Skip to main content

tv   In Depth with Jeffrey Toobin  CSPAN  August 7, 2016 12:00pm-3:01pm EDT

12:00 pm
me to say that i was a torturer, i have now closed that and moved on. the important part of a book like this is it identifies me as someone who is a torturer and who was able to do these things in the past and if i'm not careful moving forward and if i am not listening to the right voices and surrounding myself with the right people that i'm capable of falling into these things again and i think that's similar for the nation, the nation cannot think we did this and now we are okay. we have john brennan saying my agents will not support torture which is admirable but we cannot walk away from this suggesting that's notwho we are anymore. this is who we are, we did this is acountry, as a nation and weneed to address it as something we are capable of quite frankly doing again . >> host: i want to thank you for sitting down and talking with me . >> guest: thank you for the opportunity . >> c-span.
12:01 pm
created by america's top cable television companies and brought you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. and now we are live on book tv with author and legal analyst jeffery toobin. he joins us on our in-depth program for the next three hours to talk about his book and to answer your questions. mister jeffery toobin is the author of many books including the old: too close to call in his most recent, american heiress area. >> toobin, welcome to c-span2's in depth. the authors of seven books and counting including your most recent book american heiress, wild side of the kidnapping, crimes and trial of patty hearst and i want to begin where you end the book. youwrote this without her cooperation . >> i did quite how was that? >> guest: there were several things different about this book then my other book. this is the first book i've written that was really atthe
12:02 pm
border of journalism in history . all the other books that i wrote, i had sort of covered the underlying story in real time and then wrote about it. this is something, i was alive in the 1970s but i was a kid. i didn't follow this stuff so it was starting from scratch in terms of my research and i discovered that there was a tremendous volume of printed material and in particular 150 boxes of material about the liberation army and its trials, that one of the survivors had and i managed to obtain access to that though i knew i had a great deal of material no one had ever seen before but obviously to answer your question, i would have liked to have talked to patty hearst. she may have through intermediaries wanted to know part of this but i realized i had so much in her material
12:03 pm
about her own book, her own testimony, or fbi fbi interviews that she had given up to the fbi and others, i had her perspective and i got to many people who knew her during that period and subsequently i was able to report around her in a way that i think i was able to give a fair impression of her perspective on the events area and this quote further explains why he wrote the book. use a quote, the kidnapping foretold much that would happen to american society in a diverse number of fields including illuminating the feature for the media, the culture of celebrity, terminal justice and even sports . >> guest: i sometimes thought the hearst case when i was writing the book as a trailer or modern he, like a coming attraction for so many things that we began to see in big ways and small ways area it
12:04 pm
was the first of the great modern celebrity criminal events that of course anticipated the o.j. simpson case area the shootout on may 17, 1974 where six of the eight sla kidnappers died was the first live broadcast of a breaking news event that anticipated so much of how we cover news and even smaller things like participants in a big news story seeking out book deals during the event. here you had stephen leader, her former fiancc, you had jack scott was one of the people who sheltered the sla trying to get a book written. you had f lee bailey her defense attorney trying to write a book while as defense attorney. so many things that became commonplace started or became
12:05 pm
visible in the hearst kidnapping side. >> host: of course randolph and catherine hearst, their pictures were in newspapers, they were on television and you may not reference to the black dress that she would often wear, why? >> guest: one of the important back stories of the whole kidnapping and its aftermath was patricia hearst difficult relationship with her mother.there was nothing particularly or there is, there was and is, excuse me, let me take a sip here. >> host: by the way, patty hearst is still alive. >>guest: very much alive, living in the new york suburbs. he's 52 years old .mostly a homemaker, social life. she's got two daughters, a couple grandchildren and she raises show dogs. that's what she does a lot of the time but to answer your
12:06 pm
question about the black dress because i think this is important . like a lot of 19-year-old, patty was 19 when she was kidnapped, he had a contentious relationship with her mother, especially in the 70s where people used it to talk to all of the time about the generation gap, catherine hearst came from a conservative georgia family and patty at the time of her kidnapping was living with her boyfriend, what used to be called living in sin with stephen weed, her fiancc area there was a lot of contention there and when patty was kidnapped, there were all these press conferences that her parents held in front of her house in hillsboro, patty said in one of the early communiqucs that mom, get out of that black dress. that's not helping anyone. and it was an interesting signal of how she was bringing her rebellion
12:07 pm
against her parents into her life with the sla, that part of the reason she joined the sla was that she was alienated from her parents, not a big deal. in ordinary circumstances, a lot of 19-year-old young women are alienated from their mothers but here under these extraordinary circumstances it turned out to be significant. >> host: and as a way to get her release, you write the following. the event was without precedent in american history. no one had tried on short notice to feed thousands of people. what made the moment so extraordinary was it took place because of a political kidnapping. >>
12:08 pm
let's make him feed the poor. that will be our initial ransom demand and randy hearst, remarkably, actually set up an entire organization called "people in need" ran out of a big warehouse in san francisco and they did in fact spend millions of dollars feeding the poor. didn't go smoothly and some of the food distributions -- there were riots. so many people wanted the food that the people were injured seeking it out. brut randy hearst, who i think is sort of one of the few heroes in the story, randy really wanted to get his daughter back and he had less money than the sla thought he did but he spent millions to set up this
12:09 pm
organization, which did in fact give out a lot of food. >> host: this apicture of katherine hearst and stephen weed after the kidnapping. he does not come across as a very strong character. >> guest: one of the things i learned in doing lots of interviews about this story is that the only thing that the fbi, the sla, the hearst family, and patricia herself had in common was that none of them could stand stephen weed. that was the one point of ewan national it in. stephen -- this is not a bad person, bad guy. he was a graduate student in philosophy but kind of hautey and arrogant and he thought the knew better than anyone how to happen the situation and succeeded only in annoying everybody, and the hearst family, and patricia, were particularly resent. of the fact that during the kidnapping itself, february 4,
12:10 pm
1974, after he was hit by bill harris, one of the kidnappers, he ran off instead of saying to protect patricia. >> host: we'll spend the next three hour with author and lawyer, jeffrey toobin, our phone lines are open. you can also join us on facebook at facebook.com/booktv. send us a tweet at book tv. our twitter is,@booktv and send us an e-mail, booktv booktv@c-span2.org how long does it taker now you right a book? sunny have a simple system which is related to the fact i'm a staff writer at the "the new yorker" and my editor gives me a limited amount of time off. don't have the bandwidth, the capacity to right boat "new yorker" articles and continue my work the "the new yorker." what i do is when i'm in the writing portion of the book, after i've done enough reporting
12:11 pm
to feel like i have enough material, i write five beiges -- pages a day. 1255 words a day and that's a significant amount put not an overwhelming amount to write, and it really accumulates if you keep up at that pace. it's 25 pages a week, 100 pages a month, and i find that it gets me to an appropriate book length in somewhere around six to eight months. that just the writing. now, i view the reporting, the research, as equally, if not more important than the writing. that is a little harder to measure, how long that takes. that varies. as i said in these other books i've written issue was reporting in real-time, so it wasn't a sort of separate research period. but all in, at least a year, but probably somewhat more. >> host: talk about the
12:12 pm
kidnapping that took place in 1974. you have a picture of the house writ took place in san francisco, and you also -- >> guest: in berkeley. >> host: you also point out how san francisco has changed significantly from the '70s to where it is today. >> guest: it is remarkable, this a real revelation in writing "american heiress," how different the 1970s were, especially in northern california. from the way things are today. just give you one statistic. the mid-1970s there were a thousand political bombings a year in the united states. think about what that would be like today. most of them didn't cause injuries or death. although some did. but this was just a time of tremendous political violence, and the epicenter was the bay area. san francisco and berkeley. there had been the summer of love in san francisco in 1967. there had been the free speech movement in berkeley in 1965.
12:13 pm
but by the '70s, those movementses which gap with a good deal of idealism had curdled into real anger and san francisco in particular was rid 'by terrible crime, including the zodiac killer, the zebra killer. i think people forget -- everybody remembers dirty hari, clint eastwood's famous detective. he was a san francisco detective because san francisco, at the time of those movies, was the symbol of all that was horrible and dangerous in the united states. today, of course, san francisco is silicon valley and the high-tech and prosperity and high rent. then it had a completely different reputation, which was just interesting to me as someone who was just coming at the story new. >> host: we want you to join the conversation. 202-748-8920.
12:14 pm
eastern or central time zone. 202-748-8201 in the mountain and pacific time zones. we welcome our listeners on chance radio. our conversation with jeffrey toobin. let me go back to an interview on "dateline" with pa trish that heart. >> how do we understand this missing year of your life, after the shootout, the sla members are killed. you could have left at any number of points. >> no, i think it's not true could i have left at any point. couldn't do anything at any point anymore. i couldn't even think thoughts for myself anymore. because i had been so programmed that the fbi was looking for the sla, shouldn't even try to think about rescue because they would call in psychics to find me, and that's the kind of thing i believed.
12:15 pm
>> host: what led her to basically stay with them? because she joined in. >> guest: she was part of the group. >> her nameas tania. >> guest: she called herself tania. she took the name tania because the guevara's partner and fellow revolutionary in -- bolivia was tania, an east german woman. one thing i tried to stay away from in writing "american heiress" was the jargon that's associated with the story. brain washing, stock home syndrome, all of which are journalism terms. i try to look at the facts and what actually happened. when you see what patricia's life was like during that year between may of '74 and september of '75 when she is arrested, you
12:16 pm
see these tremendous -- these repeated opportunities for her to leave, that she accounted -- she went to hospitals, she had poison oak and needed to get treated and gave a fake name. she traveled across the country withjack pot and his elderly parents who begged her to go back to her family. and my simple-minded view, and i think it's good to look at things sometimes in a simple-minded way, is that she didn't go back because she didn't want to go back. she had joined the sla, like a lot of young people did in the '70s, they joined in with revolutionary groups who later rolled their eyes and say how could i get involved with those crazy people? i have no doubt she wouldn't do it today, like most of the people wouldn't do it today, but then she did. >> host: you're very descriptive in her conditions. she grew up in wealth and
12:17 pm
privilege and she was in an apartment, house that was salad, dirty. she took the name, tania, met with who she called her comrades as they welcomed her into the sla. so a very different lifestyle to say the least. >> guest: to call the way they lived a lifestyle, almost -- inflates it. they were desper rad doughs on the run and they had no money. some people asked were they on drugs? the answer is, no. the reason is because they had no money to buy drugs. they robbed banks. three banks forks the very simple reason that, as willy suton said, that is where the money was. they needed money and they were living on enormous 20-pound bags of chicken parts. at one point they ate horse meat
12:18 pm
and bought contains over black beans, the cheapest food they could have. that is the life she was living for much of this time and it was very tough. >> host: you have a picture, take a look at this film from one of the bank robberies. one of the iconic photographs. where was she and why did this become synonymous with her situation? >> guest: this video is from the first bank robbery, the most famous one. she was kidnapped february 4, 1974. on march 31, six or so weeks later shark issue others noone okay she says she is tania. two weeks later on april 15th, this probably we're looking at now is the hibernia bank in a quiet sunset section of san francisco. they go in as a group -- remember just how weird and shocking this was. the bank robbery, as scary as it is, is usually committed by one
12:19 pm
or two people. this was this -- basically all six of the -- eight-actually, kidnapped this sla members were involved in some way in this bank robbery, and they had scouted the location of this bank robbery and noticed a relatively new innovation. security camera. and they stationed patricia, as you can see, she was toll to stand where they knew she would be photographed by the security cameras as in fact she was, because the sla believed in guerrilla theater. sever of them came from the indiana university theater program, and they wanted to show off that their prize recruit. so that's why they put her at that part of -- that part of the bank so that she would be -- so the camera would take her
12:20 pm
picture. >> host: another book "the nine inside the secret world of the supreme court." how are they doing now with eight? >> guest: the supreme court can clearly function with eight people. it is not designed to function with eight people. i think most people don't realize historically -- the constitution does not set a number of justices, and until just after the civil war, the number of product -- fluctuated because congress can raise or lower he number of justices but to state the obvious, there's a rope why there's an odd number of justices on the court, because tie votes are -- that's not an effective way for the court to operate. this is not ideal, but it is certainly a -- doesn't mean the supreme court is not functioning but just indicative of the political dysfunction that we
12:21 pm
live with, that no vote has taken place. >> host: is the chief justice, john roberts, umpire he said he wanted to be? >> guest: well, chief justice roberts is an extremely impressive person, and he is a very good symbol and custodian of the court's public persona. he is, i think, someone who takes very seriously the court -- how the court is perceived in the country, and i think does his best and does a very good job to make sure the court is seen in the best possible light. he is also a serious judicial conservative. he is someone who, like the other eight justices, was appointed by a president who wanted him to represent a certain ideological perspective on the court, and roberts has done just that.
