Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  PBS  March 23, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

12:00 pm
03/23/17 03/23/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! you know, certainly big-money players. what you have is him was like a third-party that is the money party. it is a conservative, outside pressure group that is acting as a force field, pulling the republican party, particularly, to the right. amy: today, jane mayer on robert mercer, the reclusive hedge fund billionaire who helped trump when the white house. some say he and his daughter rebekah out-koched the koch brothers.
12:01 pm
mercerses of the controlled the white house. we will speak with investigative reporter jane mayer about her new piece in the new yorker and here are excerpts, when a robert mercer's only public appearances. >> i'm wondering, what am i going to say? i left research 20 years ago. i have not really paid any attention to the world of dm's sinces or i then. i cannot talk really about what i do now. [laughter] amy: we will also look at dark money's role in the confirmation process as the supreme court am the neil gorsuch. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the house of representatives is set to vote today on a republican bill to repeal and
12:02 pm
replace the affordable care act, a plan the congressional budget office says would add 24 million people to the ranks of the uninsured. president donald trump and vice president mike pence spent wednesday on capitol hill in a final pitch to republicans wary of the legislation. north carolina congress member mark meadows, chair of the right-wing house freedom caucus, said more than 20 republicans said more than 20 members were prepared to defeat the bill because it does not go far enough to dismantle the affordable care act. at the white house, press secretary sean spicer rejected calls by some republicans to postpone tonight's vote. >> this bill represents the best chance of repealing and replacing obamacare and instilling a patient centric health care system that increases choice and lowers cost and this is the only train leaving the station. amy: today's vote comes as americans for prosperity and freedom partners -- two groups backed by billionaires charles and david koch -- said they've created a multimillion dollar campaign fund for republicans who reject the healthcare
12:03 pm
legislation in favor of a more stringent repeal of obamacare. republican opposition to the bill appeared to soften late wednesday after president trump reportedly promised that the final legislation would strip a requirement that insurance companies cover essential health benefits like emergency room visits, mental health, and maternity and newborn care. meanwhile, supporters of the affordable care act rallied on capitol hill wednesday ahead of today's vote. among the speakers california , governor jerry brown and dr. william barber, president of the north carolina chapter of the naacp. -ryan death bill is being pushed through congress. it is an unmerciful act of meanness. >> this is not about health care reform. this is about disease, death, and suffering.
12:04 pm
mr. trump, come down from trump tower. walked the people and see the damage that this latest exercise wreaw political power will ck on the women, men, and children of this country. amy: inside the capitol, police arrested 54 disability rights activists -- many of them in wheelchairs -- after they held a protest that shut down the capitol rotunda for about an hour. members of the group adapt chanted, "rather go to jail than die without medicaid." meanwhile, the u.s. supreme court ruled unanimously wednesday that a public school district in colorado violated the individuals with disabilities education act by failing to adequately provide for an autistic student. the high court's 8-0 ruling overturned a 2008 decision written by judge neil gorsuch in favor of the school district. the ruling was handed down as gorsuch testified to the senate judiciary committee for the
12:05 pm
third straight day of his confirmation hearings. this is illinois senator dick durbin, quoting the supreme court ruling. >> the court went on to say, the ide a demands more. it records an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child circumstances. it is a powerful decision. it is a unanimous decision. >> is anyone suggesting are like a result of an autistic child happens to lose, it is heartbreaking accusation to me. heartbreaking. but the fact of the matter is, i dent and soy prece was the panel of my court. amy: at this point, the senate judiciary committee is expected to vote in favor of judge gorsuch's nomination on april 3, and a senate floor vote is expected later that week. republican senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has threatened to change senate rules to allow gorsuch's
12:06 pm
confirmation on a simple majority vote, rather than the 60 votes now required for confirmation. in london, a man driving an suv mowed down pedestrians on a bridge over the river thames wednesday before rushing onto the grounds of the british parliament and fatally stabbing a police officer. police say the attacker was shot dead following the afternoon rampage, which left three others -- two others dead and as many at least 39 injured. the assault put parliament on lockdown and suspended debate in the house of commons. it drew swift condemnation from world leaders, who called it an act of terrorism. police say they arrested seven -- eight suspects in london and birmingham overnight, but said they believe the attacker acted alone. priming is to theresa may said the assailant was reddish born and known to reddish intelligence. she did not identify the attacker. back in the united states, the
12:07 pm
