tv Reliable Sources CNN July 30, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PDT
the transfer of power. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week, i will see you next week. hey, i'm brian stelter, welcome to our viewers in the united states and all around the world. this is ""reliable sources."" our weekly look at the story behind the story, how the media really works and how the news gets made. and the news seems like one long episode of political survivor, starring president trump. for now steve bannon and jeff sessions and robert mueller are all still in. even with new chief of staff, nothing will change unless the president changes. if nothing else, trump is a reliable source of news. consider all of the stories that could have been our lead this hour. we could have led with the fallout from all of his tweets.
or the government's lack of answers after trump's surprise tweets saying transgender shoulders would no longer be able to serve in any capacity. and he appeared to publicly endorse police brutally the other day. or the story that will take up entire chapters of trump history books. all of those could be the lead, but right now the biggest media story is new communications director anthony scaramucci, this time last week, he was the most visible man, but now he's invisible, except in the tabloids, scaramucci basically confirmed all of those anonymous sources that said he had conflicts with reince priebus. his own words confirmed all the souths.
right now it seems scaramucci is not doing any interviews. but the real question is how will this week go down in history? here to talk about it all of it is richard wolfe, april ryan, she's the author of "the presidency in black and white." and also with us douglas brinkley, a cnn presidential authority and history professor. first to the scaramucci question, a week ago he pledge to plug the leaks, here's what wolf blitzer asked priebus just an hour after he lost hiss job in the white house. >> are you a leaker? >> i'm not going to get into his accusations. >> why not respond? >> i'm not going to because it
doesn't honor the president. >> scaramucci's leak hunt appears to beics panneding. has he succeeded in plugging all the leaks? >> many of us, and we know one thing for sure, there's an adversarial relationship with the press office and also with administration officials, and sometimes they link to us to give us information to let us know what's going on in a particular story, but scaramucci is going to have a hard time plugging the leaks, because so many are leaking, i guess including scaramucci. >> in one case that was very profane in the new yorker's interview with ryan lizza. if we had an unrevealing movement. where scaramucci said there are
some in this administration that feel it's their job to protect americans from this president. >> that new day interview was by far the most insightful thing. yes, the story in the new yorker was shocking but the infighting is exceptional. this is the kind of thing that happens at bars after hours inside washington. to have him spill his guts on tv like that was incredible and it unworkable to anyone senior in the white house, to think anyone's going to trust each other. >> it makes sense, i suppose, as he trusted lizza. >> he's going after leakers, but he didn't tell the guy directly,
he just told everyone else that the guy quit of his own accord. >> one of these explanations dt scaramucci and the lizza interview, oh, i thought we were off the record. if he thought he was off the record, that would make him a leaker, right? >> ryan lizza is a very experienced reporter, and it's clear from the postgame show went on, this is how he speaks. look at the cnn interview, what he was saying was just as damaging if not more so. whose interest is he serving other than scaramucci's. >> the banners on screen say things like white house in chaos. help us out, how do you convey
what's going on with the trump white house? >> it's an utter disarray. and you can't really compartmentalikpar compartmentalize everything, because it's all morphed together because donald trump is unfit to command in my opinion. >> you said he's unfit for command? >> i think so, i think when you have a white house communications director that uses the kind of foul language that he does against fellow employees against the federal government and makes threats the way that he did and that's supposed to be your solution to the united states, and in a way you're going to communicate with the world, it means donald trump picked the wrong person to be his communications drekirector, thinks you can govern by chaos and it's not working. it is true, he has 36% of the american public backing him.
