S1: The following recording may contain explicit language I can’t get more explicit than May.
S2: Literacy it may be Friday October 11th 2019 from Slate.
S3: It’s the gist I’m Mike Pesca. Today Donald Trump leaving for a big rally in Louisiana addressed in confusing and meandering terms. The trade deal he worked out with China.
S4: Details of international policy and how much money Hunter Biden made.
S5: Hunter Biden walked away with a billion and a half dollars from China a billion and a half.
S4: Yes I’m sure. By the way that’s exactly what the streaming service. 10 cent pays the NBA to broadcast games for five years so Hunter Biden worth as much to China as the entire NBA. The president went on unable to articulate what constituted a red line with Turkey attacking the Kurds and he lied about the number of jobs Saudi weapons programs provide and they buy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of merchandise from us not only military equipment and military equipment about one hundred and ten billion dollars.
S6: It’s millions of jobs.
S4: Now with that just the facts are exports to Saudi Arabia at twenty two point four billion. The U.S. buys almost twice as much from them as they buy from us. And according to the Department of Commerce the U.S. exports of goods and services to Saudi Arabia supports an estimated hundred sixty five thousand jobs. That supports not entirely underwrites supports not a million. So in fact Donald Trump made very little sense showed very little mastery of facts and displayed very little curiosity except in one very important facet of the office.
S5: Wait did I hear Shepard Smith is leaving. Is he leaving because of bad ratings. Tell me I don’t know. He had terrible ratings. Is he leaving because of his ratings. I mean if he’s leaving I assume he is leaving because he had bad ratings. He had the worst ratings at Fox. So there’s a reason why is Jeff Smith leaving. Well I wish him well.
S4: Oh yes Shepard Smith That’s the news that Trump cares about. You know all you ever wanted to was to be on TV and watching Fox is how he crafted his policies. And when a figure that he’s very invested in leaves Fox Donald Trump is fully engaged. He cares. I mean it’s not like Shepard Smith was with us at Normandy. But still the president knows when to invest his care and attention on the show today. Spiel about the CNN LGBTQ town hall or town halls I mean it was nine successive candidates so it was the BBB W.H. k c o s LGBTQ Town Hall. But first on Wednesday night two associates of Rudy Giuliani were arrested before they could get on a one way flight to Vienna. Now this was after Giuliani told Atlantic magazine White House reporter Alina plot that he had to meet her Wednesday afternoon not Wednesday night because he was flying to Vienna. I’ve read from plots piece today when I called the 3:00 p.m. Eastern time to ask about his Vienna trip a woman claiming to be his communications director answered the phone. I have called him more than 100 times over the past year and this is the first time that has ever happened. She said she’d have to get back to me as we spoke. I can hear a voice that resembled Giuliani’s shout asshole in the background. Oh sorry the woman told me he’s talking to the TV Giuliani finally sent me a text message for 18 Eastern time quote I can’t comment on it at this time. We will leave the details of that particular caper aside but we will be joined by the aforementioned Elaina plot and we will talk about all her other dealings with Rudy and her assessment of the White House’s overall strategy to beat back impeachment. The Atlantic’s in a plot up next.
S7: If you asked me a cantankerous argumentative Italian American with New York roots who I would need to explain Rudy Giuliani or Patsy baloney too cantankerous Italian Americans with New York roots bill anyone.
S8: FORDHAM I would have guessed Oh approximately two or three billion people before a 26 year old from Alabama.
S9: But here she is she’s Elaina plot. She is a staff writer for The Atlantic and she does profiles and breaks stories and is apparently texting pals with Rudy Giuliani some of the best details of White House counsel thought have come from her pen and her observations. Hello Lana. Hi. How’s it going. I’m pretty good. Let’s before we get to the simple Loney recent profile that you co-authored. Let’s talk about how you established your relationship with Rudy Giuliani. Hi I’d like to talk about you. I’m from the Atlantic. What was your what was your foray into that.
S10: OK I’m gonna give you just the really honest answer which is that in December the Atlantic wanted me to become White House correspondent. So I thought OK you know we’re really in the thick of the Mueller probe. It seems like a person I should get to news Rudy Giuliani. So I tracked down his cell phone number. And so when I I promise this is related but when I put on makeup in the morning I sit in my sink and so I can get up close to the mirror and I was sitting there putting on makeup and I had a person send me his number and I thought OK I guess I’ll just go ahead and try to call him. I didn’t think he’d answer but I called and he answered.