chair of the house intelligence committee said wednesday he's uncovered evidence that u.s. intelligence agencies swept up communications by donald trump's transition team and possibly from the president-elect himself after the november election. this is california republican intelligence chair head devin nunes. >> i recently confirmed on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about u.s. citizens involved in the trump transition. details about u.s. persons associated with the incoming administration and the details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence failure, were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting. amy: intelligence chair nunes who served on trump's transition , team, said the surveillance unmasked the names of trump transition officials. he claimed none of the surveillance was related to the fbi's investigation into whether officials in the trump organization colluded with russia to sway the 2016
12:08 pm
election. president trump seized on nunes' comments, saying he felt somewhat vindicated over his discredited claim that president obama ordered the wiretapping of trump tower ahead of november's election. the house intelligence committee, meanwhile the ranking , democrat on the house nunlligence committee said es releasing classified toormation -- let's go congressman adam schiff. >> the committee has not received the intercepts or other information the chairman was referring to, therefore, it is really impossible for us to evaluate any of the emirates of what the chairman has said -- merits of what the chairman has said. but i can say this, the chairman will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the trump
12:09 pm
campaign and the russians or he is going to act as a surrogate of the white house. the guess he cannot do both. amy: meanwhile, cnn reported wednesday the fbi has information that indicates donald trump's associates communicated with suspected russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to hillary clinton's campaign. cnn cited unnamed u.s. officials one of whom claimed -- , "people connected to the campaign were in contact and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready." president trump's second nominee to head the labor department declined to say wednesday whether he would enforce labor department regulations set by president obama governing overtime pay, health and safety, and retirement. under questioning from senate democrats in his confirmation hearing, alexander acosta repeatedly said he would defer executivent trump's order asking agency heads to review pending regulations. in iraq, a medical aid group
12:10 pm
said wednesday tens of thousands of civilians are fleeing fighting in western mosul and are in urgent need of medical care. doctors without borders described ambulance teams unable to cope with the number of, victims caught in the crossfire of u.s.-backed assault on the city, which is partially controlled by isis. arrivingsome children in camps where those displaced by fighting arrived with acute symptoms of malnutrition. in afghanistan, taliban fighters overran government offices wednesday thomas seizing control of the district that has been contested for over a decade. the u.s. handed over control of the city to afghan forces in 2013 following a bloody campaign that saw more british and u.s. marines killed than in any other district in afghanistan. the taliban victory came despite the support of american special operations soldiers in a fierce bombing campaign. in new york city, police say racial hatred drove a 28-year-old white army veteran to fatally stab a 66-year-old black man.
12:11 pm
james harris jackson surrendered to police early wednesday after surveillance video identified him as the killer of timothy caughman. police say jackson traveled from baltimore to new york to commit a high profile hate crime. picked newon why he york is because it is the media capital of the world. he wanted to make a statement. it is believed he was specifically intending to target male black for us all. say he is a known number of a hate group in maryland, though they did not identify which group. in argentina, tens of thousands of teachers marched through this up -- to the capital wednesday as part of a nationwide strike demand pay raises to keep pace with high inflation. the teachers are outraged over recent comments by president mauricio macri disparaging public schools in argentina. >> the figure of the teachers
12:12 pm
being demonized, when reality it is the state responsible for what is happening because they said in their campaign that education is the priority, but in they do not act on that. while? because what is going on today is that we cannot negotiate. we cannot sit down in dialogue. amy: teachers are set to return to classes today, but warn they could join a general strike called for april 6 if their demands aren't met. puerto ricans held protests in seven u.s. cities wednesday demanding and and tossed 30 measures that have devastated the island territories economy. the protest came as a federal reported control board press for sharp cuts to public spending and a strategy to pay the islands that the bondholders. protesters rallied outside the offices of a bank in new york charging its executives profited from predatory loans and bonds sold to puerto rico. >> my name is david and i'm with the labor council for latin american advancement. today we are here with a bunch of people representing all different sectors to hold this
12:13 pm