12:22 pm
he now faces a very unusual and extraordinary, indeed, situation, where a chief justice may be in the minority in a great number of cases. going forward if in fact barack obama or if hillary clinton wins, her appointees represent a majority on that court. >> host: one final question before we get to calls. do you suspect the senate will go back on its pledge not to have a hearing onmer rick garland if hillary clinton is elected and will announce her appointment after she becomes president in january of next year? >> guest: no. i think when mitch mcconnell says that the next president should fill this seat, i think he means the next president should fill this seat. but no means does that mean if hillary clinton wins she will have an easy glide path to confirm whoever she appoints,
12:23 pm
but i don't see any real possibility that this senate, which is so politically polarized and includes people like ted cruz and tom cotton, who will not stand for any sort of vote on an obama nominee and can gum up the works, given the very tight time frame. i just think the idea that there will be a lame duck confirmation seems out of the question. i think it's possible that hillary clinton might renominate merrick gar lean and that would be a different situation, but in terms of an obama nomination of merrick garland getting a hearing and vote, not going to happen. >> host: let's go to david from tulsa, oklahoma. go ahead. >> thank you for taking my call. first, i would very -- very quickly like to thank c-span, you, mr. sculley, and mr. swain, and your coverage of the -- both
12:24 pm
of the conventions. >> host: thank you. >> guest: me, too. i don't want to -- sorry to interrupt but i might as well ad my voice of praise. >> caller: there you go. and my question for mr. toobin is, is the -- was there -- there is a precedent for what the associate justice ginsburg did in speaking out on a political -- the presidential campaign in such a way that became very controversial. she obviously apologized, but i think in your book "nine," it's refreshing to get to know the justices a little bit more, and i applaud you for that, and i would like to know more about the justices. i like the fact she spoke out. >> guest: well, the answer is, in the modern era, there is no
12:25 pm
precedent for an explicit endorsement or nonendorsement bay sprem court justice in the middle of a presidential race. interestingly during the '40s and '50s william o. douglas was considered as a possible vice presidential candidate for harry truman, and others. so i don't -- i think people can be too shocked that supreme court justices have political opinions. they are very smart, safer have i people. they live -- savvy people. they live in washington. appoint by presidents. very aware of and interested in presidential elections. but -- and also we can have a sort of fake naivete about the apolitical nature of the supreme court. the supreme court is a deeply ideological body and there is not -- the idea that they are entirely separate from politics
12:26 pm
is, i thinks, unduly naive. how, i do think there is a good tradition of justices staying out of direct electoral politics and that's why ruth ginsburg was criticized, even people who are normally fans of her and i include myself in that group, and i think she recognized that she had made a mistake. i know she recognized she made a mistake. she apologized and moved on, and i depth think we'll hear anymore comment about her moving to new zealand if donald trump wins the election. >> host: not only questions about whether or not barack obama was born in the u.s. during the 2008 campaign, but then came january 20, 2009, senator barack obama taking the oath of office from the chief justice of the united states, we talk about john roberts -- here's how it unfolded.
12:27 pm
[cheering] >> are you prepared to take the oath, senator? >> i am. >> i, barack hussein obama do solemnly swear. >> i will execute the office of president to the united states pathfully. >> i will execute -- >> pathfully in the office of president of the united states -- >> the office of president of the united states faithfully. >> and will to the best of my ability. >> 2012 the best of my able. >> preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> so help you god. >> so help me god. >> congratulations, mr. president. [cheering]
12:28 pm
>> host: what a mess. >> guest: watch the president's body language. he memorized the oath of office. >> host: just to refresh -- not everybody knows this -- i wrote a book -- is this a squeak debt to "the nine" which is called "to the oath" and the opening chapter is about why the oath was botched between the two of them there. and i watched it many times when i was writing the book but i haven't watched it for a number of years and it's startling to see how badly it was botched, and the real reason it was botched was a classic bureaucratic snafu, which is that chief justice roberts, his assistant, sent a copy of the oath with the clauses marked off for how he was going divide it
12:29 pm
up -- going to divide up the words -- to the inaugural committee but not to obama's office. that document, which i actually have a copy of, was never forwarded to obama's transition office. so obama didn't know how roberts was going to divide up the words, and if you see what happened there, is that the -- roberts thinks he's going to si, eye barack hughes same obama do solemnly swear and obama interrupts him after his name and then robert bz gets flustered and the whole thing goes to hell, but it's all because neither one of them knew how the other was going to break up the words. >> host: what is interesting in the book is you talk about the next day think first full day of the obama white house, the number one issue was he legitimate in taking the oath of office, was he a legitimate president which created a white
12:30 pm
house debate. talk about that. >> guest: well, there were newspaper stories about sort of the oath, and david barren, a young deputy assistant attorney general -- hardly anyone was in their offices at that point -- had a conversation with greg craig, the white house counsel at the time, and said, remember, this is a president who some people think wasn't even born in the united states so we have to be sure of his legitimacy. we have to be sure there nor shadows on his legitimacy. so they, on the morning of the 21st, have all these sort of -- not panicked but serious conversations about, what should we do about that? and in short order, they decide, you know, just to be sure, belt and suspenders, let's redo it,
12:31 pm
and they call the chief justice's chambers, greg craig, the white house council, calls and says we'd like to do this, and roberts, true to his sort of midwestern graciousness, says, subtly. and in the afternoon comes over to the white house and they re-enact the oath. a bizarre post script. when obama is reelected on -- in 2012, inauguration day, falls on a sunday, and on -- by tradition, the public ceremony is never on a sunday, so roberts came to the white house and administered the oath privately on sunday, and then publicly and successfully on -- in front of the capitol. so barack obama is the only president, except franklin roosevelt to take the oath of office four times. >> host: what is interesting is
12:32 pm
there is know video -- the moment we had the picture from the white house of the chief justice giving him the oath of office, january 21, 2009, but the white house did not allow reporters -- they allowed a pool photographer, a print photographer, but no video of that ceremony. >> guest: right, robert gibbs, the incoming white house press secretary at the time, this was something that was happening very much on the fly, and he was given short notice, and he decided, in effect to heck with a video pool of this, we'll just have still photographers, but i think in retrospect it was a mistake not to have a video record of that. there were a handful of witnesses. there was a pool of reporters who were present, and some of them have just pulled their tape recorders out and i had a chance to listen to the audio, but there is no video of the -- of
12:33 pm
what happened. >> host: next is jim from california. you're on with jeffrey toobin who is a write are for the "the new yorker" and a contributor to cnn. >> caller: thank you very much for having me and thank you for the show you do and for c-span in general. which is a wonderful network, one of the great ones. didn't franklin roosevelt take the oath in one take the first -- the first inaugural? >> host: in the become -- >> guest: when i was writing "the oath" i got into oath minutiae, oath history, and you're right that franklin roosevelt is the only president of the modern era -- we don't have tape recordings how it went much before him -- but who just
12:34 pm
recited it outright without the chief justice telling him what to say. another sort of peculiarity of the oath story is that the last line that we're so familiar with so help me god, is associated with george washington. he -- george washington supposedly said it after being sworn in as the first president, but even that is subject to a little bit of historical debate. the fact that he supposedly said it wasn't disclosed until about 20 or 30 years later, and the question arises, why did no one talk about if that what he said, for another 20 for years? so there's a bit of mystery how the oath evolved the way it did. >> host: jim, still there? was there your only question. >> caller: i wanted to ask also about the appointments to the court, beginning with bork,
12:35 pm
where i thought he was unfairly treated, and i think that's where the politicalization of the court began and since then we have had what i would call blind appoint; not because they're not very good lawyers or don't have the background or the skills, but we used to hey law professors, my constitutional law professor at northwestern many years ago was nath thannal nathan, want of brandeis' law clerks. brandeis was not a judge. goldberg and stephens came out move law school, northwestern, but lately it's just been harvard and yale. we don't have that -- the scope and the diversity that we -- i believe we should have on the court with everybody going to the same school, getting the same education, all being supreme court clerks, and so on. i just like your comments on that. >> guest: diversity -- i think you make an excellent point
12:36 pm
about diversity. we think about diversity in terms of race and gender and obviously that is important but there are other kinds of diversity. think about this. the supreme court that decided brown v. board of education in 1954, not one of the justices had been a full-time judge before going on the supreme court. earl warren was governor of california, hugh go black was senator, an attorney general. these were people who had big, complicated, public lives. n the modern era -- you're right to point out the bork nomination as the turning point there has been a tendency to move towards only appeals court judges. when samuel aleta replaced sandra day o'connor, all nine justices were former federal appeals court judges and i think the court does miss something without people who had run for
12:37 pm
elective office, for example. sandra day o'connor was the last justice who would run for office. she had been a state senator in in arizona. it's terrible loss for the court they don't have that kind of diversity of experience, but i do think that -- i think the caller is right that the bork experience led presidents to pick people with relatively bland public records, that even though people on the inside might know their actual political views, they are seen as safe choices because they can't be pinned down with controversial opinions. >> host: let me follow up on that. you've write: temperment allie chief justice rein quest never left the nixon justice department. justice odon for never stopped being a politician. antonin scalia, bryan, remained
12:38 pm
the law professors, and john roberts was a litigator whose primary responsible was to figure out ways to win. >> guest: that's right. and that is -- i think illustrates why diversity is a real value. sandra day o'connor wanted the court to stay towards the center of american politics. nat was the kind of politician and the kind of judge she turned out to be. antonin sal ya -- scalia was someone who had very definite views, born in the academy, of what the constitution meant and he spent two plus decades trying to push that agenda. i think these justices are the people they always were. i just wish that the talent pool was different, that it wasn't just appeals court judges and law professors. >> host: this is a tweet from one of our view disagreeing with your sale of pa trish that
12:39 pm
hearst saying i disaglee that miss hertz join the sla. very was a victim. mr. toobin does not understand brain washing. >> guest: this is an argument i take very seriously, and also someone who has covered criminal law as a former prosecutor. i am very aware that crime victims are people who need to be treated fairly and with dignity, and there is no question that patty hereto was a crime victim. she was kidnapped. it was a terrible thing are. she was put in a car trunk, and then put in a closet, and she had no role, no agency no participation in that. there were -- have been rumors she had some role in staging her own kidnapping. that's all total nonsense. she was a pure crime victim.