S1: So I’m just sitting there and my seeing where I have to stop when you say when you say in your sink are you using sink to mean bathroom or you’re sitting in your sink.
S11: Yeah yeah like you know how you know you have your sink and then it’s not it’s not the kind where it’s just on one stand but it’s sort of like a full vanity thing.
S10: But I literally like set within. You jump up a little bit. Yeah I’ll tell you right up to the mirror.
S1: OK to get right up there and see everything ok then clear a better mirror technology that you don’t have to do that. But anyway I don’t want to screw with you.
S12: I continue the story. Thanks for the No.
S10: So you know I’m sitting there doing my makeup and then I rest the phone on my knee and call Rudy Giuliani put it on speaker and to my surprise he answers. So I’m like Okay I don’t really know what to talk about and really have a plan for this. So we just started talking about the Mueller probe and we have the most delightful 20 minute conversation all on the record and it ends up making for my first story on the beat which was that the White House had no plans for confronting the Mueller report no matter what the outcome of it was. And he just answered I mean it was like You know I could have been involved a spread and he didn’t know me from Adam but from there I just kept calling and kept texting em. He kept responding. And then finally we arranged a meeting for the first time we went to Shelly’s backroom in D.C. and smoked cigars and drank scotch and again talked on the record. And I don’t know just from there.
S7: You know we we’ve had just a nice little thing go and now I know he has expensive tastes in cigars because according to his divorce filing I think he spent twelve thousand dollars on cigars. Do you have to buy your own cigars when you smoke cigars with him do you expense them to the Atlantic.
S10: I I guess I technically could expense them to the Atlantic but I don’t think I did. But he I don’t remember what cigars he smoked but I remember he was drinking Macallan.
S7: Yeah. Do you know what year. No I don’t. I’m gonna say. Well I want to clarify I want to I want to be accurate. He spent twelve thousand dollars on cigars and seven thousand dollars on pence. That’s according to the divorce filing right. Take that with. Did he. Does he have nice pens.
S10: You know I I can’t remember being particularly struck by any writing utensils and all my meetings with him. But I I mean I believe it.
S8: So as your as the source writer relationship progresses do you get any feedback or blowback from him that he didn’t like any of your stories. Because I have to tell you as a reader of your stories I thought he was coming off quite awfully. So I said to myself I wonder how much future access she’s going to get. She seems to be presenting him warts and all. Were you did you get any guff from anything you wrote about him from the Mueller probe until you started to write about how he thinks he should be the hero not the leaker.
S10: No I have never heard of all the stories I’ve written about him I’ve never heard from him about a particular story. I will say last week when I was asking him some questions over text about everything Visa V Ukraine he was like Well I don’t know what I want to tell you I saw you on the corrupt news network and you weren’t so great to us. I’m a CNN analyst also. And I just responded and said You know I’m always fair. And he said OK. That’s true. And so that’s the only time there seemed to be a little bit of tension. Mm hmm.
S9: But who knows how things will continue to unfold right now before we get to Piazza baloney.
S8: The other incident where your reporting was in the forefront regarding Rudy Giuliani was a conversation you had about within days I think of the whistleblower or maybe a day of the whistleblower it was that day actually.
S10: Yeah. So tell me what happened there. Well I been trying to get in touch with him for about 48 hours. The transcript had been released and I was trying to talk to him and not a transcript transcript. Yeah yeah yeah sure. A rough summation of notes I don’t know. So that come out and I was trying to get in touch with him about that I couldn’t get a hold of him and then the morning that the full whistleblower complaint was released I tried once more to get in touch with him I texted him. He responded immediately and so I just called him hoping that OK. He’s with his phone. Maybe he’ll answer. And he did. And you know I really barely got a question and it was just sort of off to the races as soon as I as soon as he picked up and I asked him what he thought about the complaint. And I couldn’t really get a question in edgewise after that.
S9: And this and this conversation took place in the back of an Uber. It did. And in the report you noted that your Uber driver worried if that man yelling at you was a threat.
S10: Knight I don’t think he thought he was a threat. I just thought he you know could hear anybody probably even outside the car could have heard Giuliani speaking at that point. And I he heard that I had kept trying to ask questions but we have to cut myself off because he was just still going and going behind. And so when I hung up he kind of looked up in the rearview mirror and he said everything OK back there. It’s like yeah it’s good it wasn’t on speaker. No it wasn’t on speaker. It was just he’s just really loud.
