tv Charlie Rose PBS June 16, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
. we begin with a look at the continuing story of the russian probe in washington. we talk to dan balz, chief correspondent for the post >> once you go down the road of having a special counsel and degree to which this is an expanding investigation, it will slow down the white house. everybody will have in a sense the dual responsibility, they obviously have a responsibility to the country and to the president to help in the governing process but they will also feel an obligation to themselves to take whatever precautions they may need or simply to be as open as they feel they should be to cooperate in the investigation. as you say, it should not be a suggestion that they have something to hide. but it's wise to have your own
counsel when you're in situations like this. >> we continue with jeffrey goldberg, editor and chief. >> this one of the little secrets of much of donald trump's support. it's as -- i think there are a lot of people who voted for him who looked at this administration and do understand analytically that it's dysfunctional. he's not delivering. but that feeling is outweighed by a feeling of just loathing and repull shun for his critics. in other words, there are people who voted for donald trump who quite possibly saw donald trump as the very flawed figure that other people see him as. but they just see the other side as worse. >> and we conclude with author and new yorker david grann his new back is called killers of the flower moon. the osage murders and the birth of the fbi >> i was shocked that i had never read about this in school. it was not part of my history
books and when i saw that photograph at the museum where a portion had been cut out because it contained one of the killers, the osage had removed that picture not to forget, but because they can't forget and yet here were so many people including myself who no knowledge of these crimes. had forgotten or had into knowledge, my hope with the book or the movie this will become part of our national narrative as it should be >> dan balz jeffrey goldberg and david grann when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications
from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. this is charlie rose. it was not business as usual in washington this week. a mass shooter opened fire during batting practice at the republican congressional baseball team's practice four were wounded including the whip of the republican majority, steve scalise. the "washington post" report that day special counsel robert mueller is investigating president trump for possible obstruction of justice. and a spokesman for vice president pence confirmed he has hired outside counsel to handle the various inquiries. dan balz joins me from washington. the chief correspondent for the "washington post." dan. let me begin with the vice president hiring outside counsel, distinguished lawyer from richmond virginia. ? does this say >> what is likely to be a pattern within inside the white house, that members of the
senior staff who have been around president trump as he discussed various aspects of the russian investigation, and his feelings toward it could well end up being interviewed by the special counsel and that they're going to need outside counsel. president, as we know has outside counsel at this point. and the fact that the vice president has decided he needs it i think will be taken by a signal as a signal to everybody inside the white house who might have some knowledge, cup ability whatever you want to call it >> it should be presumed that in today's world, you need someone who understands that world to guide you? >> i think that's right. i think part of it is also a way to compartment lize. they have day jobs beyond what this investigation is doing. but i believe there's another aspect of this, which is it is a reminder that once you go down the road of having a special counsel and the
some being considered >> it's my understanding that in a criminal investigation like that, it would be very difficult for them to invoke executive privilege. and< far, there has been no action to do so. i mean, both the testimony we saw a week ago with dan coats and admiral rogers and the testimony this week with the attorney general jeff sessions, though they would not talk about their conversations with the president bearing on the specific questions of what he might have said about the russian investigation or anything related to that. they were not invoking executive privilege and so, that seems to be the line they're trying to walk. but it's a much more difficult line to walk if they're interviewed by bob mueller or members of his staff. >> or the fbi. >> yes. >> and you always have the question, what is obstruction of
justice? it came about in a consideration of mike flynn and i'll hope you'll do something about that. is that obstruction of justice or an idea of the president is trying to say i hope this doesn't go anywhere and i hope you'll let it go >> director comey said two things, he took the president's words as directive, he certainly didn't act on them. but he also deferred on the question of does that amount to obstruction of justice, but said that's something that the special counsel in the investigation will have to answer. i think the fact that mr. mueller opened an investigation into that question is in some ways not surprising, given the testimony from director comey last week. on the other hand, it's significant certainly because it puts the president directly in the line as a target of the investigation. i shouldn't use that in a legal term. but that he is now being investigated. at the same time, we shouldn't