12:40 pm
however, there comes a point when people do change, and you look at what happened from february of '74 to september of '75, and you look at her behavior, and the only conclusion i can draw is not that she was brain washed, which is a concept that i think is murky at best. what i believe happened is this was a restless and vulnerable woman, who was appealed to by people who were treating her by and large well, by match march and april. she fill in love with run of her cappers, willy wolf no doubt. and then he joined in with them and spent the next year on the run. willy wolf was killed in the big shootout with the los angeles police department in may. she meets up then with steve
12:41 pm
sole and falls in love with him. yes, she was a crime victim, and, yes, crime victims definitely deserve our sympathy and respect, but in this circumstance, my conclusion was she joined the sla. >> host: why and how did she got the pardon by president carter. >> guest: she got a commutation from president carter and a pardon by president clinton. that's significant. just to bring people up to date on the story, she is tried after she is arrested for the first of the three bank robberies she is involved in. again, keep in mind, this isn't just one bank robbery. she did three, club one where a woman was killed. she was tried for the hibernia bank robbery, the first one, the one we saw the surveillance video from, on april 15, 1974, in san francisco. she made the defense that the caller was talking about and people were talking about, i was
12:42 pm
brain washed, coerced, and the jury rejected that defenses' she was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. following the failure of her appeal, the hearst family organized this tremendous drive for president carter to commute her sentence. ronald reagan, close friend of the hearst family, joined in this effort. her local congressman, leo ryan, joined in this effort, and something happened on the eve of the decision -- carter's decision about whether to commute her sentence, that really tipped the balance. that was -- people who were alive in the '70s will remember this -- the reverend jim jones followers who was also from san francisco, in guyana, committed mass suicide. they all drank the -- this expression -- miami hear this expression but don't know where it came from -- they drank the
12:43 pm
kool-aid and committed mass suicide. that created enormous interest in the united states in the subject of brainwashing. how can you get people to do something like this, and carter in the immediate aftermath, commuted her sentence and she only served 22 months. >> host: congressman ryan was killed in the shootout at the same time. >> guest: exactly. what killed in guyana visiting his constituents. two decades laid later, bill clinton is about to leave office, and jimmy carter and roslyn carter urge his strongly to pardon patty hearst and on the same day he issued pardons for his brother, roger clinton, his -- the pardon for mark rich, the fugitive financier, he pardoned patty hearst and my view of the commutation and the
12:44 pm
pardon is the purest example of how wealth helped patty hearst. our prinze are full of people who fall in with bad people and make bad decisions and wind up locked up for a very long time. there are lots of people like that. our system does not have much room for forgiveness of those people. patty hearst becomes the only person, the only person in all of american history, to receive a commutation from one president and a pardon from another. and that to me is a story about wealth and privilege. >> host: and the relationship with her mom post commutation? >> guest: you know, like so many teenagers who find their parents intolerable and unfair and annoying, she not only become -- develops a loving relationship with her mother, as i see it, she very much becomes her mother, like a lot of us become our parents.
12:45 pm
>> host: go to roger in decatur, georgia, with jeffrey toobin. >> caller: thank you for c-span. jeffrey, let me say first, i find your work too journalistic, it's not really thoughtful enough for someone who is not write only deadline. i'd like to get some of your experiences, observers of the supreme court. do you think the justices have a juris prudence when they come to the court? is this something that is sort of created by law professors, that they write about, and then the justices try and follow it? is it something they're trying to just be consistent with opinions they have written and find themselves booked into a place where they can't change? in other words, -- >> guest: i get your question. let me try to give you a thoughtful answer that you'll find satisfactory.
12:46 pm
the constitution is a document that does not interpret itself. it is subject to many, many interpretations. and the -- it is a political document, and interpretation of the political -- a political document is a political act, and the reason justices are picked for the court is that presidents think they will be able to extend their own political and ideological legacy through their appointments, and you know what? they do a pretty good job of it. that's why we see the four democratic appointees voting one way and the four republican appointees voting the other -- in most -- not all but in most cases when you look at questions does the constitution protect 0 woman's right to choose borings. does the constitution require that every state allow gay people to get married? the constitution doesn't answer those questions.
12:47 pm
you need an ideological approach to the constitution, to answer those questions. and there are differences and they are largely based on politics, and that's why it matters whether democratic or republican presidents make appointments. >> host: send us a tweet,@book tv and send us an e-mail at booktv@c-span forth organize. lauren asks whatever happened to stephen weed? did you interview him. >> guest: i did. he was a graduate student in philosophy when he was living with patty hearst, and he didn't become a philosopher. he became a real estate broker in silicon valley and he has led a very nice life in largely obscurity, the way most people do, and he is a nice guy, and he remains somewhat bewildered, as
12:48 pm
anyone would be, by this crazy experience but he is a -- now in his mid-60s and married, kids. >> host: in the interest of full disclosure, we're obviously interested in this tweet from a viewer saying: i read all your books signed by him. can jeffrey comment on the future of video in the supreme court. >> guest: oh. c-span2 has a real axe to grind on this one. >> host: not an axe to grind with want to open the process. >> guest: look. i used to say that the reason there were no cameras in the supreme court could be answered in two words. and those two words were, jon stewart. because the justices didn't want to be made fun of on "the daily show." jon stewart is gone but the concept is the same, and we talk about stockholm syndrome in the
12:49 pm
context of the patty heart case. how about in the case of sonia sotomayor and elena kagan, both said during the confirmation hearing said i think cameras in the courtroom would be a great idea. now you ask them, i don't know, i'm worried about the effect on the deliberations. to me, the arguments against cameras in the supreme court are terrible arguments. there are no witnesses to be intimidated. this is just lawyers arguing. the importance of the subject matter is unquestioned. it's their candy store. they don't want open themselves up to much scrutiny. one thing that will happen is i do believe the justices will eventually allow live streaming of the audio of supreme court arguments because they're already microphones, already
12:50 pm
are -- they release the audio at the end of the week when they have arguments. i think that will be their concession to the modern world, and i think they will recognize correctly that takes the heat off. video would be different in fairness to the justices you would have to put in cameras, have to change the lighting, and i think they should, but it would be a significant change. the live streaming the audio would offer no change at all. >> host: from "the fine" outsiders tend to be surprised by how rarely supreme court justices supreme to each other one union ones. under justice rhenquist they spent a good deal together as a group. what change snead it hasn't changed that much. john robert wad as law clerk to rhenquist and i think temper. ally and terms of interpersonal
12:51 pm
dynamics roberts has rep mix indicated the rhenquist court. rhenquist serve under chief justice burger who was generally unpopular because they -- his colleague thought burger tried to have too much of a heavy hand in the court's deliberations and rhenquist said, look, we are going to disagree, that's inevitable, but we are not going 'obother each other, so rhenquist, who didn't have a lot of patience inen, tried to move things along, and the court's conferences, they're secret nine -- when shape meet with each other to discuss the cases that, i would go around the table and vote. they wouldn't discuss the cases very much. and that is expandedded a little under roberts but a basically a similar scenario. rhenquist's philosophy about the justices was good, fences make good neighbors. we leave each other alone, we'll get along better, and it remains
12:52 pm
mostly that way. they do enter act somewhat but this is really nine separate law firms and they vote and they exchange memos but that's mostly it. >> host: nancy, you're next from brooklyn, new york. >> caller: i have two questions. one is what this dear vacation of the symbionese liberation army name, and is i'm mystified a person who is 70 years old would not be able to acknowledge that they were a different person 50 years ago from the one they are today? i'm kind of mystified and puzzled and wonder if you could comment on that. i know you don't know her motivations, but it just seems bizarre to me as an elderly person myself. thanks. >> host: she is in her early 60s. >> guest: as far as i'm concerned the early 60s are not elderly. it backs d bill bill becomes moe
12:53 pm
foreseeable future. don't want to think of that as elderly. but it's a good point. i think people become locked in with their stories. people try to justify their behavior. people try to explain. it's a lot easier to say, you were a victim, than to say you actually participated in some very bad acts, and there were some very bad acts during that lost year that patty hearst was on the run with the remnants of the sla two more bank robberies, including one where a woman was killed. there were bombings. she shot up a street in los angeles. this was a serious crime wave by patty hearst and others which renders her commutation and pardon all the more incredible. to answer your first question, donald defreeh was the leader
12:54 pm
of the sla. a lot of people today think, the sla they were one of those black revolutionary groups donald defrees was the only black person in the sla and he collected recruits about him that were mostly middle class kids, berkeley students, berkeley dropouts, students who migrated from indiana, and he came up with the word symbionese, which is sort of a corruption of symbiosis. he thought people working together in symbiosis -- he made up the word symbionese. he called himself, some people may remember, general field marshal sinq, which is an absurd inflated concept that they had
12:55 pm
about their own importance, and that's why he called them an army. and liberators. but as i point out in "american heiress," symbionese is not a word. they did not liberate anything or anyone, and they certainly were not army because they were about a dozen of them tops. but that's the derivation of the name. >> host: you have a relatively recent photograph of patty hereto. >> guest: i do. she is now best known for raising show dogs. she raises stizu and had a victory at the westminster kennel club in one of the divisions. so one of the amazing things about patty hearst's story is that for all the tumult and crisis of these events and going
12:56 pm
to prison, she has let the life for which she was destined. a wealthy homemaker, socialite, and this shows we are who we are. >> host: richard, ventura, california. you are next. >> caller: thank you. i love booktv, and as a former prosecutor, i'm reading your book on the hearst case with great interest. you noted in the book that patty hearst was live agent 2603 ben view avenue in berkeley, the scene of the kidnapping. >> guest: correct. >> caller: in 1970 i lived at 2606 ben view avenue, the two story apartment building across the street. >> guest: indeed. >> caller: and that where you said some of the students witnessed part of the thing and were fired upon by two of the kidnappers. >> guest: actually not. they were the students who were studying for the biochemistry exam, they were not across the street.
12:57 pm
they were next door. and they were standing on the porch. one of the incredible things -- when you think about the kidnapping and the whole saga of the sla, is -- and donald defrees and nancy lynn perry opened up and fired on these kids who were -- who came out on to the porch to see what was going on. it's a miracle that they didn't kill more people considering how many rounds of ammunition they fired, both at the kidnapping, the bank robbery, at the shootout in los angeles. and patty hearst herself at mel's sporting goods. we can only be grateful the sla war horrible shots. >> host: richmond, are you still there? >> guest: i'm sire. >> caller: you noted how radical the area was at the time but you failed to mention another famous female resident of ben view avenue.
12:58 pm
hillary rodham clinton. lived on ben view avenue in the summer of 1971. she came across the country from yale to work for a radical law firm, which represented many of the revolutionaries at the time, like the pa black panthers. >> guest: news to me. >> caller: well, it's true story. it's -- you can look it up on the internet. hope you'll urge people not only to read your book but bryan burrough's book, days overarm, which is in your bibliography. an excellent book on the era. >> guest: can i just second that motion enthusiastically. the book, "days of rage" is about all -- many of the radical movements of the 1970s. mostly focuses on the weather underground but also talks about the puerto rican faln. there's stuff below the symbionese liberation army.
12:59 pm
it's a terrific book and i'm delighted you mentioned and you happy to endorse your recommendation. >> host: we have seven books to go through. so another one "too close to call" i want to read a quote. >> guest: it's about the recount in 2000. >> host: you say. in all the supreme court's performance in the election cases, bush v. gore, vein indicated the famous observation offer by justice robert jackson in 1953. he said: we're not final because we are in infallible but a we are infallible only because we are final. let me ask you about that point and also what al gore did not do that might have changed history. >> guest: oh, boy. well, of all my books, "too close to call" is my favorite stepchild because do. >> host: you lived through it. >> guest: i lift in florida for the whole time, except i came up to washington for both of the
1:00 pm
supreme court arguments. but that book came out in october of 2001. there was a brett pretty big news event in september of 2001. so, it came out in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. and people did not want to hear about bush v. gore after 9/11, especially a few weeks afterwards. so, that was a tough sell, and that book was not, i'm pleased to say, unlike the others, not a commercial success, and i guess i have a special fondness for it for just that reason. i have a lot of respect for the supreme court. disagree with many decisions but i certainly understand why they came out the way they did. bush v. gore, i think, is a very dark moment in the history of the supreme court. it think it is a bad and nearly
1:01 pm
indefensible decision. it was badly reasoned. it was badly written, it was inappropriately they took the case inappropriately to start with. so i have no -- i really still have a very critical view of that decision. but that robert jackson quote says, we have to stop somewhere. somebody has to have the last word in american political and legal life, and we have decided to have the supreme court do it, for better or worse. and that is why our election ended the way it did in 2000, but that doesn't mean we have to be happy. >> host: you had four very different people who are central to this. george w. bush and his approach, al gore, the sitting vice president, warned christopher, the former secretary of state in
1:02 pm
the clinton administration, and jim baker, long-time friend, confident day and in the george h.w. bush administration and they had a different approach. ...
