« Pod Save America

"We had plenty of ethical fun."

2017-01-12

Jon and Dan talk about Obama's farewell and Trump's press conference. Then, former Obama ethics czar Norm Eisen joins to talk about Trump's decision to retain ownership of his business empire.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to POD save America, I'm John Fabbro, I'm Dan Pfeiffer Dan, welcome to plus save America. Your first episode I'm excited to be part of the Krooked Media family. Absolutely, today. We have in consider normalize Eisen, who was the former Obama special counsel for ethics the White House norm kept us on the straight and narrow when we were in the White House. So we will be talking to norm all about the press conference yesterday and Trump's conflicts of interest in his attempts to rectify that situation, which I don't think went very well first, before we get into it little housekeeping. Thank you to everyone who listen, who reached out who rated us on Itunes. For our first episode, POD save America.
Currently right now is still number one in the Itunes store, which is thanks to all of you guys. So please keep giving good ratings, if you haven't already in the Itunes store, tell a friend, there's still a lot of people who listen to uh and keep it in one thousand. Six hundred, who I see on Twitter, who didn't know that we've moved over yet so still trying to get our audience back. So if you guys would tell some people to listen in, if you like our program would be very appreciative. Tell a friend people tell a friend Then, let's start with the farewell address Obama farewell address on Monday in Chicago near the were there. I was very sad about it. I know me too. I didn't realize how sad I would be about not being there and tell you like what on Instagram or Facebook and basically every person we know was there like seeing people I haven't seen in you know eight or ten years. I was pretty pretty amazing and I was very sad about it. I was too yeah. We were focused on the first episode in the launch and like I was like physics
happy that I wasn't getting on a plane to Chicago and staying out to like two in the morning that night, but I was sort of emotionally depressed all day when I saw it, but do you do I'm sure you've checked out the speech as I did? Okay, and what? What do you think of the speech? Where did you watch it? You watch it at home, watch get home, but then love- and I mean I had to go to a dinner for this company, and so we basically heard the latter half speech in an uber on public radio, on the drive to Venice and we're like silently like tearing up in the uber. That's that's how we help her the rest of it yeah. We, I watched it at home on like ten minute delays it for my phone away, which was actually really nice because it and have to be on twitter when it was happening, because my why I was waiting for my wife who was stock in it over that's, are going the wrong direction. So this is is a lot it. We were threads here.
The I you know, I think, up until they started playing city of blinding lights with photos walked out. It had not fully hit me yet that Barack Obama's or can be, president, next week, like that, like I knew that intellectually, obviously like an election happened, and the slow roll of I've been today see the White House a couple times. I've seen photos couple times, I've seen all her old friends a couple of times, but like this was the one were like the sort of the emotions came out where it really the shock wore off, and it was this is the end of this chapter of you know our personal lives and the country I was struck by, I mean so just changed in eight years and we're about to face something fairly scary, I think and challenging. But I was struck by how little changed about him since he sort of verse stepped on that stage in two thousand,
or in Boston and you some people that was am a sunny are more optimistic message. I still think that like the optimism in the in the faith, in the hope he had in two thousand and four was still in this speech, and he talked about things in the speech that he gave warnings in this speech that he sort of been gay his entire presidency right when I mean the the theme of the speech, I think, was what is Requi weird, to maintain democracy. What is democracy require in the 21st century and he sort of went through the different challenges to a fair democratic system inequality, racial tensions, auto we see around the world, and so he sort of take through all those things you know, but there challenges that he's been talking about. Basically, since he's got into public life, and they just happen to be heightened right now with a Trump presidency coming, but I don't,
it's weird 'cause, some people. I saw Jonathan Chait Road, interesting piece about this, about the speech where he said that, basically, the whole speech was a warning about trumpism. In a way, I think it was- but it was also a warning about all the conditions in uh country in the world that led to a president Trump, and so it wasn't directly about Trump himself but sort of what got us here. Yeah Trump is a symptom, not the disease, in the way that speech was written. I think that's right and my mother go ahead either not serious, take away from it Was everyone always like put up those two pictures of Barack Obama, two thousand and nine Brock Obama now they're like, Obama's gotten. So all the presidencies aged him. He has gray hair, but everyone posted on Social made all their photos from campaign days. We have also aged a lot yeah. You may actually be doing better than some of us, like we were
America elected, a very young man staffed by a bunch of children to run the country and, thank God it worked out. 'cause we were very, very young and we looked even younger than we were back. Then. I also had about one thousand and fifteen pounds on me when, when I started the way yes well, I had to buy him, but I would not going away when I look at the pictures of me in nine with my also. Why did anyone? Let me shave my head, but that was it wasn't. Two thousand and thirteen. I thought you were going prematurely bald. Then you were just getting ahead of it. I was shocked when you showed up when you left the White House and came back with her like this translator, so in some ways were better, but no, no but like I thought it was. I thought it was a great speech. I was so I was happy he ended. I have one final ask: is your president same thing? I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago, I'm asking we've not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours to me that that the central message of his presidency of his campaigns, and it is also the greatest contrast to Donald Trump who's message
campaign was, I alone can fix it right and for all the commentary on how you know Obama's, since he was a self referencial presidency, and it was all about his personality and his story, all of which, I think, is way we're done and bullshit. You know the message. The very beginning is the Forehead Mokra C to work. Everyone has to participate and you cannot just depend on the people that you elect to bring about change. You have to continue working and fighting and participate every single day yeah. I think the speech