leap to the conclusion that that means that there is a case for obstruction of justice. in a sense, i think it's mr. mueller would have been criticized had he not kind of begun to look at that question but they're in the preliminary stage. we'll see where, if anywhere, the evidence takes him. there's certainly enough for him to want to look at it and interview a lot of people about it. >> you have a man a special counsel who subpoenaed power and the power of the fbi all working with him. >> yes. i mean, you now have -- we have a full fledged investigation that includes the conduct of the president of the united states. in a sense, we, we need to step back and recognize the gravity of that situation. again, without -- without determining what the conclusion is going to be. this puts the president in a terribly, terribly difficult
position and all of those around him. you know, these are serious lawyers who are working for bob mueller and they're going to do everything they can to run a very serious and thorough investigation. that's going to take time. it's going to make people uncomfortable. and it could well land some people with criminal indictments. we don't know. there's a lot of threads. obviously the question what, if any, russia did in the election. but there's also, obviously, the question of whether or not there was collusion or cooperation with trump associates. what other things were being done. there's now some -- there's indication that the investigation is not simply looking at the role of the president's conduct but also the financial dealings of some of the people in the white house or who were part of the campaign. all of those, i mean, any one of those is a significant investigation and you got all of that operating at the same time >> you may remember there was a
thing called watergate and someone said follow the money. >> well, i do remember a little bit about that. follow the money it is. and following the money, there have long been questions about the role of money and russia's money with donald trump's organization, and his financial empire. we don't know exactly what bob mueller's team may be beginning to look at. whether it's that or whether it's money involving some of the trump associates, but once you start down that trail, you don't know where it's going to lead or where it will end. the one thing we do know from not just watergate but almost all of these investigations that begin with a specific subject, that they go in unexpected directions based on where the evidence leads and they can end up in unexpected places. so for the -- for president and the trump white house, that has to be worrying and i believe the president's reaction to it and the some of the things he said
in his tweets today make it clear that he is very unhappy about it. >> well, and you wonder, as you did about president clinton when he was facing impeachment hearings, and other legal difficulties, you wonder how you can focus on being president when your own skin is at risk. >> well, one thing we know about the president is that, a, he has a relatively short attention span. he shown that throughout the course of the campaign, and through the first months of his presidency. and second, when he is under attack, he fights back and he fights back hard. and he certainly seems to regard this as a personal attack. and the reactions he's had both privately and publicly suggest that he is going to fight and fight hard. we saw that in the statement from his attorney last week based on director comey's testimony, we've seen it in the tweets from the president himself aimed at bob mueller and that investigation.
so they seem to have decided on a strategy that they are going to go hard at the special counsel and his team as part of a strategy to in one way or another discredit whatever the findings may turn out to be. >> do you expect when you talk to other reporters who cover congress that we will see legislation between now and the next election >> i think people expect there will be legislation. the senate is working hard. though in private, to try to get a healthcare bill ready to have a vote relatively soon before perhaps the july 4th recess certainly before the august recess. of they want and need to do that. they feel. but they have struggled to do that. they -- with all of the initiative, they've passed legislation but it is not the big ticket or the priority items of either the republican majority or the president. so you know, the question is
what will they be able to get through? how are they going to get a healthcare bill through? the bill will be certainly different from the house bill. we don't know whether it will be as different as was first thought. it seems to be going in a more moderate direction. whether it's moderate enough for the moderates or too moderate for the conservatives, we don't know until it comes out of the sealed chamber within which they're working on >> at the same time, appears to me that there's a fight for the soul of the democratic party, which doesn't get much attention because all the attention is focused on the president and his troubles. >> there is a fight in some ways but i think, i think if you look at, let's take the most recent example or most recent laboratory case of this, which was the primary in virginia. the gubernatorial primary, in which ralph northam, the lieutenant govern had the support of in essence the