thing another banks like it responsible for the economic crisis affecting puerto rico. it is also the day we commemorate the abolition of slavery in puerto rico. and what this make another banks like it in the physical control board that has been imposed on puerto rico by the u.s. government, what they are basically doing with this fiscal control board in these transaction that banks like this have created in puerto rico is another form of slavery, just a diabolical and just as damaging to the people in puerto rico. amy: workers and allies rallied outside the tomkat degree in new york city would say to protest a threat by the company to fire dozens of immigrant workers. managers say the department of homeland security ordered an i9 audit of employees immigration status, but some employees questioned whether managers initiated the demand for immigration papers independently. last week i got called into the office and i was only given
12:14 pm
10 days notice to submit my working papers. we are fighting for our rights. given us- they've only to the 28th of this month. after that, we are fired. news, we'reg the devastated to have given so many of our lives to this company. amy: the workers were joined by new york city councilmember arc living who said tomkat degree should offer its employees a work visa sponsorship to allow them to remain at the company. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we turn now to look at the man said to have out-koched the koch in the 2016 election. his name is robert mercer, go along with this
12:15 pm
daughter rebekah is credited with many of playing in his germinal role in donald trump's election. trumps chief strategist steve bannon said -- telling "the mercers laid the groundwork for the trump revolution." irrefutably, when you look at donors in the past four years, they have had the single biggest impact of anybody, including the before bannon and kellyanne conway joined the trump campaign, both worked closely with the mercers. the mercers bankrolled bannon's breitbart news as well as some of his film projects. conway rayna super pac created by the mercers to initially backed the candidacy of ted cruz. the mercers also invested in a data mining firm called cambridge analytica, which claims it has psychological profiles of over 200 million american voters. the firm was hired by the trump campaign to help target its message to potential voters. while the mercers have helped
12:16 pm
reshape the american political landscape, their work has all been done from the shadows. they do not speak to the media and rarely even speak in public. amy: during the entire presidential campaign, they released just two statements. one was a defense of donald trump shortly after the leak of the 2005 access hollywood tape showed trump boasting about sexual assaulting women. the mercers wrote -- "we're completely indifferent to mr. trump's locker room america is finally fed up and disgusted with its political elite. trump is channeling this disgust and those among the political elite who quake before the boombox of media blather do not appreciate the apocalyptic choice america faces on november 8. we of a country to save and there's only one person who can save it. we and americans across the country and around the world stand steadfastly behind donald j trump.
12:17 pm
robertere the words of rebekah mercer one month before trump won the election. robert mercer through a victory party of sorts at his long island estate. it was a hero and villain's costume party. kellyanne conway showed up as superwoman. donald trump showed up as himself. to talk more about the mercers, we're joined now by jane mayer, staff writer at "the new yorker." her latest piece is headlined, "the reclusive hedge-fund tycoon behind the trump presidency: how robert mercer exploited america's populist insurgency." jane is also author of "dark money: the hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right," which has just come out in paperback. welcome back to democracy now! the beginning of the peace talks about a former colleague of mercer's saying "in my view, trump would not be president if not for bob."
12:18 pm
explained who robert mercer is. >> well, as you mentioned, he is a new york hedge fund tycoon. he is a computer scientist, kind rd a math genius and uber ne who figured out how to games by using math. calleda fund that is renaissance technologies. he is the co-ceo. it just mints money. he is enormously wealthy. what he has done is he has tried to take this fortune and reshape , first, the republican party, and then at america along his own lines. his ideology is extreme.
12:19 pm
he is way far on the right. he hates government. according to another colleague at renaissance technologies, bob mercer wants to shrink the government down to the size of a pinhead. he has contempt for social services and the people need social services. so he has been a power behind the scenes in trump's campaign. he kind of rescued trump's campaign in the end, he and his daughter. most people think trump was the candidate who did it on his own, had his own fortune, and often boasted that he needed no help and had no strings attached and it was going to sort of throw out corruption. in fact, there was somebody find the scenes who helped enormously with him. amy: talk about that moment when you talk about them saving donald trump, which has become particularly relevant today. this was the time that manafort
12:20 pm
was forced out as the campaign manager for donald trump. the campaign was in disarray. he was being forced out because of his ties to ukraine and russia in the money that was being revealed that he might or might not have taken. so take it from there. >> well, right. really, trump's campaign was floundering. wasas in august and there headline after headline that was suggesting that paul manafort, live in the campaign manager, had really nefarious ties to the ukrainian oligarchs and pro-putin forces. it was embarrassing. eventually, after a couple of days of these headlines, he was forced to step down in the campaign was spending in a kind of downward spiral.
