Trump obstructs justice via Twitter, Manafort faces a jury, and the Koch brothers pick a fight with Trump Republicans on trade. Then Dan talks to Nick Thompson of Wired about the fantastic job Facebook has been doing lately. And Jason Kander joins Lovett and Dan to talk about protecting the vote and his new book, “Outside the Wire.”
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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welcome to POD save America on Jon Lovett.
On vacation. We hope he's having a lovely time,
in Pyongyang, I'm here with Dan we're going to talk about the man of war trial. Trump's
increasingly agitated tone on Twitter as Muller ramps up and we'll talk about the Coke Brothers feud with Trump Republicans, and how that
impact the Midterms Dan talks
Thompson, the editor of wired about Facebook and I'll cool and perfect. It's been Dan,
dying to talk about Facebook. I learned a lot
just listening in the studio. It is a great conversation. Everybody should listen to that and will also be talking to the
the majority? Fifty four and the founder of Let America vote Jason Kander about the fight against republic.
Vote suppression in his new book outside the wire last thing on
a series of interviews by Ben Rhodes on his time in the White House drawn from his new book. The first episode is a conversation with Favreau, and
Keenan about writing speeches for President Obama, Dan first
rushing to you. Why do you think I didn't make the cut? I was down.
My first question to you,
I was out of town. You can check that out now. It's actually a great conversation. All right Dan
let's get into it. On Tuesday, we marked a very special anniversary. It was the one year mark of John Kelly's tenure as White House chief of staff. This
This from a year ago, in politico, quote John
Kelly's. Big challenge, controlling the tweeter in chief, the new chief of
is already shaking up the West wing, but can he bring discipline to the president's twitter bursts? What a year it's been
Trump Mark this anniversary via tweet on Wednesday. He said quote
the General Jeff sessions. I can't even read it so absurd,
Ernie, General Jeff sessions should stop. This rig witch hunt right now before it continues to sustain our country any further Dan. Do you feel with it stained or strained
It doesn't matter. Do you feel stained or strained by the witch hunt? I feel
stained and strained by the Trump presidency, who I will say that
also to mark the one year anniversary of John Kelly's tenure, the White House announced that John Kelly will be staying through
Twenty two, which
right. I was reminded that John Kelly still worked in the White House, because I had completely forgotten about that.
Remind me to tweet, is alright. Just reminds me of the old joke. You know first prize
is a year at the White House. Second prize is two years I mean the the tweet like with like.
Everything about the tweet, is sort of a microcosm of politics in the Trump era.
What you have in its, if you boil it down to its essence, is the President night states,
ordering his attorney general to end the indypendent criminal investigation into the president, his family in his campaign, and we
and which would be like if he had done
at via a press release, or he had done
He had said that into a microphone would be the
story. In politics in fifteen years, right
right, but instead it's sort of like that happened.
In early in the morning our time before people without two months, older up and
at the time I got to my breakfast. People were sort of over it.
And it sort of says, a lot about both help,
Trump is and how absurd we all assume Trump is, which I think is pretty dangerous right
sort of two things going on. There's one piece of this, which is obviously true so so the times as well,
molar is looking at Trump's tweets in part because some of the more obstruction, the ones, the ones
Comey and sessions and Doj came at, and this is a quote, as Mr Trump was also
really pressuring the men both key witnesses in the inquiry about the investigation, Mister Muller
examining whether the actions add two attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry
What strange here is two things
to be true the same time. On the one hand, these are serious. You know when the president tweets
Jeff sessions telling him he should do something you can,
are you as to whether or not it's an official order, but you can't argue that it's pressure, of course it's pressure, but then you have
Rudy Giuliani, saying it's not a call to action. You have his backup, Goon Jay Siculo saying he doesn't feel that he has to intervene in the process. Nor is he intervening, and it's also true
We're all used to this you're right. So how do we
how do you make of that? How seriously should we take these tweets? On the one hand, they are incredibly serious. On the other hand, as you said, people move on, I mean I think we
take them more seriously than Trump. Does it mean it?
so there's like so many parts of the explanation around this, which is you know whether
who is Giuliani or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but doesn't really matter, but they said it's not an order. It's just venting.
And one of the president doesn't get event like that in everything. Our president says
carries the weight of authority. Jeff sessions works for him. He is the president: can fire Jeff sessions and
When a president says these things, it care, it carries weight in has impact right weather, even if it's like some of these other ones about where he's saying the Justice Department should investigate Hillary Clinton or should investigate the Clinton Foundation
Podesta or whatever the crazy Cuban on conspiracy theory that he's promoting is like when the president says something there are people in the government who work for the President, who
to that and so presidents, it's not it's not great, to have a president with verbal diarrhea like that is that is bad.
And the other part of this is. Your point is like the other action of this is from so many reporters in particular about the reports that mother is looking at trump tweets. Is
Oh, they must have nothing. If he's looking at tweets
and I think that's just a really dumb way to look at it. You've made this point before, which is
trump, because Trump commits all the crimes out loud, we think of them differently and less seriously than if he were to do them in secret, as we usually assume crimes are committed, and so
If these, if the tweet was an email or a memo to file, you know from Trump to John Kelly, saying tell Jeff sessions to Fire Muller,
then that would be Watergate style stuff, but because he says it out loud, we, it is treated differently, but if,
maybe somewhere to stamp secret on the tweet and slip it to the New York Times. We'd be in a very different place: politically yeah, it's
It actually I'll be honest. It does make me nervous, because it's exact
exactly right. He is
obstruction out in the open. I think it's something Adam Shift also said this week and
Robert Muller is
it very seriously, but whenever I see a report that says Robert Muller,
focusing on tweets. I get nervous not because it's not justified, but because I expect the political
discussion around those
kind of allegations to go nowhere because people want it to be some kind of miss
that's unraveled or some secret is that's turned over from from some Alisa tape or
backroom deal. You know Donald Trump,
recording with Michael Cohen, where he says, pay this woman, and it said
International NEWS, if you were to go on twitter and say sure,
I paid, or it wouldn't make as much of a dent, because somehow, because it's done in public, it's seen as somehow less elicit mean the tapes is a really good.
