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Jake Tapper: American Scandal

March 21, 2024
Notes
Transcript
It used to be that politicians who had affairs, took bribes, and paid people off lost their office or lost their base. Tapper joins Tim to discuss his CNN series, “United States of Scandal,” as well as his role in freeing a wrongly convicted man. Plus, rising antisemitism on the left and right.

show notes:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/title-2411812
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2024/03/cj-rice-philadelphia-exonerated/677787/
Fundraiser for C.J. Rice

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:08

    Hello. Welcome to the Secret Podcast. I’m your host, Tim Miller. I’m delighted to be here with Jake Tapper who I don’t get to see anymore since I’m on the other Bulwark. He’s a CNN anchor, author of four books.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:18

    His most recent, all the demons are here. He’s also hosting an executive thing in all the things, a new original series called United States of Schedule, which wraps this Sunday. Jake, what’s happening, brother?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:32

    Hey, Tim. How are you, man?
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:33

    I’m doing quite well. You know, I want to, talk about the series. I’m curious, to me, you know, maybe I’m putting you on the couch here for a second, but as I was watching some of the apps, I was like, you know, maybe this is just a newsman who’s nostalgic for the days when journalists could shame politicians who were acting bad. What was the motivation?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:54

    No. The motivation was just storytelling and curiosity. I like your theory. I like your theory. I mean, one of my big first moments in journalism was when I wrote a story for the Washington City paper in nineteen ninety eight, right when the Clinton Lewinsky scandal broke, and it was a a story about I had gone on a platonic date with her.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:13

    It was basically a rumination on American scandal, political scandal, and why everybody seemed so excited when this young woman I kind of knew was getting destroyed. So it’s that the origins of my interest in scandal and the real story and and the the wreckage left behind is rooted there But the truth is it was just as far as I can tell, it was just really C and I was looking for original series and I thought to myself, nobody’s it seems like a no brainer. It seems obvious why is there not a series on American scandals? I would watch that. No one’s making an r n l makeup.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:45

    So it wasn’t on my list, but since you brought up Monica, I have to do on a side on this. This is a team Secret Podcast here. She got screwed so bad. So I’m like a little younger than me. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:56

    So as like a teenager. I was I was maybe a freshman when this was all happening in high school. And for me, it was, like, they were both adults. You know, like, because two because when you’re fifteen, a twenty four year old, a twenty three year old, how old she was as an adult. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:11

    And now, to look at it now as a as like a middle age person. Like, she was treated horribly. And I I just look back on that and think, man. It’s kinda crazy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:22

    It is remarkable, the degree to which There are scandals where a man has an extramarital relationship, and the man is popular and the politician And the woman who is usually single and younger ends up being the Jezebel and chased out of town, and the man is able to, you know, still have a reputation and, you know, keep his head up high and all that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:48

    The president?
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:49

    Yeah. It is amazing, and it still happens to this day. Yeah. She totally got screwed. It’s it’s not fair.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:56

    It’s not fair what happened to her. And she’s a good person. And, you know, on Earth two, Linda Tripp didn’t betray her, and she’s you know, married with free kids and, doing something else.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:11

    Team Mona Charen this podcast, you’re always welcome, Monica. Just going back and revisiting all this stuff, was there anything that kinda struck you that surprised you? You know, like, looking at it from a post trump lens or any other lens?
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:23

    The degree in which these men think that they can get away with anything intrigues me and still shocks me to this day. And one of the reasons I wanted to explore scandals in the series is because I still do not fully understand why anybody would work so hard for so long to become a governor or a senator and throw it all away for something that seems rather obviously not worth it. We could be talking about Bigoyevich or Sanford or McGrivi or the others that I cover in the show, Spitzer, But the one that is the most shocking to me still is John Edwards. First of all, were it not ford’s Barack Obama? You could really make an argument that John Edwards really could have been the Democratic presidential nominee in two thousand eight.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:17

    I mean, that is a possibility. But beyond that, when you think about what he was doing, not just cheating on his wife, not just cheating on his cancer stricken wife, not just cheating on the cancer stricken wife with a campaign staffer, not just impregnating her, not just convincing a different aid to claim that the baby was his. But doing all of that, while running for president.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:44

    How do you keep track all the lies? The hubris?
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:47

    I’m exhausted just saying it. And then even after the story broke, he was pitching himself. To Barack Obama, to be vice president or to be attorney general after the story broke. It is sociopathic. I mean, I’m not a qualified doctor, but you see the behavior of a lot of these people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:07