a lot of people say this is this: is all the you know at direct line from the for convention speech in there's no question, there are from their systematic similarity there and- and you are right that it's he is. The same optimism is present if somewhat tempered by you know, years of being on the front lines of battles, but the speech, I thought it was most like wise, the yes, we can speech after awhile lost in New Hampshire in two thousand and eight because we like that was the same contact was a bunch of people who added incredibly high hopes who believed in something he would gotten let down by circumstance. You know by election- and you know stepping in at that moment when people are lacking, hope and give
them hope for the future is, I think, the best obama- and you know I am sure that you know at least among the tens of thousands of Obama, volunteers in organizer's and staffers. A lot of them got out that Wednesday morning and you know, sort of looking for what the thing they can do is to make an impact here, and I think that was that was sort of the message was to the people let down by election, but the weekends. We know we control our fate and, at the end of the day, what Obama stands for? What we stand for is the future and Trump is a throwback to a rapidly dying past, yeah Emma and also the list, but be a the changes in the fight for changes it's hard and it's unending right and it and it also it doesn't end when, like you know, if we like to democratic Congress and we beat Trump elected democratic President like jobs, not done then either. You know you don't just to let its trip,
six is not transactional, you don't just elect leaders that you agree with and then step away and hope that they fix everything right and I think that's that's been his message from the start and I was living that's what the Trump Administration and the people who voted for Trump are going to find out soon too. A lot of people said that you know they see like the cheapest, that this is basic. Big speech quote: unquote: sub tweeting Trump presence, also three people, but along that vein, the at the like the other underlying message there I thought other than just a simple message of the country, which was the main part here, was a message to Democrats about how what we should stand for and how we should stand for it in this new era right. He he actually laid out a pretty smart tests in message for the affordable care act, fight, that's happening and in a good, a good position for Democrats, and hopefully
they adopted a slightly more clever than hashtag make America sick again and yeah. I saw it. I thought you know. I thought like there's a lot for the country who is worried about the future to take in that speech, there's a lot of nostalgia for people who were part of this journey across the mom. From that speech, I think there's a lot for the people who are engaging in the battles to calm to learn from that speech of the heat there is that there are like the hints of a road map in there for the future, for the prefer. The progressive movement- absolutely you know I I I was struck by within just a farewell address it was it was a blueprint you know, as as, as I was doing what acts redwood says, it was an exhortation very Axelrod in where there yes, alright, so let's go with, let's governmental, very high plane to the week intended. All that speech was happening. If there
in a better contrast or or Saturn contrast. I guess there news reports that US intelligence officials F b, I c I a d n, I director national diligence, briefed both President Obama and Donald Trump, a separately along with I think, eight leaders in Congress and no one else got this briefing on the russian hacking operation and during that briefing reports are that they informed both Trump and Obama, that there are reports that the Russian have compromising information on Donald Trump that they could use to blackmail him with, including, you know stories about. Prostitutes in Haute tells in Russia, business dealings all kinds of other stuff, so Buzzfeed publishes the dossier that the full dossier that basically the intelligence official
borrowed from to relay the information to Trump and Obama and all hell breaks loose, so There's a lot going. I mean you should read some of the stories about this because it definitely reads directly out of a add spy novel I mean, but to try to like put to gather the story here exactly what happened. 'cause, it's very confusing. Apparently, an ex british spy named Christopher Steele was hired by a fan term, a research firm that was hired by republic donor back in the campaign to dig up stuff on Trump. This x, fire has been well respected in the past. He worked on many different cases and help the FBI in the past. So he's not some cry The guy used to spy in Mosko he's did this for a long time. He found enough evidence to sort of outline two different russian operations, one to find compromising information on Trump and two me.
Meetings between the russian government and the Trump campaign during the twenty sixteen campaign put together this document, it sort of made its way around Washington and everywhere else it was passed around to a couple of republican operatives during the campaign Requ sin who was working for Marco Rubio at the time he saw it by the fall. Some documents had been given, to the FBI. It was also pasta which intelligence, because the guy who did it didn't just want it to be politicized in the United States. He wanted. He wanted the Brits to have it too. At one point: John Mccain found it came across it. Mccain gave it to the FBI because he thought it was important enough to give to the FBI and then finally, the CIA Fbi and the NSA found it. I don't if they find it persuasive and they didn't it was unverified. Well, they said the reports, the document they could not verify them and there was plenty of reason to doubt their veracity, and yet they bill thought it important enough to brief the current president in the next president about
so I don't know so. I guess there's a couple of questions here. One there's been this germ. The debate should Buzzfeed have published the documents at all. What do you think about that? What is the cricket media position on this? So I have gone back and forth on this, like I just I think Buzzfeed was right to publish them with a fairly hefty warning right, which is. We cannot verify the contents of this. There is plenty of reason to doubt. The contents of this document also Buzzfeed do not publish it twenty days ago, when there was no news about US intelligence officials, briefing the current and future presidents about this. I think if there hadn't been news that this made it to the level trump and Obama and that our intelligence officials found it necessary to tell them, then they didn't have a right to publish it, but the the fact that we have news reports that Obama and Trump or get information information is out there circulating around Washington circulating around news organizations.