Right, like through much of this discussion. If remember when Trump,
fighting with Comi early on
He said after he fired Comey. He said call me better hope. There aren't tapes,
and at that time all of every
politics was like, if only there were Watergate style. Tapes like that's. What got Nixon is the tapes were like that could never possibly happen. No one is dumb enough to get recorded anymore
and then a tape came out and it's not a tape about collusion or conspiracy to Friday, nights or whatever. However, you want to,
crime, but it is a tape that country
It's the story of the president, his attorneys, his press agree his governor about paying hush money to cover up an affair,
and possibly violating multiple financial disclosure in campaign finance laws and that washed through the system,
a couple of days yeah. It led the news for a long time, but when was the last time anyone talked about that and that
I think, is important for us as sort of progressives and people who are dealing with the country to set our
expectations on what is going to come from Muller
We already have trump admitting via tweet, that
He knew that Flynn lied to the FBI when he fired in contradicting we said before. We already have trump on on on tape, saying that he paid
how much money you know all these things and the polling has not changed the political environment around. It is not changed. We've just been sort of stuck in this status quo, where
Publix in keys in some summer, most public he's innocent. All Democrat think he's guilty. Independence lean towards the guilty, but
Super worked up about it and we just continue to churn on through the absurdity
right I mean this, isn't a movie and like impeachment, doesn't require a twist ending. You know there doesn't need to be a big surprise. Nobody
you've been dead. All along you know,
the village- doesn't exist in modern times. Right like we can have all the information and can still be incredibly serious. So
let's talk about, why
We have seen a series of unhinged tweets by Donald Trump. You know this was this tweet
obsessions came in a fusillade. There was Bob Miller
Bob Muller is conflicted. Seventeen angry Democrats, Paul Manafort, worked for Reagan. These charges have nothing to do with collusion hoax tweaks.
Yeah I mean it was a best of Bruce tweet. Storm
One of the reasons this is happening is his former
pain manager, Paul Manafort,
is now on trial. The trial has begun. We have learned a lot so far. Dan
have you ever considered buying a fifteen thousand dollars ostrich coat? No, but I have been very interested
matching ostrich vest, which I am told Paul. So I think, look the
for trial is unfolding. Adam Davidson in the new Yorker had a great piece walking through the chargers in the implication he said this man affords
your schemes, the ones from before two thousand and fourteen- are fairly dramatic, involving tens of millions of dollars and a
Brazen effort to avoid paying taxes. By contrast, his alleged crimes in twenty sixteen are quite small
international criminal standards. The fact pattern,
laid out by the prosecutors raises the question: what did this desperate
and do when he was handed a lifeline at the moment he most needed it. He took no payment directly from the Trump campaign, so what did he get and what did he offer in exchange?
though, these questions are unlikely to be answer directly in the trial Muller and the public wants them answered Dan. Do you think that Donald Trump wants those questions?
answered, and you think this might be a source of his elevated twitter tone.
I always wrestle with this theory. That Trump is anger.
Tweeting or acting irrational or unstable, because he knows something's coming right. It is a I think, like
the Trump presidency is a debate between causation and correlation like is he just acting Cray
and some things happening, or is he acting crazy because something's happening and
right right right- and so I like who knows right- he like he is a mercurial
able person with that with a serious anger problems. I look. He should be very concerned about the matter for trial, because mother is putting all the pressure in the world on Manta Fort, be in this trial in whether this happens in the context of this trial. After metaphors, it might be convicted the pressure on Manta for two Cooper,
eight goes up right. That's why you that you know, based on what I know from lawn or all the various lot orders is the hit this one. The reasons why you bring these things a trial is to try to put pressure on a on potential, cooperating witness that should be very worrisome to Trump in
Adam Davidson piece, it's something that I think is not talked about enough, which is when you look at Manafort's history right working for these strong men do sort of gun for hire all over the world is that he expects to get paid a lot of money
for every single thing he does so it is very and suspiciously out of character for him to go. Take a job working for free
so he's? Not like a pro bono guy yeah? He says it like it. There's nothing in its history, the says he cared just care so much about the direction. The country that he's willing to work for free and so what what? What did? What was in it for Manta, for here, what you don't
right like how connected is it to the yet to the fact that the republic and can party changes platform to be incredibly pro Russia in the dark of night? Like how connected is it to the various meetings that happened with Russians or rushes?
for sale trump. Those are all the questions that we need answers to. I think mother probably knows more about them than we do for sure, but Trump should be very nervous about, or maybe it's just upset because you know the dvr didn't work when Judge Jeanine Pirro show him on who knows, but he should be worried.
Which leads to sort of what has been going on behind the scenes. So we've had these crazy trump tirades. We've had this man,
or trial happening. Meanwhile, there have been two big stories: moving the ball
word on the molar investigation, the Washington Post,
The following in a letter sent Monday Mullers team suggests that investigators would reduce the number of questions about potential obstruction of justice. They would ask in person and instead seek some answers in
form, and then you have in the times reporting that Trump is told advisor.
Is eager to meet with investigators to clear himself of wrong doing. This is the best effect he believe,
We can convince the investigators for the special counsel of his belief that their own inquiry is a witch hunt. It is the art of the deal than Donald Trump
shut down Robert Muller with
power of his arguments. What do you think you know it?
oops. Yes, I think Donald Trump should do it. He should meet with him. I think he's got a chance just I agree on your side down I'll give it give it ago.
It's also it's presented as against the advice of his counsel and his count.
