tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg September 7, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we begin this evening with politics. the presidential campaign enters its final stretch with just 62 days until the election. a new cnn poll has trump leading clinton among likely voters or 43%.ters, 45% to that is a national poll. clinton holds a comfortable lead in swing staples such as pennsylvania and florida. they will face off on september 26 in three weeks. joining me now, the stars of
"the circus." so many jobs for so many talented people. i am pleased to have them back at my table. >> most important table in america. charlie: give me a snapshot, how do we say there is a national poll in which trump among likely voters and the small party candidates included is leading 45% to 42%? fareed: we can say it that the race is close and we have given -- and given all the things that happened in august, there was so much damage that it was unrecoverable and clinton was on her way to a landslide victory. this poll and others suggest that the race is tight.
and hillary clinton has substantial structural advantage in the battleground states that she is going to be the favorite to win the next election at that donald trump will make a race out of it. given that month he had it is margin of error, suggesting there should be no breathing easy in brooklyn. charlie: is it a dead heat or is that erroneous? john: those are in the margin of error. statistically they are ties. guest: any democrat would come in with structural advantages because of their dominance in the vote. she is an experienced, cautious, careful, hard-working candidate. it is kind of extraordinary given how horrible trumps august was -- trump's august was that he is in but this is an electric that is looking for change. -- an electorate that is looking for change. it has been a comment on how much he has been emphasizing jobs in the economy. something republicans wanted him to talk about for months rather than lawsuits and trump
university, rather than attacking goldstar families. the danger is if he does well in the first debate and the expectations will be lower than for her. the pressure will be on democrats. i do not think trump and his team will feel very much pressure as compared to what she will feel as the noose tightens if this race is close come the fall. let's face it, while trump has been an uneven candidate he is a great performer. she is not. presidential politics, it frustrates the clinton people to no end, performance matters. charlie: is he that best campaigner since bill clinton? guest: he has since bill clinton. if you look at the achievement of winning the nomination with ritually no staff, spending virtually no money, a guy who would never run for anything before that visit an extraordinary achievement by a
guy who show best political skills before bill clinton just in achieving that. since then i am open to seeing the new data. he has been a horrendous candidate. many things, i thought he would think -- instantly switch to talk about the economy and jobs and switches demeanor. -- and switch his demeanor. i thought he would execute it because we have seen flashes of it. and so no, i would no longer say he is that great because i have looked at the totality of his career in politics, a year-and-a-half and the first part was stunning, a stunning achievement and he is lucky that she has got so many problems with so many american to. -- who do not trust her that he is in this, he is behind but he is in it. because there are some structural things on the other side that work to his advantage. charlie: when we look at the answers to the questions it leads to the question of absence of transparency, caution, and perhaps bordering on full disclosure. mark: if there was a most
valuable player it would be james comey for putting that report out on a friday afternoon before a holiday weekend. there are so many things in that report that are damming on their face and so many questions raised, but the nature of a holiday weekend and we are in the midst of other things. charlie: isn't that our responsibility -- mark: we should be digging in but there are questions in there that will never get the attention they should have gotten and i find it stunning that the fbi director who'd bragged about his fidelity to the two transparency would choose to put it out. charlie: you have three political programs. mark: it is difficult when you have 72 hours of sunshine to bury it under. charlie: when you look at her and you look at the emerging
constituencies -- the obama constituencies -- they are all coming her way. john: not all. not all of them not with the level of enthusiasm she might like. i want to say a few things about what mark said. i take some exception to the view that trump was an amazing performer. he was a very charismatic guy. he also was helped enormously in the republican nomination by the weakness of the field. we do not disagree with that. he had enormous luck in terms of not being faced by one single opponent who was willing to take him on in a sustained way. he made a lot of mistakes, no one was able to make him pay a price for those mistakes. he has we agree, he has been horrible as a general election candidate in a lot of ways not only doing think -- things we think are objectionable, saying things that are on their face racist, attacking a gold star family, he has made a huge number of mistakes in the one place where i think that the
clinton campaign and i think we agree about this, where the clinton campaign has a point which is that donald trump has been judged by a much too loose and certainly much looser standard on a lot of the stories than hillary clinton has. he right now is involved in a scandal at least were questions are being raised about pay for play accusations related to the attorney general where he gave a campaign contribution to her when she was diverting on whether to go after him on a lawsuit. she says that but my point is that that story which the prima facie evidence points to more than anything that has happened with the clinton foundation. the clinton foundation is a subject worthy of a lot of her knee and she is worthy of a lot of criticism but they are right when they say trump on a variety of fronts -- there are so many things he has done that are potential areas of scandal controversy that the press skated over all of them.