that means over 60% of americans think that he's doing a miserable job and the rest of the world is laughing. we have a crisis in north korea and we're playing these reality tv wrestling games, because donald trump was weaned and raised on television, and it's becoming a tv episodic television, to make sure your name is in the headlines. we had a problem with nixon. if you listen to nixon watergate tapes, the secret tapes and you hear nixon ramble, it sounds like donald trump's tweets and it didn't turn out well for nixon. >> back in december, you went down to mar-a-lago and met with president trump, didn't you? >> i did. >> did you think things were going to work out this way? >> as a historian, you try to deal with real events, there was this moment of hope that he might try to unite the country
and do infrastructure, be really the third rail candidate, which he is in some ways, not a real republican. >> and he's drifting more in that direction becoming an independent of sorts. >> except he's becoming independent in a very -- the key to donald trump is this kind of blind fierce loyalty, that's what franco expected in spain, if you're asking people to march in lock step with you and we saw john mccain give the thumbs down to president trump. so what do you have six months of a dysfunctional white house, nothing has gotten done, the biggest thing congress got done is keeping and strengthening relations with russia, but it's a failed administration so far, and we'll see if he can get in a new form of leadership going with a white house chief of
staff, but it's been a wreck so far. >> and journalists love a come back story, a new change, a new chapter. i'll go ahead and say that that thumbs down is going to become a symbol of anti-trump republicans. a meme of sorts. what we saw from the president on his twitter feed is just dribs and drabs of what's going on behind the scenes, are you suggesting that it's worse than we know? >> it's much worse, there are so many people who feel very comfortable about oh, i have walk in privileges, okay i don't have to answer to reince. even though technically they're under his agenda. how it would go before, you have the chief of staff that oversees
the daily operations, all the senior advisors could come under the chief of staff, to figure out if they had any disagreements, they would work it out. what you have now is everybody just running to the president, i don't like him, i don't like her. did you hear this, did you hear that? it's just a hot mess from what i'm hearing. it's nothing that we have seen before, and it would be very interesting, brian, to see how general kelly, brings in the -- reins in the step. we even heard kellyanne talking about calling president trump by his first name. the presidency is sacred in politics, and people -- but it will be interesting to see how the general rein this is in and
also to see scaramucci on that side. i want to see how that dynamic plays. >> richard, we were listening to all the stories a the news that was happening this week, is there always a designed distraction going on? >> people have suggested that's the case, but i think it's more of a case of president trump being distracted. he announces the transgender and the change of policy there and the pentagon doesn't know about it. if there was something planned about this distraction, it's not clear who's doing the planning and why nobody else knows, this is a distracted president, he's watching tv all day and there's a live commentary of what he feels about his coverage. that seems to be his driving force about what he's doing in office. scaramucci's meltdown came
because of the public disclosure of his public disclosure forms. it takes our attention, it's fascinating to watch and it takes away completely from anything like an agenda. >> april, don, thank you for being here. up next here, what is it that president trump did this week that even had rush limba h limbaugh. the one, the only, the fox and friends, much more ahead, stay with us. i make it easy to save $600 on car insurance,
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are some protump -- other previously staunch trump boosting commentators are showing a willingness to change their tune. for example, rush limbaugh calling out the president for tweet shaming sessions, calling sessions a stand up guy. >> it's also a little bit discomforting for trump to go after such a loyal supporter this way, especially since sessions made it obvious he's not going to resign. >> just hours after the senate failed to repeal obamacare, conservative media outlets like drudge and fox news, they were really blaming a few gop holdouts. we're seeing divisions, we're seeing examples of prominent voices expressing kern concernt the president, so talking about that whether there really is a
rift here. jennifer ruben of the "washington post" and brian phillips a talk radio host that joins us from pasadena. you were going to join scaramucci on stage, but then he with drew, right? >> he decided to stay in washington, d.c. at the last minute, which is unfortunate because i had a lot of really great questions for him. >> i think of him as a pro trump supporters. are you sensing from your columnists in the paper some discontent from your audience? are you trying to channel that? >> well, i don't think there's any big surprise as to what he's doing on twitter. i don't think that he's being inconsistent with how he behaved as a candidate. i didn't think once he became president he would start tweeting out pictures of kittens
and potted plants. twitter is a place to express grievances for donald trump. sessions is not just a guy that he hired, he's not just some random person that he filled a slot with. sessions with us a guy that was with him from day one, not just providing endorsement. also giving him street cred, if you're jeff sessions, you say i've been fighting immigration for years and years and years, and he's to the real deal, if you care about immigration reform, you need jeff sessions at the department of justice. so a lot of people who took that endorsement, that staff of approval are saying wait a minute, if sessions goes, does that mean that trump is going to evolve on that particular subject? i think russia is right, he