1:03 pm
and why the decision came out the way that it did. i don't know if al gore had picked different person now, there might have been a different outcome. and there were heroic effort on the parts of the democrats. ron klink, who plays the young leader of the democratic forces did enormous labor under very difficult circumstances and almost still one. the amount of effort and resources was tremendously out of balance and that was the result of different approaches. >> host: you quote the firm executives at theater at the
1:04 pm
"miami herald" did this is from a q&a interview with brien lamb. it runs about 90 seconds to c-span: remind us what the "miami herald" concluded about the florida election. >> i will tell you what we did first abolished after the u.s. supreme court decided that there would no full-scale recount of the vote in florida, we decided that we should determine for histories date what were the real result. so we did our own recount. we went to every one of the 16 counties in florida and obtained all the ballots and we were able to do that under the really expensive public records law florida, which is really wonderful. so we obtained all the ballots. we went with an accounting firm to see them at the time and they did their account deleted our count as terminal in and we went to every single ballot and we had the supervisor of elections hold a valid and recorded how that ballot was voted on whether
1:05 pm
it could in fact be counted. they were marked in a way they couldn't possibly be counted. there were different standards. how do you judge the so-called hanging chad. so if you have a outlet that was punctured, if the piece of paper were hanging on, did you count that or not count that? so we looked at the vote under various standards that we determined that george bush actually won that election in florida. c-span: if i could add one more point, the "miami herald" did their own recount could later the national opinion research center at the university of chicago did a different, even more sponsored consortium including "the new york times" and the "washington post" that reshaped different conclusion.
1:06 pm
if the whole state had been recounted, gore would have won. >> does a tactical mistake by al gore. >> guest: it was certainly a tactical mistake to only call for four counties of recount here but i think the broader issue is what we know for sure is that the supreme court's decision ended the recount. there is no more recount after december -- no more official recount. i remember it being in tallahassee the recount was ongoing, when the peoples primitive cell phones and cell phones are pretty primitive ms days and people said the supreme court has issued a stay to stop counting the ballot. they stopped counting right in the middle.
1:07 pm
"miami herald" recount tells us, the broader media recount tells us that we will never know. we will never know who won the election, who would have been designated the winner of the election if the recount had been allowed to proceed. it doesn't matter a unlike marty behring said they are. but respectfully, and that is not the last word. the last word i believe with all my heart is we cannot tell who would've won because recounts can re-create them. they can only happen in real time and we just don't know who would have won. >> host: an e-mail from one of our viewers. where did jeffrey toobin go to college and at that time in college significantly affect her future? >> guest: i went to harvard college and majored in american history and literature.
1:08 pm
i wrote my senior thesis about samuel adam and i just want to say since we are in television now that if someone wants to make a musical about samuel adam, i am happy to help. i am really ready to help. you know, in fairness i think hamilton life is a little more suited for a musical. did not have an impact? i love going to college. i spent most of my time in college at the student newspaper. i was really much more my nature than my academic interests. i like my classes. i was happy to study american has read, but that was when i really can't do journalism bug, even though i did go from there to law school. but i still have a great fondness for histories and early
1:09 pm
american history and reigning american era was really kind of a return to those college route. just in one very specific way. my last two books have been about the supreme court. the supreme court -- virtually everything about it now is on pdf. it is very easy to manipulate their research material. studying this event from the 1970, where i had received these 150 boxes of paper, it was really startling and wrinkly quite difficult for me to deal with actual paper again and a research context. i am very anxious to have these 150 boxes out of my life. >> host: sent us an e-mail.
1:10 pm
otb@c-span.org. what do you do in your free time and what was your favorite ultra- right? >> guest: what do i like to do with my free time? i have -- i love interesting stories and i love to cover and go places and i have a story coming out in "the new yorker" which requires spending a lot of time in alabama, which i just love because it's very far from my home. i like interesting things in the world. my own life is not terribly interesting or complicated. i am sort of a homebody. i like to play golf with my wife. i like to work in the gym. i like to read folks. there's nothing especially interesting are colorful about what i do in my day-to-day life. but i like to be out in the world into the colorful and interesting things that other
1:11 pm
people do. >> host: let's go to gary joining us from miami, florida. go ahead, please. you are on the air. >> caller: hi, i would like to ask mr. toobin something about our current president. i am a former resident of hyde park in chicago. and i was very familiar with reverend wright in the church. my question, the president attended the church for more than 20 years. he says in his book that reverend white was his mentor. he married michelle. he blasted his home. he baptized his children and he knew that reverend white previously had been a month on and had a company, louis farrakhan. >> host: what is your question? >> caller: well, my question is, does jeffrey toobin believe
1:12 pm
that the president did not know any of this or does he come to that conclusion that the president was either lying or isn't as smart as he claimed to be. >> guest: it's like 2008 all over again. this was an issue that was exhaustively down in the 2008 election. barack obama or title game that means that the president endorsed everything jeremiah wright ever said. i don't think it means he knew everything that jeremiah wright ever said. barack obama has been president for seven and a half years now and i think there's a lot of basis on which to judge whether he's been a good president or
1:13 pm
not. based on what he did as president. what he did or did not think that jeremiah wright at this stage seems utterly irrelevant. >> host: the run of his life, the people versus o.j. simpson. >> guest: the book became back into my life dramatically. >> host: as he sits in a nevada jail, what is going through his mind? >> guest: boy i got a raw deal. people are unfair to me. i would like to tell you about all the unfairness is one of the things about o.j. as he is a compulsive talker. he undoubtedly has the great deal to say about what has gone on in his life boats recently and in the more distant past. a lot of people sometimes have asked me over the years have
1:14 pm
made do you think o.j. has admitted to himself that he killed ron goldman, his ex-wife, nicole brown since then. i certainly do believe that he did. i think that he doesn't really focus in that question in his routes. i think he feels like the legal system has been unfair to him. that's a lot of people involved in the criminal justice system focus on what they think are the young heiresses of the said system, but not the underlying conduct that got them in trouble in the first place. >> host: what are the underlying questions for those who followed the case? he had celebrity. he had an ex-wife who was beautiful. he had two children. by all accounts a pretty successful career as a
1:15 pm
ballplayer, commentator, actor and celebrity. so why? >> guest: domestic violence is a real thing. >> guest: it is easy to make it complicated argument about the o.j. simpson case. in many respects it was a complicated stories. but why o.j. killed nicole, because husbands kill their wives. because intimate partners kill each other. because men kill women. that is what happened here. it's not really that complicated. their im. there is ron goldman's father in front of me. there i am with no gray hair little, or be two years old, looking pretty young.
1:16 pm
even then i knew that it was an amazing thing to be in the courtroom at that moment. i knew that this was like being in this film. this is a piece of history that was unfolding. i didn't even know at that red-hot moment when the verdict was being announced about the racially polarized reaction up he would soon see, which vaulted the story even more. >> host: which is our next quote from the book. racism and law enforcement and black citizens and thus the lecturers have stored too many insults in general and the lapd in particular we put this out. >> guest: that's right. i wrote this in the immediate aftermath of the o.j. simpson case in 20 years later and they came and said we want to know a
1:17 pm
miniseries and they made this magnificent series broadcast earlier this year. it just shows us how it is timely forever. the miniseries came out in the immediate aftermath of eric turner's staff in new york and all these incidents that gave rise to the black lives matter of move in. this story, the way i wrote it and the way it was portrayed was about race in america and how jurors, especially saw african-american jurors saw the relationship between the los angeles police department and african-americans and it turned out in my view that o.j. simpson became the utterly undeserving beneficiary of that poisonous
1:18 pm
history. but this year, which had so much attention on the o.j. simpson case, it just showed how timely that story was because the relationship between african-americans and the police remains the center for american life. >> host: yes or no to the verdict surprise you? >> guest: yes. yes, it did. as my wife and others have reminded me many times. if you recall what happens, the jury announced that they had reached a verdict on the previous day and then we had to wait until 11:00 in the morning the next day. i was on television all through the overnight saying what you think is going to happen? i predict that o.j. would become the did given how brief the jury deliberations were and the fact, and i freely admit this, having sat in the courtroom i was
1:19 pm
utterly convinced of his dog and i thought the jury would see it the same way. i am very much ready. >> host: nancy from redondo beach, california. europe next .tv. just go thank you, steve, thank you toobin -- mr. toobin. our timing was almost perfect regarding the supreme court. have you read about that decision based on a novel that was in the nation i believe. and if so, what are your thoughts on that? i read that i go there was a scholar and he basically said he was almost treason in and i would just love to hear your comments on that hang out. so much. >> guest: i'm an admirer. he was as many old men remember
1:20 pm
one of the prosecutors and the charles manson case in manson case in his book, helter-skelter , about the manson case is as far as i'm concerned one of the great true crime books ever written. this was very critical of the decision in bush v. gore. i was very critical of the decision. i think vince's criticism, as much as i disagree with the decision, with a little over the top to talk about treason, to talk about the apocalyptic stand of how bad it was. i say none of this in order to defend the decision in bush v. gore, but i found that book somewhat over it dated. >> host: alcor had seen his recount is a logic puzzle to be solved after judicious reflection. of the vice president and his aides were hunched over their calculators, republicans were
1:21 pm
breaking bars rolls over their heads. >> guest: as i said, i spent the whole summer -- the whole 36 days, november and december of 2000 in florida in tallahassee. one of the things that you couldn't help but notice was the only protesters in the streets were republicans and they were out in front of the vice presidential mansion here in washington, it getting -- get out of cheney's house. get out at cheney's house. gore didn't want any protesters on the street. he wanted this to be an orderly a political process. one of the main differences between the two parties especially between jim baker the republican leader and warren christopher was that baker understood that this was a bar
1:22 pm
fight as well as legal fight. that was one factor in the outcome. >> host: william, you are next. >> caller: yes, steve, hello. i am their c-span cartoonist of yesteryear. i am just so tickled to see you and jeffrey votes. c-span is wonderful. c-span is a safety valve for our system of government in trying times. >> guest: things for your work which lists forever on c-span.org. >> caller: i appreciate you guys, too. that is wonderful. jeffrey, i've got to say it sounds to me like i have your other books, either by library
1:23 pm
and my wife insists on buying books nowadays. i want to apologize. i just want to mention it. i love the way you write. i do have a couple comments. first of all i think i have a dead yearbook because it sounds like when i was teaching criminal justice before i started cartooning, when i did not, anthony lewis' book about the gig in case. gideon's trumpet. he was one of my favorite. i think i've got to get your book. it must be kind of the odd verse of that case, talking about patty hearst and her brushes with the law. i think that is going to be very fascinating. i do have a question for you.
1:24 pm
i think jeffrey come you might be interested and as a former teacher of constitutional law, what you said. i think you was "the nine." every citizen of the united states ought to read that. >> host: can you imagine the sale? every citizen, rather. >> guest: i want to say jeffrey if you can come up with an idea about how many more people we can put on the supreme court, maybe we will get some better decisions. >> roosevelt tried to pack the court with more than nine. i think we should worry about adding 29. let's just get to nine. that would be a first step.
1:25 pm
>> host: one of the early books, transcendent. whatever you did deserve imprisonment. the values you learn that your mothers need. he lied, he cheated and one of each. >> guest: was pleased to hear you asked that question is if people know what oliver north says. i feel obligated in answering that question to explain a little of the background because i think the iran-contra scandal is not necessarily at the top of people's mind at the moment. oliver north was a lieutenant colonel in the marine corps who is assigned to the reagan white house. he met with the assistance of his superiors and john poindexter to provide assistance to the contras who were fighting
1:26 pm
the left-wing government in nicaragua, which is still part of the cold war and he managed also to sell missiles to iran in order to free hostages in the used some of the money that he thought from iran to fund the contras, which congress had prohibited. >> host: one of the headlines this week with the freeing of the hostages and $400 million today. >> guest: it is remarkable how iran in particular out of all the countries in the world manages to confuse and basically mess that the american government. there is a uniquely bad relationship between iran and the united stated that seems to recur and decade after decade.
