versus Wade is here to stay back in the nineteen fifties and nineteen sixties. If you drove through certain parts of America particularly in what we now view as a ruby red states, you'd see Impeach Earl Warren signs billboards right and I'm fully expecting. Sometime soon. We're going to start seeing impeach John Roberts billboards in certain areas, because the conservative fury over what they will view as a betrayal from a judge, a Supreme Court justice they thought would be a solid reliable dependable vote has gone. And trump will have no problem at all going after Chief Justice Roberts. Done many times before, and notably in the two thousand sixteen election, because trump did not appoint a justice, Chief Justice Roberts. He did point Neal Gorsuch and justice cavenaugh, both of whom were in the minority in this case, so I think you know. Maybe maybe we'll see in the coming days a tweet from from. Donald, trump suggesting that chief justice roberts be impeached all right. Let's get back to Russia and our guests We've got a lot to talk about. Okay we now have with US Michael? mcfaul, a former US ambassador to Moscow and the author of the book from Cold War. Too Hot piece in American ambassador in Putin's Russia ambassador welcome to skulduggery. Thanks for having me, so this is a pretty wild story that broken last few days about the Russians paying bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers. What do you make of it well? It's shocking, if true, obviously you know, we'll get into what we know what we don't know, and I'm always careful and nervous about commenting on intelligence when we don't know all the facts so far. Far The original New York Times story has not been refuted by anybody. It's been confirmed by several other outlets and the facts are pretty horrible. If LADIMIR PUTIN IS PAYING TALIBAN fighters to kill American soldiers that represents an escalation I would say intentions are already been escalating for several years, and it also represents an escalation in what I would call the rogue nature of Putin's foreign policy over the last several years. You know it's one thing to have tensions between countries based on differences. It's another thing to go outside of the international system entirely the rules norms of procedures the laws. And I think you've seen that really beginning with annexation Ukraine in two thousand fourteen. You've seen that escalation. And this perhaps as one more step in that escalation ambassador. We'll obviously get into how the trump administration dealt with this whether the president's. briefed on it, what do you make of that? But before we do I just WanNa, try to understand. What is Putin's game here? If this happened I, mean what would be in it for him to kill a few Americans. You know American. Service members at a time when the US already negotiated a deal to get out anyway I'd say two things one very big, but important to always remember that Vladimir Putin considered the United States of America his enemy. Doesn't matter what Nice words trump might say about him or or others. He is fundamentally decided, and it wasn't always this way. We could go back in history. His views have changed over time I. I met him in the spring of Nineteen, ninety, one for instance his worldview, somewhat different than but but today. He thinks we're the enemy. He thinks we're out to get him. He thinks we're trying to undermine him. especially the deep state, the CIA intelligence agencies trying to overthrow regimes. We don't like around him. Him and including his own regime, and when I was the US ambassador in Moscow two thousand twelve to fourteen, he believed that we were fomenting revolution against his regime. I used to think it was a cynical view. I left Moscow thinking no. This is what this guy believes. Right some remember. That's his analytic framework. We're the enemy and so anything he can do to weaken us. He's willing to do, and and again I'm just I don't know the facts I want to keep saying that I'm just. Speculating based on my long interactions and writing about him, but for him to see us, bogged down in Afghanistan. That is a good thing, not a bad thing, and as we're about to cut a deal with the Taliban. I could see very easily that making the argument. Let's pump some money into this to keep this thing going to derail this peace negotiation that will keep the Americans bogged down in Afghanistan and from his definition of Russian national interest, not mine and not a lot of other Russians, but from his definition that would be. Be Serving Russia's national interest. What's particularly striking about this and you write about this in your book is it wasn't always so especially on Afghanistan because you before you became ambassador. Two thousand twelve year on the National Security Council during the era of the reset with Russia relations when Obama was trying to improve relations with Russia and one as I remember it one of the big success stories that you touted under the reset was that the Russians were going to help with US refueling for shipments of arms and personnel to Afghanistan that's right. One of the first agreements that President Obama and president yet assigned I was there in the Kremlin, was a lethal transit agreement so that we could transit lethal equipment through Russia was part of something, called the northern distribution network. When we came into office in two thousand, nine just started underbush and by the time I left the White House. It was over fifty percent of our supplies. Our soldiers in Afghanistan went through that northern route, and you can't get to Afghanistan through the north without going through Russia so at that moment in time under President Medvedev I need to underscore not Prime Minister Putin. They thought that fighting the Taliban. Taliban and supporting our efforts was in Russia's national interests. That has changed now i. think overtime. So why did it change? Well? One is that Putin and mcgettigan had different world views and I, think in America and the United States in my academic world. We too quickly always say oh. Medina was Putin's puppet. He had no power. He didn't do anything. I've a very different view I dealt with both of those guys up close and personal, sometimes on the same day, and they had different worldviews med. Vienna saw Russia's long term. future is being part of the West and cooperating with West Putin equivocated. That's what I was saying earlier, he. Had One foot in one foot out. September eleventh happened, and then he thought okay. We have a common enemy here. We can work together. Then he felt betrayed by Bush because of the Color Revolution Georgia and Ukraine, two thousand four, and then he kinda checked out and let me do the reset for awhile, and it was only when. There were popular uprisings I in the Arab spring. Right I, in the Middle East against an ally of his President Assad, and then that same year remember two thousand eleven that saying year there was a popular uprising against Putin and that's when he blamed us and I think that's when he went in this very radical anti. American Anti Western. I would say anti liberal institutional path that he's been on ever since, so talk about how the trump administration dealt with this. You oversaw Russia policy on the NFC as Mike said. You're also ambassador in Moscow if this intelligence had. Had Come to you and let's acknowledge that there is a dispute as to whether the president was briefed or not, but if the intelligence had come to you, and was briefed at high levels inside the White House. What would you have done? What would have happened? What should have happened? Well? I right I was in the administer the Obama Administration for the first three years, and for better for all I think mostly for better, but some people have criticized us. We had a lot of regular order. That's what one of my bosses. Dennis McDonough used to call it. In the National Security Council process right so first of all we had something called the PD be, and that happened every day that didn't happen just on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that was a shot where the intelligence community came in to brief the president not filtered by political appointees like me right so PGA happen. Every day we would prepare talking points for the National Security Advisor to give him a political perspective or a policy perspective, but they would come. Come in every day and brief the president, so something sounds like that did not happen here a summer. One number two I would have been briefed on this as a senior official at the national. Security Council of course, and it sounds like there wasn't meeting in March of people at the national security. Council, we would have talked about it and interrogated the validity of it and talked about the trade offs at might have with respect to other national security. Objectives we were seeking. But then here's third another piece of it, which is why it somewhat confusing the various alibis, but the trump administration has given in between the time that this meeting happened, and now there's been a couple of rather major policies that have been decided these v Russia. One was to invite Putin to the. G Seven summit. In two was to withdraw troops from Germany in the Obama Administration if if we're sitting in the White House Situation Room, either with the president or with the national security adviser, sharing that session of course, intelligence that we're talking about would have been presented as part of the policy decision making about those really big decisions right, so that's where there would have been no excuse to say well. I didn't really know about it. The intelligence community in my time would have made sure that all foreign policy makers would have known about that intelligence. What at the intelligence was not fully verified, or at least there wasn't a like a total consensus with the intelligence community. In other words, there is some dissenting voices. Would the president still typically be briefed on that intelligence? Would it end up in the PD? Even if even if there were some dissenting voices again, I can't speak about intelligence because you know it's against the law and I. Take that very seriously. I would say generally however. President Obama was somebody that devoured information secret, and otherwise, and nobody would have hidden this from him because there was a disagreement about a mets. Definitely not the way that we rolled. We wanted especially. Let's be clear. We are talking about some very dramatic intelligence here. This is not some marginal thing. In some marginal country, we are talking about a leader of the country ordering American soldiers to be killed that just in the Obama Administration. I just can't imagine anyway with say well. It's not really clear, so let's not bring this to the attention of the president. If he was about to call that guy remember, there was also a presidential phone call to Putin. We would've wanted President Obama to be aware of that fact, I can I won't tell you the instances, but I can remember briefing President Obama before phone calls and presenting him with rather dramatic intelligence about one of his interlocutors that was uncomfortable for him by. We wanted him to know that. Yeah, I know that we I remember. We did a story kind of anatomy of a foreign of a call to from the president to a foreign leader, and it's a very elaborate process. I mean. The NFC spins many hours preparing for that and briefing, and it's an interesting point. Yeah, I should point out that it. It wasn't just one phone call. I'm looking at a voice of America story that just popped today that starting on March thirty when Putin and trump spoke by phone. They had five calls over a three week period. Now this is remember that starting at the end of March after this intelligence has been elevated to the National Security Council level, but I guess my question to you. Ambassador is okay. Let's assume for the moment that the intelligence is on the money here and this is real. What is the appropriate response under these circumstances? Well first of all the trump administration has to get their story. You know the NFC. Press spokesperson says. The veracity of this intelligence, not denying that existed. The President says he wasn't briefed on Ed. I would just hope we could find out who knew. And what did they know that would be useful? Could give you a long list of things I. Think should be done, but I I'm not going to bore your listeners with that. We'll give us a short of should be under president trump, and that's the point I want to make I think this is really important. Understand the context here which is, this is not the first time that Putin has done. Something outrageous and got no response from trump president. Trump very consistently for four years has never criticized President Putin about anything he lets other people do it, and even his administration should get credit for some. Some of the things they push back on him, but trump himself never not once that I know that I can remember. That has pushed back on anything. Trump Putin is done and contrary. When there's an intelligence divide on things, he's taken Putin's side, including most famously Helsinki in two thousand eighteen, when he stood before the world, and said well. You know my guys brief me on this, but I'm just talked to this guy and I. Believe Him and I think that's important. Because that is my prediction for the way, he's going to handle this situation, but. The number one thing would be just to reverse that. I think if. The intelligence is is confirmed. The easy baby step. would