The fleecing of America Transcript 12/22/17 All In with Chris Hayes
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: December 22, 2017
Guest: Dan Rather, David Ignatius, Michael Isikoff, Rebecca Traister, Irin Carmon, Rachana Pradhan, Dan Diamond, Bob Garfield
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are fake news.
HAYES: The media demonized.
TRUMP: What they are doing is the fake news.
HAYES: The public lied to.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: This was the largest
audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.
HAYES: It was also the year of free press rose to the challenge.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Just posted by the Washington Post, they`ve got
HAYES: The stories that changed a presidency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news, health secretary Tom Price is out.
HAYES: And the relentless reporting it took to break them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The stakeout that we did at Dallas Airport.
HAYES: The uncovered secrets that sparked a reckoning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Numerous allegations of sexual misconduct that
HAYES: 2017, the battle over truth itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should Americans trust you when you are providing
information that`s –
TRUMP: Well, I was given that information.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. At the very start of
the Trump administration on day one, Sean Spicer made clear what posture
the White House would take toward the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration,
period, both in person and around the globe. These attempts to lessen the
enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That moment, that remarkable moment in which a representative of
the President, the Press Secretary himself yelled demonstrably false
statements that everyone knew to be lies set the tone for this White House.
The President who has vilified journalists decried unflattering stories as
“fake news” and flat-out lied over and over and over again. But the Trump
administration repeated attacks on the rights of American citizens to know
the truth about their government did not have its intended effect. The
press was not cowed. It was in many ways invigorated.
Throughout this hour, we`re going to talk to the journalists who help bring
about one of the most remarkable years of American reporting in memory,
covering one of the most hostile administrations in American history. We
begin with MSNBC National Security Contributor Michael Schmidt, Washington
Correspondent for the New York Times and Francesca Chambers, White House
Correspondent for the Daily Mail. Francesca, let me start with you because
I see you almost every day in that briefing room, first with Sean Spicer
and now with Sarah Huckabee Standers. What is that dynamic like? It seems
different than previous briefing rooms to me watching it bur you in that
room. What`s it like?
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, DAILY MAIL: I will say a
sharp shift that we`ve seen here in the briefing room kind of behind the
scenes in this White House is that previously you would always count on the
Associated Press To be called into this briefing room first and you could
count on there being a policy question and sort of news of the day first.
And that is something that this administration has done away with. And so
that is why you`ll see them going to other outlets all across the room and
you never know if you are going to be the first one to get called on. So
have to you be very, very prepared in this administration because what if
they come to you and it is your day, you got the top question and every
network in America cameras are rolling.
HAYES: Michael, one of the things that – when I was – when I was in
Washington, there would be certain kinds of information that would be
released by a White House that even though you`re sort of – you know,
trained as a journalist to question everything, there are certain things
you wouldn`t question like they would put out a schedule and say, oh, the
President is going to be here at this time or the President is going
golfing or not going golfing and I feel like with this administration,
really even the most basic kind of logistical information sometimes just
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think that`s
a fair thing to say that there`s a lot sort of basic things – you know,
White House logs, people that are coming in to see the President, things
like that, the stuff that`s on his schedule. Under Obama, you used to get
a readout of every person he played golf with, who his golf partners were.
We`ve never seen that with Trump. And that`s sort of a good example of how
that is a little different. You know, there`s – this is a White House
that has really tried hard to make it more difficult to find out things
like that. And it sort of has set the tone for the rest of the
relationship with the press.
HAYES: And yet there is an irony which is that at one level they`ve been
less transparent, things like the White House visitor logs and who the
President played golf with or if he is playing golf, which they insist on
lying about even though we could all see him at golf carts in social
media`s pictures taken on the golf course. But they`ve also – they just
talk a lot. It seems like this White House leaks and talks more to
reporters than any White House I`ve ever seen. Would you say that is true
SCHMIDT: Well, in some ways they`re aren`t very transparent but in other
ways they are. The President seems to always be willing to tell you what
he is thinking in ways that previous presidents would. And he will walk
out before he`s getting on the helicopter and he will – he will stop and
talk to the press. And it seems like we get more of that than we did in
previous administrations. And it seems like the President will tell you
what he`s thinking. It may be sometimes hard to understand or
deconstruction but he seems willing to do that. And it is a very
accessible White House. People do talk a lot and it doesn`t seem like
there are incredible consequences for people that talk too much. There had
been sort of a push to find the leakers and you know, we need to out the
leakers and stuff. But you know, this continues to be a pretty leaky and
accessible White House.