It seems like with a dose of caution. Then then you could publish it, it's a close call, but I agree it's a close call, Ann. I will save in the fullness of what limited software Nishi have that I am sure I would have a different position if this was a dossier about Barack Obama, but so you know biases on my sleeve here, but I agree with you that if it is significant enough to have been briefed too, the president is the president lacks and has been written about as an existing document. I'm not really sure how someone doesn't publish that now. We are obviously dancing around the very salacious accusations in there of what that compromising information is- and I don't know if I'm entering the Krooked media, journalistic ethics policies or if you have developed those. Yet
golden showers down. Yes, I feel like we were compelled to make a bed wetter joke, but that's a lot of people made on Twitter. For us it was great yeah. That's right, including friend, of the pod Mitch. Stewart this morning, of course, it's a close call. I think there was a pretty interesting debate between it was it was build. Interview was really debate between Chuck Todd of Meet the press and Ben Smith. The editor in chief of Buzzfeed NEWS about the decision to do this and it was pretty clear from interview that Chuck disagreed pretty strenuously with that decision. What one thing Chuck said one thing checks had to bend. It was just wrong was he was like you guys, publish fake news and it's not fake news. It may be fake news like someday. We may find out that every single allegation in that document is false. Very could very well be true but we don't know that yet right
and the intelligence officials still found it necessary to to tell the president in the future president. So yeah and part of the reason, if you believe some of the reporting here about why they included it was. It was a piece of supporting evidence that the Russians may have had compromising information on Trump and not used it, which is evidence that the Russians were releasing information for the purposes of helping try. And hurting Hillary Clinton, and I was also trying I'm trying to think of the best analogy. Imagine if, after the choose that was Nate campaign intelligence officials had briefed George W Bush and Barack Obama and the fact that Russians who had somehow hacked the campaign claimed to of information that Barack Obama wasn't in fact born in the United States, totally uh corroborated, obviously we all knew there had been rumors about Obama not being born in the United States. We knew that this was a conspiracy, but now the Russia.
Is claimed to have hard evidence about that and then Buzzfeed publishes that I mean we would have all freaked out and said, like you published it like that, because we were in the White House, but I don't like it would What would the media have gone crazy and said that they should have done that now back in two thousand eight? Maybe because it's people out of you know people that there is a higher higher bar there, but I don't know like I could that happening pretty easily, I mean the press, including this is not an attack on Chuck Todd, but NBC was one of the major organs for Donald Trump to go out and get it, and shout brother claims from you know: that's a lot as he possibly could. The taxi was in Mbc. He was doing the rollout or the season premiere of celebrity apprentice at the time and he was on the They show all the time and sometimes it today. She was very good about saying it wasn't true, but a lot of times they weren't. So it seems hard
you can put down a trouble on your tv show on your tv network to say, provably, false things about Barack Obama, but this document is part of being a possibly by the most that made major political scandals of our time and, most and in most alarming international relations. You know international issue we've dealt with in a while. Can't you should not be discussed today is a really. I would encourage people who are you to just watch the interview between chock and band about this because I think it kind of gets to both sides of the argument other than it's one point affected fake news: a gets, a both sides. The argument, I think, in a pretty smart, rational way. Yeah and again, I I don't. I don't think it's the easiest call, I think both sides- they are not married here, but I I definitely come down on the on the bus feeds I so then this is right before Trump has his press conference yesterday and what it
this conference, it was so, first of all weird open to the press conference where, in how many White House Press secretary, Sean Spicer comes out and just sort of blasts, the Buzzfeed story, attacks CNN oddly CNN did not publish the document by the way. Cnn just reported that the Intel Chiefs had briefed Obama and Trump so Spicer Trump later Kellyanne Conway on Anderson Cooper, which is quite a ten it's a video if you're going to watch it and Kellyanne Conway Seth Meyers, which is also an awesome interview. I'll just lie lie through their teeth about CNN. To the country that CNN had somehow published fake news published, this document was lying about. This actually nothing! I can set you work for saying, and so you can say this, but I can because I often criticize CNN literally nah think about what CNN had said was false. About this story, and it has now been. It's now been proven to be true because clapper late last night,
director of national intelligence, basically admitted that they had brief trump Obama on this information, and they said they have not made any judgment of the information. The document is reliable, but they said they had brief them, basically because they wanted to give them a quote. The fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security, so clever admitted that they had. You know so. The the the CNN reports that the Trump campaign a director cried is one hundred per accurate. I just thought it was weird that Spicer came out at the beginning like have you ever seen anything like that? No, never and say a couple of things, one it's worth remembering that. The press secretary is supposed to be the media's advocate within the W wing right. It's a balancing act, Roberts, Boobs, Jay, Carney, Josh Turners all had to do that balancing act, but clear that the way you get approval and the Trump World's is shit on the press. So that's going to be his job too,
He hasn't even started yet so and he seems a wound a little too tight for this job. Like I mean the briefings might be if they ever actually happened and are not just a meeting with bright Bart and RT. Will be interesting tv to watch for sure, it was very strange. It's very strange to have a staffer come out before the president to do that, and it's not constructive like it's not. I think I think, like Sean Sopro, like he's, been doing communications in DC for a long time like you. Maybe you may get a pretty good, pat on the back for Trump for doing that, but you're not serving your bosses, long term interest in any way or even as medium term interest in any way shape or form to to handle it. That way, I thought it was yeah, pretty unprofessional and pretty dumb pretty dumb. Well so I mean it was sort of like the first in a series of attacks on the press during that press conference in Trump got up and he called Buzzfeed NEWS, a filling pile