be for president. Trump himself not through a press spokesperson, not through something written by somebody like me. I did that lots lots of times when I worked at the White House, but for him to say on the record. This is outrageous. President Putin is responsible for this. Even that act itself would be a dramatic shift in policy. My personal theory on this is and I think there's you know it's backed up by. The record is that it may well be that he wasn't briefed precisely because his senior advisors know how he would react or not react, he views any information about Russian misbehavior as somehow calling attention to. What he views as the Russia hoax that has tainted his election, so he doesn't WanNa. Hear about it, so they purposely may well have withheld this information from him. We'll Michael. You're the expert on that more than I am I have I think. That that sounds very plausible to me. Of course and many other former trump administration officials have confirmed that including some work out here with me these days. Here at Stanford and Hoover. Do you have McMaster out there by the way? Yes, we have general McMaster General Mattis. Talking these days about his time in the White House well off the record. He talks a lot whether he would talk to you or not, I don't. Well. That's often the case, but. Mattis more and more as you know as well as I do has been saying some more things. But. Here's what I would say. I think has very plausible and one of the reasons. I think that's a plausible explanation is because somebody in the intelligence community took the really you know, think about it you again Michael. You know better than I do, but to take the step to leak. This would be top secret at its lowest this kind of information and leak it to the New York Times. That is a really dangerous step. Somebody decided it was so important that they were feeling frustrated that it probably wasn't getting to the presence that suggests to me also by the way at this at this intelligence pretty credible because I don't think you want to go to jail for things that are just kind of well touchy feely, maybe didn't happen or didn't yeah. Another aspect of our own reporting on this is that you know. We talked before about the sort of evolution of in in Russian behavior towards the West, and towards the US that this didn't start. Start overnight within for last several years, there's been reporting that the Russians have been arming the Taliban have been providing financial assistance to the Taliban and we're told even as early as a few years ago. Encouraging attacks on the United States. We don't have confirmation that there was bounties being paid two or three years ago, but that there wasn't reporting about encouragement for attacks of these kinds of this kind well I've seen that reporting and I, it doesn't surprise me because of what I said earlier about Putin's just I mean he is obsessed with the United States. I want to underscore that. You just have to understand how obsessed he is with us. He thinks we destroyed the Soviet Union. He thinks we keep Russia down. He thinks you know he would be the leader of of the world. If not for us, and so any chance he has to push back on us. He seizes opportunities including by the way supporting trump remember in his world. He thinks trump is an ideological ally. The deep state it's people like me that are the enemy, so but wait a second if trump issues as his ally. Why would he do this knowing that you know? If it ever got publicly disclosed, it would only embarrass the guy he wanted to see. Win The election and presumably get reelected. It's great question. I think you know in a lot of foreign policies. There's contradictory things you know. When I was in the Obama. Administration we promoted democracy and promoted our security, and sometimes as clashed in places and Sometimes they were consistent and I would say. Say. I would say this is. Is That to Putin likes? The fact that trump has polarized us and pulled us off the the international board, and that's all good for Russia's interests. He also is playing a longer game. In terms of you know. There's a lot of people in Russia. I don't know about Putin personally, but I read and interact with lots of Russians in different ways that think that that trump has done, and he's. You know they've gotta move on, but I. Don't know the answer to that. I think it's important to to flag it. Ambassador what do you think the likelihood? Is that an operation like this would take place without Putin knowing about it. We're what's been reported is that it's the handiwork of a a unit called unit, twenty, nine, one, fifty, five and Armagh, the Russian military of of the GRU Russian military intelligence by the way the same unit that was linked to the poisoning in Salisbury. England of Sergei Secret Hall the former GRU officer. But do you think something like this would happen without Putin's knowledge I? Think it's unlikely. That's that's always the alibi rate Putin's in control of all the good things that happen is not in control of bad things. It's not out of the question though I want to be clear about that, I. It is not a unitary state. There is real rivalries between different groups and in particular I would say I'm GONNA. Do this broad brush there is a there is a clash between two different groups around Putin one that leans more Western thinks that you know in the long term Russia's long term. Economic interests are better. Served by having a better relationship with us, and then there's this circle around him. They're called the civil key. Right the hardliners. MOSTLY INTELLIGENCE SVR GRU although FSB. Although those three groups also have their rivalries amongst themselves by the way that want to isolate Putin that want to poison relations between the United States and Russia most certainly among. People that followed these things closely in Russia. That was one of the explanations for the assassination attempt against scruple that has been one of the explanations for the successful and tragic assassination for instance of Boris Nemtsov. Inside Russia so I. I can't evaluate those. It wouldn't surprise me, but you know I guess I tend to lean that when it comes to intelligence matters, Putin's pretty well. Informed guy is a former intelligence officer himself, and to go rogue on Putin with something as audacious obssessed. That's a pretty risky thing you're doing you know. There could be really pretty big consequences doing that so I tend to think he would've known, but it's not out of the possible realm of the possibility. Possibility that he didn't so taking a step back. I mean this does seem to be a case of Putin emboldened, pushing the limits of what he could get away with to disrupt and make life difficult for the United. States, if that's in fact, the case, what should we expect going forward? Particularly as we go into the election season given what they did the last time in two thousand sixteen. What do you see as the possibilities for this election and Russian interference well? We wrote a big report on it at Stanford top about what they did, and what should be done, and I'm not going to try to say you know. We had forty three recommendations which have been accepted by the way, so that's good news a lot of our recommendations by the way we're. Policy Recommendations for local actors here, facebook and twitter not just in Washington. But you didn't ask me that question. You asked me what Putin might do, and I would just say two things one is. He's a really smart guy, and so did assume just go back to the old playbook I always raising suspicion of that. I suspect other copycats do that. Not Putin I think what we should be more worried about is actions and by the way there were some of these in two thousand sixteen, but it may be even more so this time around our actions that don't help a candidate. In this case, it would be trump again, but that undermine the validity of the elections more broadly that call into question whether these elections were free and fair, and so when you have interventions when you have things happening, that are exposed, it raises doubt about you. You know whether this was a free and fair election, and that's cheap and easy to do by the way and the way we're so wired polarized and on both sides by the way I everybody. Everybody talks about how if trump loses the election? He's not gonNA leave the White House I. Think the trump folks should worry about if he wins a close election that his opponents might not accept it, and they might think that it was stolen, and if they can point to some marginal tweets. Of Putin you know amplifying some right wing platform. They'll say well. This is proof that this was not a free and fair election. So that's what I think I think it's undermining the integrity more generally, and I would say look for it in the social media sphere, but I would also I also worry about election day, and some weird hacking pretty easy to do you know hundred names that were there? Disappear probably has a very. Very marginal impact on the actual outcome of the voting by man you can, you can imagine what kind of story that will be, and the the endgame of that story will be to undermine the perception that we had a free and fair election, and that of course is on top of all this tremendous challenges. We already have even without the Russians or Chinese. Are Iranians being evolved. I really worried about a lot of Americans perceiving. Maybe accurately may be inaccurately that the election in November will not be free and fair so embassador fall. How do you here's the sixty four thousand dollar question? How do you stop Putin? He's going to be around for a while. And trump may be gone and might be Joe, Biden, in the White House, I mean diplomatic complaints and a few more sanctions are not gonNA. Make different. So how do you make him? Conclude that it is not in his interest to do these things well, I'd say two things one, I actually do think push back has succeeded so again I have paid it in just in black and white terms I think it was right for ongoing Merckel Barack. Obama and everybody else says strengthen NATO and I applaud the trump administration that continued that process. NATO eastern flank is stronger. Stronger today than was in two thousand fourteen. That's good, I think it was right to put sanctions in place in two thousand fourteen, and to rip them I applaud the trump administration for doing that. That has caused people and I know some of them personally to suffer. That is part of deterrence that Israel I think more assistance to. Ukraine is part of that and I, could you? You know more resilience for our electoral security and all infrastructure security in the digital world that should be a part of it, and I could go through a long list, but one thing one. There is not a silver bullet here. You know this is. This is like the Cold War is going to be a long struggle as you said Dan, it's going to take decades. People Forget. Forget that the Cold War went for a long long time, but you gotTA. Have you gotta? Have a kind of a grand strategy that everybody's agreeing to and right now I would say we don't have that. We have a real divide in the administration between trump and almost everybody else that makes it hard to keep that strategy in place, and then secondly I always say there's obviously. Growing division between us and our democratic partners, and some of them are allies in Europe because of trump's actions. Right I just on a Webinar with some Europeans this morning. Some NATO members some not, and you know you can't like. Keep Berating those those allies and threatening to pull out of. NATO including tariffs and sanctions on them, that is not a long term strategy for containing Putin's Russia, so that's part of it as well to think more strategically about. The transatlantic relationship I should ask since you mentioned the election, are you? Helping out the Biden campaign with your insights into US Russia policy. I know I'm not a former adviser. You know I have lots of friends in the by this. Okay, we just like to have a full disclosure on skulduggery about where everybody's how many? I'm glad you're doing that, and because of my relationship with NBC in Fact I. Chose to do that rather than to work with. Those folks got it. Do I do I hope that they are listening to me and. Now the answer to that is yes. All right well, some of their top people do come on skulduggery from time to time, so we can hope that they're listening to it as well ambassador. I WANNA. Thank you for coming on always great to hear what you have to say on this matter and we'll be back to you as as this unfolds, guys appreciate being on. We now have with US Thomas Rid who is an information security Professor Johns Hopkins and the author of the book active measures, the secret history of disinformation and political warfare. Tom Welcome to skulduggery. Thanks for having me high so great to chat with you I. Remember when we first met. I believe in London back several years ago when we were both hot on the trail, trying to understand what the Russians did in the. The two thousand sixteen election, which of course has gotten lots of attention, the hacks, the social media disinformation campaigns, but your book basically shows that what the Russians were doing in two thousand sixteen has a long rich history going back to the earliest days of the Soviet Union. The phrase is active measures. Tell us what you discovered in your research on active measures, and how it informs what we have seen the Russians. Years and maybe you can start by just telling our audience. What an active of measure is