democratic establishment, and tom perriello had the support of the bernie sanders elizabeth warren wing of the party. a, that turned out not to be a close election when a lot of people thought it might be and some polls suggested it would be. b, they seem to have come together relatively quickly. again, we'll have to see how that plays out. but you know, there are divisions within the democratic party, charlie but i think that the divisions within the republican party again if you look at what happened in that virginia primary, the divisions in the republican primary republican party, excuse me, are more substantial and more threatening to them right now than the democrats. that's not saying the democrats will take about the house in 2018. but i do think that what we are seeing is a certain amount of instability within the republican coalition which has
been factor since, you know, since donald trump became the effective nominee, and they have tried to, in essence kind of pay for it over or smooth it over but it's an unstable coalition that the president had a put together to become president and that's going to have repercussions in elections down the road >> dan balz it's good to have you and i thank you so much >> from the "washington post." we'll be right back stay with us. ♪ ♪ . jeffrey goldberg is the editor and chief on the atlantic. the magazine celebrated it's 160th anniversary. the stated that its political coverage will be the organ of no party or cleak. there have been perhaps no more remarkable times than we have now, the administration continues to struggle with
controversy, the "washington post" report that day robert mueller widened the russian probe to examine whether president trump attempted to obstruct justice, jeffery goldberg joins me now. >> i want to turn to last month. remarkable story. >> alex tiz an, philippino american writer. lived with a shameful secret. his family brought with them family slaves. inherited a slave. a strange indentured culture in their part of the philippines and the woman lived with the family, with the mother and then with alex. alex. prize winning writer inherited her. but she couldn't be freed.
so the story which went incredibly viral. millions have read this. the story is coming to grips with what his family did to this person, how he couldn't liberate her. he tried and his anxieties about it and here's the part in is takes to his whole strange and tragic level. alex, it was written for us, filed his story to us, went through one round of edit,ing and just and we learned that he died. >> to in his sleep at night >> in his sleep eight night. we -- we actually, his editor, denise wills was trying to tell him that we chose the piece for the cover, and she didn't hear back from him and usually that's the kind of good news that people writers look to hear and we found out couple days after that that police have discovered
him at home alone in bed dead. of so we, through the remarkable administrations of his family, his wife, siblingses managed to finish the process of getting the piece into print. it was his last story, and he had an expression, great writer, and a great profiler of marginal people and he believed his wife told me this later, he believed that every person has within them an epic story, the most average person in the world has an epic story. he essentially disgorged himself of his own he want pick story and died. it's the stuff the literature. and it's sad but i'm glad that >> next was my point, it's not always about politics, it's about o we are as human beings >> i'll tell you this came out at a intense trump month, not
that any is not trump intense but it came at a particularly intense moment. and it exploded when it came out and people i think people are looking for long well written stories about fascinating subject that is might have nothing to do with politics. maybe particularly before we're drowning in politics. i can't -- i don't know the theory of this, but something happened with this article. it was heartening obviously as the editor of a magazine that publishing long stories to see that millions and millions of people were spending a long time reading a very long story about nonfamous people, nonamericans in a lot of cases, and about an issue of huge social import >> and what humans can do >> what humans can do to other humans. >> my question is what happened to her? >> she lived with him to the end. he tried to liberate her. but she was -- that was the life
that she knew. he began to pay her. she lived with his family, took care of them. didn't ask her to do anything. but that was the nature of this situation. she eventually died of old age. and the story which i recommend people read, if they haven't, is the story of him taking her ashes back to the philippines to her village for final burial, and it's quite beautiful and touching and sad. >> moving from that to what happened in washington this week. >> also tragic and sad. >> people are asking this question they ask often after 911 and newtown, after so many events mass violence. will this one be the time that we do something? >> no, no, no.