S9: Way way way it was in an earpiece or you were holding it up to your ear and they could say Oh are you.
S10: Yeah yeah. I was holding it up to my ear I had it cradled on my shoulder and I had I was using my hands to type on my laptop what he was saying Oh my God.
S8: Now in that piece you had a quote and it was a blind quote about from someone close to the situation let’s say a former senior White House official told me this entire thing referring to the Ukraine scandal was quote Rudy putting shit in Trump’s head. Rudy had no blowback to that quote. Do you know if you read it.
S10: Well I said it to him in our phone conversation because I had gotten that quote from my source earlier that morning.
S13: You know right when I woke up was when the complaint was dropped and so I started reaching out to sources immediately and so I was able to ask him about that quote and that’s when he responded. They’re all cowards. And the president knows they’re all cowards because I. Yeah I mean it was important for me to ask him not just about that specific quote but what I’d been hearing more broadly that week from people close to Trump who suddenly you know even though they had nothing but wonderful things to say about Rudy Giuliani in the years preceding that moment suddenly acted like he had been a scout on Trump from the beginning. And it was important to me to know what Giuliani’s thoughts were on that hall.
S8: And when you talk to him and put the quote to him OK I was told that you’re putting shit in Trump’s head. Do you say by a former senior White House official do you name the officials so he knows who you’re talking about.
S10: Oh no I mean I would never name the official. I would never give up my sources. But I believe the way I put it was you know people in the White House and others close to Trump have you know said to me that you are not doing any favors for Trump right now with you know all this Ukraine stuff.
S8: Now let’s talk for a second or two about Pat Sipple only before you and your colleague Peter Nicholson did this rather long profile beyond profile just an analysis of the politics of that position as well. You when you looked at all the clips was a lot written or known about him and what was the line on him.
S13: There was really not much at all that had been written about him which is why we thought that the piece was pretty urgent especially in light of now. Yeah but he was a pretty low key guy. I mean this is someone who was not he did not need to work in the White House. In other words like he was a multimillionaire who had been in private practice for a long time really respected in conservative legal circles Catholic circles kind of close to everyone on every spectrum of the Republican Party. Laura Ingram’s godfather but he also worked at you know Republican establishment stalwart firms like Kirkland and Alice. So for him to take this job it I think it really did surprise a lot of people because he has been pretty low key. He’s never been you know a surrogate on TV for the president. Everything that he did in support of Trump during the campaign and afterword not many people really knew about it.
S8: Yeah. Now just to be clear about him being Laura Ingram’s godfather he’s 53 years old and Laura Ingram’s 56 years old.
S10: So it wasn’t like she was a baby and they named a negative three or godfather correct. They got to know each other when they were both in private practice in D.C. in the 90s and she calls him her spiritual mentor and credits him with her conversion to Catholicism.
S4: So from what we’ve seen it seems that the strategy on the impeachment inquiry is simply too and I don’t mean this generally but if it is a strategy it is to muddy the waters by prosecuting the prosecutors by calling into question the legitimacy of the prosecution. Full stop. That’s it just to deny any accusation and say if it comes from these accusers it can’t be trusted. Are there any elements beyond that that are missing any you know clever side stratagem that isn’t accounted for by the basic. We’re just going to deny the legitimacy of the prosecution.
S13: No I think that’s exactly right. And I think it’s what you know is interesting at this point about this scandal versus other ones. I mean everything that Trump and his lawyers and his Republican allies are pushing back on everything is process based right. It’s never about the substance of the call or the substance of the whistleblower complaint saying here is our you know well laid out reason why Trump you know potentially asking the Ukrainians to investigate a political opponent in order to secure a meeting with him or get military aid is actually ok that you know that line of argument does not exist even a fanciful one it’s just not there. Everything has been process based. So I really do think it to me ample the ties is what the fear and stress within the White House is right now that they actually don’t have a way to justify the substance of the inquiry so they might as well attack the process based elements.
S7: Great. I want to ask one other thing maybe two other things. And the other thing about how this particular impeachment inquiry might go is within media circles.