should stay away from -- >> trump supporters who look the other way are enabling him. you said the trump administration is a clown show, but it's the evangel systems that provided the red noses and the floppy shoes. each day presents a new insult to the office of president of the united states. >> there's a lot of blame to go around, when you write these columns, is there a difference in the reaction than there was five or six months ago? >> i think there's a very small segment of the conservative base that is becoming alarmed, it's not the majority, he still has most of those people right in his corner, but i think there is a small segment that is beginning to wonder, that not only is this going to have bad
ramifications for their agenda. this is a chaos show, what they thought they were going to get was a disrupter, that trump is the disrupter himself. this is not been a distraction, this has not been a way to tease the media, this is who trump is and it's backfiring. we're not just seeing a snowball rolling downhill, that poor general kelly is not really going to be able to bring too much rigor to the process, because he can't bring any rigor to donald trump. so i think what you see is the beginnings of real deep concern and worry. i think there are people now wondering whether they're even going to get tax reform done. there is just chaos right now. >> here's an example of beginnings of concern. let me read to you this "wall
street journal" editorial over the weekend saying the following. at the end of the column, trump better listen to mr. kelly, because on his present course, his presidency is careening toward -- when jimmy carter and nixon resign. when you see those questions come up from the journal editorial board, how do you react? >> i think there's a difference between the wall street journal and fox news. so i do certainly think that there is a distinction there, i do think that health care reform is something he's going to have to go back to, he's going to have to push this thing through, i don't think it's been a disaster, the fact that he got neil gorsuch on the supreme
court, the stock market is at all-time highs. he does need a legislate ty victory. i thought that would come up with health care. he needs to go short, do some arm twisting and deal making and get that deal through. >> does this all come down to what john mccain said earlier in the week, that it's radio hosts and tv hosts that will support the president at all costs, that won't show the shades of gray that john was referring to, as long as there are those voices that are so loud and vitriolic that the president feels he has the support? >> they support him, but then he feeds the beast, so i don't want to let him off the hook and say well, if it weren't for the people out there in medialand that he would behavior sanely. i do think that at least for
you, general kelly is not going to be able to fix the main problem and that is the president's inability to say on point, on message, coherent, day to day press for the issues he wants. and frankly, going back to health care, that's going to create a huge rift all over again with the republican senate. they see that this is a failure, and they are dieing ingare dyin september when he reach the end of the fiscal year. >> a preview of the reality show to come. thank you. coming up next here, president trump and fox and friends, with great power comes great, you know the end of the line, we'll be right back. then we've got the bendy...
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i believe in power, but i believe responsibility should go along with power. time and time again, the pro trump program's irresponsible segments have misled the president, and in turn, the president has misled the public. how? through tweets about the show that trigger news coverage. just yesterday the president used fox and friends, to make the case that russia was against trump in the 2016 election. queue james comey, this was months before he was fired testifying on capitol hill. >> they wanted to hurt our democracy, hurt her, help him. >> hurt her, help him. so the president continues to side with his media cheerleaders over the u.s. intelligence community. here's another example of the
fox feedback loop. back on july 19, the "new york times" published a column where he was called the most powerful tv show in america. quote, president trump is the show's subject, it's programmer, it's publicist and it's virtual fourth host. and another inaccurate statement, that's why trump took out this full page ad in the "new york times." >> this program, the program you're watching, is according to the "new york times," the most powerful tv show in america. >> do you know why steve? because we have the best viewers. >> yes. >> one viewer in particular, this one, president trump who must have been watching because he tweeted later in the hour,
wow the failing "new york times" called fox and friends the most powerful tv show in america. if you buy into that premise, then surely you believe that fox and friends with great power, also has great responsibility. at this moment in time, the president and his aides are regular guests as well as viewers, these conservative talk show hosts may or may not consider themselves reporters, they have an obligation to be fair if not balanced. but there's even more pressure right now when we all know the president's watching, and to be fair this is not just applicable to fox and friends, the president watches this channel and msnbc as well. i used to joke that we should have a prime time show that's designed as a daily briefing, like, good evening, mr. president, here's what happened today. my question is, do the hosts of
fox and friends think about that when they wake up in the morning? david is the media critic for the "baltimore sun." he's thought a lot about this. what you see at fox is a deeper embrace of the president, amid his falling approval ratings, you think this is a risky strategy for the network in the long-term? >> this is especially true at fox and friends and hannity. i'll tell you what, the strategy, from a business standpoint, it kind of makes sense, we're going to be the channel for everybody who voted for donald trump and is sticking with him. because the more outrageous, the more erratic, the more those channels who will doing real journalism, the tougher is going to be. if you voted for him, that's the channel to go to.