garbage. He really and then he then he started to then Jim Acosta from CNN as a question, and he basically refuses to answer Jeff question and says pony just says, you're fake news and shuts him down, which was pretty It was also pretty scary to the fact that, like here question. He didn't want and Trump just said, no you're, not getting a question. You've done and then answer the question from Breit Bart. I thought that to the next person was was bright, part yeah. I know he went to, he went. He went extra bright, but reporter that's a that's one of the many advantages of having basically state sponsored media is that you can turn to them in times like this yeah no kidding. What do you think about the Acosta thing I think like, as you point out, I'ma see net contributor,
so I work with Jim CNN had to mean he had to try to get a question in like that. Was the right thing to do. I think there are times when reporters are incredibly obnoxious about getting their questions asked incredible. This, and they do not serve themselves or their readers. Are there public? Well, I don't think this is one of those cases. I think if the President The future press are to their essays and the President Elect has just wide about your news organization. You should do what you can to ask a question about that like that is the. That is the right thing to do in the scary. There some scary things about this about the future, which is according to a
STAT Sean Spicer, threaten to kick him out. If you try to ask another question right, so that seems to be seems fairly suppressive and then a republican member of Congress from Texas today said that anyone ask questions like that, should not be allowed to at the White House or and press cameras like that, like you get it like, we were getting to it. There are real hints at dangerous levels, authoritarianism and how Trump and his team are going to handle the press and the problem the press has like you treated if Trump did that to a reporter. Someone should ask that report so much. I I understand actually did happen later, that it did. Porter asked the question and yes, the cost of what it which is good, but the problem the press has. Is they don't have the same collective entry?
just so there's sort of in this together, but there are also competing with each other at the same time and they're competing over ever dwindling, pi and so like in a smart world, the press would figure out, they would come together and try to come up with ways so that 'cause, they all benefit from a certain number of questions being asked about how to do that in a smart way and how to stand up for each other but their competitive instincts with each other, prevent them from organizing themselves in a way that would do that, which is This is life, I guess not it's life, although I I do think if they want to survive this era, and they want to you know they want actually get trump to answer stuff. They're gonna have to be creative and what they do and possibly put some of their competitive differences aside. You know I mean I was a couple things. I think the press could do in future press conferences or they might what what they might have learned from this press conferences like do you know what I was saying is if someone doesn't get a question. The next reporters ask the question.
Multi part questions with Trump. I got a great idea. I never thought multi multi part questions with Obama. We're never really great idea. Like you ask you try to get in like four questions at once, and then it all becomes sort of jumbled Obama would at least go back and try to remember what all the questions were in answer them. Trump just basically will blow through the multi park. Russian and just say one thing and then move on. You know I don't know why this is so hard for the press to learn, like Obama would often times do it because he likes to give very fulsome answers at press conferences, but other times he wouldn't right like right it. You are setting yourselves up for failure. If you give a person who controls the microphone through three different questions to answer where they can pick how they're going to allocate the three minutes are going to spend on it. You know you and I
and a lot of interviews, if you ask me a multi part question, I will start with the part of the question. I want to answer and hope you forget about the other part, and so just ask a one part question and then he'd force the person being interviewed to answer that question right. It's yeah and also like questions with We need answers right like yes or no confirm deny like not not like you know what about your gas type because if you ask a specific question, can you confirm that any knowledge that members of your team talk to Russia. I'm just make everything question yes or no right and then, if he doesn't answer it, you can say you didn't answer my question. If you answer ask three vague questions, it's pretty hard to follow up yeah, as opposed to like what do you about allegations that some of your team met with Russia, which is uh
the style of some of these questions? What do you think about reports that you know like he never asked what he thinks about stuff, treating the president like a pundit? It's just it's a it's! Not a good use any time, and I would always be in you know what drives me crazy about it, your friends with at and would demand a press conference. So we have a press conference in to be about your question the same questions they would have asked David Axelrod. He was on meet the press. Yes, let's get to some of Trump's answers on the rush, Steph. You basically finally admitted that Russia was responsible for the hacking, which he hadn't done in a long time, probably call that fake news a half a dozen times he did. He brought a Wikileaks to argue that the leak was a good thing that the leaks. You know that the big from Wikileaks for good thing in the campaign, and then he also cited Russia's denial about the compromising for may shun as a defense, which seems odd. The other thing I mean he was so I mean the answers were insane and
people who say did. He give a good performance, as I think political playbook did this morning if someone politico yeah display, but that's it that's an insane approach. Right, like you are, have we lowered the threshold for of expectations, sort of Trump's so low that literally drooling, not drooling on himself is success. Well, this is my problem. Is like people think that, because everyone go the election wrong, that the way to get things right is to think the opposite of everything that you feel in your gut. So if you look at, if you look at that press conference and think that it was a complete disaster, thing to do is be like no, it worked like a charm, you know I mean it could have, but there's There's not necessarily evidence that it was a good performance. I mean the reason I tweeted that about political this morning, because there was some color to some trump voter called up Minnesota public radio. This morning was like. I voted for Trump uncertain about my vote.