yeah. So yeah, when the an active measures! Is the historical term of art that the Soviet intelligence community came up with in the early nineteen sixty s to describe disinformation to describe influence operations, deceiving an adversary, sometimes by leaking documents, sometimes by amplifying existing divisions, and they discovered that disinformation is not a very helpful term, because it focuses the mind that was one reason on the distinction between false and true information, and what active measures are really about as. Activating if you're like an emotional effect, and whether something is true, or false, is really a secondary consideration, and take us back to the earliest days of these kinds of tactics that as Mike mentioned in his question. The Soviets used in their earliest days. Well, there's so much to the book. Start begins in with the trust. Famous operation at the Checker the early predecessor organization to KGB pulled off in the nineteen twenties, and the trust trust was a fake monarchist organization that the young Soviet. Union pretended existed in the Soviet. Union in order to. Lure monarchists counter-revolutionaries. Back into the Soviet Union to arrest them, or in order to simply powerless them by telling them this and you're not in touch with what's happening at home. You're so far away, but there's this native resistance for me and they will take care of the counterrevolution, so just hang in there. There was a very clever pray, and this continued throughout the first decades of the Soviet Union, tell us some of the other examples that you came across in this. Yeah, so you know, I'm German I'm born and raised in Germany and for me. One of the great discoveries initially thought to care. Don't speak Russian away work their locked with Russian documents and translators machine translation. But I don't speak Russian initially assault that would be a major problem, but it appeared very quickly understood that Germany is even more helpful for this subject, because the Stasi East German state security and its foreign intelligence apparatus. HBA were really musters at disinformation at active measures. When the especially when the targeted West Germany, because they spoke the language, and a culturally close to their target, so one of the operations that played out in Germany was one that I think. There was a stunning to me and it was an. Anti Antisemitic feelings of essentially the creation of an anti Semitic hate wave that swept across Germany and West Europe in early nineteen sixty, and it was engineered by KGB and the way that is just it's an extraordinary story, but really capture the morale that. We are struggling with today, and that is what if you create a fake emotional reaction that is actually real because people actual antisemites came out and. Smear swastikas on synagogues and cemeteries because of trigger that came from across the Iron Curtain. So, what is the antisemitism actually fake? Oh, was it real and the answer is? It was very difficult to town and a lot of it was real so real, but kind of stoked and amplified, and so what the Russians have been so good at is exploiting and kind of tapping into existing divisions in societies that have that produce a huge emotional reaction, and of course we have seen that. In this country in twenty. And then again I think gather evidence of it happening midterms as well particularly with the Russians exploiting racial divisions in this country yet, but but I think the temptation here is is far more insidious and far harder to counter that you would think at first glance because the temptation is not. Just, to say okay. The the temptations to interpret what is happening as a foreign interference operation, so let's let's go back to the sixties example for a moment. What happened at the time. Is that some conservatives Germany the defense minister at the time. Funds Strauss pointed to eastern influences obliquely at first. He sort of basically said that this is not real. This is provoked from across the from. DC and a lot of people in Germany said. Wait a minute. What are you talking about? We actually have a problem with anti. Semitism now. This is fourteen years after the Holocaust of course, Germany has a problem with antisemitism, so the the instinct of a lot of people in Germany was to say you know we owned us. We have to fix this problem. We have to get our onto Semitic. trauma tendencies here on the control and I think that was the right the right reaction they would have said Oh. This is all engineer from the east. We don't have a problem. It's actually imposed on us. Then I think Germany would have. Have failed. You know one of the things that really out at me in reading. Your book is just how major an investment. The Soviets made over the years in active measures how central it was to their national security strategy as it were, and you point out that by nineteen eighty five active measures also reached peak bureaucratic performance. Soviet, active measures, then had an annual budget between three billion and four billion dollars estimate that CIA analysts called conservative. Yeah, I mean it's difficult to get a breakdown of that estimates. I don't have a good breakdown may include large media probably does include large media. Radio Moscow for example. Which of course then blurs the question of what is active measure as opposed to what is just run of the mill propaganda, but clearly yes, they escalated. Throughout the seventies into the eighties. Don't appreciate so I was GONNA. Say because look people on the left will point out. You know wasn't the CIA doing much of the same thing under the banner of political warfare, as the agency would have referred to it. How do you distinguish between the kinds of activities? The CIA was doing secretly funding various foundations and journalistic organizations and other think tanks from an pushing American messaging, versus what the Soviets were doing. That's a tough question and you know I'm sure you also sometimes got that pushback on. We just doing the same thing as. The Russians sorta doing in two thousand, sixteen, for example and I felt I need to. I needed to tackle this in my view. Run Eve. Response because what you see when you look closely at the stark record is that yes, see I was doing very seminar operations in the nineteen fifties, but then retreated and de-escalated. Even, the nineteen fifties, when put out a lot of forgeries, and was really quite aggressive in Berlin then never went as far as stoking antisemitism, so the even then they had at moral boundaries, and by the way the anti-semetic example, if I may use it just one last time, even stars He. Even you know one of the most ruthless state security organizations have to exist on the planet. Didn't go there, even stars e, because it's the head of its foreign intelligence service. Marcus off at a Jewish family member. Even they said we were not going there. This is on you, KGB so I think it's important to understand that KGB escalated in a way in resourcing. Prioritizing disinformation, and of course taking taking the gloves off in a way that the just noted Thomas, I wanna ask you about the effectiveness of these active measures historically and I want to ask you about one particularly pernicious example called Operation Denver which you write about where the Soviets tried to get into our kind of information bloodstream that AIDS HIV AIDS was essentially concocted by the US. US government in a biological weapons lab guess Fort Dietrich Maryland and that did get some traction. What was the impact of that? What was the purpose of it? And what was the impact? The purpose question is easy attorney than the impact question so this myth that you're the US army. The US government created AIDS was designed for a very specific reason namely to distract from the. Offensive Biological Weapons, programs and chemical weapons programs that were underway in the Soviet. Union in the nineteen eighties, and they were producing anthrax. Or and Nausea Central Anthrax, but many biological weapons that industrial scale. The Never Nixon cancelled the American program they didn't cancel. They escalated there as well and used some of these weapons in Southeast Asia so the AIDS myth was a counter a flanking maneuver if you like. Against that use weapons so Soviet Union of course collapses. In Nineteen, ninety one and New Russian Federation is borne headed since two thousand by a former KGB agent. But how do you explain the continuity in active measures from the Soviet era to the Russian Federation? That's a very difficult question. there appears to be continuity in the sense that we see some of the similar tradecraft at at work beginning in about twenty thirteen again and we still see some. Operations in the in the late nineteen ninety s that I look at it in the book, but of course there's this rift. There's this there are a couple of gap years that are hard to cover so one of the. Difficult questions that I. Don't answer in the book because I can't answer it, but it's an interesting question to bring up. Is Why do we see predominantly GRU military intelligence operations? Today while back in the day in the Cold War was what today is as we are, the first chief directorate of KGB in the forest, your several by Moscow. That was running active measures. So why is this? How about this organizational shift in prioritizing here? That's a difficult one to answer actually Thomas. You mentioned the GRU in researching this book. I guess you did A A. A lot of sleuthing and I understand that you actually were able to reach out to goose. Refer two point Oh. Who was a jar? You or Russian military intelligence officer, posing as Gustav or two point Oh who was behind the wikileaks hack in two thousand sixteen. Tell us that story. How did you make contact with Gustavo? Two Point Oh, and what was that interaction like? which for was a front account? That specific Jerry unit started using in mid June so four years exactly four years ago now. And it for a couple of us who were watching Russian hacking operations up close at the time. It was pretty obvious that this is a Russian. Towns Front from day one literally. So I remember around that time literally today end of June. Twenty, four sixteen I was beginning to write up the story of what happened for an article that appeared. In late July and in the while I was writing I thought to myself okay, why not just reach out to these guys because it's still quite easy to do that? They are actually responsive. And I did. I asked them for the. A tried to get some responses on whether they actually give to wiki leaks, not expecting something truly interesting, but why not try, so? They're responded I. Remember Walking Home in London dealing with them while I was walking through Clark and well, and it was a slightly bizarre experience after say. What were the? What was the conversation like? Whether they gave documents to wikileaks, and they said yes, they did. Then they asked me whether it would be going to a specific conference in London were they were planning to present something, which actually happened in a weird way a couple of weeks later wait is wait a second for two point. Oh somebody posing as him or representing themselves as him. In London a yeah, no, it was obviously a remote delivery and somebody read out something and. It was not as interesting as you would. It really would have expected. It was kind of weird that they were trying to establish their hacker credentials at the time I later continued that the m when a after immediately after the actually October. Because I was writing about this again and tried. To reveal the codename, because clearly, they made history. What the codename was for the operation, but they never responded to that text. Do. We know what the codename us. So look obviously a lot of people are now focused on what the Russians or other foreign adversaries may try to do in this election year having studied as closely as you have what they did in two, thousand sixteen, and what they've done historically over the years. What's your best sense of what we should expect from the Russians in terms of active measures this election year before say. Obviously, as somebody writes, history is i. can't really talk about the future, but before I sort of go there. Let me just if we go back to twenty sixteen and reassess what happened. I think it's important to just understand that. In some ways in my mind, we have not done a very good job of understanding the different impact vectors of this operation. So for example the way the special counsel is office at the Robert Muller Robert. Muller's team has structured their indictments I think gave too much significance too much weight to the Internet research agency Internet! Trolling at the social media interference was not as important as a lot of people think, and they think it was so important because it was the first indictment primarily that other reasons, too. That was one important reason so I think we just have to understand the entire social media interference angle was nowhere nearly as effective as even the special counsel's Office assessed. Assessed and I'm happy to go into detail on data. If you're interested, but it's in the explain very briefly why you say that I mean. Let's make an example when the when twitter, but also facebook took down accounts, took down the ads that a had sponsored they froze the follow account of many of these accounts in time in August, twenty seventeen. Now neck. The next question is okay. If we're interested in the election, interference were not interested in the nine months after the election because