no. >> you've been there before >> here's the thing. there was an assumption on the part of -- i think there's an assumption on the part of president obama after sandy hook. after the massacre in elementary school, you know, all right. this is the one. this is, you know, like this is not chicago gang violence. this is -- this is tiny children, mostly white children, you know, in a suburb. an insane story. and this is the thing that's just going to -- we're going to tip and then nothing. nothing tipped. >> i think you said it was the hardest day of his life >> it's the issue that -- the issue things like this probably frustrated him the most as president. he could not use, you know, what he was all about was the application of logic and rationality to a set of problems and he assumed that if the argument was sound enough and
that if convincing enough. this is where he thought, ok, is this going to be it. this is -- no, this is -- it doesn't change. remember, also, and here's the odd of this sad and tragic situation in virginia. the people targeted generally speaking are pretty fierce second amendment absolutist or near absolutist. well, you know what i'm saying. it's not -- the targets in this case are not people who have previously been known to be apt to argue for greater gun control. >> one of them said in a very passionate conversation i wish a gun. i could have saved lives. >> that to me is an interesting and recognizable reaction. there's a feeling of helplessness when somebody shooting at you and you can't shoot back and we know that if
the capitol police weren't there with their gun, it would have been a massacre. i understand that reaction entirely. a lot of people will say urban elites don't understand that feeling of -- i would rather have a gun than not have a gun. i believe that the addition of a gun to a situation will make it worse but there's an argument to be made. we saw that with trained capitol hill police officers mitigated some of the damages. >> and they went into harm's way, were shot, and amazing people. killed the assailant >> amazing people. >> i once said to as well as anyone, look, we have the greatest economy, the greatest military power, the greatest technology, the greatest universities. this should be our century, the 2 21. he said it should be, i said
what could prevent it? he said our politics. is that the same reason we can't get at this issue, what happens to other human beings have some reason, whether it's idealogy or whether it's anger or whether it's victimhood to go out. >> every issue has become more poll lar rising. we could call sensible gun control measures, i think it's a lot deeper than this issue, jim mattis secretary the defense has said one of the issues that concerns him the most, obviously, there's north korea and isis and iran, et cetera, but one of the things that concerns him as an american we stop liking each other. you know, that one part of the country has really come to loathe another part of the country. i've heard other people describe
it as we're drifting towards divorce. where there's -- there are people who no longer have any friends or acquaintances on the other side and people on both sides especially with respect to those who supported president trump in the election, victoriously, believe that everything is failed them and that nobody is listening to them. and that they don't know what to do >> i think this is one of the little secrets about the durability of much of donald trump's support. that the secret is, as -- i think there are a lot of people who voted for him who look at this administration and do understand analytically that it's dysfunctional. that feeling is outweighed by a feeling of loathing and repulsion. in other words, there are people who vote ford donald trump who quite possibly saw donald trump
as the very flawed figure that other people see him as. but they just see the other side as worse. and that's not a healthy dynamic. >> they see him as flawed but they think he may be the only change agent around that, in fact, what the country needs is disruption >> as elites, including the second amendment and religious faith and abortion and a whole lot of other issues that are important to that segment, they look at liberals and don't see opponents >> that's a little bit of what president obama got in trouble with in philadelphia. the clinicers and religion and that was a fairly rare misstep for him. it was his version of deplorables >> exactly.