Those terrible. It's not like he's got the best guys he's got rude
he's got Rudy Giuliani, which is, I think, basically at this point, maybe seventy five percent of 90S Rudy Giuliani mentally and then you have
Jay Sekulow who
has never not seem like a criminal look, you know
is a Maggie Haberman piece. You know she is she's got that place wired people criticize
there all the time, but at the very least it seems like Trump, wants people to think that he wants to talk tomorrow.
But I'm also willing to believe that he has
higher than his own supply. Here, I'm not
what to make of it, but there is this conflict. His lawyers have been put
office interview for months
on ten months, while at the same time, over the course of the last six months, there have been
stories again and again, that Trump is angst angst ink to talk to the molar investigation. What do you
what do you make of that divide? You think it's just up. Do you think it's
muddying the waters, do you think there's actually a conflict here between TV, Rudy and and Trump? You know it's
always you're reading any article about the Trump administration.
Like a well a super. Well sourced journalists who is well sourced in all of the various warring
houses of the Trump family
like it's sort of it's a little like a you, can sort of see all the different strains, and
So it's a little hard to Know- and I think maybe both these things are true- that
in his loyalists want people to know that Trump wants to talk to tomorrow
certainly doesn't people think he is
dumb. You know there are incredibly dumb, politically weather
If it were to say Trump doesn't want to talk to him, then that suggests that either he scared or he's guilty right. Just in the common perception of these things
a bit. Trump's attorneys, also know that it is insane to have Trump speak to Muller he may over
that, but they want everyone to know that they were giving him the solid legal advice right, every attorney, who appears
These cable panels, or's quote in these stories, thinks Trump is putting a game.
There's a lot of risk to do the interview, so
whether it's Giuliani or J Cycle, in which are very generous with seventy five percent of 90S really Giuliani. I think that is quite a stretch
or maybe it says a lot about about how
Giuliani was, but so I think that that is an open
right- and it's not clear to me- which, which way you know
you know whether that's the attorneys or Trump, or maybe it's both, who are trying to get their side of the story out. I also
I think there is a strategy behind this negotiation from the Trump attorneys, at least, which is every day that Trump doesn't talk to Muller, isn't
other day that they can use twitter and their massive propaganda operation?
two so the ground, for whatever mothers report, isn't created permission structure for republican politicians, the Trump base in there and the meeting the public and media to give him a clean bill of health. No matter wat right, so the the more he muddies up, Muller more. He muddies up the investigation, the
damaging the report will be when it comes out and so there he wants. I think what this long as possible, not just the way in the sense you want to put dentist appointment off, but because it gives them more chance to get us propaganda out there right, right and,
John Kelly has not succeeded in his first year to stop Trump from incriminate.
Himself on twitter, and I don't think he's going to succeed over the next few months either. Okay, let's move on to
midterms. Let's talk about some intra party fighting that isn't about the Democrats, which is nice
The coke brothers are planning to spend up to four hundred million dollars to make sure they continue to have a red phone into the speech
office that he has to answer or he gets a shock, they're picking a fight with Auntie, with the anti Trump Trade Wing of the Republican Party, CART, Charles Coke criticized Anti trade policies and
price of leadership over the weekend, wonder who he's referring to there they've, also
trying to support the republican candidate running for the Senate in North Dakota, which is a very which is a very important race. The network this is out from.
From the Washington post. The network later announced a surprisingly small.
List of targeted races
absent, are the
minute contest in Indiana, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Coke leaders have expressed concerns about the GOP nominees in those three states Trump responded by.
Being the Globalist Coke brothers. Maybe he thinks they're jewish.
In a total joke in
republican circles are against
wrong borders and powerful trade, powerful trade. I never sought their support because I don't need their money or bad ideas. They love my tax and regulation cuts. Judicial pics
or I made them Richard. Their network is highly overrated on and on, and on I'm going to keep going make America, America, first american worker, blah blah blah
who does compliment them. He says two nice guys with bad ideas
America great again. Dan? Is this a fight for
soul the Republican Party, no, because the Republican Party has no salt. That is why-
like I, I don't know how to really process
this I will say that Trump's tweet is one of the great cell phones in history, which is he
he says I am
the working person, the forgotten man, the silent majority, I'm the only one who will stand up for the working class and then he tweets that he made billionaires richer with his tack.
Regulation, policies, which is the exact point that every Democrat is trying to make on the campaign trail. So in that sense, thank you. John Kelly for Nike
a tighter leash on the twitter one of things
I thought was fascinating- is that this feud is taking place. This week we learned of two policies from the Trump administration, one,
There's a trump plan for a one hundred billion dollar unilateral tax cut mainly benefiting the filthy rich. That's that
talked about on Mondays part, and then today the Trump Administration outlined an absurdly destructive policy to undo
Obama, air rules on emissions against
is the wishes of environmentalist, but also car companies that will lower fuel standards, but also
states like California, from setting their own stricter
So you know we can get to the politics of this fight and what what Trump gets out of it, but
but then is there an actual substantive disagreement here that they care about, or is this trying?
drum up an argument went on taxes and regulations and all the rest there pretty well aligned. I think that there is a disagreement on trade and
disagree with the tariff policy they disagree with. They were, they disagree with
out of Tpp, they you know, so there is
is an actual real policy. Disagreement within the Republican Party
now on balance trump
His governing exactly like the Coke brothers would like him to govern right. He passed there just by the fact that he ran against.
That's for the wealthy and tax breaks for hedge fund managers.
And everything else. He immediately got an office and did that and so the
brothers 1a a corporatist agenda that benefits billionaires like themselves. They
mostly gotten that other than this. I think that they had they have they don't like Trump. I didn't support him in two thousand and in sixteen I he was that would not be the candidate they wanted. They would prefer a sort of a you know, a real standard republic and, like you know, JEB Bush or Matt Romney or some other person
who could barely be Ben Carson and they, and I do think that there is some
Lingering, how do I get to work
but concern about what the coke brothers and leeches
remembering that when the tea Party movement formed and became
very angry in very aggressive in there with a lot of racial Anna.