but absolutely, the way he seems headed, this is going to end not just in embarrassment but in infamy. and if you're the channel that goes down on that boat, it's going to really hard to salvage anything for your brand. it's a very risky strategy by fox, it's a cynical strategy, i couldn't agree more with your editorial. in 2014, i went after fox and friends because they smeared elijah cummings, the republican from baltimore, from maryland who was a ranking member on irs committee, remember the whole controversy about whether the irs had targeted conservative groups? on fox and friends, on election day, on tax day in 2014, they said explosive new revelation, and they essentially said that
cummings fingered this group to the irs, urged the irs to go after them, even though there was evidence that they had been investigating this texas conservative group six months before. and when i wrote about that and when i called fox up, their response was, it's an opinion show. it's not part of our hard journalism lineup. which what is that? breitbart and jeff schmidt. but that's their excuse, that's their response to this, and brian, it isn't, even if you're not doing hard journalism, especially on a news channel, you have a tremendous responsibility because all of the shows help set the parameters of conversation in america, the civic conversation of american life. and when you are as reckless and in some ways, even i would say dishonest as these guys, you're
dangerous, and now that you have trump doing this twitter dance and feeding each other, it's even more dangerous. >> let me ask you about maybe some good news from the trump white house this week, the press briefings are back on cameras, scaramucci said we're allowing the cameras back on. that's a positive step, is it not? >> i'm glad the cameras are back, the good news is the cameras are back, the bad news is they're going to be focussed on scaramucci going his rooster dance and all this crazy stuff. we saw one, we saw his first one. >> do you think that the "new york times" was right to print scaramucci's words on the front page? the "new york times" went ahead and published the actual words. >> in some ways, with the times,
listen, i think we do have -- legacy publication publications i think the times in some way sees himself with the president in a unique position. they were the first to go out there and call him out as a liar on page one. i think they have made a decision and seeing the excesses of this presidency, i'm not sure any e-i'm not going to mince my words, i don't disagree with them, i'm glad they showed, it didn't even the vulgarity, it's the attempt to assault us almost with -- that the scaramucci guy, the way he uses words to assault people, to debase them, just like trump, i'm glad that the
times showed america the face and let them hear the voice of this and god bless ryan lizza for what he did on this one. >> never a word mincer, thank you for being here. >> more on this in our nightly newsletter, all the biggest news every night. go to "reliable sources".com and the news will be in your inboxes tonight. and up next, when american policy is announced by the president in 140 characters.
transgender ban came as a surprise to those at the pentagon. its unclear how this will all be implemented. mark hurtling is a cnn analyst and he joins me now from orlando. what do we do in these situation as journalists, what is your view of a military expert when the president of the united states tweets something that involves the military or the pentagon and no one knows how it's going to be implemented, how do we approach a story like this? >> we all have to take a step back and say holy smokes. i saw it as an alert on my phone from the president. it was about 8:55 in the morning, and i was thinking the chairman has a problem this morning, he get this is twitter announcement, that's not how
things are normally done in the military. usually there's a whole lot of collaboration and coordination before major policy issues are decided. it didn't happen that way, his boss was on vacation, and so i'm sure the chairman pulled in his public affairs office very quickly and then called secretary mattis and said what do you know about this? it's not a very good way to start the day. it doesn't conform to the way the president does business. in ferms of the numbers of transgender soldiers, airmen and marines in the armed forces. >> there's been a lot of reporting. i love your twitter account, one of your tweets you said, as i have said many times we have not yet at a crisis under this
president, we will and character will be important in addressing that crisis. here's the question, i think a lot of trump skeptics or trump critics would say, we are in crises, the president is the crisis. do you agree with that? >> i think that's partly true, that the chaos that many of your guests have already talked about is surrounding us today. what i'm talking about is potentially an existential crisis. some foreign power doing something we don't like, where people have to be pulled together very quickly and find a way to counter it. and that's what i was talking about in terms of character, because at this point, it doesn't matter what the politics are, it doesn't matter who's going to win or lose or gain or maintain. it has to do with how do we defend the american public, and the american people. and you have to put all those
other silly things aside and you can't be talking about it in a twitter account. that's what concerns me. >> it's hard to cover character and ethics, it's a harder thing to get addressed on television, isn't it? >> it is. and this is something all prior to the election is something i used to talk about. it has to do with your character and intellect, it's how you build trust, it's how you build your sub order nanlt ordinates . many of the trump supporters continue to say oh, he's the greatest thing going. but you don't see the action and the character is not in full view, let's put it that way. >> after the break, cnn's allison cam arkcamerota, author.