1:27 pm
there was an independent counsel appointed, an outside prosecutor. his famous lawrence walsh. i was the junior member of the team for lying to congress for taking security fence and appropriately. he was dead, but then the court of appeals overturned his conviction and he has been out and about ever since. he is now a military analyst on fox. i wrote a piece for "the new yorker" quite a few years ago. i'm pleased to think that anyone remembers the whole saga at all. >> host: one rattan for a call before we take a short way. linda from annapolis. >> guest: good afternoon. i have not a very significant question about the patty hearst book. in the present, and he mentioned that she is a homemaker. she lives in greenwich and
1:28 pm
living a life she was born to. did she hire her bodyguard or her chauffeur. and if so, is she still married? >> guest: this is not a trivial question at all. it is something i explored in the book. she did marry her bodyguard right after she was released from prison on bail. her lawyers had to hire bodyguards for her and they hired an off-duty san francisco police officer named or an art shop. the two of them fell in love and they married in the late 70s. they moved to the east coast is used at just weird not to greenwich and i think it fair not to disclose where she lives. she is understandably concerned about her security. they had a long and happy marriage and they had two daughters. unfortunately, bernie died of cancer in 2013 and patty hearst
1:29 pm
is now a widow. perhaps not surprisingly, became head of security and many of my friend who work at hearst magazines like "esquire" or cosmopolitan dialysate he took my employee photo i.d. there is a whole generation of journalists that have pleasant memories of bernie shaw taken employee i.d. photographs. >> host: we are at the midway point of our three hour conversation. a lot more to talk about. what's your next project? >> guest: i don't know. when i write a book, i find the effort so all-encompassing that frankly the last thing i want to think about right now is what my next book will be about. i do know happily that i will write more books, but they tend to emerge organically from my work from "the new yorker" and i don't know exactly -- i don't know at all what it will be
1:30 pm
about. >> host: more with jeffrey toobin on c-span2 with "in depth." more calls, e-mails, tweets here on booktv. ♪ ♪ ♪
1:31 pm
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
1:32 pm
1:33 pm
♪ ♪
1:34 pm
♪ ♪ ♪
1:35 pm
1:36 pm
1:37 pm
>> author, columnist, lawyer, jeffrey toobin. the book "a vast conspirace." he said the following. when president clinton was caught in the most cliché of dilemmas, and menopausal woman from the out this react if not with candor and grace, but with the dishonesty and that are among the touchdown of his career. >> host: did i write that? that seems a little harsh.
1:38 pm
look, bill clinton, let's state the obvious, should not have been involved with monica lewinsky. but i saw that the hero of the story to the extent there was one with the american people, which you would not not everyone, but it's like we get this. this guy had an affair with a woman. but we don't fire people in this country, especially from the president for doing that. i thought the maturity and the good humor for most americans was really a contrast to the way most politicians and much of the news media viewed the story. this is the now story about very ordinary human flaws that was
1:39 pm
inflated in today's institutional crisis. >> when you said euros, among the key players. >> guest: it was not a great moment for american public life. needless to say, i do not defend bill clinton. i do not defend him which he clearly did. or when you look at his opponent , his back year after year pursuing him on non-sense and it's finally fastened on to this. not only wasted an enormous amount of time on it, but also botched the investigation by not giving her immunity at the beginning and getting this thing over with. you know, bill clinton was very fortunate and if that are series in this ridiculous drama. >> host: the cover of the book
1:40 pm
, wagging the finger. what is up with the tide? disco when i was coming here, i was thinking, is he going to ask me stuff i don't remember? i wrote this stuff a long time ago. one of the gifts that monica lewinsky gave to clinton during the relationship is a beautiful azania tide. he wore that tie during his grand jury testimony, which was ultimately televised. there were those who thought that this was a symbol --a sign, a signal to monica lewinsky but i am still inking a few end quote type to your story defending me. that strikes me as a little far-fetched. i devoted an team and none time to trying to locate a copy of
1:41 pm
the tie and i had a lot of dealings with the people from seeing it. one thing i didn't know it is azania rotates their ties and once they move on to just sort of move on and don't have any. a great souvenir of cobain story i couldn't get. >> host: from the book a vast -- "a vast conspirace," with regard to health care, she quickly became one of the least popular first ladies her defense of her has been drove her to great heights of popularity. she and her husband tried to capitalize on the good feelings towards her. >> guest: yeah. it seems like a long time ago. but our sense of who hillary clinton as has gone through quite a number of iterations. of how long she's been a major
1:42 pm
public figure. she became the first lady in my 293 which is 23 years ago and she was the focus of public shin as the leader of the health care case. but i think, you know, this was an example of how the clintons were fortunate in their adverse very. basically bill clinton had a very inappropriate relationship with this woman and then lied about it. but it was essentially a private matter for him and his family and his wife. the fact that his opponents try to bring it into a constitutional crisis and she managed to deal with him on a personal private level i think generated a lot of sympathy for
1:43 pm
her. just trying to think about the pattern of hillary clinton's career is that she can to be this popular when she is involved in partisan controversy. that was true in health care and it is true now and she's running for president. bush is likely to win, she's certainly not as popular as she was when she was secretary of state, which was a large the apolitical position. she is likely to be more popular as a president if she becomes president then she has as a candidate you choose not a great candidate. she is not a great campaigner. but she is actually pretty good at being in office. she was a popular senator in new york. so i think that is one of the patterns that his record of her life. >> party structure is organize
1:44 pm
your research, specially interviews to conduct and how you're able to handle your notebook or obligations in g of research assistants? just go just to answer the last question, i have never been able to hire research assistants in the sense that people who go out and do the legwork for me and interviews for me, i don't grudge the writers who do, but that is too much a part of the research itself. i could neither said that work out to others. i have had people who have helped me with topics and i'm very pleased to say that my neighbor in sherman, connecticut with someone i hired to create an index for the 150 boxes of material i got, which was and is visible to try and figure out
1:45 pm
how to use all this. that is the kind of thing i've had a research assistant for discrete assignments like creating an index of those boxes. after how i structure my work, to meet the reporting is always the most important part. going out and talking to people and going out and interviewing people, getting the documents were reading the primary source material that came out at the time. once i start writing, as i mentioned to you earlier, i am very fastidious about my five pages a day quota. i have to get it done every day because that is how i can complete a book in a reasonable amount of time. while i'm writing, and still reporting. one of the things you've learned in my experience when you sit down to write is you learn about
1:46 pm
the holes in your research. one reason why i write 1250 word is that it leaves me time everyday to continue my reporting: people on the phone, looking at documents. i never stop reporting of the book is dead. >> host: benjamin joining us from florence, massachusetts gave you a max. >> guest: good afternoon on the east coast. you mentioned earlier your interest in american history and recently the sub checked over his bitter ginsberg and involvement in political discourse coming out. it is significant and the study of american history you should well know that john jay, the first to bring our justice was in fact twice a candidate for the governorship of new york and ran for the public nomination
1:47 pm
for the presidency from the supreme court as he got the nomination and subsequently was appointed chief justice of the supreme court and william douglas tried to get the democratic nomination for vice president in the night team 40s. so there is a long consistent history of justices involvement and political activities and for ruth bader ginsburg to make a few comments about the political campaign strikes me as small potatoes compared to the history of such involvement. the issue has been raised, but i haven't seen the suit those who criticize ginsburg acknowledged the historical record and take that into account into her statements. >> guest: is a factual matter, you're clearly correct.
1:48 pm
i actually mentioned when this came out. times have changed. the place of the supreme court in modern life is after the justices i'll acknowledge the man nominated, when they are confirmed, they tried to be more cut off from day to day political events. i don't bring any great naïveté to the subject. i recognize the supreme court decisions are often deeply political in their nature. but there is a tradition of many decades standing. it is now the justices should try to stay out of the day-to-day electoral politics of the country. that is an appropriate line. i think she recognized that. that is why she apologized and
1:49 pm
is not doing it again. i agree this is not world war iii. it done impeachment of a crisis, but it was an appropriate comment he made. >> guest: i've had three e-mails i'm not sure what they're talking about. at the first migration there is so much movement that at the psyche took the oath of office from a subway stop. please comment. when i was writing the oath and that chapter about the history about that when i needed to bring you can see most of the presidential oath were various video. i don't remember people walking around during the roosevelt won. i do remember that he recite the oath. it's also worth remembering that
1:50 pm
a lot of what goes on now is choreographed for television. that includes presidential and not duration, which are in meticulous detail choreographed in 1933 when franklin roosevelt took the oath for the first time. there wasn't that kind of image management of newsreels even in a rather primitive form. the fact that people were not aware that they run camera perhaps isn't as surprising as all of that. >> host: from chester, pennsylvania, welcome to c-span2 booktv. >> guest: mr. toobin, i love your work. did you graduate from october? >> guest: no, but my dad was a proud graduate in philadelphia where she would never fail in the next sentence to say wilt chamberlain also graduated from
1:51 pm
overbrook high school. my dad was a proud philadelphian. >> guest: my husband did, too. just a couple statements that if you could tell me whether my statements are correct. i think your question about iran and the relationship with u.s.a. comes down to two words. anyway, the next point is i don't understand -- i'm confused about supreme court because their initials are not political, there is not a partisan or new score. aside from elana kagan, the last just as i try to. that was circumstantial. if you could check me out. i just don't understand why nine
1:52 pm
of the best and the brightest can't agree on a five-page document. >> guest: thank you for your question. if i might make my cryptic statement. kermit roosevelt was a cia official in the united state who helped initiate a coup d'état in iran in the 1950s, which has led to a lot of internet stories the united states and iran. i don't pretend to be an expert, but that is the reference. you know, as for why the supreme court justices can agree, here i have a lot of sympathy. this is a question i often get about the supreme court. why did they have to disagree so much? why can't that be judges, not politicians. why can't they just put the
1:53 pm
politics aside and reached legal decisions? if you look at the issues before the supreme court, if you look at affirmative action, abortion, same-sex marriage, all the sets of issues, and there are not a political answers to these questions. these are questions that are as much political as legal. you can't expect people to put aside their political views to answer questions because questions themselves are so bound up in politics as much as love. this is why i always say in presidential election that people should matters and that when they are voting in a presidential election, they are voting for the future of the supreme court and it will very different if donald trump is president or hillary clinton as president, especially because of how well the justices are now.
1:54 pm
by a gear into the next presidency, ruth bader ginsburg, stephen breyer and anthony kennedy will all be in their 80s. deities outmuscled as they once were, but the 80s are still buried a family concert you expect they will not just be that justice scalia vacancy that exists now, but multiple vacancies over the next four or eight years. >> host: followers on twitter at booktv and you can like us and join us on facebook at facebook/booktv. margie is joining us from proxima west virginia appeared overhead, please. >> guest: hi, a few years ago c-span feature a book called the divide. i'm wondering if you read that, mr. toobin. i am one of these people who struggle with inequality.
1:55 pm
since cnn is doing a lot of documentaries, is there anyway you could take a look at the book and see if you can work with cnn to do some kind of a documentary about the inequalities in our court system especially for poor people and people that are minority. >> guest: i am very familiar with this sort. he mostly writes for "rolling stone" now. you know, i think you don't always have to have a winning candidate to have an influence in the united states. goldwater lost in 1964 a catastrophic landslide to lyndon johnson. but if you look at the goldwater campaign, you see the root of the reagan camp game. you see the root of the country's right turn in subsequent years. if anyone is interested in that
1:56 pm
subject in particular, the book server pearlstein really identify how in the laws of 1964 the future of the republican party is really revealed. i say that because the caller's question very much is related to the bernie sanders campaign. the bernie sanders campaign was a real phenomenon of the 2016 can paint. he's got a lot of votes. he won a lot of states. hillary clinton's position on the issues change they move to the last undoubtedly because of bernie sanders starting with her position on the transpacific partnership trade agreement. the democratic party of 2016 as dramatically more liberal than the words in 1992 when hillary
1:57 pm
clinton's husband was very intentionally moving the party to the right. i think the callers concerned about inequality is really shared rabbis people in this country and i think bernie sanders camp pain in the enormous success of that really illustrate that. how were whether that will translate into actual action of hillary clinton is elected president, i don't know. we live in a very polarized moment as the democratic party is more liberal, the republican party is more conservative and seems likely will control the house of representatives if not the senate as well. how hillary clinton can maneuver between her leftward direction that she has taken in a congress that is unlikely to approve much will be one of the challenges of her presidency if she's elected president.
1:58 pm
>> host: i will take you back 32 used in the cbs news archives 1984 and get your reaction. >> good evening from cbs news. this is ms. berry. the president-elect, daniel ortega has called for a summit with president reagan to reduce tensions. the later said u.s. pressure was behind the caracas efforts to obtain weapons from soviets. 2000 mourners attended a memorial service for baby fae, the finn who made medical history when she received a baboon heart transplant. police have identified skeletal remains near seattle is another big tub. a number of known but tends to 28 in tampa, florida, robert has been charged with the murder of nine women in that state. >> host: jeffrey toobin, your mother. just as bad my mom. my mother was one of the pioneering television women on television news.