12:21 pm
when at a fundraiser out in long island, at woody johnson's house -- the man who owns the jets -- rebekah mercer, the daughter of this hedge fund tycoon bob mercer, sort of cornered trump and said, you know, we would like to give money to your campaign. we will back you, but you have got to try to stabilize it. they sickly, she said, and i have got just the people for you to do the job. it were political operatives who the mercer family had been funding for a couple of years. the main one being steve bannon, who is now playing the role to trump, the political strategist for trump. that is the role he played for the mercer family parted doing a for trump. these are operatives are very close to this one mega-donor. the other was kellyanne conway, who has been running this
12:22 pm
superfund, as you mentioned in your introduction, or the cruz cap in that was filled with money from the campaign manager. bannon became a campaign chairman. and david bossie, his organization citizens united was also the very heavily backed by the mercer family, became the deputy campaign manager. a sickly, as trump's campaign is rescue by this gang, they encircled trump and since then they've also encircled trump's white house and become very keita him. they are the mercers' people. 1 rebekah mercer is described as the first lady of the alt-right. you try to get rebekah and robert mercer to speak to you for this these. what response did you get? it was hopeless, clearly, from the start. there nothing but disdain for
12:23 pm
the mainstream media. robert mercer barely speaks even andeople who he works with who know him. he is so silent that he has said often or to a colleague he said -- wants, i should correct that, that he very much for first the company of cats to humans. he goes through hold meetings and dinners without uttering a word. he never speaks to the media. i think is given one interview that i know of to a book author. who described him as having the demeanor of an icy, cold, poker player. his daughter, rebekah mercer, 43, has also worked at the family's hedge fund a little bit and a graduate of stanford, she is a little more outspoken. she has been in fundraising meetings on the right. she has spoken up. and very loudly. and i really, actually. but she does not speak to the press. i had very little hope they
12:24 pm
would. amy: can you talk about when they first met, the mercers, robert and rebekah mercer, first met andrew breitbart and what that progression was and how they can to be linked up with bannon? >> sure. the mercer family, robert and his daughter rebekah, met andrew breitbart back i think it was late 2011 or early 2012, speaking at a conference of the club for growth -- and other right-wing group. they were completely taken with andrew breitbart. use pretty much the opposite kind of character from bob mercer. andtbart was outspoken gleefully provocative and loved to offend people and use vul languagegar just to catch their attention. you have this tightlipped hedge fund man from the far right who just fell for breitbart big
12:25 pm
time. mostly what he was captivated by a think was breitbart's vision, which was, he said, conservatives can never win take on theically mainstream media and build up our own source of information. he was talking about declaring information warfare in this country on fact-based reporting. and substituting it with their own vision. breitbart ateeded, that point, was money. he needed money to set up breitbart news, which was only sort of a couple of bloggers at that point. amy: and talk about breitbart news, about what the alt-right represented, whether we're talking about anti-semitism or white supremacy and why they were attracted to this. >> it changed. it started as -- andrew breitbart had helped the huffington post get set up. his idea was he was going to
12:26 pm
lunch the huffington post of the right. andso he was setting it up is very close friend was steve bannon. bannon had been in investment banking. so bannon got the mercers to put $10 million into turning this venture into something that was really going to pack a punch. and they were just about to launch it in a big way. they were a few days away from it when andrew breitbart died. that was in march of 2012. suddenonly 43 and had a massive heart attack. this operation was just about to go big. it was leaderless. that is wednesday bannon stepped in and became the head of breitbart news. in bannon's hands, it became a force of economic nationalism, and in some people's view, white the premises him --
12:27 pm
supremacy. it ran a feature on black crime. it hosted and pretty much launched the career of malia yiannopoulos,milo on women and immigrants and god knows what. it became, as bannon had said, a platform for the alt-right, meaning the alternative to the right, a new right that was far more angry and aggressive about others, people who are not just kind of the white sort of conservatives like themselves. amy: they made a $10 million investment in breitbart? they co-owned it? >> they became the sponsors behind it. and it is interesting to me that one of the things i learned was that rebekah mercer, this heires s who is had no experience in
12:28 pm
politics, is so immersed in running breitbart news at this point -- i mean, her family is the money behind it -- that she reads every story, i am told, and grammarr typos and all that kind of thing. a force behind breitbart news that people don't realize, and it is the mercer family. became very important , increasingly, on the fringe of conservative politics because it pushed the conservatives in this country towards this economic nationalism, nativism, and to , pro-harsh orders, anti-free trade, protectionists. and it spoke the linkage of populism, right-wing populism. nermeen: as you have said, one of the things that is made the mercers so successful in a political interventions is for
12:29 pm