>> it was his version of deplorables. i believe that's -- the humiliation is deadly. if you make someone feel humiliated in politics, they will come after you and they will not stop until they have proven that they are not what you think inferior. i think that's a big part of this >> your ability >> a big part of how he came to be. >> maintains his support among them although it's a little bit leaking >> it's leaking at the edges, but i think like i said no matter how to diseffective they've become, they look at mainstream coastal democrats people that are worse, that's my guess. >> what's going to happen with the russian probe as you look at it and now see that the "washington post" reporting that bob mueller, special counsel, moving in a direction, not making the case, but looking for
information in pursuit of whether there is a case. >> right now, i'm as interested as anyone in trying to understand this. right now, seems to me a bit of a donut of a scandal, i'm not sure what's at the center of the scandal, i can see, i see more evidence of a scandal to cover up a scandal than actual scandal related to collusion. i said this before i don't want it to sound snarky, but there is not a great deal of evidence that trump people can collude. they're having a difficulty col luding with a republican controlled senate in the house, so, to me, at will you be more get smartish at this point than some sort of dr. know kind of
situation. that said, maybe they will find evidence of levels of collusion. obviously, we understand that the russians were trying to do certain things in the electoral process. it's an open question of whether trump or trump related people were having anything directly to do with that. it's almost immaterial, i hate to lean on a cliche, it's not the crime. it's a cover-up. the firing of comey was an overreaction. >> he would not have had a special counsel. >> i've been thinking so much, you and i both know a lot of real estate people in the new york and used to being sort of kings of the universe >> masters of the universe >> and kings but masters. you know what i was going for. and looking at org chart and you know, and donald trump looks at
the chart and says well the attorney general works for me and the fbi director works for him but the fbi director is a pain in the neck, wait, if he works, i'm going to get rid of him. this is what happens when you enter the presidency without sufficient knowledge or respect for the norms, governing presidential behaviors, not the laws as much. >> the norms, the normal >> the accepted behavior on the part of a president >> part of it, i think goes to and paul ryan is right, you know, he couched it in a benevolent way. learning on the job, lack of experience, but at a certain point there has to be people around you saying hey, mr. president in the post watergate american reality presidents don't get to fire the fbi director because they won't like him and you don't fire an fbi director that's investigating you >> you and do go have meeting with the russian foreign
minister. and suggest to him he was crazy >> we're just in new territory. i don't think it is a snarky observation to say we've never experienced a presidency in our lives like this one. >> do you think he'll survive four years >> it's hard to remove a president. i have a lot of friends on the left who think that, well, this is not -- how could this go on? and the answer is this is not italy. this goes on. we don't swap presidents. >> we don't change. >> this is not >> government in five year >> this is not tire rotation here. you got to convince him to resign or impeach and the idea right now of republican leaders of congress driving up to the white house and saying >> like they didn't did with nixon. >> yes, and having that work is -- it's implausible on both ends
of pennsylvania avenue. it's implausible that paul ryan and mitch mcconnell get in the car and it's implausible if they ever got in the car and drove up and say you know what? paul, you're right. i'm not, this is not working out, i'm going to step aside so mike pence can be prejudiced it doesn't seem to fit a pattern of behavior that we've all now studied, >> it doesn't seem to be in his dna >> that's quitting. that would be quitting. removal is another thing but again, 2018, maybe after the election we'll see a different kind of congress. by the way, the other >> not quitting is also part of american creed too. you don't quit the presidency >> you don't really quit. he's president for four years. of and we're 150ish? it's intense ride.
>> here's your field. so what's it doing to our reputation abroad and how did that affect the possibilities of the future? >> it's interesting. because i don't want to decontextize him in way that would be unfair. the two presidents of the 911 era, each did things that damaged america's reputation abroad, george w bush obviously the way we understand it overreacting to a set of events opened up various pandora's boxes in the mideast. barack obama one could argue by under reacting to events, by being the president in opposition to the bush style, by declaring a red line, for instance in syria and not enforcing it >> and not enough support for the people when they could have risen to the support >> that's not only true in syria, but iran and his general posture toward democratic
rebellians. and you know, you could i agree on the margins that he didn't do enough to box in china and didn't do enough to keep russia for doing what it did in ukraine's all those things said, i mean, those two presidents were operating within normal ban band withes. and the records are, you know, particularly in barack obama's case, he did a lot to lift america's reputation in vast sector of the world through his serious ness of his presidency, through speeches. had a lot of problems as well but we're talking about something completely different. we're talking -- remember something president obama said to me, he talked about nato, his frustration because they sometimes act as free riders. they take our money and don't pay their own. donald trump is on a continuum of thought with that.