part of what is keeping him aloft right now is that although people often on television criticize trump for various indiscretions and various things he said that are controversial or inappropriate, it is the case that no one has really been, really focused with the degree of intensity and the degree of intensity or pervasiveness on many of the things that are problematic in his career. his connections with russia, his tax returns, etc. than they have on the if you -- issues about her. he has benefited from that. charlie: do you notice any discernible difference in his campaign because of the change when matt forte left -- when men afford left and steve came in. mark: if you look at his outreach, the outreach he has done to minority voters, two
weeks of talking to african-americans, not necessarily always in their presence but talking about wanting african american votes, trying to assuage their concerns -- the concerns of college-age white women, that is a kellyanne conway production. she is focused on understanding that trump needs to do better with a certain set of normally -- certain subset of normally republican voters. john: i do not think that they are things that paul may object to. i think they're all consistent with the campaign strategy and tactics he wanted. charlie: the message was essentially economic and change. mark: and to find ways to appeal to the base of the republican party and the center of the electorate and selectively and to his advantage.
they have more of an ability to get trump to execute, implementation -- she is a pollster, she is someone who understands the use of language. i think that the election, i have wrong about a lot but this is one thing i think i am still write about -- right about. i've always said trump will win if americans see him as an acceptable president. the whole contest has been you -- are you an acceptable president? so much of the clinton effort in advertising and out of hillary clinton's own mouth is to say here are the 50 reasons this guy is not an acceptable president. charlie: he would win if he is seen as acceptable because you believe people are looking for an option to her. mark: also change in a new direction in washington and the economy. it is hard to see given what hillary clinton is proposing as compared to the last 50 years of
democratic orthodoxy and the current president that she is someone who would fundamentally change how we are trying to help americans create jobs. he has created so many new problems for himself and be -- in being acceptable, he brings with him decades of history that the clintons and the democrats have effectively put out there to say this is why he is unacceptable. the main reason the first debate is so important, if he can come across as acceptable, not best president ever, not our -- far and away my first choice of anyone in america, but he is acceptable, we want change. charlie: we can trust him in the office. john: in fact, that sort of suggests that the trajectory of the race is more in trump's hands than in her hand. in the end if using about the structural advantages she has, the battleground state advantages, the financial advantages, the operational advantages, all those advantages and all the ammunition that trump has given her. all the things he said that
would be disqualifying for almost anybody else who was the nominee. if she executes and runs a good campaign, is a good candidate, she should win this race. charlie: if she executes it will it trump his ability to transform itself -- himself into an etc. candidate? john: he made john kerry acceptable. john kerry did not clear the bar for enough of americans. he did that in part by energizing people to say we cannot let john kerry in the white house. barack obama did the same thing against mitt romney. you look at the economic conditions, he made mitt romney unacceptable. we are seeing the same thing. hillary clinton will lose if she does not make donald trump unacceptable but she had her team with trumps eight and -- with trump's aid and
assistance have done a fantastic job of until now making the discussion more days than not in all reasons why you cannot trust donald trump to be president. he has got time to make himself acceptable. what gives the people and the clinton camp the most comfort i would say second to none is the number of americans who are -- who have already decided he is unacceptable and are so unlikely to change their mind. charlie: great to see you. back in a moment. ♪
charlie: bryan stevenson is here. he is a public interest lawyer who has dedicated his life to fighting racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. his efforts have focused on putting a spotlight on the legacy of slavery in america. his nonprofit equal justice initiative has saved 125 death row prisoners from execution. he has won a landmark supreme court ruling that held mandatory life without parole sentences for minors is unconstitutional. the organization plans to open the first and largest memorial honoring the thousands of victims of lynching in the united states. that will happen next year. the project includes a museum that will explore the road from slavery to the current era of mass incarceration. both will be located in summary, -- in montgomery alabama --