Around a black president, the Coke Brothers help fund that he
and in doing so elected a lot of people
people who would become the foundation for the Trump wing of the Republican Party and
a little bit like they've, already they've already robbed the bank and now they're going to be there. Another could be concerned about it because
got most of what they wanted. But you know you saw the same thing with the Chamber of Commerce right who, in after sort of the
Christine O'Donnell's in a uh taken these other right wing tea party Republicans were
primaries they decided to start getting involved for more establishment Publix. I think it's
We too late, because the coax have already lost the battle. They've won the battle policy. Wise would have lost the battle politically and I think maybe there were
going to be. You know, be better accepted at the country club, but it's sort of things
the point here. Right I mean there is disagreement on policy, Israel, but yeah you know:
money, is the ultimate unifier for these people and the Coke wing
the Paul Ryan Wing of the Republican Party, which may not have a constituency, because there,
what they want, they're not going to make too much trouble which gets to the politics fight here,
Donald Trump has a lot to gain from a fight with the Coke brothers right I mean this: is he clearly sees an advantage in this yeah?
He does. I disagree with
turn Brian's view and the only outstanding crooked media newsletter. What a day that this is
that this is show right. I don't, I don't think anyone got it back. You don't think like Jerrod Kushner and the Coke brothers got the back of the room and came up with this fight, so they would be good politically for Trump in the Republicans, but they're fighting with billionaires is good for Trump, it's better if he doesn't admit to having policies, help billionaires in the
since that fight, but it it makes it seem like he is on the side of the working class. So it has benefits for him, but
I think it is an actual disagreement between them. That is, that speaks about policy disagreements and disagreements on political and governing strata
going forward right. I think it's a case of a good opportunity to pick a fight
turn issue where there's a legitimate difference. But what there isn't is a legitimate feud right. These are people that are mostly aligned. So let's talk about the specific implications of this
they've declined to support the Republican in North Dakota. That is an incredibly close race. The Senate may hinge on whether Heidi Heitkamp can keep that seat. Do you think this will make a difference like? Is this good news for us?
no and here's why? Because one media is incredibly cheap in North Dakota relative to all these other state.
So it doesn't take a lot of money to make a real difference there, and so, if the official Coke brother
You know organizations Americans for prosperity wherever else do not buy ads there, there's. No,
to say that the other donors in the coke, the Coke network, are going to get involved. I think Kevin Kramer, who is that they cannot there's gonna, have no shortage of billion. Are my
What's a little, you know the the NRA used to sort of pick like to Democrats and what races that they were already get that thing going to win and endorse them. So they can go right on tell everyone that they were actually a butt that it wasn't about. Politics is about policy, and I think that there's a little bit of this year, which is a pick the candidate who their friends can help and
and they can say well, look we care about something we care about trade. I will also say that if this is a two point, race
troll the Senate hinges on it. They will probably come in at the end. Well, I'm
Then we I'm glad we covered that, because that was slightly more cynical than I expected and angel
before we move on before we get to your interview with Nick Thompson, which everybody should check out last thing: a quick update on the Ohio, 12th,
Thursday, John and Dan spoke with Danny O'Connor. The Democrat running in the special election in Ohio's 12th congressional district. A new poll shows
trailing his republican opponent, Troy Balderson by just a single point. Donald Trump won this district by double digits in twenty sixteen and registered Republicans outnumber Dems in the district two to one trump.
This we he'll be campaigning for Balderson in Ohio this weekend, two things people can do. You can condone
and you can sign up to make a get out. The vote calls to the national virtual phone bank at Danny O'Connor for Congress dot com slash volunteer at
is a really important race. Nobody thought we had a chance here and then all of us
We do it's a you know
Ashot down. Yeah he's great
he was really great on the podcast last week and is the kind of young authentic voice that we need in Congress and just winning this
or would you be fine, it'd be good and also makes it easier for us to take the majority 'cause. Now we've taken a seat, no one else thought we would get before we even get election day. So this is important and I would encourage everyone to get out there and do what they can to help. Think about the panic. It will instill
in the remaining republican incumbent too afraid they're going to lose their seat, even that is reason enough to help. So if you were going to buy say you know twelve thousand dollars ostrich
maybe think about getting a eleven thousand five hundred dollars ostrich coat and then give five hundred dollars. I can't even finish it.
Alright, we come back. We will have Dan's interview with wired.
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We are pleased to be joined by Nick Thompson at the editor in chief of Wired, contributed CBS News and someone who has written extensively about Facebook Nick Welcome to pod
America thanks. So much I'm delighted to be here. We are
like so much of the world. We are talking about Facebook today and there's so much
to unpack here with Facebook as it's become sort of central to not just Paula, that's just life, but politics
I wanted to start with the debate that Facebook has been roiled in for the least at least the last few weeks publicly, which is there
I confusing or conflicting answers around how to handle info wars. The conspiracy theory site run by Alex Jones. What do you know about their thinking? Facebook is in a pickle on this issue and it's in a pickle because it has a buy,
We have conflicting values and desires. They very much want to have their platform be free of conspiracy theories, particularly the awful stuff that Alex,
Jones puts out there, but on the other hand, they don't want to be in a position where they are the arbiter of truth, and we don't want them.
You shouldn't people shouldn't want them to be in a position to be an arbiter of truth, because who knows what happens when they take on that response,
good in that, essentially, you've assigned them a huge editorial role, probably beyond what anyone should be comfortable with. So
gone back and forth on this at first they said. Well, you know info
is not quite so
bad that we're going to talk about the platform but they're bad enough that were
to limit the reach of them in the algorithm.