1:59 pm
she was at abc for many years issued by cbs when she was doing those is raikes. alas, she died last summer in july of 2015. but you know, it is so interesting to watch her on television because she was so good at it. she had a great voice. she had a terrific presence on television. she looked great. you know, my television career, it is bizarre that i in the same business. i have never been an anchor and i had no ambitions to be an anchor. but she was so good at reading from a teleprompter in presenting the news. it takes someone in the business facing to see just how good she was. and she was a great mom as well. >> guest: did she consider herself to be a pioneer or she looking for a job? >> guest: you bet she was a
2:00 pm
pioneer. in retrospect especially. when i was a kid, she was just looking for a job. but be the first woman to anchor to be the first woman to be a vice president of a network news operation. all of that was very important to her. she was a very serious and committed feminist and she was concerned not just about her own progress, but the progress of all women in all fields. ..
2:01 pm
he was a wonderful inspiration as well. among other reasons as a man who supported feminism very much. >> host: you wrote a piece in new yorker.your own career and the dichotomy -- you use that word -- in terms of being a lawyer and author, somebody who is on cnn, bridging different platforms. >> guest: i think of myself as an itinerant constant present provider co-content provider. >> host: we'll go to rick from red center lakes, colorado? >> caller: it is colorado. northern colorado. okay. i have a general constitutional question. i'm not a scholar and i'm not an expert, but i have read the constitution a few times, and as i see it, just as a citizen reading it, what strikes me is that first article, the longest
2:02 pm
article, the most specific article, is about the legislative branch, and then there are two short articles about the additional -- that would indicate to me just as couldn't of a sane person that the legislative branch was perceived by the founders as the central branch of government. the most important. and when i see that the president currently has 4% approval rating but the government has a -- whatever it is -- 70% disapproval rating are strikes me that's not difficult to explain if you can agree that the running of the country is primarily the job of the legislature. they can fire the president, they can make taxes, make war. what is your thought about sort evolution of the three branches of government.
2:03 pm
>> guest: if i can just answer you question. you pinpoint something that is so important and this is an observation that i think is not made often enough, and it's why it's a really good idea for people to actually pick up and read the constitution occasionally, and the -- to me, every time i read it, my reaction is very much like the caller's, which is article 1, describing the legislative powers, is much longer than article 2, and even longer, again, than article 3, which describes the judiciary powers and we live in a system where since marbury vs. mad desson in 1803 the courts can invalidate anything the two branches do. think the real turning point came in terms of the balance of power february the executive -- between the executive branch and the legislative branch came with the nuclear bomb. i think in 1945, once it became
2:04 pm
clear that the president could essentially end the world with the push of a button, metaphorically, the power in this country had to go in the direction of the executive branch because the fact that we lived with the threat of extinction for 40 years, and still technically do as well still nuclear weapons pointed at us -- i think that led to a tremendous shift of power from the executive -- from the legislative branch to the executive branch. it's very hard to move it in the other direction. it's particularly hard to move it in the other direction when congress is so dysfunctional, when you have a filibuster system in the senate that requires 60 votes to get anything done. very little gets done. the fact you have an executive
2:05 pm
who can actually get things done in and a legislate temperature that either chooses not to or can't is another explanation for why power has shifted that way. >> host: a tweet from pam saying: would you be interested in writing a book on justice ginsburg? >> guest: you know, one of the things i know from my involvement in the publishing business is that there are a lot of books in the works about justice ginsburg, even as we speak, and there was a wonderful book published called "notorious rbg" that sort of a paperback original, wonderful book, a friend of mine wrote it last year. i'm going to leave rbg to other authors because there are plenty of. the circling around her. >> host: another tweet saying jeffrey tube bin's momas a pioneer in tv.
2:06 pm
the things you learn in booktv >> guest: i'm delighted. >> host: from cleveland, ohio, neville is next. go ahead. >> caller: speaking of my mother. >> guest: speaking of my mother, native of cleveland, ohio. >> caller: i observe you on cnn as a legal mind on cnn. but my question has to do with the legal background of congressmen. i believe that more congressmen are lawyers than in any other profession. can you say whether you think that having congressmen being of legal background is in any way significant for the way the country is run? >> guest: you know, i don't really think it matters that much. throughout the history of the supreme court, the law school
2:07 pm
that has sent most justices to the supreme court -- you know which one it is? none. for decades, most of the supreme court justices didn't go to law school at all. it was only in the mid-20th mid-20th century that law school became a common route to being a lawyer. most lawyers became lawyers by clerking with an old lawyer the way abraham lincoln did. so, i don't think the fact that most -- many members of congress are lawyers has much to do with the problems and the issues. i thing congress reflects where the country is at this point. this is a deeply polarized country and when you combine that with partisan redistributioning threshing fact that most house seats have -- redistricting, the fact that house seats have been crafted to
2:08 pm
be overwhelm ily democratic or republican, you see many fewer moderates who are interested in cooperating in the house. that to me is a much more significant development in congress than the fact there are lot of lawyers there. >> host: a couple of your books. "opening arguments" you say i spent most of my fan frantic first weeks trying to pretend i was having less fun than i was, playing chicken with the white house, battling ollie north. i was have the time of my life. >> guest: i was. was a kid. now i sound like only an old person can talk about a -- i guess i was 29 years old -- 28 or 29 -- just oust my clerkship, and it was heady stuff. it was cool. it was great. i think actually one of the lessons, though, that i learned in "opening arguments" i learn in iran-contra is i went into
2:09 pm
that process thinking that we had a mandate to sort of show what a -- how terrible the reagan administration was, and i learned from my colleagues and just from the world, that those sorts of ambitions are unhealthy for prosecutors. to the extent prosecutors have political goals and ambitions, that's a bad thing, not a good thing. i think a narrow role for prosecutors who should be concerned with prosecuting actual crime, and only prosecuting actual crime, not trying to change political directions, not trying to effect elections, that's what prosecutors should do. one reason i wrote "opening arguments" was the story of my understanding that my initial ambitions were flawed, and that it's better for prosecutors to have a more limited conception of what they should do.
2:10 pm
>> host: so, therefore, what is the connection between thurgoodd marshall, the naacp and special prosecutors? >> guest: i don't know of. there is one? >> host: you wrote about how that led to the creation of the special prosecutors -- >> guest: well, i'm not sure i see it -- i mean, the public interest lawyers who are filing lawsuits as the naacp legal defense fund did to end segregation in the united states, that is an explicitly partisan political agenda just as evan wilson and the other lawyers trying to end the bans on same-sex marriage in the united states had a political agenda. that's perfectly appropriate. our system is designed for people to use the legal system in that way. it is not designed in my opinion, for prosecutors who have the power of government
2:11 pm
behind them, not independent actors like public interest lawyers but government lawyers, to try to use that power to effect political change. that's a bad idea. >> host: from "the run of his life," as to the central fact in this case it's my view that of j. simpson murder hid is ex-wife and her friend on june 12. in any rational analysis of the events and evidence leads to that conclusion. >> guest: that's what i think. and i have not been shy about that conclusion over the past 22 years. i mean, i think o.j. simpson killed the two people and he got away with and it that is a real stain on the court system. interestingly, the fx series based on my book did not take an explicit position on the guilt or innocence of o.j.
2:12 pm
they laid out the evidence and it points in one direction but i think the film makers made a smart decision not to have an explosive conclusion in the -- accomplice accomplice sit conclusion. it was much more about how the legal process worked and how -- explain how the acquittal came about. >> host: from "too close to call" if the recount had proceeded they might not have gone al gore's way but the fact remains al gore did not do everything he could to secure this victory so the nation could never know whether a more determined evident might have seed. said when the votes were counted the results were the same. gore won. the margins were tiny but under the scenarios from the most liberal to the most conservative, gore emotionalled the victor. >> guest: right. this is from the recent
2:13 pm
re-recount from the media consortium than the recount by in the the miami herald" it is true that the full state recount favored gore under all those scenarios, but i don't pretend -- i've said this before -- i don't pretend that we can know with certainty who would have won the election if the supreme court had allowed the recount to continue. that's just my point. that by ending the recount, the bush -- the supreme court guaranteed we will never know. >> host: from ""american heiress" despite the resident rim of the commune kays the sla was not a vehicle for political change. it was an instrument for getting attention for its own sake. >> guest: right. one know had gones that -- one
2:14 pm
thing that struck me about the sla, the general field marral who was the nominal lead are but the brains of the operation, such as it was, came out of the indiana university theater department and this time in the early '70s was a time of guerrilla theater and performance art and basically people making spectacles of themselves for political change, and if you look at the fee theatrical nature of our how the sla operated, whether it's kidnapping the heir yes or putting cyanide in their bullets or putting patty hearst in front hoff the cameras during a bank robbery, it was design offed to create a public spectacle. what the sla had no idea about was how to foment actual political change. they saw. thes as the american counterpart
2:15 pm
to the revolutionary movements around the world, in uruguay this red brigade in italy. the gang in germany. but even more than those groups, these people were utterly clueless about how to recruit anything more than the tiny band they started with. >> host: this picture from l.a., i believe, east 54th street. what are we looking at. >> guest: that is the -- may 17, 1974, patty hearst and two of the sla members went off shopping and got into -- and had to -- got into a shootout and had to leave. the other six members of the sla were caught in this house that is on the screen now, and this house was the subject of what is
2:16 pm
still, to this day, the biggest police shootout in american history. 5,000 rounds of ammunition. there you see video of it. 5,000 rounds of al mission went into the house. 3,000 rounds of ammunition came out, and all six of the sla members who were inside were killed. the l.a.p.d. thought that patricia hearst was inside the house at the time of the shootout, and so she understood that her life was in danger in a very direct way, which was one reason why, over the next year, she went on the run with the remnants of the sla because she saw that this is the fate that smooth await her if she was couth. >> host: we take it for granted, we saw the graphic, minicam. >> guest: this is another
2:17 pm
example of how the hearst case previews the modern world. knxt was the cbs affiliate in los angeles. it's now known as kcbs. they had a new technology which was the ability to put a satellite on the -- a satellite transmitter on the roof of a truck and make a live breaking news event available to their viewers, before the invention of the minimum nip cam the only way you could do a live broadcast was to lay cable weeks advance like a political convention or world series game, but there they were able to take a minicam to this shootout. the other local affiliates in los angeles said to knxt, we really want your feed. can we broadcast it as well? they picked it up. then nationally it was picked um
2:18 pm
around the country -- picked up around the country because the minicam had just been invented and that was the first live breaking news event broadcast around the country which now of course we take for granted that we can go live anywhere at any time. >> host: let's go to jeff in wood bridge, virginia, with jeffrey toobin. >> caller: i noticed during the break that c-span had that one of the most influential people that you have had was robert caro. do you know how he is doing and -- he is very meticulous as for as his work and what the progress is on the last book. >> guest: i haven't seen him probably in a year, but a year ago he was plowing ahead. one of the weird things in his -- the way he has done the book is that if he is going to put everything into this last
2:19 pm
volume, it's going to be a pretty long volume because he has most of the johnson presidency still to go. he's got virtually all of vietnam ahead of him, and then you have the four years that he lived after he left the white house, and here is a supreme court fact. that involves lyndon johnson. lyndon johnson died january 23, 1973, which was the day that row v. wade was decided. so wade -- roe v. wade was not the lead story. >> host: share this e-mail from darren in baltimore. did jeffrey eat or interview the late o.j. attorney, johnny cochran. if so, what was he like? >> guest: i disagreed with johnny cochran about the o.j. simpson case. i disapproved of some of the
2:20 pm
tactics he used in the courtroom, but i can say this now that he is gone. i love johnny cochran. i thought he was one of the most delightful, intelligent, appealing, charismatic people i'd ever met. in terms of pure charisma, the three people i would put in a category different from everyone always are open practice -- oprah winfrey, bill clinton, and johnny cochran, the froze "lit up the room" is something johnny decide wherever he went, and yet he defended o.j. simpson and, yes in my opinion, o.j. simpson was guilty as hell, but johnny also defended a lot of people who were not prominent and he dade lot of good in the world, especially when it came to the story of race in los angeles. so, i think it's a heartbreaking thing that johnny died so young, and i was a big fan. >> host: if it does not fit,.