montgomery, alabama. i am pleased to have brian stephenson back at this table. welcome. when you went to montgomery, did you see unfurling this career that you have had? did you burn with the fire to do what you have done? bryan: i did not see everything that would come. i grew up in a poor rural community where i saw the anguish of racial exclusion. we lived in a black settlement and we could not go to the public schools and i know the way people internalize that hurt. i saw people you million needed -- i saw people humiliated by segregation and jim crow. that desire to see things change was very real but i had no idea that things would develop as they did. i went there at a time when you could still have a conversation with rosa parks who moved to detroit that would come back and there were these icons of the civil rights movement in my ear. i have been hopeful that we could get to the point where we could talk about these issues in a broader context. we have had success in the
criminal justice area. we still have an a numerous amount of work to do. we have had some setbacks but i have now realized that we have to talk about these issues more broadly if we want to see the change. charlie: did you want to have a big life? brian: no. i just wanted to make a difference. i would be very happy -- charlie: that is one big -- one definition of a big life. brian: i am happiest when i could go to the prison and spend time with clients, standing up for people in the courtroom, making the kind of arguments i think need to be made to point to the humanity of every human being. but i did not expect to be in a situation where we had talked more nationally and internationally in these issues. charlie: are we approaching a time in which there is developing a consensus on criminal justice? brian: there is a consensus that we have too many people in prisons. people on the right and left recognize it is going to far. charlie: it is coming on both sides of the political divide.
brian: everyone realizes that putting people in prison for life for simple possession of marijuana or writing a bad check is an inefficient use of government resources, it is punitive, it is harsh, it is unnecessary. we are not advancing public safety when we have hundreds of thousands of people in jails who are not a threat to public safety. we went from $6 billion for jails in 1980 to $80 billion last year. not only are we not helping in the public safety space we are undermining funding for education and for health and human services and for a lot of the things that the rest of society needs. charlie: in so many areas of endeavor, we are a shining light. but not in criminal justice. brian: not in criminal justice and that is in part because we have allowed ourselves to be a little distracted by the politics of fear and anger. we have allowed ourselves to buy
into narratives rooted in fear and rooted in anger. when you are afraid and when you're angry you will actually tolerate abuse and unfairness and inequality. in the 1970's, political candidates started saying let's be tough on crime. nobody said no, we should not be tough on crime. they all competed with one another over who could be the toughest on crime and it created the political culture where democrats and republicans were looking for ways to show their toughness. charlie: it was also law and order. brian: law and order and tough on crime. we exhausted our ability to guess we went to other spaces and said drug addiction and dependency, that is not a health problem, that is a crime problem and we did not do that for alcoholism. we said alcoholism was a disease. it would not cross her mind if we saw someone who was in a college to -- who was an alcoholic who went into a bar to call the police. we have sent hundreds of thousands of people to jails and
prisons but that phenomenon i think is related to this history of racial inequality. i think if we had done better in recognizing the problems of the genocide when native people were slaughtered by the millions, if we developed a consciousness that said wait a minute, we made a mistake, we need -- we have created this horrific consequence for native people in this country, we would have thought differently but we did not. we went past that genocide and then we enslaved people for centuries and while we ultimately recognized that slavery was wrong, we did not account for all the damage that was done, we never talked about the ideology of white supremacy that emerged. we did not appear the damage that was done by insulating -- by enslaving human beings. we fought the civil war -- charlie: and making them property.
brian: that led them to this era of terrorism and lynching and the trauma that was created. we have not been very good at owning up to these mistakes and as a result they keep manifesting. charlie: are you suggesting that what happened in south africa, that never happened in slavery and therefore we now have -- we have never come to grips with it? brian: we committed ourselves to truth telling about slavery. we did the opposite. we did not hold the people responsible for slavery accountable. we did not insist on recovery and repair for emancipated people. we abandoned those who were enslaved and we allowed them to sink back in this condition of second slavery. we tolerated convict leasing.