it's a distraction registered in before the election not after. So if you aggregate the figures, then, for example, the famous number of one, hundred, twenty six million impressions that Russian. IRA contend received on facebook to figure Mark Zuckerberg. That figures shrinks to about one third about thirty percent. If you only look at what happened before the election, not the election and similar thing applies to twitter followers of fake accounts. They also frozen in August. In twenty seventeen. So, how big were they? Actually before the election answer, you know much much smaller in almost all cases Why did mutter not win a walk us in a more thorough way through the limitations here of the data, so then Thomas are you suggesting that there were other aspects of the Russian disinformation campaign that were that had a much bigger impact say. Say, the of the DNC or the Podesta emails or that the whole thing has been somewhat exaggerated in terms of its importance and impact. Yeah, so if you you know in hindsight when I was going back and I wrote a chapter at the end of project, the final chapter to have the maximum maximum amount of time between the events and me writing about it. The DNC chapter, so there's one thing that I really I'm really kicking myself that I didn't discover earlier, and that is related to your question to the Podesta, Knicks. Turns out that the very first leak that became public in the whole operation came up on the of Jude. Before good for to even emerged through DC leaks. The very first leak was sourced from the Podesta inbox not from the DNC, but he was from the Podesta inbox didn't say that at the time, but we can prove that data's in the book. Second thing that I found even more disturbing to find out later is the first Gucci Fatu leaks. There were five specific word documents in the first league. They were they claimed the clammed on by to that they were taken from Hillary Clinton's server in the State Department now. There's three lies in their one. They were not taking from Hillary Clinton Server. From Hillary Clinton in the first place they were not taken from the State Department that were not taken from even the time when she was secretary of state, and to add another one is. The document was not secret as they claimed it was never classified in the first place. They forged all that information. How do we know this? Because it was also taken from John Podesta's Inbox, we could crafty researchers could have found that out on that day or shortly thereafter, but certainly the State Department should've pointed it out. And? They didn't why I. Don't Know So. What do you make of that I think what I make of that is obviously we all expected the winner in November. To be you know Hillary Clinton. A lot of people did not all of us. And at the result I think. Many people were complacent. They thought okay. Let's just. By the time it had become a big story that I cook it. This is not going to move the needle. And that become complacent now did it. Yeah No, we believe aside whether it moved the needle. What's interesting to me about? That is first of all. We saw from the dump of all the emails I dump the DNC emails July and then in starting in October the Podesta emails. As far as we could see at the time. They were all authentic emails. They had not been doctored. They had not been forged. They were real material your pointing out that. Early on before all that started. There was forgery going on by the Russians, so, there was almost. There was four tree in the sense that they front front organisations were fake for two in DC leaks. and. Obviously that's part of you know the fake. And there was no. There was some modest framing forgery. Going on is what concerning for example, the secret nature of one of these documents that in fact was not secret, and the providence of the document was. You know pretend to pretend to be came from somewhere else? Nobody the that came from wikileaks. At least that's what it appears are genuine, and we're not doctor with I. Actually I have a question about that. which is a do you believe? Are you suggesting that the case of wikileaks and the DNC hack and the Podesta emails that because? They were written about by the American news media in a little bit of a frenzy, and we were part of that, of course that gives it more. Legitimacy gives it more impact than than social media posts which are shared by average people. There's no doubt that mainstream or any press coverage, but the bigger the better obviously. Is the thing that matters here. That was always true and active measures. It still true in two thousand twenty social media. Yes, of course, that's happening as well, but it's just not as impactful than says having something covered in you know on CNN and other times or Fox or something, and then the follow up. Question of course is the question I mean I remember well when you know. Mike was getting these emails and I was his editor and we. We were working on those stories and you know the kind of knee-jerk reaction was well. It's authentic. These are true emails. These things did happen. They're not being denied. So what is in your mind? The responsibility of the media in a situation like this when a sense you are doing the bidding of a foreign intelligence service, so I have stories in the book where the ethical dilemma was posing itself way more sharply than it did in two thousand sixteen. Is just amazingly reviewed my book. Last Friday became came to my attention, and they talk about that story and their reviews, while because they get how explosive that starring was. Do you want me to relay the story. Yes, sure sure so the story is that KGB rented disinformation operations about the basically got their hands on secret American war plan to use for Germany how to essentially fight guerrilla war in Germany in the case of Red Army invasion from behind enemy lines, and this is in West. Germany not East Germany like in a NATO country. So the Soviets got their hands on this plan through a spy American spy. Robert Lee Johnson and then said okay. This guy has been caught our spy, but we can still use this material for information for active measures because it's crazy, it's an amazing Walkman. Real amazing work land. So the surface did in Italy if I. Actually Norway I, but the story didn't catch on. And when you say surfaced, you mean. They leaked it to the news media. They're exactly. They mailed it to left newspaper anonymously from Rome. Story out of it. So then, they said okay. This is not working as intended. Let's spice it up with a forgery. Let's make it more controversial through a forgery which they did, so they put in this detail that you know release authority for Nuclear. Weapons is now with local theater commanders, which obviously is. Kind of crazy thing to happen. So then they surfaced it again and mailed it again anonymously from Rome to Spiegel and stern in Germany the two weekly newspapers from hammered one hydro, one lowbrow stern sort of more lowbrow and stern fell Fritz stern random story. As framed by KGB. But Didn't dish. Beagle said okay. Let's just let's reveal this as a disinformation operation, and not just that that's report at the fact where this whole thing came from. That's reveal their spy. That gave this document to the Soviets, which is what they did was an amazing piece of journalism, but now the crazy thing comes into play. Are you following me so far yup? Yup It's a great story. So, the crazy thing is what you beat us next because KGB's has okay. We have been caught by Dutch Beagle. Which revealed our source? So, what are we going to drop this whole thing because it's working now? It's kind of cool to have all this press coverage, so they said okay let's reward Stern, the lowbrow German weekly by giving them even more explosive documents about nuclear. American nuclear targeting against West German targets NATO country targets, but but of course they now did it basically knowing that the journalists received the data actually know that it's a KGB document, but they also knew because Spiegel had reported the story so well that it's real. So, they had this dilemma. This opportunity this okay. We have these real documents now. You know they're coming from US, KGB? I mean they didn't say kgb but just mail it again and. That ethical dilemma in front of them. Should we publish something that is extremely newsworthy. But knowing. We know that it comes from the foreign intelligence agency. and. It's real. And what would you have done I? Think I would have done what they did. Publish but read saying at the same time that that you're you know potentially. I mean revealing the likely source at the same time. Let me take you back to my question about what we should expect in this election year because there's intense debate about. Whether the United States is prepared for another Russian active measures this year, and how far it could go, we've got a particular controversy right now about mail in voting, which a lot of Democrats and progressives are pushing for and the trump administration led by attorney. General William Bar is pushing back saying no, this is an invitation to fraud, and what would stop a foreign governments such as the Russians, from creating fake absentee ballots on their own and introducing fraudulent votes into the system. What's your take on that? Yeah, it's a tough one. I mean I think it's probably quite difficult to. Move the needle in terms of actual forgeries in mail in ballots or you know even hacking voting machines that are being used by people who go voting physically. It's probably impossible, but it's pretty hard to succeed in that fashion by for the Russian for Russian operators, but they also have a second vector of attack so to speak, and that is by simply appearing to mess with the outcome, because they know that the whole conversation about this information is so big, occupying so much space in this and is also so highly polarized in this. This country right now politicized in this country right now that essentially the perception of where she liked the disinformation about this information is the more powerful weapon that they have in my mind. Yeah, that's that's what I was Gonna ask you about because it seems to me that particularly with a president. Donald Trump who has shown a proclivity for doing whatever he can to undermine the legitimacy of our institutions, and goes on and on about fraud that all the Russians would have to do is give him enough ammunition to do that again. If I were sitting in you know the Kremlin or advising Putin, or whatever somebody can charge, it s cro. Whoever's we're looking at here? I mean I have no doubt they also make a strategic consideration does higher than fifty percent chance that the next president will be Joe Biden. And, if that is the case, there's a very high chance that his people will be super upset with Russia. Because of twenty sixty instill. So this, if you, if you essentially you know, why antagonize them a second time because ultimately. Is it really worth it? It's a you know just say it is really difficult to do even more harm to the United States than what trump is already doing, so you just you know? Let him you re Kavak against the institutions of state and You know why why antagonize exit ministration, even more yeah, I mean I guess bottom line is if the Russian primary goal is to sow discord and dissension within the United States. They've Donald Trump doing their bidding. They don't need to weigh in. I mean it's sad to watch. But I do want to ask you because we are in this country as you know. Experiencing a great amount of turmoil and difficulty in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and there is a lot of anger that has spilled into the streets, a lot of division disunity, so would the Russians be able to help themselves from from exploiting that even if it's. kind of a kind of a lower level of campaign. By! That relates back to an early observation here. That is by exaggerate operating the impact of the two thousand sixteen social media interference. We have created the marketplace for contractors and Russia but beyond Russia, also in third countries we look at all. The facebook and twitter take downs over the past couple of months. A lot of people are watching this and thinking. This seems to work I. Mean probably overstating the effect, but doesn't matter because you know you still. It's not that expensive to build up that capability. So I have no doubt they will try to explore. The black lives matter movement or the ANTIFA narrative for example that's out there. But I think that temptation for us. In the United States is to essentially distinguish between the influence operation. which is you know in my that would be my default expectation that is only a minor fringe phenomenon that the main situation we're looking at is homemade and real. Because I mean just to put it really provocative and bluntly. Weak democracies blamed the problems on outside forces. That's what's happening in Russia. Strong democracies owned their problems and fix them well. That is a wise observation to End Up on and. I appreciate the insights. The book is active measures the secret history of disinformation and political warfare. Thomas rid thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me appreciate it. Thanks to the former US ambassador to Russia Michael. mcfaul and political scientist and author Thomas Rid for joining us out skullduggery. Don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcast and tell us what you think Lee. Review short a follow us on social media at skulduggery pod. We'll talk to you soon.