S8: Your your CNN is corrupt news networks and your MSNBC is there is this belief that the Ukraine scandal is simpler to understand than all the details of the mother report but among your sources and the conservatives and Republicans you talk to do they think that that’s true.
S13: They don’t. But I also I don’t know I think Pelosi is right in many ways that it’s much more simpler to communicate but it’s up to Democrats I think to make good on that. And again I think what Republicans are banking on is that Democrats will screw this up for themselves to put it plainly. But I think from a messaging perspective it actually is probably quite easy to communicate to the American people. You know our leader tried to solicit help in our democratic elections from a foreign power. I do think that that from a messaging perspective that can be pretty easy. What Republicans are arguing I don’t necessarily believe is that this is not a simple thing to unwind or to understand but that they will not communicate it in the way that it needs to resonate with people.
S8: Elana plot is a staff writer for The Atlantic she’s the Atlantic’s White House correspondent she is an essential read as is her Twitter feed.
S14: Thank you so much.
S15: And now the spiel last night in Los Angeles. Most of the major and a few of the tertiary Democratic candidates participated in a town hall dedicated to LGBTQ issues. Overall there were few differences between the candidates and almost every question that was asked was answered with a pledge to fight discrimination and increase legal protections for LGBTQ people. Will you pass the Equality Act everyone. Yes. Will you dedicate resources for trans youth everyone. Yes. We tried to help prevent suicide. Everyone. A serious problem. Yes we prosecute hate crimes. Yes yes yes yes yes mostly the candidates use the LGBTQ specific questions to speak in general terms about their general positions. Like when Pete boot a judge was asked about HIV medications he took the opportunity to speak about all medication.
S16: It’s why we need a prescription drug plan like the one I’m putting forward that caps the amount that anybody would have to pay.
S4: And that seems to it that low income people are subsidized so that cost is never a barrier to the ability to get life saving medication or when a gay man asked about paid leave for two men who have a child as opposed to the often more generous leave when a man and a woman have a child or room when two women have a child. Senator Cory Booker answered this way.
S17: First I want to be clear we are a nation that has a long way to go to catch up with other countries and just having paid leave period. And I will be a champion of making sure that we are a nation with pay family leave Afghanistan and the Congo have paid family leave the United States of America.
S1: I wouldn’t compare America unfavorably to Afghanistan’s progressive leave policy in this particular manner considering same sex coupling is punishable by death in Afghanistan. Maybe not the best example of how behind the world the U.S. is on the other hand you could look at it this way even a country where they have the death penalty for homosexuality they still do have 12 weeks of maternity leave. I watched or read the transcript of all the sessions and I picked up two instances of a candidate not telling a questioner exactly what the questioner wanted to hear. One was Cory Booker. He was asked about eliminating tax breaks for religious institutions that discriminate. And he said Well it’s a process which is better Rogers said yes no tax breaks for them. And the second one was when Senator Amy Klobuchar said she is not in favor of decriminalizing all sex work but she did pledge that she’s open to discussing it with the man who asked the question without differences in policy or even really tone. Voters were left to evaluate the candidates on one point their flirting skills. Joe Biden maybe wanted to go in for a little extra special hug with Anderson Cooper. That was kind of unclear but he did put out some come hither vibes to one questioner.
S18: Christopher welcome looks like you stepped on a gentlemen’s quarterly here. Oh. Well. Thank you Mr. Vice President.
S1: I tried. Okay. Silver Fox in it there. And then there was the time Cory Booker saw a fellow bald man and seemed to want to trade tips on avoiding scalp stubble. Good evening Senator.
S18: That is one of most handsome haircuts I was about to say the same night. You are a beautiful man.
S9: There were a few moments uncomfortable for me when journalism blended into activism which I’m always wary of. So there were numerous protesters who to my mind didn’t help their cause. One constant theme of the night that they were pressing was this assertion as voiced by Pete Boudin which.
S16: Well thank you for your question and before turning to it I do want to acknowledge what these demonstrators were speaking about which is the epidemic of violence against black trans women in this country right now.
S1: Epidemic of violence. Kamala Harris was also asked by a protester about this. We. Are. I know.
S19: I know. No I’m I you’re right.