charlie: in a locker room way, what about thomas jefferson? is thomas jefferson, should he be taken out of american history or he should be what? brian: i do not think we should ignore thomas jefferson. charlie: this was a what? brian: there were people who were respectable and that we should honor. there is a cloud over the founding of this country that we could not see, the inhumanity, the inequality inherent in slavery. it does not mean we are condemned, it does not mean we have something destined not have just something to be proud of. -- something to be proud of. we have to own up to it. at some point we have to say slavery was horrific and we think about how we free ourselves and what you cannot do which is what we have done is ignore it. pretend it did not exist, pretend it was not that bad because you add to the victimization. charlie: what is the definition
of pretending it does not exist? brian: pretending is evident when michelle obama gets up at the democratic convention and talks about enslaved people --ling the white house enslaved people building the white house and everyone says that is wrong, that is outrageous, that is crazy. pretending it did not exist is when we say slaves were good -- slaves had a good and they were well fed. that is what you see when you come to the american south. i do not know if many people appreciate the hardships of slavery. we have not done a good job of detailing the hardships and the struggles. charlie: what is necessary to do that? brian: we have to start telling the story. we saw on the big-screen an honest accounting of slavery. we had the film 12 years a slave produced. we had hundreds of other films that told a different story about slavery. again, i can't ignore the fact that the south is littered with the iconography of the confederacy. we have romanticized this period of slavery.
we said it was a great time. we have honored the architect s and defenders of slavery and that suggests we do not really appreciate what we were doing. it would be unconscionable for someone to say, let's make adolf hitler's birthday a national holiday. let's make osama bin laden's birthday a holiday. in many states, we are celebrating these architects and defenders of slavery. there is nothing comparable. charlie: tell me about the museum and what you believe they can begin to do. brian: it will be an 11,000 square foot area, situated 100 meters from one of the most prominent slave auction sites in the american south. it is situated 100 meters from the alabama river where the dock and rail station transported tens of thousands of enslaved people. it will introduce people to the hardships of slavery. there will be warehouses, you will hear the voices of enslaved people through holographic images. we will get slave narratives and
use that language. we will talk about african people being kidnapped and the horrors of bondage. we will have artifacts that present some of that. we will have virtual reality films that will put you on the train went enslaved people were being forced from the upper south to the lower south with all that anxiety about whether they would be able to keep their children or their children would be taken away. we will move from that slavery experience into the era of terrorism. we will try to get people to understand -- charlie: terrorism is the lynching. brian: lynching was not mob justice, it was not mob violence. these lynchings took place in committees where there was a -- in communities where there was a functioning criminal justice system but black people were not deemed good enough to the a defendant. people were not list for accusations of crimes. elizabeth lawrence was lynched because she was an older black woman who was targeted by children who were throwing stones and she chided the children. their parents and the community
got angry and they came to her home and they lynched her. family was lynched because the pastor said the lynching that took place before was wrong. people in mississippi were lynched because they bumped into white people running to the train station and these social transgressions is why they were lynched. you had to have a crisis conference where you decided whether to send your loved one to the north or not because of this fear of lynching and it was so traumatizing. we send people out of the american south with this trauma, with this fear as refugees and exiles. a sit in urban communities where that trauma has not been addressed so for me, you have to understand, we will have a console that has the most comprehensive eight are on lynching in the country. people can see about their
communities and their histories and we will talk about the era of segregation in a slightly different way. we are not interested as interested in the celebratory stories about what heroic people of color did. dr. king and rosa parks. what we are interested in is the intensity of resistance to integration. we want people to see the signs that were put throughout the south that restricted where black could go. -- where black people who go -- black people could go. we want them to see the statutes that legislated bodies created because we tend to demonize the architects of racism, we want all races to be members of the klan and it would be convenient if that is where they lived but that is not where they lived. we have members of the legislature creating these documents and these doctrines to burden the people of color. until you understand the intensity of resistance to integration, you cannot understand why we are still dealing with racial bias in this country. if you understand this history you would be foolish to think that the civil rights act or the voting rights act was sufficient to end this history of racial inequality. you would recognize that people are still going to try to