cicely this, the way in which they have invested in an alternative media and information network of which breitbart is a very significant part. but can you also talk about the government accountability institute, which you discuss in your piece? >> sure. this was very much a design. you have this family with all the money in the world wanting to change american politics and they had not been very effective in their earlier efforts at this until they joined forces with steve bannon, who is a very sort of farsighted strategists who kind of sees the big picture and understands politics. so he very much focused their efforts on this information warfare. first, with breitbart, 10 lane dollars in the that. then after 2012 when the mercers were very disappointed that
12:30 pm
obama got reelected, and bannon's direction, they started to fund a brand-new organization called the government accountability institute. it is based in tallahassee. it is small. it is really a platform for one major figure, peter schweitzer, a conservative kind of investigative reporter. hiswhat they did with organization, which the mercers poured millions of dollars into, was they aimed to kind of create the drive the political narrative in the 2016 campaign. they created a book called "clinton cash," which was a compendium of all of the kinds of corruption allegations against the clintons. they aimed to get it into the mainstream media where it would pretty much frame the picture of hillary clinton as a corrupt person who could not be trusted.
12:31 pm
and their hope was they would mainstream this information that they dug up, like an opposition research organization, masked as a charity and nonprofit, and clintonok this book " cash" david to "the new york times" exclusively early, and "the times a story out of it that they said they corroborated. they ran with it, nonetheless, on their front page which just launched this whole narrative of hillary clinton as corrupt. it just kept echoing in echoing through the media after that. it was a real home run for them. a year later, they made a movie version of it, which they also launched in cannes. amy: talking about peter schweitzer as well as the mercers. what about cambridge analytica, in addition to the government ?ccountability institute and also, the mercers obsession with the clintons, the whole
12:32 pm
issue that you write about talking about they are murderers? ofone of the challenges writing about the mercers for me was to figure out, ok, so they are big players. there are players in the democratic party who put in tons of money, too. they're not the only people who put money into politics. it they may be the most mysterious people who put money into politics. right nobody really knew, what do they believe? what is driving them? i was trying to figure out. what i was finally able to do what was talked of partisan people they work within business and have known them for a long time who painted this picture of them as having these really peculiar believes -- beliefs. rightsed on strange, far media. among their beliefs, while mercer has spoken to at least three people i interviewed about how he is convinced that the clintons are murderers --
12:33 pm
literally, have murdered people. you hear that sometimes when you interview people who are ignorant, but these are people who are powerful, well-educated, and huge influences in the country. and bob mercer was convinced the clintons are murderers. so he is driven by this hatred of the clintons. and coming into 2016, determined to try to stop hillary clinton. and looking for a vehicle who would do that, who would eventually become -- who eventually becomes trump. amy: jane mayer, we're going to come back to this conversation. jane mayer is a staff writer at "the new yorker." her latest piece is headlined "the reclusive hedge-fund tycoon behind the trump presidency: how robert mercer exploited america's populist insurgency." and her book is out in paperback "dark money: the hidden history , of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right." there is so much to talk about. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
12:34 pm
12:35 pm
amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we continue our conversation with jane mayer, staff writer at "the new yorker." her latest piece is headlined "the reclusive hedge-fund tycoon behind the trump presidency: how robert mercer exploited america's populist insurgency." it looks at how the secretive billionaire reshaped the political landscape. but robert mercer's hardly a household name. he never talks to the press and rarely speaks at a public event. amy: but robert mercer did speak in 2014 when he accepted a lifetime achievement award from the association of computational language. he told a story of working at new mexico's kirtland air force weapons lab. >> a program for computing these
12:36 pm
fields, for whatever reason, they were not in possession of the program who created it. it took hundreds of hours of cpu time to make a single run at this program, and my boss the lab gave me the job of figuring out how it worked and making a run faster. the style of the original program was very unpleasant. the first thing i did was rewrite the whole thing. after a while, i had a new program that produced the same answers as the old one, but about 100 times faster. then a strange thing happened. instead of running the old computations, the powers that be at the lab ran competitions that were 100 times bigger. i took this as an indication that one of the most important goals of government financed research is not so much to get answers as it is to consume the computer budget. [laughter] which has left me ever since with a jaundiced view of government finance research. amy: so that is one of the few times robert mercer has spoken
12:37 pm
publicly. in fact, jane mayer, you talk about at the heroes villains and ball after donald trump was elected, yet is loved and missed -- longest conversation with robert mercer and he had uttered the words he said. so he has this view of the government. you most over to renaissance technologies in long island near stony brook university. how you did learn more about his views. you mentioned the men earlier, one of the people he worked with at renaissance, who broke with him. so often that is how you can learn about people's views within an organization when you have a break, a major rift like this. and david's view about with the mercers represent? unusual it happen with this man.