HAYES: Yes, do you find Francesca, that for all of the bluster, people
CHAMBERS: Yes. I mean, that is how we get – we get all of our stories
done right? So I don`t know how many reporters are encouraging the White
House to stop talking. And the President himself is getting on Twitter
every single morning and I think that`s been another big change. President
Barack Obama was not speaking as they`ve said directly to the American
people that way which has been both I think a blessing and a curse for this
White House Because you do have the President being able to get his message
out there in way that`s unfiltered but of course we`ve seen some of those
tweets have managed to generate quite a lot of news.
I know it seems forever ago but remember when he said Barack Obama had
wiretapped him and in Trump Tower and then of course that generated news
cycle after news cycle and really derailed from the administration`s
priorities. And you mentioned how they`re always seem to be talking,
they`re also on television quite a lot. In the previous administration,
you didn`t see the Chief of Staff or even the National Security Adviser on
television as much as we are seeing now.
So we`re also getting direct information from senior White House officials
and that form that we did not before. But as you said, of course behind
the scenes, they are also talking quite a bit without putting their name on
it, even as they accuse the press of making up sources when they say that
people send them background or anonymously.
HAYES: Michael Schmidt and Francesca Chambers, thanks to you both. With
me now, a veteran of White House reporting, former CBS Evening News Anchor
Dan Rather, President and CEO of News And Guts Media and the Author of What
Unites Us, Reflections On Patriotism. So you have some perspective here.
There`s a kind of desire I think I think all the time we`re rushed to say
things about Trump or completely unprecedented. It`s never been like this
and sometimes I think that`s a bit ahistorical. How would you characterize
this President`s relationship to the press as compared other presidents you
have covered and watched?
DAN RATHER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NEWS AND GUTS MEDIA: Well, first of all,
I`m one of those who have said that this is unique in the history of
American presidency. The closest we`ve had was presidency of Richard Nixon
and of course during the period of, “Watergate,” widespread criminal
conspiracy led by the president himself. President Nixon disliked the
press and it is fair to say he hated the press and he`s very hostile to the
press and he systematically tried to undercut reporters and press
No question about that. However, never in the Nixon administration
particularly from the opening of his presidency, his first term, was the
kind of unrelenting – I would say unethical – I`m searching for a word
because I want to be careful here – from the president himself. President
Nixon often use surrogates like his Vice President or quietly had
assistants do things with the press. But in terms of President without
exception, I don`t think there has ever been a president who right from the
opening has so unrelentingly and forcefully personally attacked individual
reporters and present institutions and he has threatened to use the full
force and power of the presidency against institutions as “The Washington
Post”, “The New York Times” and others.
Now when I say President Nixon was the closest, I don`t think frankly
there`s very much comparison to be made, two different eras for one thing.
But there is that – but you are right about one thing that sometimes we
HAYE: But I think – that is a really interesting distinction because you
know, Nixon of course, let`s just say hated the press. He like Trump both
sort of hated the press and was obsessed with the press which is another
similarity here. That`s an interesting distinction that he did not – he
at least publicly and personally sort of tipped his cap toward some basic
appreciation of first amendment and the free press in a way that this
President really never does.
RATHER: And that`s the reason it is unprecedented. For all of he did and
what he didn`t do, President Nixon never tried to say look this institution
is worthless and never used the kind of language of the press –everybody
in the press and media, enemies of the people, which has – which echoes
through authoritarian regimes through really modern and ancient history.
President Nixon quite frankly, I don`t think he believed that, that all
press people are enemies of the people. We`ve haven`t seen anything like
this. But I will say that President Trump, by using the full power and
prestige of the Presidency has undercut press credibility. He`s been a
complete failure with convincing some people. And when he constantly talks
about fake news, he knows the value of just repeating propaganda and lies.
Well, it needs to be noted and you have noted, and give you credit, Chris,
that one fountain of fake lies is the President of the United States
himself, demonstrably provable lies time and time and time again. But he`s
made some headway with this and those of us in the press who make mistakes,
we all do. I`ve made my share. Every time we make a mistake it fuels his
ability to convince some of the people that all of the press is not worth a
damn and I`ll quote, enemies of the people.
HAYE: I want you – and you mention the mistakes and I wanted to ask you
about you know, this incident that you had under the Bush administration in
which there was a document which you guys ran down and you reported it, you
vetted it and it was quite well I think faked essentially, it appears to
have been the case. And it was used in precisely the same way not just
against you, Dan Rather, but against all of the news in a way that is
somewhat parallel to the way this administration will use press errors to
kind of fully discredit the media.