undermine black people. charlie: you said i'm not persuaded that we would eliminate the problems in the education system and employment system unless we change the narrative of racial difference that we have all accepted. bryan: i think that is right. we are infected by this narrative. it is wrong what we are doing to our children. charlie: what is important to change the narrative so we can look at that as a lodestar? bryan: we have made progress on issues like domestic violence. 50 years ago, domestic violence was seen as a joke. the honeymooners was a comedy show where people would joke about, men would joke about hitting their wives, there was something that we tolerated about the violence and abuse that women suffered in the home. that narrative began to shift. we still have a long way to go. but now you see sports leagues that are taking action against
athletes because it is becoming unacceptable to tolerate, to look the other way with that the narrative. in the environmental context we have seen that. there was a time when we thought spraying cans and consuming fossil fuels was the only way that we could use energy. we have realized that is destroying the planet and we are shifting. we have recyclable bins, we talk about green energy, we talk about doing things that are going to protect us, that is a shift rooted in an understanding that the narratives that we grew up with that what is healthy and acceptable have to change. we have not done that in the racial justice space. we have looked for shortcuts. we said if we let jackie robinson play baseball, we will be ok. if we let black people play basketball, that will be ok. you cannot have a magic pill. charlie: has this president done all that he can in your judgment? bryan: i do not think he started
his term wanting to be a black president. trying to address these issues. i think he actually wanted to be the opposite. as he has persisted in this presidency, he has recognized that he is being perceived as a black president and we have to talk about these issues more broadly. so he has done some things particularly in the last couple years that are really positive. i think all presidents should be doing more on this issue. i also think we cannot look to our presidents to solve the problem. we have to have our governors and mayors and communities and school boards and educators and our grassroots being active. this is not something that one person can solve and that is why we are starting with the museum and a memorial in a community with hope we can bring people to it. charlie: what is this? bryan: that is the memorial. it is a massive structure that sits on a rise in montgomery, alabama. charlie: why montgomery? are you from montgomery? bryan: montgomery was the cradle of the confederacy. it was where in many ways
resistance to ending slavery, it was a place where terror was widespread, it was the birthplace of the civil rights movement. montgomery is a perfect place because if anything, we have got to tell the stories in the spaces where they happened and we have got to do it in places where there is going to be some resistance. charlie: was there any resistance to this idea in montgomery, alabama? bryan: we are in the early days of getting public. i am sure there will be some resistance. but those columns are representative of thousands of people who were lynched. charlie: how many columns? bryan: 800 columns for every county in america where lynching took place and the names will be engraved on each column and you will go into this place and the floor will sink and the columns will rise and you will stand underneath these suspended items. charlie: what is that? bryan: those are jars of soil collected from lynching sites. we started a community
remembrance project where we went into communities and invited people to go to lynching sites where they collect soil and they put it in a jar and the jar has the name of the victim and the date of the lynching. they reflect on that and we have been collecting these for quite some time. it has been empowering to see community members respond to this opportunity. to get closer to this legacy of lynching. charlie: that is a different view. bryan: we will duplicate each of the columns inside the memorial so the 800 columns with counties and names will be duplicated and they will be outside of the memorial. we will ask people from the counties to come and claim their memorial. we will construct them, but they are to be placed in counties all of this country because we think while this national memorial will fit in montgomery, it ought to exist all around the country. and it will be important for people in these communities to own up to this history.