but the key difference is that president obama understood in his bones that the relationship between the united states and the european allies was not merely a america tile relationship or not a mafia relationship. you pay us so we protect you like the candy store in the corner in the neighborhood. he understood that there was no choice but for liberal democracies to be allied with each other in a military alliance not only for safety and security of these nations but for ideas and there's no evidence yet that donald trump understands the way that barack obama understood the way understood that we stand for something, that the president must stand for something, more than just getting a good deal on a weapon system or getting people to stop, quote, ripping us off, barack obama was never going to leave an alliance because germany wasn't paying enough or threaten or inintimate
that. that's why our allies don't understand us and live in fear every day of being attacked on the twitter feed or the president for doing something that irked or annoyed >> not convinced he'd come to their aid >> should they be? >> he was reluctant to in his speech >> it's not only the idealogy it's the consistency. it's -- it's the understanding of history they're looking for. i mean, adversaries too, maybe this is better, we're better in the category of adversaries at this point, because they have no idea what he's going to do. you remember that one of the problems of barack obama was that he was in the mind of some of our allies, to predictable, too rational, to logical, would frequently when he's talking about foreign policy, national security, would talk about what the united states wouldn't do in a certain situation, now we have
the opposite in which no one including perhaps people around the president himself know what he's going to do in any given situation. >> one thing developing is a, i'm going to ask them this question, there is no sense of a search for the facts on the part with respect to the -- yes, outside, yes, by investigative committees, yes, by the special counsel, but you don't get a sense that the president has said i don't care what you do, i want to know what happened with the russians and the election >> jeff sessions is a perfect. it's beyond, >> and jeff sessions too >> it's not implausible. how is it -- how could it be that the attorney general of the united states chief law enforcement officers of the united states never asked as he said, so guys, apparently we're under attack by russia. they're trying to undermine our democracy. what are we doing about this? jeff sessions is in charge of the fbi. the fbi has a lot of people who
are experts on russian nefarious behavior. it doesn't make -- the lack of interest is profound >> and then we have an element of disrupt between the national security establishment and the president it comes to this. can north korea be stopped and who is going to tell who what the facts are and who's going to believe what the facts are? will we wake up one morning notwithstanding all that has been done and said and it's too late? >> well, the problem, >> not to have an confrontation >> the probably is a military confrontation in this case would be a nightmare. it's also a nightmare in the case in north korea. as mark vouden writes about in the next issue coming out
shortly, as he writes. that it's also a nightmare if they manage to figure out a way to deliver a nuclear weapon on a missile to the west coast of the rtainly hawaii and obviously st. japan and south korea. so something that you said prompted this thought. it's about credibility. one of the things that a president needs to do in a crisis and remember, all of our crisis sees date have been self inflicted. we haven't had yet a confrontation with iran and the persian gulf, with north korea, we haven't had a katrina or hurricane sandy or earthquake or orlando. one of the things that a president has to do is be able to tap in a reservoir of trust. with the american people. when the president goes on tv and says, this is what's happening, this is why it's happening. this is how we're handling it, that a substantial portion of the american public has to be able to say to itself >> if the president says it >> it's true. and they've got this.
right? that's part of the -- that was why his whole encounter over twitter with the mayor of london critiquing the mayor of london for asking people to remain calm, struck me as kind of odd. the -- why would a -- why would a leader a specific leader, national level leader, why would they want to encourage noncalm in a population? so when i worry about in these kinds of situations among other things, is that the president is not asking the correct questions. the president is not mastering the answers, he's not willing to listen to different kinds of counsel. and then the president is not going to be believed by large sarges of the american people and going to this point you made before the world. our allies, our adversaries, you have to have some level of credibility. and that's -- and it's a very,
very dangerous not to have that credibility. >> are you loving being the editor of the atlantic >> i love being the editor of the atlantic, yes. did that sound -- i felt like i was answering a question like a pr person. >> in other words, you don't have time to write as much you did or at all? you don't have time to report >> i don't get time to tweet, >> you don't have time to come up here as much as you did >> you know i love this table. the -- yes, you know, it's -- at different, it's a different thing, there are reporters are in many ways, reporters are the children and editors are the adults, you're a reporter and responsible for yourself and your work, and that was fun, by the way, i did that 30 years. you know, that was great fun.