And then there is kind of outrage about that and
they didn't want to respond. I would assume to the
right. You don't want to look as though you're reacting to just all the bad coverage. You've gotten, so
kind of slowly push their position forward. And
more pressure on Infowars, so it's a real bind because they have their desire to keep this stuff off the platform.
But they also do believe in free speech, and they also don't
want to end up having to be arbiters of what is true and what is not. You know this is the free speech,
you meant always sort of frustrates me because let me two reasons one. The word facebook is mostly not in the constitution. You don't
Alex Jones has a right to speak. He doesn't have a right to monetize this conspiracy theories on Facebook, but
and if you were to take Mark Zuckerberg's answer Facebook answer at face value. That free speech is the argument for keeping him on the platform.
Isn't that undermined by secretly by saying you can be on the platform, but then using your secret tech tools to show that speech to fewer people.
I'm so glad you said that 'cause I've been making that argument and nobody has sort of been great
onto. Do it right. So it's funny right. If Facebook had an absolute position on free speech,
They wouldn't limit him in the algorithm because they find the speech objectionable if they had no value
speech right. They would take it totally different position and so they've taken this funny. They've tried to kind of car.
Very narrow path between the rocks, where they say we're in favor of free speech
so we'll let him say it, but we're not so completely absolutist on the position
that will show it to the same number of people as we did before we decided it was objectionable. Zero yeah facebook is in a very complicated and conflicting position and they've done a terrible job of explaining how they
navigate. This there's always been this debate right. I was reading KERA Swishers piece in the New York Times Day today about how hallmarks
work originally told her. Twelve years ago Facebook was utility. Facebook has often overtime push back against the idea that there are media,
but I think they've been a little more open to that. Since then, what is
internal viewed as Facebook consider themselves to be to come in. I asked that because the media company hat edits right, they had, they had a, they have a say, a what comes on the platform and they make judgments about what sort of media. As of the
There yeah so internally at Facebook. They definitely don't think of themselves as a media company, but the crucial shift that has happened there, I think, probably in the last six months, is the realization that their both a platform and a publisher as opposed to just a platform so very much there early position was where a platform onto which all information is equal. We don't have any of the responsibilities of publishers and there are two huge problems with that: one. They don't take any responsibility for the quality of the information on it. They don't take any responsibility for helping readers sort fact from fiction. All of those things that newspapers in media do.
Secondly, because they flatten all the hierarchy between different publications 'cause, after all, they're just a platform and everybody is equal- they made it. So the New York Times looks exactly the same as a fake newspaper that somebody message only started yesterday, so that sort of foundational decision to think of themselves as just a plateau,
is what allowed so much of the manipulation to thrive and the legacy effects of
still exist. You know they still are built on a foundation of thinking, they're, just a for
what about six months ago. You know, maybe a year ago they started to realize. Ok, wait
we really screwed things up? We have to change it, so they are.
Taking on more responsibilities, but there's also still a divide in the company. You know the former media people who very much think that they have a lot of responsibilities as a publisher and now the engineers and product people, the old time, Silicon Valley, people who think. Oh, no, we're still. Ninety
percent a platform, so they definitely as a whole think of themselves as something that combines platform a publisher, but it's still big debate inside the company. You know. Last week Facebook lost a ton of money are based on the earnings report. They came out market penalize them greatly lost it. You know what largest I
if not the largest one of the largest single day losses, it was the largest in history, one hundred and twenty billion dollars, crazy right, and so what
There are two ways to look at that right, one, the it and I'm not sure- and so I question the sort of how Facebook looks at in. What's your sense of how may be the you know, the business community or that or the techni looks at what
Is this is a warning sign to Facebook that has to clean up his act in solve these problems? The other?
point is the other version that worries
he is cleaning,
it's act and getting itself in this limits. Growth and therefore it's an argument again.
Making the changes that you in people, the outside of the inside of argued for yeah
I think it's more. I think it's
for the latter. I think the markets reaction to that earnings call was looking at the numbers and listen to the comments saying you operating margins are going to be less in the future than they are.
Now and one of the reasons they are going to be less- is because
privacy concerns because of the expense of tracking all this bad stuff on the platform
all the investment that Facebook is made to try too hard in the
against me. Collation is expensive
therefore they're going to make less money, and so you could Totale read that if you were a Facebook executive or a face,
shareholder and say wait.
Second. While this concern about privacy. Now, it's really, you know it's hurting our profits. So I do think that is a legit
concern in reading some of your your stories about this critically, the US, the story on the units or Facebook, two years of hell and some of the other accounts of people who really know Facebook, there's some debate about how Facebook got itself in this mess right part of a
You know some argument. It's the answer is probably all of the above, but it's some
you men of naive it today that that there are bad actors out there who could use. You know bad after the the Russians are Alex Jones, who use the platform that way. Another are
you meant is that the growth at all costs attitude that
not just dominates not just Facebook, but many of Silicon Valley's companies
and I'm curious your take on that yeah.
Both of those are important factors. I think the growth at all costs, particularly setup
company and you reward employees based on growth numbers and based on stock price?
create an incentive system that rewards, just, as you say, growth at all costs,
I think it is undoubtedly true that Sucker Burg in the top people, Facebook did not recognize the way the platform
manipulated. They had a very naive, perhaps self centered view that getting more people to use Facebook,
Justin electively bring the world closer together because, after all, that's what Sucker Burg wanted. The idea was will create. Facebook will make the world more open connected as more people use Facebook. The world would become more open connected, not the opposite,
but I think deep down there. Also, you know a couple of other
more problems, and these are the ones that Facebook needs to
about the most and the first is the algorithm. The algorithm is
rules, mathematical equations that determine what we see in news feed and, as we all know, if you spend time on Facebook it prioritizes outrage
and that is what created a fertile ground for russian manipulation. It is what created a fertile ground for Donald Trump means to spread so quickly. It is created you, a fertile
for a lot of what drives America part. Secondly,
Facebook we set it pushes people into filter bubbles. Facebook would argue against this point or top executives face.