RATHER: Well, I don`t want to go over the whole thing because we don`t
have the time. But let me say that the documents that we used to support
the story, we reported a true story about President Bush – George W. Bush
– it was a true story. The process by which we arrived that truth was the
only vulnerability we had in the document. The documents to this day have
never been proven anything other than authentic. But I agree that the
burden is under price to prove the authenticity. I thought we proved the
authenticity. But your point is very well –
HAYES: About how – that incident, which again was – I think the entire
thing was conducted in good faith, I guess would be my point. So the
process was done in good faith. And sometimes in reporting, you conduct
things in good faith and they turn out to be wrong. And there`s
demonstration of good faith or bad faith errors that I feel like has been
erased very much in this administration.
RATHER: well, that`s. But this started a long time ago. It even started
before President Nixon but basically from 1968 forward. There`s been a
whole sense within the body of politics, that the press is vulnerable, that
the public can be convinced that the press is not what sets out to be. But
I will say, Chris, when we talked about these things, I always think it is
very important to know what everyone thinks of the press. If the press is
absolutely essential to our system of checks and balances, it is the red
beating heart of freedom and democracy and if you don`t have the press as a
watchdog, you`re unlikely to have the kind of government we have.
HAYES: Dan Rather, thanks for being with me tonight.
RATHER: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: After the break, the President under investigation of relentless
reporting of the Russia probe and obstruction of justice and the birth of
bombshell o`clock, that is next.
HAYE: Months before the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to
investigate potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
There was a crucial nugget of information in a January 12th column by David
Ignatius of the Washington Post. It was one of the first dominos in the
Russia story and centered on Michael Flynn. “According to a senior
government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak several
times on December 29th, the day the Obama administration announced the
expulsion of 35 Russia officials as well as other measures in retaliation
for the hacking.” Nearly 11 months later, Flynn pleaded guilty of lying to
the FBI about those very contacts.
Since that initial reporting on Flynn, many more dominos have fallen in the
Russia investigation at a pace and volume that often seems astonishing.
With me now re three Reporters who have all broken major stories in the
Russia probe. Carol Lee is a Reporter from NBC News, Michael Isikoff is
the Chief Investigative Correspondent for the Yahoo! News and the
aforementioned David Ignatius, a Columnist from the Washington Post. And
David let me start with you. I was going back over that column and that
nugget of news is in like – it`s like seven graphs down and I wonder if
when you reported that piece if you were aware of the significance of what
you were reporting.
DAVID IGNATIUS, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: It didn`t make sense and
it seemed implausible that they had not talked about the very sanctions
that were being announced that day. But that was – that was the claim
that was made when they finally responded the next morning after the column
appeared. In retrospect, it is strange to lots of people, including me
that it was not written as the lead but the other thing the column noted
and I think it`s still a good question is why did it take President Obama
so long to respond to the Russian meddling in our elections. That was the
other issue I was exploring and I think it`s a still a big one.
HAYES: You know, that one source, so David went with one source in that
and it proved to be accurate, in fact profoundly accurate. It led to all
these things but one anonymous source is dangerous. I mean, you – both of
you are walking a high wire act in this reporting, no one is going to go on
the record about an investigation that`s happening. I mean, that`s just
not going to happen. So you`re dealing with anonymous sources, and you`re
dealing with anonymous sources you may have agendas or maybe trying to
mislead you. How has it been to report this story, Michael?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Very
difficult. But look, you know, it`s not how many sources you have, it`s
who those sources are and how they know the information they are imparting
to you. And if it`s somebody who has direct knowledge, who was involved in
a conversation or saw a memo or read-out that spelled it out, that`s a lot
better than having five sources who could tell you they heard about such a
So I don`t – I don`t get hung up on the number of sources and I`m
sometimes amazed by some of these stories and say we`ve talked to 30
sources inside of the White House that corroborated this, you know, I think
that`s a little bit much. You know, I don`t need to know that you talked
to 30 people, I just need to know as best you can, who you were talking to.
CAROL LEE, REPORTER, NBC NEWS: I would say one source is a really big – I
just think generally one source is a big risk unless it`s you know, one
impeachable source and that is kind of rare in this sort of reporting. The
other thing –
HAYES: Although if Jack Kelly tells you something off the record, you
know, who is in the meeting, then you got reason to run with that.