but no, i love it. it's, pound for pound i have the best staff of journalists in america. >> they're good people >> amazing people. magazine and digital operation, millions of people read and it's great fun trying to figure out in this unstable period in journalism and public life how to do this >> thank you for coming, editor of the atlantic magazine. back in a moment. stay with us. . the osage were driven from their lands. it was later discovered these lands were sitting on some of the largest oil deposits in the united states. the discovery led to the osage becoming the richest people, it also led to a series of murders. reporter david grann sent five
years researching the story. it is called killers of the flower moon, the osage murders and the birth of the fbi. i'm pleased to have him back at this table. how did you find this >> i heard about this from an historian and i made a trip to osage territory in oklahoma when i first heard about it and i want to the museum and there was a large panoramic photograph taken in 1924, showed members of the tribe, but a portion was missing and i asked the museum director what had happened to the missing portion? she said it contain add figure so frightening that she decided to remove it. she then pointed to that missing panel she said the devil was standing right there. and the book really trying to understand who that figure was. and the history he embodied and it led me to what i would come to realized was one of the most sinister crimes in american
history. >> which was. >> the systematic targeting of the osage one by one for the oil money. >> to take over becoming the largest per capita individuals in world >> they -- when they -- in 1870, osage chief stood up being driven off the land it would later become graded to this sev. it was about the size of delaware and lo and behold the forsake end territory was sitting pong some of the largest deposits of oil and by the early 20th century the osage had become the weatherest people in the world >> how many were there >> only about 2000 and in 1923,
they wawa would be worth today more than $400 million. they lived in mansions had servants, many were white. all this longstanding racial stereo types, one american might own a car, each osage owned 11 of them >> then what happened >> then they began to be targeted. i write a lot about a woman named molly berk heart, in 1921, she had a sister anna who came by the house, left that evening and disappeared. moldanadoly monthly looked everywhere. it was the first hint that monthly's family was being targeted and in the few days, monthly's mother became mysteriously sick and within two months stopped breathing and evidence would suggest she had been poise sonned.
m olly had a younger sister who was so frightened she moved to live closer to molly. one night, molly heard a loud explosion look outside in the direction of where her sister lived and all she could see is this large orange ball rising into the sky. looked like the sun had literally burst smiling into the night. somebody had plant add bomb under her sister's house, killing her sister, her sister's husband an 18-year-old white made who lived in the house >> was it just this family >> no, other families being systematically targeted. poisonings, shootings. strict nine was given. it causes the whole body con vulse. even those who tried to catch
the killers themselves were targeted. there was a lawyer, an attorney who was thrown off a speeding train. told his wife if anything should happen to me, go to this hiding place where i've hidden the evidence i've been gathering. when the person got there, all the evidence had been cleared out. there was another man, an oil man who was friendly with the osage who traveled to the district of columbia to hopefully get federal authorities to investigate the crimes. he checked into a boarding house. received a telegram from an associate in oklahoma. the telegram said be careful. he carried with him just a bible and a pistol. he stepped out of the boarding house that evening. he was abducted at some point, a sack was wrapped around his dead, found in a cold veteran. had been beaten to death and stabbed more than 20 times and a "washington post" headline reported what the osage already
families, white seltzers marrying into families pretending to love these people, sometimes having children with them. while systematically plotting to kill them. and so molly had to reckon with fact that the people targeting her family were people who she thought loved her. who she thought she trusted it was one of these crimes that made these so deeply nefarious. by 1923, there were officially more than two dozen osage murders and it was then that the osage tribal council issued a resolution that said, pleading for federal authorities to step in and it was then that the case was taken up by a rather obscure branch of the justice department. it was then known as the bureau of investigation. and of course, we know it today it would later be renamed the