I disagree with me, but I think I'm right and I think it pushes people into
your bubbles, where they only see things that they agree with and-
again has a corroding effect on democracy
again. It is also what made the platform right for all the manipulation and all the bad things we've seen and then the most complicated question for face,
The hardest question for Facebook is
business model is affectively base,
on slicing and dicing people into ever finer groups right so that a toothpaste
Company can figure out exactly who they can market tour
shoe company can figure out exactly who will buy there
use when they want to buy them etcetera, but
Your business model is based on slicing and dicing people into ever. Finer groups does
that inevitably create an environment where people who want to manipulate democracy can slice and dice people into different groups.
Inevitably accelerate the filter bubble problem
does doing. All of that inevitably lead to more outrage, chaos and bs on the platform and that's a really hard fundamental question for Facebook. So, yes
it's totally the growth at all costs. Yes, it's totally that I totally the naivete, but it's also
other three core things: the algorithm, the filter
the business model that are the parts that Facebook
need to think seriously about as it tries to address what's going on yet the business model
it's really what I think a lot of people who are calling for change in Facebook,
is the business model. The algorithm and are are all part of the same problem right where it's not just facebook. Google has a similar thing. Youtube everyone's goal is to keep you on the platform as long
possible right, so they can get as much data from you as possible, and so
as many ads right in that 'cause. It Facebook, like Google's advertising business, an outrageous. What keeps people on the platform as we've seen right
and so I've often compared Facebook to the NFL in the sense that Facebook says he wants the outrage problem. The NFL
note to self concussion problem, but at the end of the day, Facebook is about
age and the NFL is about very large men running head. First,
other, so there's only so many things you can do unless you're willing to lose money or make. Let let me at least one is that right make less money right. Do you have any? Is there a
Zuckerberg is unfirable, basically by the very sweet deal he cut when he got his first funding
do you have any sense that he would be willing to fun
change the business model, even if it meant Facebook made less money and investors lost money. So I have two
answers to that, and I think the parallel to the NFL is a really good one. I do think that
would be willing to make less money if he could fix the product. I don't know
any question, but that means Eckerberg has flaws but want to his credit. I don't think he cares about money. The way other rich people do is not trying to get a bigger yahoo
accounting is bank account he likes. He likes money he's going to it.
He's older, you know trying to cure cancer, and all of that he's not he's not
my money is actually, I think, lower down in the company where people are more motivated by money
so the question actually having mark Zuckerberg as Dick
royal ruler, Facebook
more likely than in some other company,
they be willing to make that sacrifice, but I'd also make a separate case, which is that I don't think that Facebook would necessarily have to lose. Money
fixing the platform or by getting rid of the outrage amplification you can actually
the sell more ads if people feel good about the product and people feel bad about the product, they're less likely to spend money on it, even if they, you know, pull it out of their pockets last for that little outrage hit, but they engage with it more deeply in the focus think of it. As a
they get educated educated where they, where their lives, lives and enriched. In me, they really you connected people, that's
Actually, a better platform for making money. I know it's ridiculous for a journalist
to go on and say, hey Facebook. I know how you can make more money, but I do think that fixing the problems on the
form. Isn't necessarily going to lead in the making less money? I
maybe less money in the short term, but more money in the long term. I guess I think that's right.
I think, there's no. I think, there's no question public company today, oh yeah yeah
another in Facebook's,
It's a discussion of this is good news or bad news. I don't know, but I Facebook announced the other day that is detected a campaign influence the mid term elections to fake accounts into the you know, the recorded topics, around white nationalism, abolish ice and then responses to those do you.
Is this a sign that Facebook has is doing a better job or that we are still incredibly vulnerable or maybe both is both. I mean Facebook is definitely doing a better job, they're doing a better job than they did in two thousand and sixteen where they weren't looking at this stuff at all. I didn't expect it so the fact that they were able to find this campaign, presumably russian campaign, but we don't know that for sure yet to find this manipulation campaign. Despite the extraordinary efforts that the manipulators took today,
is. It is a good sign. It's a sign that Facebook is on the things, but I also think it's a little bit of a little bit of a red herring right, 'cause. The reason why Facebook was able to stop this manipulation campaign is 'cause. People were using,
bank accounts. If this is just been set up by regular people, posting the exact same means in the exact same stuff, it would've been okay right. The fundamental problem, a facebook is that it amplifies outrage bushes in the filter bubbles in sort of the grades. You know American Democratic,
creation and the easy way to go after that is to say, oh there's, this small segment of that happening, that's being done by russian intelligence operatives, let's go after them.
Is everybody agrees. You should go after the russian intelligence operator. Everybody except the president, agrees that you should go after them, but there
Your problem is very
the related and it's way harder 'cause. It's not people using fake names, it's just Americans in their filter bubbles, putting bad stuff on the internet and that's a way harder problem to solve. So the fact that they are Russians taking advantage of all the problems
Facebook gives us an easy thing to go after and gives us a way to talk about the problems on Facebook.
But solving the russian problem doesn't solve all the problems on Facebook. That's a really great point. Nick
thank you so much for joining us. This was a great conversation. We hope to have you back on soon awesome. Thank you.
Damn that was a
a great conversation. You know this is something that's been on our minds at crooked today, because so allow Jacon, who runs
social media. Sometimes he pops into videos because he's famous seeking, but
he's also in the room,
But he runs social media for cricket and he found out that.
America was getting marked as eighteen plus, I'm basically being treated as though it had explicitly sexual activity or graphic violence and basically treating
the same way that Facebook is now treating of dangerous right wing conspiratorial sites like info wars. I- and it seems to us that this is an example of them trying to achieve this fall's ballot. Since all this unsolvable problem of appearing nude
roll without punishing the worst actors on their own sites. My
My question to you is: what are you guys doing on the Monday? Pod? Listen.