LEE: Right. That what I mean – that was considered very impeccable
source. But the other thing is you have to think about what people`s
agenda. So it`s not even just how many sources you have or how good your
sources are, but what their agenda is. Why they are telling you this, what
me might have to gain from it, whether how they`re spinning it, and that`s
a challenge too particularly in this story and increasingly becoming a
challenge because you`re seeing instances where there are people who want
to set reporters up to fail now. And that`s a concern I think a year ago
which some of us didn`t really have in the way that we do now.
HAYES: That seems like an active thing that you have to look out for in
reporting the story at this point. I mean, there`s an obvious desire to
discredit everything having to do with the investigation. And you know,
one of the things that has happened is the press has in some ways been out
ahead of actual investigators. I mean, the best example of this – David,
the best example is that – is that Trump Tower meeting. I mean, when that
Trump Tower meeting, the e-mails about that Trump Tower meeting are
disclosed, which is one of the biggest sort of breaks in the case, the
reporting indicates that Mueller didn`t know the Trump Tower Meeting
existed, that was shaken loose by reporters.
IGNATIUS: I can`t speak to the timing of that disclosure. I agree those
e-mails referring to the June 9 meeting in Trump Tower with Donald Jr. and
the Russian lawyer were a crucial turn. Just to be clear about my January
12th story, I would not have published that allegation unless I was
confident that it was true.
IGNATIUS: And I don`t want to talk in detail about sourcing, don`t want to
talk at all about it. But when I was an editor, I used to say to my
reporters would say I have six sources and my response as editor would say
I want to know how you know it`s true. There`s a difference and I was
confident this was true.
HAYES: Do you think – what has it been like with the Mueller
investigation which my sense has been incredibly tight-lipped?
ISIKOFF: Yes, well look, for those of us who have covered Bob Mueller over
the years from his days in the Justice Department and the FBI, he is not a
leaker. This is not a guy who feels any need to placate the press or work
with the press at all. Anything he said to the press is begrudging, he
never wanted to do public appearances, or T.V. appearances when he was FBI
Director. He had to be dragged to do it. So I think it is fair – I think
we can assume that most of what has been reported about the Mueller
investigation is not coming from Mueller or people directly reporting to
him. But you know, look, there are lots of people who can pick up aspects
– witnesses get interviewed, their lawyers are in contact, there`s lots of
ways to gather bits and pieces of the Mueller investigation. But I should
say, we still don`t know the thrust of where he is going and what his
HAYES: I want to talk about precisely that. Like what we do and don`t
know at this point right after we take a quick break. Carol Lee, Michael
Isikoff, and David Ignatius please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: There is a very big
difference between making honest mistakes and purposely misleading the
American people, something that happens regularly. You can`t say – I`m
not done. You cannot say –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: – completely fake, Sarah, and he admitted it.
SANDERS: – you cannot say that it is an honest mistake when you`re
purposely putting out information that you know to be false.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There have definitely been errors and corrections in reporting on
the Russia investigation as well as other stories. And those errors have
been weaponized, used as fodder for a president who is prone to paint any
unfavorable press as fake news even when the reporting is completely
accurate. Still with me Carol Lee, Michael Isikoff, and David Ignatius.
That sort of – this sort of back and forth about errors that have happened
in the Russia story is – and corrections of which there have been some. A
lot of things have borne out, for instance, David Ignatius`s column turns
out. We now know months later Michael Flynn actually pleaded to that.
What do we know and not know right now? I mean, how would you character
what we know about this story at this point?
LEE: I think we know a sliver of this story at this point. You know, as
you`re talking about earlier, Robert Mueller runs a really tight ship.
Nothing you know, suggests that leaks are coming out of his operation. And
if any – if we need any evidence that we know so little, you can point to
the George Papadopoulos –
HAYES: That exactly the example I use.
LEE: And that was you know –
HAYES: Because no one –
LEE: No one knew who he was. And that was going on for months. You know,
and everyone was caught by surprise on that. And so I just think you know,
our job is to – when we see facts, we follow the facts, we report the
facts, we report what we know and we also say what we don`t know.
HAYES: Right, but I think that`s – it`s a useful guide for people that
are consuming the news, right? Because part of it is it`s really – it is
hard to know like how much of the picture are we getting in any one moment
and I was – Michael you know, I was listening and there`s a great slate
podcast on Watergate right now, it`s called slow burn and their going back
And one of the things that`s fascinating about going back through this sort
of actually tracking the ark of that story is it unfurled in real time.
And you know, it`s not until July of `73, it was a year after the break in
basically that they even learn the taping system. The taping system is
sitting there for the entirety of the first years of the administration.