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Trumps agitprop video

Skullduggery

56:25 min | 8 months ago

Trumps agitprop video

"A Michael isikoff check for Yahoo News. And I'm Dan Kleinman editor in chief of Yahoo News and a quick reminder that you can follow us at skulduggery pod and by the way. If you've got any questions thoughts ideas you wanNA share tweet right out us now. Let's get on with the show. Yes like that play in this room I. It looks a bit like a campaign who produced video that was done by a group in the office and it was done just by just put some clips together. I could give you. I'll bet you I have over one hundred more clips even better than them. They were just piece together over the last two hours. That was just a. We have far better than that. That's nothing compared to somebody who's protest here in the White House is done by. Is Dan and a group of people and they just put it together in a period of probably less than two hours to do that. Because we're getting fake news and I like to have it corrected that's ABC News correspondent. Jonathan Karl Challenging President Trump. In one of the more bizarre moments from a White House briefing on Cova nineteen trump had just played a brazenly political campaign style propaganda video extolling his handling of the pandemic and trying to rebut reports that his administration had seriously dropped the ball when it counted. The video was highly selective of course leaving the president's repeated assurances in January in February that the virus was under control. And we'd go away as soon as the weather got warmer and it raised questions about how the media should report on presidential briefings that are filled with misinformation and have become the functional equivalent of one of the president's political rallies. We'll discuss the briefings and how the media should be covering them with Washington Post Media Critic Eric. Wamble and we'll check in with Yahoo News. Ace Corona Virus reporter Alexander in on this episode of skulduggery. Because people have gotta know whether or not their president's a crook. I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostile my heart to my best intentions. Still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence. Tell me it is not. I did not have sexual relations with that woman. There will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the Truth and nothing else. It's no secret that our worlds has been interrupted. World interrupted daily podcast telling stories of Corona virus in its impact on the economy. We want to cover the issues in the macro global economics the stock market and our political climate also cover the micro stories. Maybe the ones you don't hear as much about in the news media. We hope you'll listen and be a part of the journey subscribed today on Apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to podcasts. I'm Michael ISIKOFF chief. Investigative correspondent for Yahoo News. Dan cliven editor in chief of Yahoo News. You know we were discussing yesterday when we should do this episode of skulduggery and we concluded that we should probably wait for the afternoon briefing because that was likely to be newsworthy. At that time we were focused on whether trump was gonNA fire. Anthony Fauci having tweeted the day before or re tweeted something with the Hashtag Fire Fao cheesy but it turned out that the briefing was newsworthy for completely different reasons the playing of this absolutely bizarre and perhaps unprecedented video yet it's almost like a tick or something with trump that at times of crisis at times when the kind of country sort of needs to come together at times when leaders need to be sober and kind of just provide useful information and guidance and comfort to the American people who are clearly many of them suffering. These are the times when trump is the most self absorbed and narcissistic and he spent a good part of the first hour of that briefing. By the way these briefings are getting to be kind of endless. You know well. Over two hours per briefing. Basically talking defending himself castigating his critics. And it's just you know stunning. This is a president who part of the there is some kind of method to the madness as well as a president who does thrive on conflict and confrontation and clearly. He in fact he said in the briefing that you know he likes controversy. He knows that controversy is his friend and I think he believes that particularly in those moments when he's being most criticize by the way there was a long exhaustive very well reported story in the New York Times about all of the missteps and mistakes that trump and his administration made. Those are the times when he is looking to distract as much as he possibly can right and you know look if he if he thrives on controversy he gets it. I mean here you had Andrew Cuomo who was actually saying Nice things about trump in recent days and seem to be really trying to make an effort to work with the White House and bring the New York state out of the depths of this of this crisis and today Cuomo having seen the briefing called called it a comedy skit and completely dismissive of the president. Now maybe that's what trump wanted. Maybe that's why you know exactly as you say what he thrives on but man. You just wonder whether that's what the public is looking for when there's so much uncertainty when there's so much fear out there. I think Cuomo does get that. I mean I think Cuomo's got a pugilist side to himself too so we had to respond but much of CUOMO's briefing. The next morning was really about not getting drawn into a fight with the president. He said it's not about me. It's about we. This is not a time for an argument. I don't want an argument with the president and so I think he was trying to not give trump what he what he wanted right. Well you know. Trump can't get enough to to say the least. This is what he wants. The perception of him being a bit too cozy with the Democratic governor of New York is not what is base wants to hear in this political season and speaking of political seasons before we get on to our discussion with Eric Went Paul of the Washington Post. We should take note that President former President Obama today formally endorsed vice-president Biden as the Democratic nominee. I think a lot of people have been waiting for this for some time. Now with Bernie Sanders out. Obama had free rein to do so and again. Maybe that's what trump wants to see as well gives him an opportunity to once more run against Obama. The Obama Biden Administration. Blame everything on them and pivot to wear to be on the attack. And while I will point out that trump did say at at that briefing that he was amazed that Obama had not yet endorsed sleepy. Joe Biden as you refer to him and wanted to know when it was going to happen. And why hasn't he done it yet? You know I say. I'm not sure that the endorsement of Joe Biden right now is necessarily a good thing. For for trump people are still pretty fond. President Obama people remember that Obama handled these kinds of crises with a bit more skill than this president has so far and Obama took advantage of that in his endorsement to draw a implicit contrast between Joe Biden and trump. Talking about how Joe Biden was right by Obama side during the h one n one and the O Bola scares and that Joe Biden is someone who gets things done and this crisis is a reminder that competent government is a good thing so clearly obama trying to draw that contrast in a way that would benefit His former vice presidents very true. Whether and I'm sure that Is is going to play well in your circles in park slope but How the rest of the country processes? I think is going to depend a lot on what happens in the next few weeks and months and whether we recover from the depths of this crisis or it lingers with us for some time but anyway let's get on with the show we got two good guests to talk to and Let's get on with the We now have with us on the pod. Eric Wedge simple the media critic for the Washington Post the author of the Eric whipple blog on the Washington Post web site Eric. Welcome to skulduggery. Thanks for having me very much. So did you watch that Wild White House briefing on Monday was a good mix of watching and listening to it and it was sort of a gum smacking either medium really right. I mean. There's been this debate in media circles now for some weeks about how to treat how to handle how to cover these briefings because they often seem to turn into You know the equivalent to political rallies. But you know this went beyond anything we've seen before. The president is playing campaign style. Video meant to defend him against attacks and he didn't do enough on the virus early on. I mean the idea of playing what looked like a campaign ad at a White House. Briefing seem to take this to a whole new level. Well did and I have to say that the campaign had no sort of self respecting campaign would release such a shoddy ad. I mean it was really kind of poorly put together. Trump's was put together a couple of hours. But but you're right the idea behind it. The sort of inspiration was unquestionably Campaign self promotional and also incredibly deceptive to. I mean one of the points I made last night. Was that on television these days. There's so much. Tv either so much cable TV. There's so much crap out there that if you want to stitch together a campaign for some particular position you can find a few clips to do it. You know if you go back over three months videotape on the cable networks. You can find someone out there saying something that you can roll into. You can throw in our podcast and find some material as well but yeah. I mean it was really poorly done. It was dishonest to the extent that on one hand trump in the earlier parts of the news conference was trying to say how the New York Times investigative piece the New York Times have done over the weekend with six bylines say trump was slow to respond krona virus and so on so forth. He's trying to sit. Call that fake. And then during this video they were credited. Maggie Haberman for acknowledging that the travel restrictions were ineffective approach corona virus. So on the one hand they said in your faith on the other hand all the New York Times this story journalistic outfit with high standards and actually I mean Maggie. Haberman has been on twitter. Saying frankly like a lot of other people whose clips were were in that video that was taken out of context in that. What she said was that that was trump's mission. Accomplished moment that after the travel ban. He then didn't really do very much actually. They doubt they left out the sentence that followed the one that they used. They use the clip of Maggie. Haberman saying at the end of the day was probably effective. She's talking about the China travel restrictions. Because it did actually take a pretty aggressive measure against the spread and then the very next thing she said was in that daily podcast interview. The problem is it was one of the last things that he did for several weeks. The very next thing she said and that was cut out of the trump campaign style video. We keep calling it a campaign at. I think it's worse than that. I think it's like North Korean agitprop. I mean that whole performance is worse than a campaign ad. It is. It's propaganda and so that so the question is and you're on the media critic. How is the media supposed to deal with this? Most of us all three of us I think most of our careers and journalism there with the president when the president spoke it wasn't by definition news. It was likely going. There was likely going to be news and I know that Your newspaper. The Washington Post New York Times and others have begun to stop carrying it. But what should the playbook be for dealing with this? If you're you're in the media you're trying to cover the White House and the President Right. I think we should acknowledge first of all the the trump design these sessions to be like a steel trap. You can't really crack it because one moment trump saying something ridiculous and then the next moment the scientists is up there found. Choose up their burkes. Is out there saying something