Obviously, I've been pushing for a much more sexually explicit content, but but John and Jan will go a long look
I think I Elijah
is great and
it doesn't it.
Speaks to this debate.
Whether Facebook is a media company or not a conversation. You know what the Nick and I talked about, which is it is.
In this sense that Facebook, like most legacy media companies like the New York Times, whoever else are incredibly sensitive to criticism that they
we are biased against
and they refused
big knowledge that the critique
service is often not always, but almost always done in bad faith, and so they over react. Now
now that we know how this happened is it sometimes it could be the algorithm it could be.
Making a bad decision at a low level there, but it does.
The broader problem, our facebook is very sensitive to critique,
right, which is exactly why they are wrong.
Making the decision to keep Alex Jones on the platform, because, even though he is.
An absurd human being in a in a disgusting human being who says disgusting and false things.
They are the reason to keep only reason to keep him on. There is to avoid being being called liberal.
Look on valley, people, Silenci, conservatives and so,
We do it when you seek fo balance instead of the moral or honest right thing to do. You end up in situations like this yeah and it's part of the
working the rest we see up and down the media. I mean there have been hearings,
diamond and silk and suppression of conservative voices on Facebook
Meanwhile, they are deliberately there
really choosing not to distinguish between whatever the occasional f bomb
and slander and outright falsehood because, as you said in the piece it would
this favor a right wing, media culture that embraces conspiracy theories and I feel like Facebook is running up against
the problem that we're running up against in our culture, which is there,
the new equivalents. There is a a toxicity that has taken hold of a of the conservative movement and it is simply not possible to treat both sides of the same while at the same time relegating the worst voices in polish.
Off your platform yeah. This is one of the worst
most damaging aspects of Trump's presidency from sort of a national conversation perspective is, it is shifted the Overton Window, where
the opposite side of progressive views are conspiracy, theories or white.
Realism we're in a different world with a different president that would be considered out of bounds by both parties, but now because everything Trump said because from puts everything in bounds, then now we have to pretend like or Facebook reverses print like Alex Jones is equal of the nation and that's absurd. There is an equivalent right of the nation, the liberal magazine and we, we
Standard, but we have to we now we now have to the things that were once considered agreed upon at least
like media organizations polites
were out of bounds are put in bounds because of who are present,
yeah, and we- and you know we even back up what we put on Facebook with sources and documentation which people that make up the.
Don't seem to have the ability to do, and everybody should check out a large piece. It's really worth reading on cricket dot com when we come back
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joining us on the pod. Today we have the host of majority fifty four, the founder of letter.
Take a vote and the author of the new book outside the wire. Welcome back to the show Jason Kander good to be here thanks Joe,
O Jays and I want to get to the book. But before we do, you know you're running this organization, let America go then
you're running this organization letter Marilyn about GOAT American Code. I don't know what it would be
it's time that we start coding.
Now we are in the middle of this campaign for the midterms, but also an ongoing effort by Republicans to suppress the vote as well as pushback from organizations like yours to make sure that every vote is counted and people have a chance to cast their ballot.
What is the latest in that fight? I that people should know about what we're boots on the ground campaign and we got a whole lot of boots on the ground doing a lot of great work. You know we are spread out right now across five field offices across
the country plus we have seventy thousand volunteers
nationwide, who are doing phone banks over the country calling into important races just since June. Eighth,
in our field offices we have
well over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars and we've got
hundreds of interns and volunteers spread out, and it's you
these field offices, and it's just so
inspiring. I mean these kids are a part of.
Civil rights movement because it never ended and and there
knocking on doors and making sure that we create that political consequence for
in addition to make it harder to vote by making sure that they don't get re elected Jason,
You know there was a lot of controversy, the other day involving Donald Trump, no surprise, but he he's he
just talking about how you know,
the grocery you need an id to buy groceries. Now all the focus was on sort of the gaffe of that, but I was one
You could talk about the real story about voter id, which is the point trump is trying to make and why that is problematic and in bad for democracy. Small d yeah so
This is all part of their strategy of trying to make it seem like this is an ideological difference or like a
osc disagreement between the parties like what they want it to be. Is
you know what Democrats don't think you have to show id an Republicans. Do that's what they want the debate to be about zero
portrayed as if it's like taxes or healthcare, just a genuine difference
When I remind everybody, is that's not what this is? This is a Politice,
strategy by the Republicans so,
we can get into the fact that one obviously
actually need an id to buy groceries, and it's entirely likely that the President United
It's just never bought his own groceries, apparently, but beyond that, it's the fact that
there is never been like in my state.
Piece of voter impersonation fraud, but
a pastor, Wisconsin style photo id. You are, which is the only young thing that they actually think would prevent. You know voter impersonation fraud, which is never have
well. You would have over two hundred thousand people who are legal eligible registered voters who would be disenfranchised
so what they're really doing is it
It's no different than the strategies that they come up with to you know, decide which tv ads are which tv,
goes to run ads during or which doors to knock on. They do this because folks, who are less likely to have an idea in this country, people have colored disabled folks, working folks, young people
They are less likely to vote Republican and the problem they're solving is that if they can't vote well,
if they're illuminated from democracy, Republicans are more likely to win elections, it's about partisan politics, not fraud. I think you both are being completely unfair. Clearly he meant that he is trying to buy groceries
or to launder money on behalf of foreign interests and it's a shame,
The liberal media won't give this guy the benefit of doubt. Everything he says has to be crazy
yeah. Actually, you've convinced me, I think, that's probably what he meant so, let's say
the book because you have a new book. That's coming out called outside the wire Jason. Just
all that don't know what does that term mean and how does it relate to what the book is about?.