It`s not a secret. There are people who know this and they don`t get to
it. Investigators on the committee don`t get it until a year after the
break-in and I`ve heard that and made me think there may be a lot that we
don`t know still.
ISIKOFF: Right. Yes, I mean, what`s striking to me is first, how much
we`ve learned since a year ago. You go back to early January, I have
nothing to do with Russia. That was Trump`s line. And then we learn about
the Kislyak and Flynn conversations. We learn about the Trump Tower
meeting. We learn about Papadopoulos, we learn about Jeff Sessions
meetings. You know, how much we`ve learned and how little we really know.
And whether it adds up to what the – you know, core allegation in the
dossier that there were real collusion, collaboration or were these just a
series of incidents that just happened because things happen.
HAYES: Although the one –
ISIKOFF: And we don`t – and we don`t know. We know that there`s a
pattern of them – of the White House trying to minimize and spin and deny,
but I have to say, covered many White Houses, that is the instinct of
reaction of every White House when there`s an embarrassing story to –
ISIKOFF: Partial disclosure. But here`s one thing –
ISIKOFF: I was going to say – but it doesn`t tell us whether the real
core allegations here are true or not.
HAYES: On the U.S. side. But here is the thing I will say. Because I
think sometimes we get caught up in the collusion part of it and this goes
to you, David. One thing that is consistent is the people in the national
security apparatus from back last year being extremely alarmed on the
That is a part of the story that folks who were sort of read into what was
going on, read into the hack, read into the intercepted about Putin, really
alarmed by what the Russians were up to, the scope of the effort, the
degree to which they desired to penetrate and infiltrate these campaigns,
that does not speak to the receptivity on the other side, but it does seem
to me that that – the reporting has borne out by and large a real serious
effort by the Russians to mess with this election.
IGNATIUS: I think you`re absolutely right. We need to remember that this
began really as a counterintelligence investigation looking at covert
action by Russia, an adversary, a potential adversary, seeking to affect
our election in 2016. And it began, as you say, with the FBI, the CIA,
other intelligence agencies gathering information that by August and
September, they were presenting to members of congress and member of
congress who heard about the allegations, heard some of the detail of what
was being collected, were so disturbed by this, that Adam Schiff, Dianne
insisting that the president need to take stronger action.
President Obama did not do that, really, he waited until after the election
because he was, I think, afraid of even more meddlesome – Russian
But this did begin as an investigation or the activities of a hostile
foreign intelligence service into our political system and it remains that.
HAYES: It remains that. Yeah, fundamentally. I think it is an important
thing to sort of always
remember because collusion, obviously, is a huge deal from the perspective
of American scandal, the Trump administration, but there`s half of this
story is what the Russians were up to and that is remarkable what they were
Carol Lee, Michael Isikoff, David Ignatius, thank you.
After the break, Harvey Weinstein and the reckoning triggered by that
report. Rebecca Traister and Irin Carmon join me next.
HAYES: There has been no clearer example this year of journalist`s ability
to change the world in the ongoing reporting of sexual misconduct by
powerful man. It began with two blockbuster investigations on Hollywood
producer Harvey Weinstein, published by the New Yorker and The New York
Times. And in their wake a cascade of stories on harassment and abuse
across different industries from TV news to politics to music, to major
corporations, all based on the dogged work of reporters
gaining the trust of their sources doing the leg work to corroborate their
A reporter`s work has already had tremendous impact, suspending careers
elections, upending elections, provoking a national reckoning on sexual
abuse and sexual harassment in public life.
I`m joined now by Washington Post contributing writer Irin Carmon, who
broke the story on sexual harassment allegations against Charlie Rose that
led to his firing the next day; and New York Magazine writer-at-large
Rebecca Traister who has been covering the post-Weinstein reckoning.
I think in my career as a journalist, and I started being a freelance
writer right out of college, 22,
23, I have never seen a clearer example of sort of cause and affect
reporting real world ramifications than – really when you start with the
first two stories, I mean, this one strike of the ball.
REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE,: Oh, absolutely. I think that
journalism has been driving this in a way that has made it air tight, at
least up to a point.
So, in all of the cases where there has been terrific reporting, in advance
of whatever winds up
happening to the accused, we have gotten this incredibly detailed,
incredibly well checked in, all of the cases that we know about accurate
vision of what has unfolded, that has helped then explain what the
consequences have been. And I think that has been really – we have gotten
a very clear detailed picture of what workplace life under these conditions
and what harassment has felt like and I think that
has been invaluable to so many people who didn`t realize and didn`t have a
clear picture of what this meant and how it felt and played out in women`s
IRIN CARMON, WASHINGTON POST: I mean, I think there is something that
reporting can do here that other tools like the criminal justice system or
HR are unable to do, right. You`re able to weigh all of the different
stories in a way that is publicly accountable. You try to get people to
their names on the record.