That was just the most awful performance I've ever seen. It was pathetic. Well, you know this. This trump voter was complaining about it. You're, like you I want to ask people about what they thought about the performance first and it's also. The judgment of success or failure is not in how much his poll numbers may go up in the next five to seven minutes right, hey Freddie, told a bunch of lies or come back to haunt him. Sean Spicer declare that Trump had never met Carter page, you didn't know who he was. He was one of that in this report. Europe you referenced were on people who who was seen as a potential intermediary between the Trump campaign. An russian intelligence. Yet Trump, specifically named Carter, page in the Washington Post Editorial Board as one of his foreign policy advisors who are helping him on matters, he told LISA back to haunt him. He made mistakes from Mahanam he he based. Please set out an impossible standard for Obamacare repeal and replace
yeah. Let's talk about that 'cause, I thought that was. That was an interesting response here, so he he basically said that there will be no re. Dylan Delay that he wants to replace it place. Obamacare PA police simultaneously, and then he will have a and to do so when his in Human Services Secretary Tom Price is confirmed. This is going be a tricky one right there there is. You cannot reply. Republicans without democratic votes, can repeal Obama CARE and are trying head down that path right now. They cannot replace Obamacare without Democrat quotes unless they eliminate the filibuster which two thousand and seventeen nothing is out of the question, but even if they did nuke the filibuster, an put her Obama CARE replacement plan in Place, Trump's promise to not cut Medicare, to not cut Medicaid, to have a tour.
Trick replacement that ensures everyone that makes Obama care cheaper. That makes a health insurance cheaper. That makes premiums go down. That is next to impossible to do. If he follows any of the plans Republicans have put forward, including zone plan in the campaign. Now it is actually it's not next to impossible. It is absolutely fucking impossible. It cannot be done. There is no way in which it can happen, and even if it could, you could not do it. In a month it took us almost a year to get affordable care act bill to be voted on in demac, So I've been working on that project for forty fucking years so like the Republicans, have been saying there and come up with the repeal with replace plan every year for the last six years and every year they have not done. It
is not possible and the reason is not possible is because, because of the, how the conservative, the democratic caucus in the Senate was when we had sixty vote, the plan that could pass is the essentially the republican plan for Universal Health care right. It is the plan Republicans used at the basis of that plan is a plan Republicans used as their alternative in the nineties against a single payer plan, and so there is not something to the right of Obamacare. If that involves that can work and the specific things they have talk about particularly the most popular part of the affordable care act, is getting rid of the band on pre existing conditions. Right. You cannot deny someone health care, because I pre existing condition for existing conditions can be anything including pregnancy and both are part by far. The only way to do that is with
essentially universal coverage where people are for. You need the mandate to do that and so that will go away under every republican plan. The it will throw the insurance markets into chaos, health care costs will go up and fewer people will be insured and many many many of those people are Trump Vote yeah, which is why that's the are so nervous about this. I mean David, so yeah other things we talk about that. That matter to. It is right to me and again like we don't to be the prediction business anymore, but look there are a lot of people under almost any one of these republican plans or every one of these republican that we've seen so far would lose their millions of people who lose their health insurance, millions of people who would not be paying lower premiums. In many cases higher premiums, so I just I don't know we're going to do here now. This again- and I said this on monday- this is not to say that there are not plenty of improvements to
We made on the affordable care act on Obama care. You can have more competition, some of these markets, so that premiums and deductibles aren't as high. You know with a public option, you can make sure people are paying less for their health care by increasing the subsidies that a lot of people are getting. You can expand Medicaid and some of the states that it's not hasn't been expanded so that more people are covered. Who are low income plenty of ways to improve this bill, but that so far we haven't seen any proposals to that effect from any members of the Republican Congress or the Trump administration. There is no question that then we knew this going in and it's probably even harder than we thought about the politics of health care, of passing, a law to give people access to healthcare or really hard yeah right people. Healthcare is a very personal issue. Most people have healthcare through their employers, so it doesn't affect them directly but gives them fear of what could happen. It is very very hard to do
and it was the right thing to do. When I will argue till the day I die that you get elected, you build up your approval rating, so you can help people and you should spend your political capital and giving healthcare to twenty million. People is a pretty hard to think of a better use of political capital in that. But the politics of taking healthcare away from people are ten times worse than the politics of passing the affordable care act. I mean you some of the things they're amazing. Do you think you think get over the ban on pre existing conditions? Getting rid of you taking just pure with a healthier way from Trump's base, seems problematic. Repealing the affordable care act, blows up the deficit and gives a he gets. A big tax cut. Seven million dollar tax cut the some of the richest people in America like they're being it is a