and i hope that teachers and churches and readers will say, we need to go claim the monument for the lynching victims from our county and put it in our county. and that kind of activism, that kind of responsiveness gives everyone an opportunity to participate in this. the other thing we are doing is putting up markers at lynching sites. one thing that i hope will happen is that when we put up these markers that police chiefs and sheriffs will come to the market indications. and i want the sheriffs and police chiefs in their uniform to say, i'm sorry that the people wearing this uniform did not protect you 100 years ago, 80 years ago, i am sorry they did not do that. and i want them to know, they have the opportunity to say, i'm sorry for what they didn't do, but i'm here to tell you i will protect you. i am wearing the uniform now and we are here to protect the people. it will not cost money, it will not take time but it could have an enormous impact in creating more trust between communities and law enforcement. charlie: are you one of those people who think we need to have a real conversation about
slavery and a real conversation about where we are in race relations? bryan: i do, but i don't think we can facilitate it at some made up conference. again three years ago when i was , in montgomery, we had 59 markers to the confederacy in downtown montgomery and hardly a word about slavery. we put up these markers about the slave trade and there was tremendous resistance to that. charlie: by the city council? bryan: by the historic commission, oddly. but we got them up and now i see young families, white families, world families coming into town and we are sitting next to the hank williams museum, slightly different demographic. but when they come out i will see young kid stuff at that sign. you will see the parents trying to move them along but they will not and they will spend 10 or 15 minutes at the sign and it is probably the first time the family has talked about slavery ever. i think it is an important conversation to begin. if we can change this resistance and denial culture, there's a
host of things we can gain and learn. and i do not think it is about doing something hard. it's about liberation, getting to the point where we are not so compromised, we are not so constrained, we bump into each other a lot in this country. it does not take much to create distrust around race and that is going to continue until we say the things and do the things we need to do. it is not touchy-feely. it is just honest recovery. it is how you heal. it is how you recover from historic trauma. and mass atrocity and violence. you see it in rwanda. that society is recovering, and it would not happen if people said, we are not going to talk about the genocide. you see it in south africa. in places around the world. charlie: i am asking because i want to know the answer. did we simply say, we are not going to talk about slavery, or did we just not talk about it? bryan: we said we will not talk about it. in the american south people said, we will feel bad about ourselves if we feel like the losers of the war. we would be in trouble if we let
these emancipated people she was they are our equal so they constructed a legal, cultural, political, and social world that reinforced the narrative of way -- white supremacy which was the narrative that created slavery and people in the north tolerated that and then we allowed that to persist. so yes it was in my view a , conscious decision to not talk about these things, president woodrow wilson heralded birth of a nation. we will not talk about these things. during that period when lynching was going on, congress said, we will not talk about that. and during the early years of segregation and the fight for integration people said, we are not going to do with that and that has been our history. charlie: i did not know that aspect about woodrow wilson's life until last year. bryan: we have not asked about people's culpability and complicity with regard to this narrative. charlie: incarceration, joe sullivan, one of your clients says you are like a father to him.
an: one of the best parts of my work is the relationships i can create with people who have been too often abused and neglected, who have lived in the margins of society. i represent people who have made terrible mistakes but they are incredible human beings who have so much potential, so much capacity, they have so much to give and we have condemned them in ways that are tragic. and particularly kids. joe was one of our young kids, he was 13 when he was wrongly convicted and given a life without parole sentence and then terribly abused in prison. so a lot of those young people are desperate for something human to hang onto. charlie: that's who you are? bryan: i tried to be. i want my clients to know i care about them deeply, that they have value, that their lives mean something. i do believe we are more than the worst thing we have ever done, i believe that for everyone, not just my clients. that means saying to them just , because you have lied does not mean you are only a liar. just because you have taken something does not mean you are only a thief. just because you will have
killed does not mean you're only a killer. charlie: a quote from your book. after working for more than 25 years i understood that i do not do what i do because it is required or necessary or important. i do not do it because i have no choice. i do what i do because i am broken, too. i am broken, too. bryan: when you get close to suffering and spend a lot of time with inequality and abuse and trauma and neglect and incarceration and execution, it will break you. but i also think that it is in brokenness that we understand. charlie: has it broken you? bryan: it has. i have been broken long before that. my great-grandmother was the daughter of people who were enslaved. my great grandparents were enslaved. and my grandmother was in my ear talking about slavery and i used to think, why are we talking about slavery, mama? i started my education in a colored school.
didn't go to public school. i went to high school, when i went to harvard law i did not want people to know that my great grandparents were in slaved. i did not want people to know that i started in a colored school. i wasn't afraid, but i thought it would diminish me, i thought it would make me seem broken, deficit. and then i started doing this work and i saw the constrained and resistance to equality and fairness and i realized part of the solution is to own up to that history and now i want everyone to know i am the great grandson of enslaved people. i want everyone to know. i started my education in a colored school. because if they see something of value and hear something of value, and they know it was rooted in this broken history, maybe we can begin to think differently about what it means to stand up for the broken. i actually think the broken in our society have a lot to teach us about the way that mercy works, the way grace works, the way justice works, and acknowledging that in myself is partly honoring all of that struggle. i now realize there is power in this legacy that has nurtured me despite slavery. despite lynching, despite
segregation, and i think if people can overcome slavery and overcome lynching and overcome segregation, we can incarceration and excessive violence and police violence. we will know it when we do not think that there is a presumption of dangerousness and guilt that gets applied to black and brown people. we will know it when we are not as preoccupied with the race of offenders when we hear about a sad crime. we will know it when we have actually changed the landscape and we have made it safe and acceptable to talk honestly about these histories. we will know it when we honor things that are honorable and we talk forthrightly about the things that are dishonorable, about some of our mistakes. charlie: for all you have done for so many people, i have a feeling they have done equal amounts for you. bryan: absolutely. i feel privileged to do what i do.