The thing that was the most effective I think about the Harvey Weinstein
story when I got to Ashley Judd`s name, wow! Ashley Judd was on record.
HAYES: I know her.
CARMON: Everyone has been talking about the open secret, but it is not
easy to get people
to talk on the record about events that are often very traumatic, and so
for journalism to be able to say, first of all, we reached out to these
people to get comment. Here is what they say and everything and it is
public and it`s transparent to the extent possible, I think that is
actually why we`re talking about sexual harassment in a way that we
haven`t, because we`re suddenly understanding this with a level of
narrative detail and reportorial reader that we haven`t had before.
TRAISTER: I also think that you could tell where there has been the
reporting and where there
hasn`t been, because as this has gone on, there are some cases where some
people have been fired or suspended in advance of reports. So for example,
Garrison Keillor was fired preemptively, I believe, and we only have the
sketchiest vision of what he did.
CARMON: We have his words on it.
HAYES: That`s all we have.
TRAISTER: That is all we have.
Ryan Lizza lost his job at the New Yorker. NBC fired Matt Lauer in advance
of the report on what Lauer had done. And we can see in those cases some
public radio host, Leonard Lopeate (ph) was taken out of the building. I
don`t know that he has been fired, but without any public record of what
allegations against him are. And when a company fires somebody or suspends
them, they are in a legal – they`re legally obligated by some measures not
reveal all of the terms of why they are doing this, and that has left
people with confusion about what is happening, what has been alleged and
you can see where there is an absence of the reporting.
HAYES: Totally great point.
TRAISTER: There is confusion.
HAYES: Like if you ask me right now what is your feel being Leonard Lopez
(ph), who I have a great example because I listened to him for years.
Like, I don`t know. I don`t know. I literally do not know.
TRAISTER: And that tells us what the reporting does.
HAYES: The importance of it.
CARMON: And – sorry, one last thing is that I think the fact that this
reckoning has began with
people who are by and large recognizable, because obviously we`ve been
talking about sexual harassment, we`ve been talking about sexual assault in
different ways, not completely, at various times in our history, but the
fact that these are all people that we know, people you watch on TV, that
have a relationship with, people you`ve been listening to for years, I
think actually helps us understand also how this continues, how it gets
covered up because we don`t know all of the information, there is
confidentiality, you don`t know if it is an act of justice or somebody has
been railroaded, but it helps us understand how we protect people who are
so powerful because we feel a connection to them and that is what is really
unique about this moment.
TRAISTER: I agree with that.
I think that – I also think that having captured our interest in part, by
being Ashley Judd and Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer and all of these
people who are familiar to us, has then begun to do the next part which is
open the door to stories of people that are not familiar, so that, yes,
earlier this week there was this tremendous feature in The New York Times
about the abuses and alleged harassment taking place systemically over
TRAISTER: At two Ford plants in Chicago. That was a really crucial
important well done piece of journalism. And I think we wouldn`t have been
able to get there about people whose names we don`t know unless we had
began to understand how these…
HAYES: I this morning saw a guy paying for coffee and chatting up the
woman behind the counter in a way that I would have in the past thought was
harmless and maybe was harmless, but thanks to this reporting, I was like,
hey, buddy, why don`t you move it along. Like, seriously like I saw this
little bit of grimace on her face and I never in a million years would have
thought it was like anything the guy is like chatting up – you know – and
so I think that like when you think about starts with HarveyWeinstein, Ford
factory, waitresses, everyone, that is the sort of next place this
reporting is moving, but the reporting has been so good, so far I have
every confidence it is going to get there.
Irin Carmon and Rebecca Traister, thanks for joining me.
Next, the remarkable reporting that exposed high flying HHS Secretary Tom
Price. I`ll speak with those two journalists and the amazing lengths they
went to right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think he`s a very fine person. I certainly don`t like the
optics. I`ve saved hundreds of million dollars so I don`t like the optics
of what you just said. I`m not happy, OK. I can tell you. I`m not happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Hours after the president told reporters he was not happy with
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Price was out of a job,
forced to resign after a Politico investigation revealed that he had
somehow spent over a million dollars in public funds to travel on private
government jets instead of flying commercial a fraction of the cost.