    And you mentioned Your illusion to Trump that this was an era where politicians could be shamed is is on point because I don’t think that Donald Trump would get in trouble for any of the same things of any of these scandals. When I say get in trouble, I mean, get in trouble with this base. Not necessarily getting in trouble. He’s certainly in trouble right now in a number of court rooms. And I don’t know if he’s gonna be elected or not, but that in itself is saying something.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:36

    But beyond that, like, there is something about him that it that only applies to him. We’ve seen other politicians try to do the same thing and it didn’t work. Like George Santos tried to try to do the same thing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:46

    I wanna get into the trump thing, but one other thing is before we lose Edwards. I’m wondering if revisiting that story It becomes really relevant right now in another upcoming trump related story, which is the Stormy Daniels case, right, which is that that Edwards has tried Yeah. And there’s a hung jury. So I guess he’s acquitted, but there’s a hung jury with with a very similar case, right, of these kind of payments.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:07

    Right. Somebody is spending money to hide this affair.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:10

    Yeah. Yeah. Spending money to hide the affair. Was it a campaign finance violation, etcetera. And going back and, you know, sort of revisiting that, does Is there any perspective that’s giving you an upcoming stormy case or the the merits of it, the weaknesses or strengths?
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:23

    It’s tough to prove. I mean, it is tough to prove. I mean, and also I think Jack Smith worked on the John Edwards case.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:28

    Alright.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:29

    He wasn’t the primary prosecutor, but I think he worked on the case. He’s done a lot of these. He did McDonald. He did I think he did menendez, that which is also a case that was thrown out by the US Supreme Court and a case of that was also a mistrial against Menendez, the first one, not the current one. It’s funny.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:45

    We this is not about Trump, but there’s a lot of Trump in it because Trump pardons Bogojevic, Charlie Sykes is a major player in the McGedy scandal. Yeah. And then as you note, there is this shades of Stormy Daniel in the John Edwards case, which is If you are paying somebody to hide from the public or from the media, an illicit affair, does that count as campaign money. And all you need is one juror to say, well, not necessarily. He was trying to hide it from his wife.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:15

    He wasn’t necessarily trying to hide it from the country. And, you know, somebody on the North Carolina Jerry believed it. I don’t know that that’s not gonna be believed in New York. I mean, new notes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:25

    I mean, to me, it’s pretty obvious. Now campaign finance law, you know, we could do a whole nerdy episode on how a weak campaign finance law is and all that. But to me, like, the fact that these things were held from the public to advance political careers is pretty obvious. The difference in the Edwards case, right, is if he loses and it comes out, like, right, or it’s of, of course, we can wait to whereas the Trump, the stormy situation really didn’t come out. You know, I who’s to say that, like, there’s in a different world where that was the big story in the final weeks instead of the Jim Comey thing, and and that that would have made a difference.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:56

    I I don’t think that’s a crazy counterfactual.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:58

    No. I I certainly understand the argument Now looking at Donald Trump, empirically, what he said on the Access Hollywood video is worse than the Stormy Daniels allegation, which is consensual sex. And so I don’t know who knows, I guess, is my point. Like, did people really not know what they were getting into? It’s hard to argue that people thought he was, you know, a Jeb bush type, you know, loyal to his wife and happy family man and all.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:28

    Jebbing the the Calomba holds the man’s church, you know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:31

    Yeah. No. I don’t I I don’t think anybody thought that of him, but Yeah. Also, it’s not up to me. It’s not a hypothetical.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:37

    It’s, you know, it could have been I get the argument
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:39

    back to the other point you’re making, I’ve been thinking a lot about this about the nature of scandal and whether Trump has permanently changed something on the right and, like, the lack of trust and media institutions, the Santos cases, an interesting, counter example. But, you know, to me, I look broadly and say that really Democratic politicians still are shammable and still are kind of responsive at least to negative news coverage in certain ways and ways that the Republicans aren’t. And, like, in a lot of ways, maybe Republicans now like it when Jake Tapper comes after them on CNN. They can use that to raise money. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:13

    And so I don’t know. What what do you think? Do you think that there’s an imbalance now or an asymmetry at least in how in how the parties respond to scandal, or is that TDS on my part?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:23

    Would never diagnose you with TDS, but I will say I mean, look, Christian Martinez, right? Was he the head of the Florida Republican Party? And he’s no longer the head of the Florida Republican Party because of this of rape, which he denies, and also this non disputed story of threesomes with his wife. So he’s gone from that position. I believe So that was shammable, and that’s a fairly safely ensconced red bubble being the head of the Republican Party of in Florida.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:49