and campaign ads waiting to be made, and you can say that once it happens, they'll just lie and say: I know it's better and you know they will be this whole debate again. Fake news, real news, publicans lie and say it's great. We say it's bad, but the difference here is that people are going. Feel this in their own lives. When you who's health care, it doesn't match what the news reports say, or what Republicans or Democrats say: you're not going to have health care anymore and you're going to be upset and it's going to be potentially life threatening and that's you know it's a god. So what do you? What do you think the best route is here for opposite into this? We talked a little bit about this on Monday and you know I was sort of identifying some of the red state editors or some of the senators who are up in twenty eighteen republican senators would probably have the most competitive races like Flake and Heller. I think it's probably also worth people calling and petitioning senators in red states or centers and other competitive states in twenty eighteen, like the Joe mansions of the world, Joe Manchin, who
present state in West Virginia, where you know a disproportionate people are on Medicaid right, like can't even is conservative and right, sometimes is Joe Mansion is, I can't imagine him wanting to cut back on Medicaid for people. So what do you think about like sort of the best path for resistance here? I think it is one. You are right, there is a certain set of target states and it's a twenty eighteen states in its the moderate Republicans Republicans moderate is using air quotes right now, so she uses them. See that people who are going to find themselves in part in Is it s somewhere between the Democrats and drop right? That could be LISA, Makowski or people like that, because you got to keep this under or you get the chance to keep this under fifty. If we can keep all the demo together. So definitely we should let every Democrat know that
anything less than the Standard Brock Obama set out about coverage and cost in his speech is unacceptable to Democrats and there is a price to pay at the polls and what we, ideally, if you know, a independent, a republic and a Trump voter who cares about this issue when you can get them to communicate with a member that, I think, is particularly compelling yeah. I voted for Trump by you know when you can see that in states like Kentucky where, which is why the more success has been the most successful state based, affordable care, ACT's exchanges- and
you know, went by- I don't know a hundred points to troubled and it's either a lot of people suffer. Then you get in that. We did it and I think, as a party like work in the Democratic Party, do not just the average citizen, but the every Democrat Party can give the average citizen the tools they need. They need to be active this year. One is a compelling, an agreed upon reasonable sounding message on this, that we all echo- and I hope it flows from the president said on Tuesday night. Yes, the second is we as a party. If we
find ways to highlight these voters who would suffer, who were Trump phone, they may be, if you know the new soccer moms or bomb a truck footers people running for about a twelve and Trump in sixteen. You know for the Democratic Party press ordination find those voters who who will talk about the cost of losing health care and elevate, those voices and paid media and free media. You know have videos that people can share on Facebook. You know that's, I think, that's a lot of where we talk a lot in terms of citizen activism, about calling your member and that any member that is very valuable because it's shocking, but it actually works because it effects the daily lives of the staffers. It will help the members make these visions, but also you know if you see stories about, maybe I don't know written by Krooked media about the bad
The effects of repealing the affordable care act share those on social media make sure your friends and family see those. Let people know use your role as an influencer in your network to inform people about the actual accounts with you. Everyone has to be a bulwark against the fake news. Dis information prop at a campaign that the right has gotten very good at very quickly. Yes, exactly and don't let it like the spirit you and say: oh, it is impossible to get any kind of message through because of you know what they do all the time. You're right I mean stories still have power, and these are huge stakes for millions of people and I actually think that we, we have pretty good fighting chance here to to stop this from happening. Okay, when we come back, we will have ambassador normalizing on to talk all about ethics and the Trump administration we didn't get to that part of the press conference, but we're saving it all for norm, so will have normal next
you're listening to pod, save America with Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, John Lovett and Tommy V tour with us on the pod. Today we have pastor Norm Eisen, who was the former Obama special counsel for eh six ways to call you the ethics czar norm well with the program. Thank you, John Hi Dan hey norm. Now. What do you think of that trump? Presser yesterday did he do everything you would hope for it to comply with ethics rules or what it was one of the worst things my ethics eyes have ever seen. I laid out a five part score card the day before we did it the day before 'cause we didn't want to be accused of moving the goalpost. It was by Paul, isn't it was Maine the Bush era, ethics, czar painter, Richard Painter and America's premier, constitutional scholar, Laree tribe
and Trump got an f on all five classes. On his report card, we said he had to break ownership. Interests like every president is done for four decades. He held on to all of his ownership interests. We said he's to set up a blind trust. Joji says, is the policy of the federal government. Again, everybody has done it since Carter, Blind Trust or the equivalent. No e reviews to do that. He put his kids in charge, which is the opposite of the independent trustee that we wanted to be able to have faith in an independent professional with no connection to Donald Trump. It's the biggest know now put a kid in as a trustee in a blind trust. Fourth, perhaps the biggest- and this is going to create huge legal exposure for him, he's going to be violating the constitution, because he didn't do anything significant about his foreign government
payments and other benefits so emoluments we prohibited under the constitution because they can distort a huge you guys were both my clients when I was the White House. Ethics are so you know that I'm pretty tough on this stuff. What he did was a joke. It violate the constitution and- and finally, we ask for a strong ethics firewall, a big beautiful wall to screen off his families. Interest e set up in ethics. If it's like an ethics calendar, you could dream spaghetti through his plan. So It's a total fail you for that. That was good. Well, so, let's, let's go through some of the some of the things you just talked about. I want to start with the the emoluments issue, because you know his lawyer, Trump's lawyer, at the press conference yesterday made this argument that well