Price was the first cabinet secretary to be forced out of the Trump
administration, a direct result of the meticulous work done by two
reporters who spent months tracing Price`s public appearances, cultivating
sources inside of HHS, even staking out Dulles Airport for a glimpse of
Price`s private charter, which they finally spotted early one morning in
Those two reporters join me now: Politico`s Rachana Pradhan, Dan Diamond.
Let`s start Rachana, maybe I`ll start with you about how the story first
started. What was the first tip? How did you first get on this beat?
RACHANA PRADHAN, POLITICO: Sure. First of all, thanks for having me,
We first got this tip in May, May of 2017. I was on the phone with a
source, just about something unrelated actually and then in passing this
person mentioned that Price is taking charters
apparently routinely for his official duties, even domestic travel in the
U.S. And at that point, it was quite early, I would say, in the
administration. Price had been on the job maybe for three months. And so
that is where it sort of started and it eventually snowballed into our
first story in September.
But of course it took a lot of work between one tip in May and then
publication that came about
four months later.
HAYES: Yeah, so Dan, tell me about that. What was the process to get from
the tip to publication, because obviously at some level, this is all public
– I mean, you know, the government is spending public money to charter
flights, that is things that are public knowledge. It is not classified
information, but shaking it loose can be pretty tough.
DAN DIAMON, POLITICO: It should be public. The distance between proving
something that you know is out there and actually having something for
publication, that took some time. So Rachana and I put our heads together.
We rattled all of the sources we had inside HHS and kind of adjacent to it,
hoping for some clues as to not just where Tom Price was going, but how he
there, who he was going with him and how the bill was being paid.
It was possible, though unlikely, maybe Tom Price was footing this out of
his own pocket, which turned out to not be the case.
Between sources who had knowledge of his travels and ways that we were able
to reconstruct what he had done in various trips to Nashville, to Georgia,
to California, that is really what Rachana and I spent hours behind even
getting to the stake out, that is where we spent hours on across the
summer, so when it came time to figure out where he was flying from, we
already had that coming together as a database of intelligence that we had
built at Politico.
HAYES: Rachana, one of the things that happened in this story which
reminds of – some of what we`ve seen in the Russia story, although in a
different domain and at a different scale, is the kind of drip, drip, drip.
So rather than saying, well, you caught us, here are the charter flights,
I`m go to pay it back, let`s get all this sort of wrap up in a neat bow,
there was a kind of series of revelations. They
did not come out with the full information all at once.
PRADHAN: Right. And you know part of the reason why that happened is when
we first published on – it was September 19, those five flights that we
first wrote about in the span of really of less than a week, that was what
we knew we could prove at that time. And part of that, of course, is we
can probably discuss is the airport stakeout that we did at Dulles Airport
where we saw with our own eyes then Secretary Price going to Philadelphia
And so really, you know, once the first story published, it did shake loose
new sources of information that allowed us to keep going with different
HAYES: So let me ask you about the Dulles stakeout, Dan, because the
craziest detail of
all of the flights is that he chartered a flight to go to Philadelphia from
Washington, D.C., which I never heard of a person – commercial or not,
flying from Washington to Philadelphia. I`ve literally never heard of a
person doing this. They are two hours apart. The (inaudible) is right
there, you could drive, you can walk if you have enough time. It`s – they
are close cities. How did you end up stakeing out that flight?
HAYES: So it was really a team effort and I think, you know, Dan and I had
different advantage points if you will as to how we did. it, but in a
nutshell, I was in a car and I was driving and Dan was on feet and he was
able to see charter planes like when they were landing at the terminal at
Dulles and I was able to drive on a road that went past the private jet
terminal area at Dulles.
HAYES: Wait, so Dan, you actually – because he goes there and comes back
the same day. So on the return flight you were actually – you actually
get into a position where you can see him coming off the flight and know
that you`ve got it.
DIAMOND: We had tried it in the morning, Chris, to be in position to see
the flight departing. And we were close, but we weren`t quite where we
needed to be. And that gave us enough impetuous when we came back that
afternoon to know that we had to do something different and that is where
Rachana got her car ion the right position. I was tracking on my phone and
so I was watching
with my eyes. It was a very memorable plane. I think you`ve shown the
picture on your show, the gold belly made it easy to see.
HAYES: It is beautiful.
DIAMOND: Flying in and flying out. So I saw it coming in. I was radioing
to Rachana or just live talking – talking her through it, and then I kind
of ran out at the end and got into position overhanging the tarmac.