i feel deeply moved and honored by being able to stand up for people and speak for people. i was told one day that if you want to make a difference , sometimes you have to stand when other people say to sit down. you have to speak what other people say be quiet and i heard that and i thought that sounds a good challenging thing to do but when you know who you are standing for, who you are speaking for, it does not feel like a burden. it feels like an honor, and i feel very honored to represent people who i think, whose humanity has been denied or diminished. charlie: thank you for coming. bryan: you are welcome. ♪
charlie: u.s. intelligence officials are reportedly investigating what may be a extensive covert russian campaign to disrupt the upcoming presidential election. officials are concerned about possible russian attempts to break into electronic voting systems. russian hackers were allegedly responsible for hacking the dnc and other political organizations although the obama , administration has yet to blame russia publicly for these intrusions. president putin had denied any moscow involvement. he and president obama discussed cybersecurity on monday, agreeing a cycle of escalation must be avoided. meanwhile, democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton suggested that russia is trying to sway the election in trump's favor.
joining me from washington is dana priest. she and her colleagues broke this story yesterday. , you say thaty they are investigating what they see as a broad covert russian operation in the u.s. to sow public distrust in the upcoming election and political institutions. how firmly do they believe this is true, and what is the evidence they have, and, when will we know more? i think they believe the election part of it is one part of a broader, what they call covert influence operation on the part of the russians inside the united states. this is something that the russians have been doing in europe for the last several years, since perhaps 2012 in particular, when they saw their influence waning, when they really got worried about nato
expansion, when they took over crimea, and now we are seeing it come to the united states. and part of that operation is that they believe, to disrupt or at least sow distrust in the u.s. election process, and that, they are not saying what particular part of the process, because they probably don't but their willingness, the russians, at least cause the american public to question the results of the elections. they don't think that the russians are trying to sway the election to one candidate or the other, but that they are trying to weaken the american public's trust in the system. in the system of elections, but also in our government writ large, and that is the larger covert influence operation. charlie: because in fact, governments depend on credibility and respect of the institution of government. dana: yes. in europe, this is a covert
operation, so it is not supposed to be revealed. they are very clever hackers, so it is difficult to attribute it directly to them, but in europe they have done a whole range of things, everything from funding campaigns, not entire campaigns but funding individuals, giving loans, and then also hacking into election commissions for instance, which they did in ukraine,. they did what is called a denial of service attack, which almost shut down the ukrainian election commission. they had done the same things in latvia, estonia. they are using a range of cyber tools. but also influence, and influence is a difficult thing to prove, but i think the law enforcement agencies here have made it a bigger priority to try orprove influence as well, at least to detect and report it
to the larger intelligence community. it's really two sides. you have the domestic side, led by the fbi, and the department of homeland security. but you have the international side, led by the intelligence community writ large, all coordinated by the office of the director of national intelligence. because the foreign assets will be looking at what russia's intent is, what operations they are pursuing, gathering intelligence from abroad to see what russia is up to, who they are using, that sort of thing. charlie: so three questions. one, are intelligence officials convinced it is coming from the russian government, or from nongovernmental hackers, and the like? dana: the influence operation, they are convinced, is a government operation, because they had seen this template in europe. they have been briefing members of the health on -- hill on the european template, and in the context of their new concern
about the united states. so, they are, they have more evidence in other countries right now, but they have seen with the dnc hack and the probing of the election records in the two states, and with the -- theythat believe has believe has gone on in other parts of the republican and democratic party, they believe that is part of the broader influence campaign. and whyy have not done, you don't yet see any reaction by the white house, is they have not gotten the kind of firm attribution, they call it, to the dnc hack, for example, which would allow them to trigger sanctions against the individuals that did it. in the sony hack, they actually named pla, the army there, they named the individual hackers, or those who were responsible for the hacking of the sony hack.