foreign government is paying to stay in one of the Trump hotels. It's like there. Sing a hotel bill. It's fair market value that couldn't have been with the emoluments clause meant an now he's donating any of the profits from foreign It's staying in hotels back to the Us Treasury. So I heard a few people after that be like. Well, I don't know that sounds pretty good. Isn't that isn't that clearing it up? So what's the problem with the quasi salute and that Trump's lawyer announced yesterday, so the solution is we're going to take the what she said was we're going to. They have an existing bookkeeping system which they purport tracks: foreign government payments at their home wells and at the end of year, they're going to return the profits from these hotel rooms. There's a lot of problems with that number one. There's
ever been this distinction where the recipient has been allowed to say all this part of what the foreign government gave me is profit. This part is to cover my overhead. On the contrary, there's a long line of all of the opinions of it say you shouldn't make that distinction. Anything that comes from a foreign government has got to be screened out. Two. This only applies his hotels. The guy has huge condos apartments properties he's what about the other sevi selling to foreign governments he's. A real estate developer, an he these marketer of his name. So, on the real estate side, he requires loans, some of which are from foreign governments. He's got a big one from the Bank of China any Requ. This permits, both of those are constitutionally prohibited emoluments at my name. It means anything of value and then red marks on the licensing side he's applied for dozens of those since deciding to run for
president around the world. Those are emoluments. So this way, as you know, what totally inadequate and look- I'm not guys know that I'm an ethics hard ass, ok useful for that. In my ethics training, I I started the present. I was just with the president and he was joking about the advice I gave him if it's fun, you can't do it have tongue in cheek, because we had some fun too ok, but we had ethical fund in the White House. This guy, that was an alternative plugin for us, he's gone way over the edge and it's not going to stand. The courts are not going to allow him to do this. So what happens then? Well, I expect that there is going to be litigation pretty promptly into his administration, because the courts aren't independent branch of government, their due jealous of their own perogative seriously. Are they going to allow a president to be in naked blade
in violation of the constitution, and this is not a harmless violation? The guy he's getting these huge forbidden for in government payments, so I think there's going to be a court case, and I I think he's going to find himself embroiled in uh in litigation. It'll get into discovery, maybe when we're in discovery will finally get his tax returns, but I don't think the courts are going to stand for, I'll tell you what else I think FBI and the career foreign corruption prosecutors that public corruption section of Doj. These are not political people they're going to start looking at it like two billion dollar offer. He got from Dubai over weekend once he's in office, people are going to say gee. Why was that offered? What was your reaction? Was there a quid pro quo with somebody trying to influence government, so the executive branch will get involved. I think up Congress will feel the police
elite when the scandal start to flow, and, finally, I think the state attorneys general they have authority to enforce the constitution. I think you're going see them come to the table as well, so he's opening a needless can litigation hurt on himself his family and, what's worse, the White House switch? We all love the institution. We were privileged to serve together and the country. What a shame I'm sorry, I didn't vote for him, but truly I'm sorry he's taken this choice norm. Give us a scenario where some I'm doing business with the Trump organization could gain access or exam influence over the Trump administration, because of these lacks rules because, I think sometimes in people's head. They here like there's a lot. At least it seems This could be right for corruption, but like what? How could this make difference in my life? How could this actually hurt policy that could hurt real people? Well,
as we don't have to look any further than what's been going on in the transition where you have the family members who are blurring this line right there sitting I mean, can you imagine in art condition if we had allowed Sasha and Malia to sit in meetings and do deals, we've been processes, there were eighty, but any of the any of the aisle prodigy. You see members steps million miles away from the way we or both Odm, restaurations have done business and the danger, when you have an avanca sitting there in a meeting with the japanese Prime Minister, while she's doing business in Japan. When you have the suns sitting in meetings with the leading business executives of the country, the danger is that Trump is doing deals to benefit himself and he's hurting the people he's taking the value away from the people that he was elected to help, including some of the people who suffered the worst in our
country in recent years today there media reports, for example- and this is totally unprecedented- that he's meeting with Att about the merger that they want to do, and some in the press are speculating he's doing it to get back at CNN. That is guarantee these mergers will have a huge effect on all our lives. That can't be the subject of his corrupt intentions or his petty vendettas. So the point is he's going to he's, going to siphon off he's going to do things to benefit himself that hurt the rest of Us Norwood about so obviously Trump has a lot of challenges. What about some of his staff and advisers like today, he announced Rudy Giuliani is going to be in charge of a task force. Carl Icahn, who has obviously a lot of financial interests around the world, is going to be at the you know. The regulations are: are these people in legal jeopardy. Other things trump can do to insulate them. By undoing some of the rules, you wrote like that process managed Well Dan.