12:38 pm
he is a senior employee at renaissance technologies, this wildly lucrative hedge fund. he spoke out about mercer's views. this hedge fund is very secretive. it has its own sort of secret sauce about how to make money. .obody their talks they're also getting so rich, there's a lot to lose by alienating the people who run the firm. was very unusual that david can afford. he's involved in jewish politics, jewish causes in philadelphia. he became very concerned about the mercer's role in the campaign and the promotion of the alt-right, which has these anti-semitic strains to it. that into a conversation with bob mercer that devolved into an argument about politics. an said toint, magerm,
12:39 pm
bob mercer, his boss, you are using money that i helped earn for this firm to do these things. and if you're harming america, you have to stop. he spoke to colleagues about it and mercer called him and said, "i understand you are saying i am a white supremacist." mercer said, "that is ridiculous." man said that i did not use those words specifically, but you have to stop this. eventually, this got written up in "the wall street journal." magerman spoke to "the wall street journal" and he was suspended by the firm for 30 days from his job without pay. which god knows how much that would be. point,magerman did not
12:40 pm
back down. he wrote an essay himself about how he saw things. what he wrote is very eloquent, i thought, which is that he says about his boss mercer, "he is making an investment. he is buying shares in this candidate trump and now that trump has been elected, he owns a piece of him. he owns a share of the presidency." he said "everybody has got a right to express her own political views, but it is a real worry when the government of the united states is being set up to reflect -- being peopled by mercer's people who are running our government and it feels more like an oligarchy than a democracy." m anyway,age was one of the people who openrman -- allowed want to get a glimpse of what it is that mercer believes. nermeen: i want to ask about someone who is strongly influenced the views of robert
12:41 pm
mercer, arthur robinson, who is also the person that mercer intervened on behalf of of when he was running for oregon's governor. in your piece, you talk about the influence that he has had on robert mercer, especially on climate change and nuclear radiation. robinson runs the oregon institute of science and medicine, which stores some 14,000 samples of human urine. robinson is and he is try to find new ways of extending the human lifespan. in 2010, mercers bankrolled the run for congressional seat in oregon against people defazio. in the race, arthur robinson was interviewed by msnbc plus richer maddow. >> are well-known beliefs that global warming is made up, that it is a source of your national reputation to the extent you have one. your opponent --
12:42 pm
>> that is conclusion i reached as a physical scientist. i've a degree from caltech. many have agreed with me on this. there are thousands of scientists in this country on the basis of scientific information alone, reject the idea of human caused global warming. >> you advocated -- >> you can go right ahead. you put a big statement before the statement, but go ahead and ask anything you like. >> you advocated radio us that raced -- radioactive waste should be disposed in oceans. this is your believe that low-level radiation is good for us to a certain extent? is that right? >> the statement you just made are untrue. i am quoting you.
12:43 pm
>> you're taking tiny excerpts. i have not advocated any of this. >> did you not say this? >> you are not telling the truth. i'm not going to answer to your life stuff that is more mud. >> i'm quoting from euro newsletter. >> this is a complicated subject you are misrepresenting to your viewers. nermeen: arthur robinson speaking to rachel maddow, who is been an influence on robert mercer, arthur robinson, and bankrolled -- sorry. he bankrolled this institute and has been pushed to be a science advisor to trump. this man who believes that nuclear radiation is good for you. could you say more about him, robinson? >> he is an eccentric.