very worthwhile so you can't take in blocks if you do cover it live and just go the whole thing. You're bound to communicate a fair amount of misinformation and it's hard to ignore the whole thing because as I said there's certain parts of it. That are very worthwhile. So you know trump sort of constructs this thing. I don't know whether it's the Leverett. I don't think there's never signed any delivered Buddhist to trump but he designed in such a fashion as to make it very hard for cable news specifically to make hard and fast decisions about how to go. They have been taking more and more recently to dipping in and out of these sessions. Like for example. Cnn will blow off the initial remarked by trump. And then go to the question and answer whether they feel that reporters can have a better handle on him they can take him in real time. And therefore the exposure to misinformation spin propaganda gets minimized. That way I obviously I have to say. I don't think there is any really good solution. It's one of those lose lose situations in my view but I do think that you know the traditional sort of like television convention of a package J. Parts that matter the most and you communicate the fact. That trump is unhinged. These things you run those things and you presented to your viewers later and I think that that is a convention of Television Journalism. That doesn't get enough airtime these days. You don't have to do it in real time. The Republican survive if the news is conveyed two hours later as opposed to real times. So I'm watching this on CNN yesterday. And I'm looking at CNN's chirons. They're actually airing it. And then they have chirons. Trump has meltdown during White House. Briefing trump falsely claims. This trump falsely claims that plays propaganda video and I just wonder put CNN in a position of seeming like the political adversary to the president. Now I grant that it. Has it all of us have a responsibility to correct the president's misstatements and falsehoods on the other hand when you're running chirons like that you're looking like the agit prop that responds to the North Korea? Agitprop it doesn't come off as a responsible media organization that's the way it seemed to me and. I wonder how you would thread that needle. I don't think the chirons are a good. You know the on screen graphics are good response to trump's sort of approach as you say they can be snarky. The comments are not made for snark. Really the chirons were brought into this world years ago. Roger ailes played a big role in that and I believe that they are primarily for very sober sort of non attitude information. I don't think that's a good way to roll again. I think that the reason why. Cnn The reason why. I'M S NBC. The reason why are doing any live coverage of these at all. Fox's Tunsil is wire-to-wire on these things. The is is ratings. I mean trump is able to pull in ten or twelve billion viewers for these sessions and that is enormous that is enormous CNN and prime time. You're they're lucky to get a million or two watching their south. You Know Hannity can go to three or four million especially in these sort of days when everybody will. Nobody has anything else to do. But the crowds are enormous. That are watching these things and do the Cable News. You know you guys. For example you guys keep score. I guess you care about how many people watch your podcast and stuff but you guys keep score by. Who has what scoops right. Like who had that scoop out the guy who had the scoop about the dossier who at the scoop about this that and the other thing news. Keep score by numbers. They care about numbers. They broadcast their numbers. They Brag about their numbers. You know and this is what matter. You're not getting the numbers you're not you're not even participating and so that is the compulsion that is what's driving in my view. He's getting the numbers but it's not entirely clear that it's helping him at all. In fact after the sort of initial uptick in his job approval numbers. They have started to slip over the last few weeks. I mean even Rasmussen. This week had him down to forty three percent approval which is pretty low by Rasmussen standards and so one wonders. I mean maybe the best thing to do is let the guy go out there and hang himself By conducting these briefings. Well on the other hand I mean Ben Bradlee back during the Watergate days. He tried to get the New York Times to boycott background White House because he thought they should be on the record and they shouldn't accept these off the record briefings. That didn't work particularly well. But is there an argument? Eric do you think for the media to just boycott these briefings because the amount of misinformation that spread because of the kind of behavior that we saw from trump yesterday because there is a number of reporters are a number of reports? Were diligently going to. These briefings actually probably risking their health to do so. I wonder if what you think of of whether the press should be there at all. Yeah I think. That's a provocative question. Jay Rose in New York University set along time ago. That you know send your interns don't pay. This is back when Spicer is doing the press secretary briefings and same thing. I say no. I'm not saying you have a particular site on this but you cut down the matter. That's important here. Which is that these are on the record and I would just say that any kind you get the White House anybody from the White House on the record. That is something that should be should be cherished. I believe it should again. This doesn't necessarily need to be broadcast live. But it's something you should go to. You should ask the questions. And there's a market because you know and you've done this as I say you guys are fabulous journalists. You know that whenever you get someone else from the White House on the phone. It's going to be nine times out of ten on background or off the record or something else really weasley and when you get a chance to get anybody from their building on the record. Uc's and I the one example. I would cite. That is very important in the history of you know trump administration this when Sarah Sanders went up there and she told the entire of really from all these people at the FBI. Supporting President Trump's decision to fire James Coleman right and later that period in the Miller report where the Muller people ask her about that and turned out she just lied to the entire White House press corps and so so even though we may have at the time that Sarah Sanders session was worthless and propaganda and nothing honest about it was on the record. And so there is a marker that we have that we can lay down and we can compare it against later information and that's always important. Yeah I say I totally agree with that and I would add. I think it is particularly. Now it's especially important for reporters to be there to question and challenge trump about false statements. That he's making you know about kind of near dictatorial statements that he makes about How he has all the authority and the government. Don't and in fact I would say there's something to use a word that we've been using a lot in another context or something kind of therapeutic about seeing you know Paula Reid at that from CBS. News from that briefing challenging him about what the administration did or didn't do in February or. I can't remember the name of the CNN reporter. Who CHALLENGED HIM ON? He had said that his authorities total. And then you know she said that's not true. Who told you that? And then he said I didn't say that and you know it's important for the country. I think it's important for institutions to see the president. Being challenged was considered. The partisans are always limiting that it doesn't seem to matter that you know he just keeps rolling along and it's like we are journalists. We're not out there to affect a certain result right. We stick with what we do which is ask questions get answers right it up right up what we know. We're not out there like we don't care not that we don't care but we're not results driven. We are processed right. I was just GonNa say going to play. Devil's advocate a little bit here. Because while I thought that that video was completely over the top and you know made a mockery of the whole thing. You know there was some legitimate news at that briefing. And it kind of undercuts. A lot of what the media was reporting for the previous twenty four hours the starts with th- Ouchi going on state of the union with Jake Tapper and making the comments saying obviously if we had started mitigation earlier we could have saved lives and then trump tweets Does that re tweet with the fire. Fao She hashtag leading to the question is trump about to fire th Ouchi. We were all yesterday at this time we were having conversation has vowed she even going to be at the briefing right and if so what is he going to say. There seems to be the stark contradiction. Well he was at the briefing. He speaks early on. He seems to discount much of what the media was reporting about his disagreement with the President says when I recommended that they do social distancing when I in Dr Burks did. The president did it. That seemed to undercut much of what the media was reporting based on that initial Jake Tapper interview and I thought that was important information. Obviously I agree with you. I think what Dan and I both kind of said. Well you need necessarily to have a live. Broadcast is because what she is saying. I don't know I think you can push that out on twitter ray up quick story on that. I don't think that necessarily means that you must carry this. Press Briefing Live Right. The fact that policy is basically sticking the team standing behind trump is undoubtedly very newsworthy. Information has to be written up has to be talked about the way. You'RE GONNA have Thao she as a guest on your cable shows but then when he speaks at the White House you're not gonNa to cover it live you know. I don't I don't think the compulsion in the cover things live is that great. What what have you ever? I mean wings Michael Isikoff ever covered something. Live you out and get it. While we have a taped podcasting reporter could be read. You've gotten things out to the public very quickly and everybody has lived. Yeah the compulsion for live is I think is generally speaking competition but and I should say just to be transparent here you know. Yahoo News has been taking the feed and we have been internally debating all of these questions. We have decided that what we are going to do. Now is we are actually. The default position is not to take it. We'RE GONNA BE WATCHING IT and making decisions about whether it is newsworthy. And then we can cut in but as you point out. Trump is making this extremely difficult. Because he's on stage there and you never know when he's GonNa walk up to the Mike and start you know attacking people politically or spreading misinformation. So it is a very tricky thing. We'll be assessing it as it goes along but these are all really legitimate questions that I think everyone who is broadcasting. These briefings has to think about and the other thing that I think we have not talked enough about and this is an argument. I made previously on this. Podcast is this is. This is also a platform for the most high profile and most important public health officials right. Now who are in a position to disseminate incredibly important information that the American people actually do need and sometimes the in real time so there are kind of you know not to be overly dramatic but there are life and death consequences here with the kind of information that public health officials have so that makes it even even more tricky. You know just say. It's like a steel trap. You can't figure out what to do with these things to wild there to radic. There's just like one moment it's great and then the next moment is just. You're a fake. He didn't even say I think he called Paula. Eight fake you know if you're calibrating visions of attacks on of fakery. Yeah I mean it's one thing to say you write fake news. Because that establishes at least some distance between you and your work product. But