federal bureau of investigation or the fbi and this case became one of the fbi's first major homicide investigation >> what did they do >> they badly botched the investigation. they had gotten an outlaw out of jail hoping to use him. instead he slipped away, he robbed a bank and killed a police officer. jay edgar hoover was afraid of a scandal back then was insecure in his position and he summoned an old frontier law man to take over the case. his name was tom white's he put together undercover team, most interestingly enough one of the impressive was an american indian be probably the only american indiana in hoover's bureau, they possessed as cattle man, as an insurance salesman and according to the records sold policies no idea what happened to those policies. and the ultimately follow the
money to try to determine who was profiting from these murders of the families. and that money leads them directly back into the house, for example, of molly berk heart. and that her own husband and her husband's uncle were behind the killings in her family >> her own husband >> her own husband. >> and at one point did she didn't realize that >> after she had two children with this man. this man had married into the famil family, calculating plot that unfolded to systematically murder the family members so that the inheritance would stream towards him and the uncle who is most dominant powerful figure in this county the king of the osage hills >> where did you find this information >> the information, it took a long time, many archives, and i
also tracked down the decedent ends of the oh murders and the victims who were able to provide me with oral histories and trails of evidence. i tracked down, for example a molly's berk heart's granddaughter, a lovely woman named margie and she told me what it was like to grow up without aunts and uncles. of what it was like >> and to know that her grandfather was a killer >> yes, she showed me a photograph that had the grandfather ripped out and her own father as a little boy standing there. the victims and the perpetrators lived in the same households. to this day, the decedents of the murders and victims often still live in the same neighborhoods the fates intertwined? what happened to the money >> sadly millions were swindled during these crimes, during this criminal conspiracy and then a lot of the oil gradually was
depleted. and so some of the osage still received oil money today but it's not the millions that they once did. but they're very vibrant nation. of they're still 4,000 osage who live in that area, 20,000 who have voting rights in the democratic institutions they've found other sources of income including from casinos and as one st. joe's lawyer lawyers we were victims but we're not victim to this day >> what is the flower killing moon. >> that comes out of the osage tradition, every month is named after a moon and the month of may is known as the little flower, during that month all the beautiful little flowers spread over and taller plants come, steal their water and light and they die, and it's in the month of may where molly's sister disappeared and where the first brutal murder take place
>> what was the guardian system >> what is unbelievable is the osage in the 1920's were obviously the wealthiest people and were skip gated for their money, you have the period of the great gatsby, but somehow member of the congress would say what are we going to do about these people. they went so far to pass legislation requiring many osage to have white guardians to manage wealth. this was literally racist. if you were a full blooded osage, you were suddenly deemed incompetent and given a guardian to manage wealth. here you could be a great chief, have millions of dollars and you would have a white guardian telling you whether you could
buy this car or that car or that toothpaste. it also created one of the largest criminal enter prices as many guardianses ended up swindling millions of dollars >> this is a part of history that has really been lost and that we haven't fully reckoned with and the nice thing if they made a movie that the story would become part of our history, you asked me at the beginning, what kind of prompted me to begin this project. part of it was that when i learned about this, i was shocked that i had never read about this in school. it was not part of my history books. and when i saw that photograph at the museum where a portion of it had been cut out because it contained one of the killers, the osage had removed that picture not to forget but because they can't forget. and yet here were so many people including myself who had no
knowledge of these crimes, had forgotten or had no knowledge and my hope is this will become part of our national narrative as it should be. >> the book is called killers of the flower moon and the birth of the fbi. david grann thank you so much >> thank you for joining us, see you next time. >> for more visit us online at pbs.org and charlie rose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> announcer: the following kqed production was produced in high definition. ♪ >> must have soup. >> the pancake is to die for! [ laughter ] >> it was a gut bomb, but i liked it. in private moments about the food i had. >> i didn't like it. >> you didn't like it? oh, okay. >> dining here makes me feel rich. >> and what about dessert? pecan pie? sweet-potato pie?