The icon example that you point to is a good one. I want to contrast it 'cause. I don't only want to be negative. I want to contrast it with Jerrod Jared, Kushner, pain or, and I everything I've tried to do on this- is bipartisan. 'cause people obviously know I'm associated with President Obama, with the Democratic Party I'm proud of having worked for the president work with both of you and the incredible accomplishments that this is ministration's achieved? I make no secret about that. One of the things I'm very proud of I know was: do call for everybody. Hurt me more than it hurt. You guys scan, feel free white house. When is the Last time we had eight years Trump's been in transition a little over eight weeks. He said more scandal and we had in eight years in the White House 'cause of these very tough rules. So take the icon example than it is going to not only hurt icon, it's going to hurt Trump and it's going to hurt the country I could. One comes in? They have a pre.
This release. They give him an official title. They give him broad, sweeping responsibilities as a special adviser. I believe to the president for regulatory matters. They claim is not a government employees just an informal adviser that is not the law. It makes no sense is blurring lines. It appears now gotta see what happens, maybe they'll back off, which they sometimes do when there's a public outcry, blurring lines. How does that hurt people? First of all, icon if he gay it's inside information, he's going to be exposed to insider trading liability if he trades on it. We know we left Trump's victory party to put a billion dollars in play in the stock market. Two trump is liable now, after the passage of the stock ACT, Trump is Bible for insider trading. If he gay information to icon icon and goes out and trades on it number three is going to be add brothers who may be involved. It's going to be a scandal for the White House. It's going to be a distraction for the country. Again, it takes trump
from doing the things he he said he would do helping the people here in turn, on a platform of draining the swamps, he's flooding it now I'm going to tell you what I really think there is one for holding back going forward, How do we monitor instances of corruption in the Trump administration right? Are we totally relying on the press here? Is that there's going to be litigation? How do you think this plays out as we go forward, because obviously a lot of this is going to be sort of secret? That's how they set up the laws. You know we live in a world now and the three of us live through this in our governments. This is the transformation of the world to world of no secrets I mean well, he started out, I remember, being part of the group that advises the president, whether or not he could use his black berry when he went into the White House. The things that have happened since with the
explosion of social media, the proliferation of smartphones in other ways, to take people to show your volume of the leaks, the Insta nature of news, the role of whistleblowers, stepping up people who see or hear things and move forward publicly with it. I don't think it's going to be possible to hide stuff here's how here's some ways that I think things will come out. One trump himself is not very good at concealing things I mean I got tell you you know. If I who is lawyer, I would I have advised him necessarily to advertise that two billion dollar offer he received as part of this press conference. My eyes popped out on my end. He was pretty proud. He was pretty proud. He turned down the bride, his proclivity for inadvertent transparency,
but more than that, I think you're going to see it's been a pretty leaky trump tower already. You know this is not the group of us who were there from day, one on the Obama campaign, with the bonds of loyalty to the president and to each other and the pretty free white House that we managed to operate you're going to see a very really keep or it's a gang of rivals and iv. One iv van. Thinks he can get a leg up on previous. That stuff is going to be leaked out. We've already seen some of that coming out of Trump Tower, very, very leaky, the This is all over this, and not just in the United States, but globally. You know we're in this instantaneous connectivity, so that like the India story that Trump had met with his India Business partners that was pulled off a of indian media and sent back to the United States. So
so I think you're going to see global stuff. Alot of for you, there's just been the Freedom of Information ACT. That's the way you demand information from the government administration supported president signed into law. The Foy Improvements act recently, so there's four is going to be more robust than ever organization that I founded that I've now gone back to as chair of the board crew. The government watchdog group is busy doing foyer request. Many many others are doing the same, so foil be another vehicle and then this litigation he's opening up is also going to produce discovery, and so I don't think guy you know maybe they'll even be a Snowden who pops up to do for Trump's tax returns. What does Snowden did with the NSA information? So I don't think you going to be able to hide it. We've never been able to hide scandal since forget it always comes out, and it's not going to be a pretty picture.
So that's well will end on that hopeful note norm. Thank you for thank you for all the years of ethical fund in the White House. We really appreciate you, I'm glad. I had no assets or business interests when you were in charge of our ethics, so it was easy for Jaden. I you well, I tried to impoverish you guys as completely as I could of all the president that we all serve totally committed to this stuff and that's made a day prince in having the most scandal free White House. In my turn, presidential history. That's an accomplishment we should all be proud of. This is normalizing, knocking on wood. We have seven days left, so I think we'll make it through the last seven days. Pfeiffer fingers crossed best normalize and thank you for joining and we will talk again. Ok, bye, bye,
thanks again to ambassador normalizing for joining us today and again, go on tell your friends to sign up for pod, save America rate in the Itunes store or wherever you get podcasts and- and we will see you again on Monday by guys talk everyone next week.
Transcript generated on 2019-10-14.