2:21 pm
>> guest: you must acquit. you know, he had a charisma and a way with words that was undeniable, and that came through the jury and in this case and every other. this was a good man. >> host: let go to jim? tacoma, washington. >> caller: mr. toobin, this is a pleasure. i have been reading you for going on 25 years, starting with your first book. and two more books after that and a lot of your "new yorker" pieces. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i will get patty hearst book. was living in the bay area at the time and going to college so the memories are vivid. 20 years later i found myself living in brentwood across from nicole when the killings occurred so i watch the trial avidly. within a couple of week is read a piece of yours in the "the new
2:22 pm
yorker" saying the defense was going to target a cop named mark furman. and sure enough, that's how the case unfolded, and when they came up with those tapes, i thought, my word, that just kind of blows him out of the water completely. when the case was over, i thought, if there's any one person you could attribute the loss would be mark fuhrman. how he has been rehabilitated, fellow who you might at best describe as a racist perjury cop is now an author, shows up on television. i just don't understand how people can think that trial was wrongly decided are embracing this clown who did more to sabotage it than anybody. >> guest: well, i think you make an interesting point, and i think it is worth remembering where he is now, a prominent analyst. it's fox. fox news. it is a conservative news jutlet.
2:23 pm
he is a -- outlet. he is a figure who has become a prominent defender of police against "black lives matter" accusations. he is a prominent -- someone who is part of the backlash against the movement that johnny cochran reflected. so, he has become a conservative hero of sorts, not because he lied -- i think people sort of gloss over that -- but because he is seen as someone who was the adversary of the people who were playing the race card during the o.j. simpson case. i think his political place in american life as reflected in this role at fox, is what is worth remembering about fuhrman now. >> host: "american heiress" you say rarely is the -- my question
2:24 pm
to you if you could have asked her one question -- yao sid she did not cooperate with the book but a lot of the material you could go to through -- what would you have asked her. >> guest: well, i don't have the arrogance to think one question could turn the tables on -- i talk about one incident in particular, actually. i would ask her to explain one thing in particular, because i think it is emblematic of how much she did in fact switch sides to join the sla and that was on may 16, 1974. they had just robbed the bank in san francisco and they all moved to los angeles, the nine of them. they were going stir crazy in the little house, and three of them decided to good to shopping. patricia and bill and emily harris. bill harris goes into mel's
2:25 pm
sporting goods and decided to shoplift. the clerk was an aspiring police officer and he knew that the crime of shoplifting did not actually take place until the person left the store. so he waited until bill left the store and then he tackled him on the street. patricia hearst is across the street in a van, by herself, with the key in the ignition. what does she do? does she walk away? does she drive away? does she ask for help? no. she sees bill harris being tackled so she picks up a machine gun and fires across the street, amazingly not hitting anyone but trying to free bill. she does that, thinks it over, then gets another gun, and shoots up the street some more. again, miraculously not hurting anyone, but successfully freeing bill from the clutches of his pursuer and bill and emily harris get in the car and the three of them head off.
2:26 pm
so when people say, oh, patricia was forced to do everything, oh, patricia was coerce evidence, was a victim forever, think about the incident in mel's sporting goods and i would want her to explain how her behavior at mel's, shooting up the street in order to free her comrade, bill harris -- how is that consistent with someone who is not actually a member of the sla? >> host: amerigo is next from las vegas. >> caller: hi, mr. toobin. back to monica lewinski and president clinton. president clinton did not ask monica to lie in her deposition. he asked her to lie in a different position. thank you. >> host: we'll let it go at that. don't forget. >> guest: don't forget to tippure waitress. >> host: ronald, randall, washington go ahead, please. >> caller: yes, jeffrey, as i --
2:27 pm
i'm a -- interested in psychology and psychiatry and i recently read that there is a syndrome now about people like patty hearst and i might answer your reasons for why she was the way she was during that sporting goods example that you gave. >> host: are you talking about the stockholm -- >> guest: stock hole syndrome. >> caller: yes. >> guest: let me tell you something about stockholm syndrome. the reason it's called "stockholm" syndrome is there was a robbery of a back in stockholm, sweden in november of 1973. so it was just a few months before patricia was kidnapped
2:28 pm
and it had not really seeped into popular culture yet, and during her trial, it was actually not mentioned. it's only subsequently as it's become famous that stockholm syndrome has been associated with her case, the idea is that people who are held captive can come to identify with their captors and support their captors even though they are technically prisoners. it's important to remember about stockholm syndrome and brainwashing. these are journalistic terms. they are not medical terms. and i try to stay away from that sort of jargon in the book and concentrate instead on the actual facts of what went on. at patricia's trial there were three psychiatrists who testified for the prosecution, three psychiatrists who testified for the defense and they disagreed.
2:29 pm
i think with all due respect to psychiatry, it's an imperfect science, and i think it is a more helpful way to view the hearst case -- and what i try to do in "american heiress," is to view it through the facts of the case rather than through what i regard mostly as psycho basketball. >> host: january 29, 199, a picture of patty hearst with a t-shirt, pardon me, of she her sentence was commuted and you make a point that reagan played a part. >> guest: by the time of the pardon it was quite clear that ronald reagan was likely to be jimmy carter's opponent in the 1980 election. the reagan -- ronald reagan was a friend of the hearst family. he had appointed katherine hearst, patricia's measure to be
2:30 pm
on the board of region inside california, a big supporter of governor reagan's, and the fact that reagan and john wayne, the very conservative actor, supported the pardon, gave jimmy carter political cover to issue the commutation he did because he knew his main opponent would not criticize him, and carter, who was a religious man and someone who believes in the concept of redemption, was interested in this case and was sympathetic to patricia, and -- but also carter knew that by granting the pardon, the commutation, he was not exposing himself to criticism from reagan because reagan supported it as well. >> host: i asked you this not because it's out network but in researching the justice you traveled to west lafayette, indiana. >> guest: i did. it was great. >> host: what what did you find and what did you learn.
2:31 pm
>> let me just sort of back up. i'll tell you, when i started working on "the nine," one thing i was worried about how am i going to get enough information about what the justices are like behind the scenes? i knew i could talk to some of them but not all of them. and the richness of the story was going to be about what went on behind the scenes, not what went on in public. and i always remember something that my editor said to me. he says you'll be amazed at how much is out there in plain view. on any subject, but the supreme court in particular. so i started with -- this book came out in 2007. so i'm talking about the mid-2000s when i was reporting and it i started using the internet, which was of course not as ubiquitous as it is now, and i saw that the justices had appeared on c-span with some regularity.
2:32 pm
so this was the days before c-span had put all it archives on the web. just the web didn't work that way in those days. but i called and your colleagues told me that if i went to west lafayette, indiana, where the c-span archives were, could look at the justices' appearance to my heart's content. why west lafayette, indiana? your former -- your founder and leader, brian lamb, was a proud graduate of purdue university which is in west lafayette. that led to the archives being there. so i went to the archives and i remember -- i don't know if this is still the case but they had this sort of cool automated system, forgiving dvds, a machine that pulled them off the -- like a kind of storage system and i remember kind of --
2:33 pm
>> host: it's still there. >> guest: is that right? and i got dvds that were incredibly useful because the justices -- they're human beings. when they talk off the cuff, they sometimes say things that, on reflect, is a little more -- reflection, is it a little more candid than they might expect and it was going to west lafayette was a gold mine. by the time i got write "the oath" c-span put almost all the archives online so i was denied the great pleasure of going back to west lafayette, and -- but i still used c-span archives a lot. >> host: you're welcome anytime. let's go to susan in cambridge, massachusetts. >> caller: hi. in responding to the many viewers who have called in saying, well, why is the supreme court decisions -- why isn't it just what is right and wrong and why are they're always split -- has done an admirable job in
2:34 pm
explaining that politics is necessarily a part of this. but i think you've gone too far in that my law professor, my mentor in law school, robert cutler, told me many, many years ago, that a lot of american law could be explained by the principles of the railroad always wins. for many years of our existence. but that's not the interesting question. and it doesn't make it law. what distinguishes law from politics is that they have to give reasons why they railroad wins. once you give reasons to either you stand by those reason in later decisions and that means occasionally the railroad doesn't win, or the republicans have to vote liberal, or the liberals have to vote with the republicans or law loses all legitimacy, and i think what is wrong with burn v. gorees that
2:35 pm
most wrongs that the court said, forget what our reasoning is, we don't care. you can never use this again. this is just we want to decide it. >> guest: if i can stop you there. i think you've pin pointed a lot of important points itch don't want to overstate my view that everything that the supreme court does is just purely political. remember, that about half of their decisions every year are unanimous, two-thirds are close to unanimous, there is lot of what they do is just being a legal technician, and you are right, too, that the obligation to write down the ropes for -- the reasons for what they do does suggest that they have to maintain at least some ideological and intellectual integrity in what they do, and you are right further that bush v. gore is such a disastrous example of the supreme court in
2:36 pm
action, in part because the conservatives who were in the majority, betrayed their usual principle, equal protection should be narrowly construed. states should be allowed to maintain their own procedures for running elections. and most notoriously of all it has that sentence which says: this case is not a precedent for further citation, which, again, undermines the idea that the justices are acting in a consistent way, but if i can just go back to where i started from, the famous robert jackson quote, they are not final because they are infallible, they're infallible because they are final, that ways the last word, and that what we got, but they're certainly not immune for criticism for it. i've given. the plenty. >> host: who would be your mt. rushmore of supreme court justices? two conservatives, two liberals?
2:37 pm
>> guest: okay. certainly i would put robert jackson among the conservatives. robert jackson is -- the period he was on the court, the '40s and '50s it was not as politically polear rises as today but he was on the conservative side. robert jackson was the best writer ever to appear -- ever to serve on the supreme court and if one wants to see a great piece of american writing that should look up his opinion in barnett vs. west virginia school board which is about whether children should be required to salute the flag. it's a brilliant piece of writing. he is one conservative. another conservative, i think, john marshal harland, the younger, who served on the court in the 1950s, and eisenhower appointee, an old-fashioned kind
2:38 pm
of east coast moderate republican. another conservative who i admire a great deal. in terms of the liberals, leaving off the justices who are on the court now, you have to pick william brennan because he was the architect of so many of the liberal decisions of the '60s, and the other is earl warren because even though he was not a great legal scholar, he was someone who had tremendous political sense and understood that in the middle of the cold war, when we were trying to create an alternative model to the soviet union, we could not have segregation in this country anymore. so, whether it was brown v. board of education, which he wrote, or all the subsequent integration cases, i think warren's political sense as much as his legal, made him an epic figure.