So the term outside the wire is how we refer to going off the base in Afghanistan. It's how folks in the army refer to that, and I name
that, because, while the book is about those experiences for me, what it's about
much larger amount, is going outside the wire figuratively in politics, you're being willing to go out and
take positions that people may not always agree with, but that are in your heart and and on the faith that voters will see that and maybe you'll be able to convince them
I wrote the book for people who
thinking to themselves. You know, maybe I want to run for office. Maybe I want to get involved in campaigns. Maybe I just want to go start that nonprofit that I think needs to exist whatever it is, and then
something is held them back often times. That is a sense that if they get involved in that way, they look
piece of themselves- and you know
actually like had an alternative title of this that I didn't go with, which was how to get in
in politics without becoming a tool and
that's really sort of what the book is. It's ten lessons that I've learned and it's
stories as to how I've learned those lessons. Many of the stories are Embera
sing for me personally, but they allow people to read them and then, maybe not repeat those mistakes
and so it's just about the fact that you
do this without losing yourself, you can do this and you can go outside the wire politically figuratively, really and and and have it out just
yeah good person. At the same time, be effective in politics that can work. I wonder if you would use that title if we could have gotten a copy to Marco Rubio,
I actually that's my inscription to him. I I need to. I need to mail that actually so
you run a great race,
in Missouri uh. You came close
and when do you sort of beat the margins that that Hillary Clinton had in that state everybody sort of looked at that race and said that it was an incredibly impressive feat, but you know so you didn't win
do you look back on that and wonder you know.
If I had, you know, I I tried to
do this the way I thought I should do it. I didn't make certain
arises. Do you ever think yourself if I had made a few different choices? Even one
I disagreed with at the time I'd be a senator right now, no
and the reason I don't is an this is a big part of
that line in the book is
I believe that
doing. What's right, and just trying to be a good person it turns out, is actually the best politics, because voters,
see through anything else. You know, I have sort of
example. I talked about in the book how you know the average person
Talk about politics or think about it as much as politicians. Do it's actually much more like how they think about sports? You know: they'll sit around they'll, say
something about how they hate this one team, but one of their friends may say you know I kind of like
this one guy in the team and nobody gets mad at him or says you're, not a real fan of our team and that's how
people talk about politics, meaning yeah, I took it
lot of positions that people in my state didn't agree with, but
The reason that I out performed- and the reason I did so Well- is because
other people said. Well, I don't agree with them on all this stuff, but he
Mister really mean it and he seems to believe it 'cause. He cares about Maine, so
I'll go ahead and vote for him and nobody at their little breakfast hang out
Circle of friends is like oh you're, not a real republican, or that doesn't happen. An
It's just about having the courage not to act
It's way simpler than people realize. I have a whole lesson,
in the book. One of the chapters is just literally titled. Keep it real an it's just about like. Have the courage not to act, just just go for it
Jason before we let you go. I wanted to ask you about the never ending debate with
Democratic Party about who we are and what we stand for, and I wanted to ask you
did very well on a red state and as a history of winning a red state about the platform in message.
Of Alexandria, Ocasio Cortez in New York, who was just
you know day in your neighbor state in Kansas Campaigning and whether you think
that sort of message can work or Democrats have to take a different approach, depending on the nature of the state of the district, so
I think it's all about standing up and saying,
really believe I mean 'cause the whole debate about wanting people to
take positions that are, you know, sort of where they own
subscribe to one idea of what the Democratic Party is, what that is,
Is it some level? It's it's saying whether you believe this or not? This is what you have to say now. I agree with her on a lot of stuff, but regardless of that, when I
watch like her campaign ads and that sort of thing what stood out to me and, I think, stood out to the voters and in her district, more than anything
there's no way, no matter what you believe, you could disagree with her and everything there's no way. You watch that and go she's just saying that
she doesn't really mean that, and I think that is actually the key and and so
in the conversation about what Democrats stand for.
My argument is an I point out in the book like,
We should just recognize one. We give a damn like that's what it is to be a Democrat like we give a damn about people, including people. We don't know- and it's based on this,
have faith in a little bit of a leap of faith, honestly that those people,
will care about us too. If we do it that they'll reciprocate. That is that going to be true every time no, but it starts with us placing faith in that idea and so like. I think it is about authenticity.
You know I remember, being on bill, Maher's, show and saying
a good job as a politician is not that different than than trying to be a good person and
everybody laughing at me- and I don't
That's that crazy, controversial of a statement. I back it up in all sorts of ways in the book with funny stories, but it's just about
southern and and being real is why you with the book,
I like I got known originally because of an ad I did about why I'm for gun control. Well,
Now I have this book. I have this platform every copy of the book, that is
order in the next few days and that and that is sold next week,
Diana and I are making a contribution to
demand action in every town for gun safety, and it's about consist.
And being real with people, and for me in this case it's just. I have an opportunity to help with something I really care, but I'm not going to miss that opportunity. Well, Jason. Thank you for joining us,
today and again he just mentioned it, but proceeds will be going to support really good causes around gun. Violence,
book is outside the wire. It is honest and personal and fast
meeting and everybody should pick it up- he's also Jason you're, also the hosting majority.
Before and people should check that out too. I agree and thanks for being here, thank you appreciate you.
Car show thank you to Nick Thompson of Wired and Jason Kander, whose new book is outside the wire Dan. We did
get to it, but there taunting
Jim Acosta at Rally,
is trump things you need id to buy, groceries it's crazy out there.
I just I'm saving it for the outro, there's music. It's fine yeah wild week where the publicans
I did today too, as you pointed out, repeal fuel standards in order to destroy the planet to own the libs
a great thanks,
and John and Tommy are back Monday. Thank God because I gotta tell you probably were pod. Save America is a lot of work.
Well yep spell.
Transcript generated on 2019-10-28.