you're a fake no was I mean to me is just. I don't know but I do. We overreact I mean. It's trump says all sorts of preposterous things all the time and we kind of have processed that at this point. I think it revs up his base. You know for a certain portion of the American public you know. That's what they want to hear and then they look at the CNN chirons and they think their views are validated. When they see the media serving as the adversary anyway we could endlessly debate. This but Eric. It's your job to monitor these things. And I hope you continue to do so. And include in your monitoring how Yahoo News and skulduggery is handling this by reaching out to Esteemed guests with great insights. Doing so. I joined her. I would make to the shrug your shoulders about trump is. I've talked to all these trump supporters and CPAC and the reason why I think we need to be serious about is because his thought our really really really really trust everything he says. So I don't think you can never dismiss what trump does fair enough. Thanks for joining us on skulduggery and we hope to have you back. Thank you very much back again on skulduggery our ase Cova reporter Alexander News. Aaron Alex Welcome back to skulduggery. Thank you thank you for having it. So the briefing which we just previously discussed with the Eric Simple of the Washington Post was Truly one of the most bizarre moments of this entire emergency with the president playing his campaign style video. But I wanNA talk to you a little bit about some of the substance of the briefing and well was substantive issues that were being touched on starting with the president's assertion that he has the total authority to reopen the American economy is exact quotes at the briefing when somebody's the President Ad States. The Authority is total now. That's being disputed today by Governor Cuomo of New York and many others who say they governors have the authority here What says Missourian? It's such a ridiculous idea. Almost don't want to spend any time on it. He's going to go reopen the school gates on all fifty states. He's willing to drag people back to work at you know the State House in Albany and in Sacramento everywhere else and notice also that states on both the East Coast and the west coast of forming consortium of sort of deciding to reopen and they're indicating that they are going to do this on their own timelines on their own terms and on some level. I think knows. He doesn't have the authority. Trump loves to rage at enemies real and perceived and he sort of He's a tough talk guy. Who often ends up doing taking advice of of more measured voices as he did with the Easter Reopening right after Dr Bernard active. Ouchi talk to him he said. Oh Yeah while. It might actually be wait. What strikes me about all this is because I think it's like a completely bogus argument. The the entire debate his argument is trump. Didn't shut the economy down. I mean they issued social distancing guidelines restrictions but the president has an imposed martial law. He's not enforcing the federal government isn't enforcing the restrictions that are in place so the idea that he has the total authority to lift something that he didn't have the you know that that wasn't imposed to begin with strikes. Me As a distraction right. It's it's the whole it's almost as if he doesn't understand the measures his own. Federal Government has taken which is disturbing. But it'd be bs you said. Those measures aren't mandating. People don't work. It's they're actually fairly reasonable though I would say. The social distancing measures are controversial relief. It's just they do lead to a slowdown in the economy. But there's nothing there's no there's a switch. You can flip to reopen the economy. A lot of that will be when people like. It's safe for them to go to work and governors are much closer to the ground. Is they will know that as well though it much sooner than he does. Look I mean let me just cut in here because all you need to know to say that this is like even a ridiculous debate to be having is Liz. Cheney tweeted essentially that the president doesn't have the authority to force. The governor is to reopen their economy. I think she tweeted the tenth amendment that the power is not delegated to the United States by the constitution are reserved to the states or to the people. And this is Liz Cheney whose Father Dick. Cheney was like an Avatar of the unitary units the unitary executive and frankly I didn't see a single constitutional scholar out there saying that the president has any argument on his side supporting this so it is a distraction. I think you're right. I think trump does know what he's doing he. Let's remember that at the briefing yesterday. He also said you know. I don't mind controversy. I think controversy is good. Not a bad thing up by speaking of tweets. I don't know if any of you are on your twitter right now but trump has just tweeted something that I find even more bizarre or anything scrolling through twitter while Danny and I have to do something while listening to you win back but anyway all right. Now I'm GonNa read you the tweet and I want your real time reactions to this. Tell the Democrat Governors that mutiny on the bounty was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny. Every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch especially when the mutineers need so much from the captain too easy exclamation point. What is he talking about? I don't know I've never heard of that film. I think that is a generational way. You've never heard of mutiny. On the bounty. I mean it is a classic from Nineteen Thirties. Clark Gable and Charles. Lofton you know Captain Captain Bligh and blazing dime by Marlon. Brando in the early nineteen sixties. It's the classic story of a mutiny on a British naval ship in the eighteenth century but the president had states is talking about a mutiny. Immune e by whom and against who? Who's the captain here other than him? I don't know but apparently according to our colleague are Managing Editor Colin Campbell. That tweet has done wonders for the wikipedia mutiny on the bounty a million percent increase in traffic. Because people don't know don't aren't familiar with with that story. Well Alex Your homework assignment now is to watch the movie. Actually both both versions the nineteen thirties version in the nineteen sixties. And then. We'll talk about it. That's the only thing that's getting well. Our mark seem and our producer. Just texted us that this is a reference to Cuomo. I guess maybe because almo is pushing back on the idea that he has to follow trump's orders when it comes to reopening the New York state economy. So maybe he's the mutineer so remember a couple of weeks ago probably a couple of years ago. Trump got into a feud with Michigan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer. And then before that he he called. Washington State Governor Jay inslee snake. I'm thinking about both of those instances. It's not as if she ended up in the end with folding any aid or doing anything he lashed out at them. It wasted their time. That certainly wasted his time. Frankly wasted our time and then in the ad two days later he would say something like well. We gave Michigan everything they needed a wretched Wilbur. Degrade governor something to a factor yet. Pence said so. It's not you. He talks like sort of. He talks loudly but doesn't carry a very big step which is Well Sir similarly you know. On Sunday he re tweets a somebody's tweet with the Fire F- fallacy handle or Hashtag and then yesterday at the briefing. He has FAO CI at the briefing. Speaking first and foremost that the briefing so mike and I add something here please do. I saw that And I don't know if I saw that it will surena Vanity Fair couple must've been created. Mrs No. This is state television. These things are state television. And as you know drop in the Soviet Union science seen by I've seen state television my grandfather who's been on was on state television at. That's not what state television looks like. I don't love the briefings. I don't love the weird commercial. He played yesterday. But that's not state television. What it is is a national venting session for millions of people and that isn't itself sort of weird. It's odd to have the president sort of fume and ran at journalists at governors in public. Like that I mean think about the way Nixon you know Nixon would do all this quietly man. Something Michigan wouldn't have. Suddenly the shipment of ventilators would get lost on the way to Michigan or something right. We're actually isn't doing that as far as we know. But he is going out there and sort of every day blasting away at his. Put IT. So it's odd. It's not tap again that it's kind of like fair for him. I think yeah I was GONNA say it's like he's lying on the shrinks table and he's just kind of like laying out his Ed for you know an ego. I guess for everybody. And this whole Mike as referred to as this kind of internal monologue this whole thing that he does where he is contradicting himself in real time. He just did that. Does that over and over again is like when he said we're holding back money from the W. H. O. And then he said. I don't know I don't know if we're going to do that. Maybe will do that. And then he says. I didn't say we're going to do that. And it's just laid bare for all to see he. He has this kind of compulsion to share his everything. That's going on in his mind in real time and it's just very strange thing that the problem with it. I mean we can joke about it but the problem is that and this is a kind of been a theme on our podcasts. The criticisms of trump. It's this idea of mixed messaging that at a time of crisis when there is a national health. Emergency out there. People need consistent messaging. They need data science and well thought out guidelines. And he's just out there contradicting himself contradicting others. Well the guidances that everyone should wear masks. But I'm not going to wear a mask I mean it's just endless over and over again and it is dangerous. Alex what did you? You've profiled vouch. E You've interviewed him. What did you make of his comments at thousand's comments at the briefing yesterday right? I thought they were remarkably measured. I actually didn't. I thought his comments that got him in trouble. Were pretty measure. I mean there's always an any crisis one could have done more and all he was saying is if we did more earlier we would have saved lives. I didn't think that was worthy of the trump. Fire Foul. She Li tweet or of kind of this notion than the conservative media. That vouches some traitor. Something no I mean probably would have been the case with any other person who was president including Hillary Clinton probably would have been some mistake. That could have been corrected or if they hadn't happened we would be in a better place but but I think faucher serve for every president since Reagan and under Reagan he served. He was fighting AIDS while President wouldn't even say wouldn't even mention HIV AIDS for the first years of the epidemic. This guy knows how to navigate politics. He did it then forty years ago. He's doing it today. You look at the numbers as closely as anybody and you know there does seem to be some signs that we may have already hit the peak and the numbers are coming down in terms of total new cases. I'm looking at my Go-to site for that. Which is a world of meters? Which has the total number of new cases yesterday? Here your site is Gateway Pundit the truth out dot Org Yeah No daily cases twenty six thousand six hundred forty one on April twelve. That's Down from Thirty three thousand a few days earlier have we had hit the peak. Are we on our way down? And if so how precipitously will the numbers drop okay? So I was listening to a briefing by the PLO was an international public official. I think it was a president of the W I try. Can't remember exactly what it was. Which is a bad lead in. He said a very smart thing which is blowing up. The mountain sort of counter-intuitively is a lot quicker. Been coming down coming down. This mountain could take months whereas going up the mountain to a pacs really only