S4: Now the anchors and a couple of the questioners cited this stat that according to the Human Rights Campaign which was a co-sponsor of the event more than 26 transgender people were murdered in 2018 most of whom were black transgender women. And so far this year HRC has reported that 19 transgender women have been killed though when that number 19 was cited during the forums people started calling out no. Twenty twenty and candidates would correct themselves and say oh it’s 20. And so here’s where I become maybe annoyingly journalistic I believe I have no reason to doubt. Beyond that I believe the basic premise that the world is certainly an America is certainly dangerous for trans people trans women black trans women especially they might be homeless they might be sex workers they might be targeted. But the number 28 last year or 20 and counting sadly this year that’s not an epidemic. The best estimate of the population of transgender people in America is zero point six percent. But since there were over 16000 homicides in the United States last year if transgender people were killed at a disproportionate rate it would mean the death toll would be over 100.
S1: Now I’m I am sure that the cited statistic 26 and 20 I’m sure that’s an undercount but that is the number we have. And with that is the number we have. It is inaccurate to say as a fact as everyone did that there is an epidemic of trans murders or even a disproportionate figure. I mean it might be I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true just that there’s no evidence for it. I want my news networks to be in the evidence game not the activist game last night. Activism reigned at one point a trans activist took the mike as a young trans boy was about to ask a question and here’s what happened.
S20: But let me tell you something black trans women are being killed in this country has to have a right black trans women for the last time. Let me tell you something. Black women are. Died. Our lives matter most extraordinary black trans woman.
S1: CNN anchor Don Lemon tried his very best to engage the reason that we’re here is to validate people like you. Well during the night black transgender men black transgender women transgender people of color asked a number of questions seem to engage the candidates still that activist blossom said of Don Lemon. They’re proud and happy that you’re here. Yes. But remember we’re under a time constraint. All right thank you blossom and I appreciate that. Anytime. Blackness works among people of color. That’s what it’s how blackness looks like the erasure of black trans people. Later another black trans woman was called on for a question and next.
S21: Secretary Castro I want to bring in Shay Diamond a singer songwriter from Los Angeles. She currently supports Mayor booty judge. Shane what’s your question.
S22: Is she a diamond. She had put that on record.
S18: It’s on the record.
S1: Yes honey it’s violence to miss gender or to alter the name of a trans person. So I always get that right first. Wow. The CNN anchor there Nia Malika Henderson held it together better than I would have. Violence she committed violence and that this woman spells her name s h e a which is pronounced Shay the world over but she decides to pronounce it Shia. That is great but Nia Malika Henderson is not knowing that that is violence. All right. Here she is question. And we want to just know if you are elect elected as president will you have a group of transgender people.
S22: To counsel you or advise you. Shia. Shia.
S17: All right. I absolutely would do that.
S1: And in this campaign. Sure. Cheri well and not just for trans issues. How about the Export-Import Bank or Canadian timber tariffs. The category is Kurds. Let’s work the transgender people council.
S23: One black trans women we’re called on transgendered women we’re called on a disabled queer Latino at one point asked a question of Julian Castro a bisexual woman asked this the Obama administration was the first to engage specifically with bisexual activists and educators in a roundtable discussion in 2013 and the month a follow up meeting in 2016 bisexuals face unique challenges in healthcare sexual violence and societal acceptance that have not yet been overcome. What would you do as president to support the bisexual community.
S1: Look I’m not ignorant. I know bisexual people feel caught in the middle and put down sometimes by heterosexuals sometimes by others in the LGBTQ community. But what’s the president we’re talking about what a president can do about this. The president could be inclusive but really what can the power of the office do for bisexual people more than they can do for queer people in general right. If they extend rights to all LGBTQ people the BS for bisexual bisexuals count too. This would be like a civil rights forum if a biracial person asked Well will your civil rights protections extend to me could just picture Barack Obama saying yes but in the end everyone got their assurances that they were seen and cared for and that their concerns would rise to the level of presidential attention. And no matter how uniform the responses of all the Democratic candidates were the unspoken contrast to the current occupant of the office was profound.
S3: And that’s it for today’s show. Daniel Schrader produces the gist. He once got a call from Kellyanne Conway while squatting in a baby wash basin. Christina de Josiah another just producer would occasionally field calls from former chief of staff writes Priebus. While she was perched atop an air conditioner changing the filter the. You know Shepard Smith’s gonna get a podcast. Have you heard with Shepard Smith. What’s the flock. With Shepard Smith OK we’re still workshopping the name but it will happen. Cooper Deborah Deborah. And thanks for listening.