12:44 pm
he lives on a sheep farm in oregon. as he says, he is a graduate of caltech. but if you listen carefully to what he was saying to rachel maddow, he is talking about how i am a physical scientist andthus can come to this conclusion about climate change. he is not a climate scientist. he put together a petition that was meant to undermine believe in global warming that had the signatures he claimed of zi llions of physical scientists, that a purely, had a lot of false signatures. and these scientists were not climate scientists. the consensus, as i think most people who are fact-based and interested in reality, the consensus we know is that science overwhelmingly and particularly climate scientists, overwhelmingly accept that man-made global warming is
12:45 pm
causing all caps of problems and that they are in immediate danger to life on earth. and it is something that we need to address. your a few of these sort of holdouts and arthur robinson is one of them. and mercer is another. and mercer has helped fund this research by arthur robinson, and then promote it. about,cers have talked as you mentioned, trying to make arthur robinson get chosen as the national science advisor. trump, too, has taken this position, calling global warming a hoax. view --tiny minority even in this country, if you look at "the new york times" did a piece is weak about believe in global warming, the population understands this isn't true, this position these people are taking. but because you have huge money behind it, including mercer's,
12:46 pm
it is being pushed as the policy of the united states. amy: i want to talk to you about steve bannon, continue talking about steve bannon, since he is so important, white house to strategist who some call president bannon, who you write about his deep ties to the mercers who bankroll breitbart news and bannon's film projects. let's turn to comments bannon made in an interview last month at the conservative political action conference. >> i think if you look at the lines of work, i break it up and the three verticals. the first is national security and sovereignty. that is your intelligence, defense department, homeland security. the second line is economic nationalism. the third, broadly, what is deconstruction of the administrative state. if you look at these cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction, the weather progressive left runs is that they cannot get it passed, put it in some sort of regulation in
12:47 pm
an agency. that will all be deconstructed. i think that is what is regulatory thing is so important. amy: that is steve bannon speaking last month. you mentioned, jane, robert mercer starter rebekah was part of bannon's entourage at cpac and suggest mercers are not ideologically aligned with bannon on some issues. can you talk more about the relationship between bannon and the mercers? even the possibility that bannon does not see himself that long in the white house? >> i'm sorry, i did not hear from the possibility that bannon does not seem what? amy: see himself that long in the white house. >> from what i have been able to figure out, bannon and rebekah mercer are quite close. they are partners politically. she is the money and the team and he is the kind of political vision. there are people who know the mercers who have worried that they are kind of evolution into this tremendous political influence role is the work of
12:48 pm
bannon. that he may have become a kind of sin golly to the whole family. but did anyway, this into be working closely together. in the past they have talked a lot quite frequently. bannon is a social guest of the ,ercer family, tremendous yacht 200 three feet long that costs 70 finally and dollars. he is described as the wall street journal as hanging out on it like a member of the family. they are close. they are aligned on many things. as you mentioned, there are areas of disagreement, particularly between bob mercer and bannon, politically. bob mercer is extremely antigovernment. wants to reduce it to a penn had, according to david magerman. and bannon has been talking about inexpensive, really expensive infrastructure program
12:49 pm
in this country. so that would be a point of tension. that would be a government program that bannon supports and his family does not. but they are aligned on this idea of deconstructing the administrative state, which gobbledygook. they're talking about completely gutting all kinds of government programs and regulations that have to do with things like the environment. epa completely undoing the from the inside by putting someone like scott pruitt in charge of it, who, basically, does not believe in its mission. amy: and stupid 14 times as attorney general -- and sued it 14 times as attorney general. >> right. the language is the language of populism. but the enemy, in his view, is government.
12:50 pm
so if you substitute the word ," younment" for "elites end up pretty much the same have been, the kochs the koch brothers, who worked closely with the mercers for a few years. the are undoing sort of government as we know it, which has -- the protections for people, for workers, for the environmt, for t poo for the disabled. that is where they are heading with this. amy: we have to go to break. we want to ask you about cambridge analytica that the mercers fund. does the trump team have 200 million files on americans? also, dark money. that is the name of your book. it was a question put to judge gorsuch, the $10 million campaign to ve him confirmed as sreme court justice. we want to ask you about that as well. "rk mayer, author of
12:51 pm
money" tt just camout in paperback. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
12:52 pm
amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: we continue our conversation with jane mayer, staff writer at "the new yorker." her latest piece is headlined "the reclusive hedge-fund tycoon behind the trump presidency: how robert mercer exploited america's populist insurgency." it looks at how the secretive billionaire reshaped the political landscape. amy: one of the companies heavily funded by robert mercer's cambridge analytica, which claims it has psychological profiles of over 200 million american voters. the firm was hired by the trump campaign to help target message to potential voters. steve bannon serve on the company's board. this is the ceo alexander neck speaking earlier this year. >> we started to look at issue models predicting which issues, social and political, appealed to which members of the target audience, which voters.