took a few weeks right in. We're seeing now. We are seeing places like Hong Kong and Singapore habit inclusive cases potential because they've either retain people who were infected or they've relaxed other measures that have people from getting infected. So we cannot. It's going to be a very long time before we can say this and I don't buy don't tell people that it's all over just because you see the numbers going down but Alice let me just ask this. Which is as the new data has been coming in. They feed them into these statistical models the models that at one point were showing that you know a hundred thousand to two hundred and forty thousand Americans would die then. It was down to sixty thousand in terms of fatalities. Those numbers seem to be coming down at. You can expect that to continue. Look I mean you didn't even mention the two point. Two million number that really spooked from last month and Really terrified him and I think a lot of people in the White House and led to the implementation of more strict measures. Yeah I I hope you don't have sixty thousand if we do that we do. I think it's still I can still. It's it's sort of. It's so difficult to talk about that. Many deaths in say well success with approve of some two hundred thousand incredibly say we avoided the word of it. It looks right now. We'll get it under a hundred thousand unless this thing backs somehow stronger second time around because the possibility it's not about me wants to think about but it is so okay so that's the future grim as it might be. Let's talk just for a second about the past and then we're going to have to let you go one of the things that I think. Really set trump off at that briefing. That we've been talking about is a New York. Times STORY. Kind of exhaustingly laying out all of the things that he and his administration did not do to prepare for this pandemic and ignoring a lot of warnings. Taking too long to institute social distancing measures and other mitigation efforts. You've done a lot of reporting on warnings about a catastrophic pandemic going way further back. You have a great story this week on the Yahoo News site about an intelligence officer named Karen Monaghan. Who was a early? Cassandra about the threat of a pandemic. Tell us about what the report that she wrote. All the way back in two thousand and three and Wyatt was largely ignored monitoring spent about three decades at a at a lefty think-tank call the Central Intelligence Agency out in other words. She was analyst. Did It oh tasked with global health and Economics. You retired three years ago as a senior intelligence officer since she is about as deeply imagine the national security intelligence Spears anyone and her boss a predecessor at the National Intelligence Council. David Gordon in one thousand nine. Did the first bit report saying look. A big pandemic is coming. Four years later she now also at the National Intelligence Council which is like which is itself kind of think tank that does pull people from different intelligence agencies and gets them to work on long-term planning right so kind of pulse people from the CIA and other places she started following the SARS epidemic which started in China in late two thousand and two early two thousand three survivors that came from wildcat. Sars is the type of corona virus so she produced short reports throughout that winter spring early summer and then in the summer of two thousand three to a longer report that basically said SARS was bad. We're going to have a pandemic that's worse and in her report. She basically predicted the scenario. That will Lincoln Today. Shortage of everything from shortage of ventilators to Lacombe diagnostic tests to people being misinformed and made more afraid than they need to be by news outlets. That aren't perhaps just reporting responsibly. Or accurately so you know one of the things that she said and I think that that I have checked with others and appears to be quite true is that we were still focused on terrorism. After nine eleven we dropped the ball on pandemics. And you could say that. I spoke to Jon Cypher of former also sanity decades at the CIA. He said you know what cared cared was worried about pandemics. I was worried about Russia. Nobody wanted to think about Russia in the arts right. I you guys remember what Romney said in twenty twelve. That Russia was the greatest geopolitical enemy. Obama and many others made fun of him for it. Well we were so focused on terror for so many years. We MISSED OTHER THREATS. That had nothing to do with al. Qaeda or Isis in pandemics. Were one of the well. You're always fighting the last war and it's a coffin. I know as well as anyone that that is the case given that in two thousand and three we were singularly at Newsweek magazine. Singularly focused on the terrorism threat and the Al Qaeda story. And I dare say. I don't remember Mike. Assigning you any stories about the coming pandemics and if I had I think you probably would have given me a quizzical look and wouldn't have given you a story problem but it does raise the question though and this is a serious one okay. What threats are we ignoring now because I was thinking pandemics bit class? Yeah well we do have somebody to talk about. Climate Change Later this week. A big newsmaker. I'll just he's that and leave it. I think very interesting by the way George W Bush in the summer of two thousand five. He's at his ranch in Crawford and he gets an early copy of John Berries Book on the nineteenth flu and he's really interested in really terrified by this pandemic and he tells his homeland security adviser French towns. And give me a plan. We need to have Democrat. 'cause we can't have this happened now. It's August two thousand five hour with it a couple weeks Katrina heads and although they do come up with a pandemic plan. Nobody's thinking he actually says in mid August early August you'll pandemics are a serious threat but of course with the two or three weeks after that. Nobody's thinking about anything other than Americans trapped. It's worth pointing out that the guy who put together that plan coordinated for Fran Townsend. Was Tom Bossert at the Bush White House who then became a trump's first homeland security advisor very attuned actually did the briefing for the income or was there at the briefing that the Obama folks gave about pandemics to the trump transition bossard presided. And then it's bossert who was fired. In Two thousand eighteen by John Bolton John Bolton then dissolves the pandemic response group that was part of the National Security Council. And if you're looking for evidence that the trump folks were not attuned to this threat you need go no further than those actions the firing of of bossard and the dismissal of well in fact and and in fact Alex I think you interviewed Lisa Monaco. Who was Obama's last Homeland Security Advisor? She added pandemic to the homeland. Security briefing for the incoming trump administration and briefed Bossert Anna. According to your account bossert was fixated on it took it really seriously and then that's exactly what you told me. That's exactly what Lisa told me last week. And then he's gone by the way Mike you think done Bolton will address the firing of Vassar and the dissolving of this dissolution of that endemic team in the coming book in his forthcoming book. That may or may not ever see the light of day it was supposed to have Come out weeks ago. It's been delayed. It still officially cy checked this yesterday. So officially says may twelfth as the release date on Amazon will see but. I suspect that we won't hear very much about the pandemic threat that John. Bolton was not attuned to in that book Given that he wrote this pre Cova did and clearly was fixated on other things. But I would say that he probably at this point wishes that he had testified during the Senate impeachment trial and had released the book back then if he could add because I'm not sure his book sales are going to be quite as robust In the middle of all of this. But we'll see what could I ask you guys a question now. Nobody GETS TO ASK US questions on skulduggery. I had I had Alex. What do you make of this notion? I know are excellent national security reporter General Motors working on this. This thing came from a lab in Wuhan is. Is that something that I mean this I? I'm intrigued by this. I mean this is not a conspiracy. Theory in the sense of the virus was a bio engineered weapon developed by Chinese scientists. Working for the Communist Party is that there was lab very nearby that open air market. That was doing research on bats and the transmission of bats of viruses through bats. And the argument is that and this has been made by some respectable people that that lab did not have optimal security at. I think it was two levels down below the one recommended for dealing with serious Viruses such this and that something could have escaped. We don't know that there's no direct evidence for it but it is an intriguing possibility and I think it is important to know exactly how the virus got out into the public well. This is a good tease for story. Which will be coming shortly. I'll say a couple of things want this is something that is actually being seriously discussed. Within intelligence circles in the United States government career people professionals so not a political people who may be China baiters or who have have an ax ax to grind against China and also as we have reported a number of times. Chinese biosecurity is something that the US government has been worried about for a long time. We had a story about Chinese researchers coming into the country for legitimate purposes to do research but with vials of SARS and murders and other pathogens and without the kind of security precautions. You would want them to take so. This is a real again. We don't know exactly what happened. But this is a very serious issue that is being discussed within government circles and should be. But how do you talk about you know you guys? But how do you talk about something like this? Without descending into xenophobia religious conspiracy theory made it so hard why is xenophobia or conspiracy or a conspiracy theory to examine how the virus got what its origins were. Because that's seems to me to be essential information for protecting against the next one. It does raise questions. There's no question this came from China it. That was the first outbreak and there are serious questions about how forthcoming and transparent. The Chinese have been about what they know and so. I don't know why you're not going to report the truth because some people are going to twist it into something xenophobic. So you just report it your report like you reported carefully. You don't go beyond the facts and you know you pay attention to your tone and your headline you know but you gotTa Report. Report the news. I should point out that Josh Rogin. A recent skulduggery guest has a column up this morning. State Department cables warned of safety issues at one lab studying bad corona viruses. The and. He's citing cable's going back to nine to twenty eight eighteen about the lack of Precautions being taken at that Chinese lab near the at the Wuhan Institute of Technology. The lab in question so I think this is a legitimate story. I think it needs more reporting and I think Alex you're the perfect person to do it. We've already got Jetta on all right. Well you can backstop fees. She's the per. Alex is perfect and a lot of other ways. Jen is perfect for this story. And so we read it when it comes out trying to get Alex off the podcast. Let them go back to work. Okay okay thanks to Washington Post media critic Eric and Yahoo News reporter Alex Zarian for joining us on this episode skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe skullduggery on Apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think. Leave a review. The latest episode is also on Sirius. Xm On the weekend. Check it out on this channel. One twenty four on Saturdays at three PM Eastern time with replays on Sundays at one. Am and three PM short. A follow us on social media at skulduggery pot. Talk to you soon.

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