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my abwill i have pain andating made daibloating today?ing game. my doctor recommended ibgard to manage my ibs. take control. ask your doctor about nonprescription ibgard. allison camerota is a novelist and the author of a brand-new book titled amanda wakes up. the fictional amanda is a brand-new journalist on the fair news network, whose motto is true and equal. is that camerota's a -- your character in the book struggles
with how exactly to be fair to all sides, whether there always is an equal balance in certain stories. what's an example of that in sort of the real cnn or fox world? >> i remember a day that my old boss roger ails called me into his and he said i had looked uncomfortable during a segment. and the segment was about sarah palin and i think probably death panels because that's what was happening in 2012 when i was writing some of this. and he said, you looked uncomfortable. i said, well, did i say? he said it didn't matter. i had the sound down. you looked uncomfortable. >> interesting. >> and i said, well, maybe i was uncomfortable. because i was uncomfortable with some of that conversation and whether or not it was really fact-based. and he said something that really stuck with me and that i have channeled since then and that's been actually helpful. he said it's good for journalists to be uncomfortable with their subject matter
sometimes. if you're always comfortable with the story that you're telling and the way you're telling it, maybe you're not doing it right. and you know, roger ailes -- >> i think he was right about that. >> i do too. and the funny thing about roger is that he was -- let's be clear. he was not a journalist. he was a tv wizard. but that advice did stick with me. and you see in the book amanda, the character, is uncomfortable often. and what that teaches her is she sort of has to be open-minded. why is she uncomfortable with some subject matter? and so that was good advice, actually, from roger ailes, and i've tried to channel that. you know, there are stories that we have to get outside of our own echo chambers and hear the other side. amanda struggles with that and i certainly have tried to do that. >> you've spoken with me in the past about ailes's sexual harassment, about him harassing you and other colleagues. i don't see that come across in the book, in this fictional world of morning tv. but you did have a line i wanted
to quote. your character at one point says "the crazy part about our show wake up is sometimes it's really fun and sometimes it's really toxic. that's quite a hybrid. it's almost like we should invent a new word for our brand of news that combines fun with tox-inning." and the word your character suggests is foxic. which again made me think of fox. i wonder if that's what it was like for you at "fox & friends," fun and toxic. >> that passage you happen to have pulled, it was a real conversation that i had, i mean not verbatim, but with a woman who is on the air but a dear friend of mine. and she met for lunch, and i was frustrated one day during these years when i wrote it because i did feel that way, that the show that i was on, there was a lot that was great about it. it was really spontaneous, live tv at its best is spontaneous and fun and unpredictable and you never know what's going to happen. but i also thought, as i said, i wrote much of this during the 2012 election, that it
unnecessarily stoked outrage. >> just to tick people off. to make viewers angry? >> i guess. or took a really myopic view of, say, president obama or the current administration. only saw them one way through a sort of outrageous lens. and i thought that there was a way to be a little more open-minded about seeing everything. and i still feel this way, by the way. again, i channeled that experience even today, and i always try to say, well, what would the other side say? in fact, there's more than just two sides. sometimes there's many sides. and so anytime you think that you have such, you know, righteous indignation about something it wouldn't hurt to look at it from the other side. >> there are many totally fictional aspects of your book that are just you having fun writing a novel, but there are some elements about it that are very real. twitter, for example. all the attacks. you write about that your character's getting on twitter.
you recently quit the social network entirely. why? >> okay. another thing. i'm glad you're bringing this up. that i want to point out. not everything in this book is real but the two things that you fastened on are. the tweets and the facebook posts. >> all the trolling your character's getting, all the hate, the trash on twitter. >> the character amanda gallow gets in here. those are real. i took those -- >> those are actual posts? >> those are actual posts. >> i didn't know that. >> those are real. and the reason i wanted to put real posts in there is because they're so outrageous when you read it you think i'm joining it up or i made it up. and i want people to know that this is the kind of language and vitriol that we actually get. so in real life i decided enough is enough. >> so you're stronger than the fictional amanda, who kept looking at all the nasty comments. >> well, look, it took me years. give her a break. she's only 29. but yeah, at some point enough
is enough. and obviously that's another theme in "amanda wakes up," which is what is the line? what is the line for all of us, for everyone in the workplace, for women in the workplace? when do you say enough is enough? >> for journalists who read the book what are you trying to tell them about journalism? >> what i want people to understand is not all news is created equal and we are in a climate where you do have to be careful of your news source. and there are still rules that apply to real journalism. and we abide by those rules. but not all websites and not all blogs and not even all tv stations do. and there are rules, and i think that they are important. i think it's time for a refresher course for everybody. amanda struggles with it, as you'll see when you read the book, about what the rules should be. and i'm happy to be a part of that conversation because you know, i'm proud of what we try to do here every day. >> and the book is called "amanda wakes up." it's out this tuesday. right? >> on sale now.
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this is fun, we're having fun. yeah, we are. no, you're not jimmy. don't let directv now limit your entertainment. xfinity gives you more to stream to more screens. a wild week in washington. reince priebus resigns. >> the president wanted to go a different direction. >> and homeland security secretary john kelly takes his place. >> john kelly is one of our great stars. >> plus, devastating defeat. john mccain's dramatic thumbs down tanks the health care bill. >> boy oh boy. can you believe that? >> can republicans rally after an embarrassing loss? >> no party can remain in power by lying