So, the the two of us had different views, but we were able to back each
other up and corroborate that we saw the plane going in. And Rachana had
the best view seeing Tom Price actually getting off the plane.
HAYES: Rachana Pradhan and Dan Diamond, thanks for being here and thanks
for your great reporting.
DIAMOND: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, from bashing the media on the campaign trail to hiding
from them in the White House, why it`s been over 300 days since the
president held a press conference, next.
HAYES: The White House realized pretty quickly that reporters were willing
to call out President Trump on his lies right to his face, which is very
likely why the president has not held a solo formal news conference in a
remarkable 309 days. And while he`s given at least 20 interview to Fox,
the president has not sat for an interview with a non-conservative media
outlet since he spoke to NBC`s Lester Holt in May and opened himself up to
charges of obstruction of justice by admitting he fired James Comey while
thinking about the Russia probe.
With me now, Bob Garfield, co-host of WNYC`s On the Media.
Bob, all politicians shade the truth in different ways, all politicians lie
sometimes. There is a difference, it seems to me here in this president in
the casualness with which the White House generally regards the truth.
What do you think?
BOB GARFIELD, WNYC: Casualness and constantness. They have a blatant I
would say depraved disregard for the truth, and equally for the first
amendment, and they lie, lie, lie, and then attack the press and it`s – it
is something to behold.
HAYES: You know, there`s a worry about the sort of – a sort of creeping
authoritarian perspective of this White House, the fake news, the constant
undermining of the free press. And then there are others who say this is
them just trash talking. Which side of that are you on?
GARFIELD: Well, it is trash talking. I`m trash talking the Trump regime
because they are a disgrace, and they live and breathe lies every day.
That is their fuel. And it is not as though they are politicians caught in
a fib or an over promise or a misrepresentation, they are all lies all the
time. And it`s not jus the president, it is his succession of
spokespeople, it is his circle, it is his supporters in the congress and
most especially it is the right wing media led by Fox News which has long
since ceased to even have pretensions of actual journalism, it is just a
hit team for what we used to call the lunatic fringe.
HAYES: What does it say to you – I mean, one of the things that I think
president from previous presidents is conservative media has always been
there, Fox News is decades old, this president seems to consume that almost
exclusively as the way he gets information about the world.
GARFIELD: So it would appear. And it`s not just he`s a consumer, he`s
also a contributor. And there seems to be, and it`s been actually quite
well documented, a reciprocal effect, a symbiosis he watches the likes of
Fox & Friends and Sean Hannity and repeats the misinformation and
disinformation he gets from the them. And equally he sends them shoutouts
and puffs them up for their audience and it`s pretty ugly. It is pure
political propaganda, not that the rest of cable news and broadcast news is
blameless, but what has become of Fox News is genuinely terrifying.
HAYES: There was a critique that I think I heard you enunciate during the
campaign, and many did, about the way that Trump was covered, the sort of
lack of attention to policy detail, the kind of obsessive deference to him
as an intentional figure. Do you think the press has learned from the
campaign, is the performance at large better in year one of the
administration than it was during the campaign?
GARFIELD: Oh, it is by several orders of magnitude better in many
respects. The deference has more or less evaporated and the press`s
willingness to be his tool and his platform has diminished and now they`re
confronting him, they`re being the adversarial press that the founders
I would say that the so-called print press, what used to be the print press
is doing a spectacular job reporting on the administration and all of its
dimensions, not just the Russia probe but the dismantling of the structures
of government. He came to drain the swamp and right now it`s a pool party
at Caligula`s. The cable news has been kind of typically crappy at it.
They`re breathless and focused almost entirely on the investigation to the
exclusion of the other very real damage that is being done to the
democracy. That`s not entirely true, but I think it`s largely true. And
then of course there`s Fox in this separate category all together of being
just sort of an arch propagandist network.
HAYES: There was a long period of time – to take the Watergate analogy –
there was a long period of time when a huge part of the country paid no
attention to it and then they did. And ultimately it persuaded the
country, Nixon was at 22 or 23 percent by the time he left. Do you think
those same conditions hold now?
GARFIELD: I think it`s happening. I think if you look at the popularity
polls of the president and his policies, the tax bill for example, we`re
seeing a gradual erosion in the support for him and the level of trust, but
I pay much more attention to the base, the approximately one-third of the
electoral that seems to be for him no matter what he does.
HAYES: Bob Garfield, thanks for being with me.
GARFIELD: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. We will see you next week. Merry
Christmas and good night.
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