they do not have, at least we don't know, they might, but we don't know, we have not heard, and we are still hearing that's not quite the level of detail they are at, but they could be, and we just haven't heard. charlie: let me make sure i understand you. they, "they," the intelligence community, do not believe they are trying to swing this election in favor of one candidate or the other? dana: they don't. they believe they are trying to sow distrust in the process in general. that fits with what they have done in europe. in europe, they have kind -- tried to weaken public trust in institutions. in some cases, they have supported candidates that would be more likely to support russian interests, but they don't believe that's the case here. the wholey a matter, , the is to destabilize and
u.s. public and their trust in institutions, in order to strengthen the positions putin would take. the russian economy is not strong. they don't have so many of the tools that we have. so they are doing something that's very inexpensive to do, relatively, to use largely cyber and disinformation to try to weaken u.s. positions going into international negotiations and that sort of thing. charlie: putin believes, and he said so in interview i -- an interview i did with him, that the u.s. tries to influence elections and the rise and fall of governments in other countries, including russia. dana: that is an excellent point. there are people in the intelligence world who said this is revenge, revenge for what putin sees as u.s. interference in his own, in russia's
sovereignty and that sort of thing, including, you know, she has kicked out most, if not all, of the nongovernmental organizations that were allied with the u.s. or american-led, because he believes that they were cia propped up or something. but really, they were pro-democracy institutions, very broadly speaking. he has also cracked down on the russian media, so really he controls now 99% of the television broadcasts. he doesn't really care about print so much. so what russians are getting is all now russian propaganda, because at the same time they have built a much stronger russian propaganda television network and channels. inhe is crushing dissent russia that way. charlie: do the intelligence sources that you speak to
believe that this is a much bigger issue than we now accept or believe or suspect? dana: yes. and the reason they have been reluctant, and they have been, to talk about it or even help in any way, help us figure out what's going on, is because it's in the middle of the election, and both sides are using it against the other side to score political points. a lot of our comments, we got 10,000 comments about our story, and the vast majority of them are political comments rather than focusing on the fact that russia, anti-democratic state, is actually now here trying to do something that it has not done since the cold war. but it is so much more sensitive because of the elections, and because people want to paint it as propaganda by one party or the other. charlie: there is no answer to this question yet, and the clinton people will tell you,
you would understand the question, the clinton people will tell you there's no evidence so far, and the fbi didn't find any evidence, but the question which looms, as to whether the russians could have easily hacked into hillary clinton's server, and in fact, if they could, did they, and today have access to all those things, that she later deleted from her server? dana: i think what can be agreed upon is that they are trying to hack everything. you know, they have hacked the white house, the opm, the office of personnel management. so of course they asked the question. the lack of evidence doesn't mean definitively that it didn't happen, because these things are done in a way that is, that are very difficult to find often. but so far, no, investigators say that has not happened. wehink, i'm trusting that
would find out if they thought otherwise. charlie: but they do argue that the hacking has become sophisticated, and they do not always leave trails that are easily discoverable. dana: i think they know that they tried, but i'm action not sure about that, about her private server. they tried everything. the other thing that's different is that they try, they often succeed, but they do not make it public. that's what governments do. we do it absolutely, around the world. we saw that from the snowden documents. we have cyber command, and that's part of what they do. the difference is that the dnc hack, that information became public, and that is a step we have not seen taken before. charlie: thank you so much. dana: thank you, charlie. charlie: pleasure to have you here. thanks for joining us. see you next time. ♪
mark: i am mark crumpton. you are watching "bloomberg west." hillary clinton lead donald trump in the northeastern u.s., although her advantage in some states lies within the margin of error. emerson college's survey showed rhode island, traditionally a strong democratic state, features an especially close race, clinton 44% to trump 41%. the poll indicates new jersey and new hampshire are close. clinton is ahead in connecticut, vermont, massachusetts, and maine. a north dakota judge issued an arrest warrant for jill stein, accused of spray painting construction equipment during a protest against the dakota