12:53 pm
we assign different issues to every adult in the entire united states. we could then take these models and put them into a matrix, a little bit like the dental health example where we can categorize people or segment them according to how they're likely to behave. court trump supporters top right, maybe with more susceptible to donation facilitation. get out the vote, people going to vote republican but they need persuading to do so. persuasion audiences. people who need shifting a little bit from the center toward the right. once we have identified a segment, we can subsegment them by the issues most relevant to them and then start to target them with specific messages. amy: alexander nix. jane mayer, tell us the significance of carriage analytica.
12:54 pm
part, if yous is look at the history, what 2012 whenfact that the mercerst millions of dollars into trying to defeat him, they were upset. they wanted to try to get better with moretools traction. so they put money into breitbart. they put money to the government accountability institute. camerasd prong was analytica. at that point, they concluded, and so did many others, that the republican party's data analytics for running campaigns were lagging behind those of the democrats. obama had a famously good computer operation. and data team. run ourtried -- we will
12:55 pm
own. they bought a company. they basically invested heavily in building. it is an offshoot of an existing english company called strategic communication laboratories. the british company has been involved in psychological warfare operations for militaries and international elections. kind of some pretty interesting and sneaky seeming things, which raised a lot of eyebrows when it's offshoot was purchased, basically, or created by this one hedge fund family. you know, when i looked into this, it seemed there was less than meets the eye in many ways so far that alexander nix them is running cambridge analytica, is a great salesman and has this pitch the south like something from the movie "the matrix" or something, conducting psychological warfare with this propaganda machine.
12:56 pm
during the trump campaign, they never used any of their so-called secret psychometric methods. they simply performed like in the other kind of data analytics company and the stuff they did was no different from what the democrats do and other campaigns do. maybe at some point, they will have some superpowers that have yet to be revealed. they are not there yet. amy: before we wrap up, we want to go to the supreme court confirmation hearings of judge neil gorsuch. really interesting dialogue between democratic senator sheldon whitehouse questioning gorsuch on the $10 million dark money campaign supporting his nomination. >> is a question were to come up recusal on the court, that the we know
12:57 pm
partiality question in a recusal matter had been adequately matter had been adequately addressed if we did not -- it could be your friend. we don't know because it is dark money. is it any cause of concern to you that your nomination is the focus of a $10 million political spending effort and we don't know who is behind it? >> there's a lot of other confirmation process today that i regret. amy: that is judge neil gorsuch being questioned by sheldon whitehouse. jane mayer, in this last 30 seconds we have, can you comment on this? >> the thing about dark money is often the person who it is benefiting those it is just the public not allowed to know. there is tons of money behind the gorsuch nomination, and he
12:58 pm
probably knows who he is the favorite to. amy: explain a little further the term "dark money." >> there these 501(c) four groups that are set up where the donors hands are not seen. they can spend money on advertising and the public does not know who they are. they're a nonprofit groups such as the judicial crisis network. i have look at that one. you, as reporter, and he a standing for the public, cannot trace the money, yet it is playing an active role in american politics. amy: jane mayer, thank you so much for spending the hour with us staff writer at "the new , yorker." we will link to your piece "the reclusive hedge-fund tycoon behind the trump presidency: how robert mercer exploited america's populist insurgency." her book is out in paperback "dark money: the hidden history , of the billionaires behind the rise of the radical right" has that does it for our show. we're hiring for a full-time
12:59 pm
news production fellowship. visit our website for more information.
1:00 pm
on this episode of "eat! drink! italy!" we make a great porcini mushroom bruschetta. we visit a truly local osteria. tony verdoni and i learn about nature's role in winemaking. and i help a young superstar chef make tiramisu. my name is vic rallo, and i love to eat and drink italy. follow me and i'll prove it. "eat! drink! italy!" is brought to you by wine enthusiast, magazine and catalog, for wine storage, glassware, and accessories. the asaro line of sicilian extra-virgin and organic extra-virgin olive oils, tomatoes, olives, and more. from the asaro family to yours.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on