2:39 pm
>> host: this is from tom hines in las vegas saying. under the constitution, could the senate refuse to consent any supreme court nominee by a potential eight years of president hillary clinton? >> guest: absolutely. absolutely. the constitution does not impose any sort of time limit on the requirement -- the only thing the constitution says is that the power to appoint is with the president, with the advice and consent of the senate. but it does not set a time limit. it does not say that the senate has to consent. they can keep voting down her opponents, they cannot hold hearings. this is, again, one of the many areas where law leads -- yields to politics, and the only remedy for this sort of recalcitrance
2:40 pm
on the part of senators comes on election day where voters can say, if you're not going to consider supreme court appointments i'll vote you out of office but that's the only remedy. president obama or if there is a president clinton, can't go to court and force the senate act. this is a political act which while be revolved by political means. >> host: bruce in delware. our next caller. >> caller: yes. i have a couple of questions about presidential pardons. the constitution gives the president virtually unlimited power to grant pardons except in the case of impeachment, impeachment cases. now, there have been some peremptory pardons, probably the most famous, of course, is ford's pardoning of nixon. before he had actually been indicted or committed any crime, and then we have another example
2:41 pm
of a group pardon of the draft dodgers by carter. >> guest: correct. >> caller: two questions. what prevents the president from pardoning a illegal illenned if he wants to pardon one, pardon five million? one would seem to think he would have the authority to do this according to the constitution. >> guest: i think you're probably right, although i'd have to think that through. he could certainly pardon them from any criminal prosecution. i'm not sure he could pardon them from deportation. i'm not sure if the pardon power extends to the power -- his control over immigration. one of the issues in the supreme court case that -- where the court deadlocked 44 at the end
2:42 pm
of the last term was the president saying, i can set my enforcement priorities. i don't -- it's quite clear, i think everyone acknowledges, that the federal governments doesn't have the resources to deport all 11 million people who are in this country illegally. so the president is saying, i can establish priorities that give some people the security that i will not deport them. that position was not vindicated in the fifth circuit, and the supreme court divided 4-4, so the fifth circuit is the law at least of that circuit. could the president pathway all -- pardon all five million? he could certainly pardon as many as he wants of actual crime. i am less certain whether he could pardon -- the pardon power extended to the issue of deportation. just so we're clear, the one is suggesting he is going to do that but it's an interesting
2:43 pm
question of whether he could or no. >> host: we have been going three hours. >> guest: i'm ready, man. >> host: let me go back to the point of "american heiress." despite all the discontent, the civil rights movement, the assassinations of robert f. kent and martin luther king and president kennedy, you make the point that the sixs were the sense of the possibility that blacks and whites could live in harmony, all of that dashed in the 1970s in part because of vietnam and the resignation of richard nixon. >> guest: one of the real revelations to me in working on "american heiress." the distinction between the sixss and '0ss -- the '60s and ''70s -- i thought the '60s was a time of tumult and things child out in the '70s. it's true there was terrible tumult in the '60s,
2:44 pm
assassinations, rites after king king can go's assassination. the watt riots. detroit. the l.a. riots. the wattsright in 1965. but it is true, few, in the '60s there was a tremendous sense that the reason people expected better of america, and they wanted and believed america could be a better place. what happened in the '70s was this real souring, that you had the summer of love in 1967 in san francisco. you had the free speech movement in 1965 in berkeley, both of which were characterized bay significant degree of idealism. by the '70s it had all curdled, and when richard nixon ended the draft, in the early '70s, that really took out a large part of the middle class kids from the counterculture and protest.
2:45 pm
they sort of realized they were no longer at risk and went about their lives. and the people who remained were the really hard core, and they were angry and they were violent, and i keep coming back to this statistic that to me is just so astonishes which is in the early and mid-1970s there were a thousand political bombings a year in the united states. try to imagine what it would be like to live in a country with a thousand bombings a year, with our current media culture. this was an angry, depressed place. the economy was in lousy shape. you had the energy crisis. you had watergate destroying faith in political institutions. it was just a dark time, and that -- the hearst kidnapping was both a reflection and a symptom of just how bad things were in america. >> host: one quick question about the hearst family.
2:46 pm
do you have a sense what they were worth at its peak and today? >> guest: what is interesting is that william randolph hearst, the patriarch who died before patricia was born, knew that his four sons were basically drunken ne'er-do-wells, and he did not want his sons to control the business, so he set up a trust that -- so that outsiders would always control nine of the 13 seats on the hearst trust. so, the hearst family have a lot -- they had a lot of access -- they had interests in these trusts but they didn't have a lot of access to cash or control of the trust, and in fact, randy hearst had to come up with $2 million and it was very difficult for him. even though he had access to --
2:47 pm
he theoretically had access to more than that, but he didn't really. now, in terms of today, there's one key fact about the hearst corporation. it's still privately held so we never know exactly how much money the hearsts have but in the late 1970s the professional manager's the hearst corporation made a decision to invest in 20% of something called the entertainment ask sports programming network. the initials? >> host: espn. >> guest: the hearst corporation still owns 20% of espn and that has been an incredible cash cow. so even though the hearsts are still sort of a newspaper company and sort of a magazine company, both of the businesses that have not thrived in recent decades, the fact that they own a big piece of espn has meant that the company is skill flourishing.
2:48 pm
>> host: from tennessee, dennis is next. go ahead, please. >> caller: hi. i'm a big admirer, sir, and it's an honor to talk to you. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: three quick questions and then i'll hang up and listen. is secretary clinton is elected do you think she would submit merrick garland as the nominee, pick someone else do. >> host: one at a time. >> guest: that's a really interesting question and the short answer is i, i don't know. let me tell you about the political calculations i think are involved. let's assume, as i think correctly, that the garland nomination will expire at the end -- without action from the senate come january 20th of next year. hillary clinton can say to mitch mcconnell, you have a choice. you can give me a quick vote on merrick garland and get this 63-year-old moderate confirmed or i will nominate a 45-year-old
2:49 pm
liberal and we can fight that one out. now, hillary clinton will face a lot of pressure from her more liberal supporters not to nominate garland, but she has a problem, took because if she nominates a real liberal, the first six months of her tenure are swept up in this one issue, and she can't get immigration through -- reform through the senate, can't get infrastructure spending so she will have an interest of getting getting gett vacancy off the table. so i think there's a reasonably good possibility she will re-nominate merrick garland if the hoe hopes and expectations and perhaps an actual deal with the senate that the republicans will figure that's lake this 63-year-old moderate as opposed to someone who might serve longer. >> host: dennis, your followup question? are you still there? >> caller: yes.
2:50 pm
>> host: go ahead. >> caller: okay. do you believe in term limits for our supreme court justices? >> guest: absolutely. i think it would be a big imfront. term limits and/or mandatory retirement, and i say that with full confidence that it will absolutely never happen. because of amending the constitution is very difficult, and there's just no constituency for it but i think the situation is out of whack. we don't believe in 30-year tenures for presidents. we shouldn't have it for supreme court justices. it places the age of the justices so much in -- as factor. steven breyer gets asked the question and he said something interesting which i also agray with. says i don't have a problem with term limit odd are mandatory retirement but you have to set up a sim where being a supreme court justice is your last job.
2:51 pm
you've adopt won't justices angling for something else and that's a good point. think term limits are good idea. it ain't going to happen. >> host: we welcome our listeners on c-span radio, again, follow us on twitter@book tv. "in depth" with a authors, this month, jeffrey toobin who has written seven books and counting. tweets having fun with the mt. rushmore question. this from a viewer in philadelphia. would you include john marshal? >> guest: i certainly would. i guess i didn't include him because, a., i forgot, and, b., i don't know if he -- you asked me for two liberals and two conservatives itch dope know where you count john marshall in that pantheon? a liberal or conservative? the world was so different in the early '19th century. the man who created judicial
2:52 pm
review in marbury vs. madison who helped define the powers of the federal government in mccull lock v. maryland, it's hard to place him in our current political divisions. >> host: we have a call fromsen san francisco, you're next. >> caller: hi, jeffrey, thank you for all your good work which i enjoy. the one time i was unhappy was your article about one of my favorite people, martha stewart when i thought you were kind of harsh. there is anything you can say now to make me less unhappy? >> guest: well, look. >> host: what did you say? >> guest: i said she was guilty as hell of lying about her insider trading situation. the crazy thing about martha stewart's whole scenario was that if from day one she had simply said, you know, i made a mistake, i was thinking about a lot of different things, sold my stock after hearing this news from my friend, this whole saga
2:53 pm
would have been just a minor footnote. martha stewart is an extraordinarily entrepreneur. she crated this -- not just a business but an industry, and she is just an enormously talented and forceful person. unfortunately, that forceful personality led her to deny the completely obvious fact she engaged in insider trading and she wound up getting in so much more trouble than she should have. if she just said, yeah issue did it, let me pay a fine, none of us would even remember it here today but frankly, out of arrogance, she stuck with this ridiculous story, and wound up in worst trouble. that doesn't diminish the fact that martha stewart is an enormous force of nature and one of the great entrepreneurs of the era.
2:54 pm
>> you graduate prod hillary virginia law enforcement al been at new rock -- >> guest: never an intern. >> host: you checked for u.s. court of appeals judge. >> guest: i did. j. edward almost bard, an eisenhower appointee. >> host: you worked for independent council lawrence walsh. you started out at staff writer for the "the new yorker," worked at abc, and now at cnn. >> guest: you left out a very important part. i was an assistant u.s. attorney in brooklyn, which was a very happy and proud part of my career. >> host: which taught you what about the law? >> guest: oh, so much. it's just wall about home and how they react, and that you can read all the appellate decisions you want, but until you look jurors in the eye and try to persuade them that something happened or didn't happen, you don't really understand how the law works. and what i love about being a trial lawyer -- and i had 11
2:55 pm
trials in three years which i felt so lucky to have -- that you got to speak in english. they don't want to hear moreovers and wherevers. you have to speak to jurors in normal english. >> host: to them north at them. >> guest: to them and not at them and not -- and it's just a great education in real life, and also just -- i really appreciated the spectacle of what goes on in an american courtroom. this is why i think i was really much more destined for journalism than for law because what i really liked about being an assistant u.s. tomorrow was something a lot of my colleagues liked to avoid which was arraignment duty. arraignment duty was when you got people when the were first arrested and learned who they were, and where they came from, and what their backgrounds were when they -- trying to get out
2:56 pm
on bail so they would tell you their story. it was just so amazing. the people who would swallow condoms full of cocaine or heroin and try to smuggle it into kennedy airport, which is part of our jurisdiction. the people who got arrested for food stamp fraud. the people -- the frauds in various communities. ponzi schemes. i just loved the spectacle of it all. so many hoff my colleagues were like i'm going to do justice and i want to get the bad guys, and i wanted to get the bad guys, finishing but i like the skeen. >> host: you sound lie perry mason. >> guest: i wasn't someone who was like -- like wanted to win -- obviously i wanted to win but perry mason was all about, like, the last second victory in a courtroom and i was like, check this out. this is crazy. love this. and that is a different attitude than a lot of other prosecutors.
2:57 pm
>> host: ivan from texas, go ahead, please. >> caller: calling about -- i love america, man. this is -- one flag country and i see other flags flying in america, and it's not right, and i'm border but saw the people coming in but make them legal and pay their taxes and stuff, because they're taking from our healthcare, they're sending money back through walmart to mexico, and it makes our dollar weeker and it's okay as long as you're a legal american and speak american, this is one country and god bless all of us. we have to stand up. we lost ore morels and when a policeman arrests you, you supposed to stand there, not run off and fight the man. that's what we have so many problems, and one guy -- in irving, texas, spins a clock to -- they thought it was a bomb. now they're going to try to serve irving. irving can't afford to be sued.
2:58 pm
they can barely understood the police department. >> host: ivan can thank you for the call you. can hear the issues of the campaign. >> guest: absolutely. and i think we are going to spend a long time in this country thinking about how donald trump became a major party nominee. remember, it is worth noting that the only president elected in modern american history who was not an elected official was dwight eisenhower who did a little thing called run world war ii in europe. he somewhats not a public official but he sure was a public servant. how we got to someone like donald trump with no record at all of public service, to be a major party nominee, is a really interesting, complex story i don't pretend to understand but i think this caller's unhappiness about immigration,
2:59 pm
not just as immigration per se as a problem in and of itself but as a symbol, metaphor for disorder in the whole country, and for the law of what america used to be. i don't think you can understate the importance of donald trump's slogan. make america great again. like to go back to a time, never specified exactly when america was better than it is now. a different, calmer, more orderly place. that's a real concern of a lot of people, and i don't think it's enough people to get him elected president but it's a lot of people, and their concerns have to be heard, too. >> host: final question. why do you enjoy writing. >> guest: oh, why die -- i like telling stories. i like telling -- i like -- i recognize that people have a lot on their plates in their lives. they're distracted. they've got their phones, and if
3:00 pm
i can tell them a story that gets them to sit down and read for an hour, for several nights in a row, and say, this is unbelievable, this is amazing, the way i do when i'm a reader. when i write what i want to read. and i love to read. and i love a good story. especially a nonfiction story. and i view it as a challenge but also a tremendous privilege to be paid to tell great stories that are also true. i don't have the imagination to make them up. but i'm pretty got at finding the things that actually did happen. >> host: your first book in 1992, opening arguments, young lawyers first taste, u.s. v. oliver north and then the run of his life, the people v. o.j. simpson in 1996. a vast conspiracy, the real story of the sex scandal that nearly brought down the president.

189 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on