    He got shamed, I mean, I’m not saying his life is over or his career is over. I’m sure he’ll pop back up. But Sure. Now maybe it was just because DeSantis was still running for president at the time and The Santa said, like, get rid of this. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:00

    But he he did lose his job. Santos lost his job and was expelled by Republicans mainly Now you could also argue that’s only because he actually committed fraud against the grandmother of congressman Max Miller.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:13

    And, like, you
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:13

    know, that specific detail or You know, it was so egregious, like, all these shell corporations he allegedly set up, etcetera. So I don’t know. You know, like, twenty years ago, with Lauren Bobbert had been forced to resign. Based on the public display of a faction? I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:30

    Maybe. But
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:32

    Sure. The Steve King, Steve King is a parallel. I always use. It was better late than never, but he eventually got ran out of the Republican conference. There’s no way that Steve King gets run out now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:41

    For being a white nationalist.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:42

    Yeah. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:42

    Right. There’s no way because we know this because Marjorie Gillegreen and Gossar. Paul Gossar have both spoken at Nick Fuentes’ white nationalist white supremacist convention.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:54

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:54

    And there are all sorts of things that happen like that. So, I mean, I think you can argue that there has been a a change But I don’t know that people are not shamable. That seems like a very strong statement. I mean, I think people now look at the Trump playbook, which is We have this bubble. We have the support network.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:13

    Fox isn’t gonna report it. So if a if a Republican has a scandal and Fox doesn’t cover it, doesn’t make a sound. Right? I mean,
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:19

    For sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:20

    That’s part of this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:21

    Power through. Don’t admit it. Like, the the playbook is different at least. Maybe maybe not shammable is too far, but the playbook is certainly more aggressive of more unapologetic, more shameless, maybe, than saying unshamable.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:33

    I have asked Bulwark and Bernstein this question. If Nixon had done everything he did, but he did it with either either today, or he did it and he had a, a Republican Congress, people forget that was Democratic Congress, and b, Fox, would Richard Nixon have survived? I don’t wanna put words in their mouth, but what I recall is both of them saying, yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:58

    Obviously. I It
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:59

    would have been different because He would have had a support Bulwark, and he didn’t then, but he would today. None of this happens without the support network of Republicans in Congress and Fox. None of it happens out without that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:15

    Foxwell is interesting. My favorite stat of the week. I don’t know if you saw this. So downtrove’s vice president is not endorsing him. I don’t know if you noticed kind of a big news item.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:24

    I ran it on my show. It’s a huge story. It’s a very important.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:28

    It happened on Fox. They don’t even run it. No. You’ve looked at the thing. If you looked at it, it’s, like, in the period afterwards, the day or two afterwards, it was, like, you guys did a hundred minutes on it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:37

    MSNBC did a hundred twenty minutes foxed five minutes on it. It happened on their network.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:41

    Right. Five minutes including him being interviewed making that new. Correct. It is fascinating. It is empirically Huge news.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:49

    You know, if if Joe Biden had not endorsed Barack Obama, I mean, I’m trying to think of some sort of world, but, like, it it’s crazy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:57

    HW and Reagan had some bitternesses, you know, I don’t know, but still
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:01

    Nothing like that. Like, refusing to endorse him when he By the way, this isn’t him refusing to endorse him at the beginning of the cycle when it could have been Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley or the other we’re we’re he himself was running penicic. You know, a lot of candidates? No. This is after after it became clear that he was going to be the nominee No question unless a meteor hits the earth.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:24

    And what Pence did, whatever people think of Pence, whatever people think of Trump, What Pence did was a brave thing to do. It was a courageous thing to do because that’s not getting you anything other than the ability to sleep at night. That’s it. No invitations to anything. No short lists.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:43

    You’re you get put on the enemy of of Maga list. You’re, like, number Top five, at least. I mean, the only reason to do that is to be true to yourself. There’s no other reason.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:55

    I feel like sometimes as a news anchor sucks, you end up getting into being in a media criticism bubble when you go on these podcast, but I gotta do one. Alright. We just gotta do one media criticism question. I’m interested in your take I feel like we have probably over the eight years of Trump. I can think of two private disagreements we’ve had over the coverage of trump.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:13

    I think I score them one to one. We don’t need to go over them with everybody, but over how how much cables recovering this or that. How do you answer the question now?
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:21

    First of all, let me tell you, I have a very resonant memory of you and I. This is when you worked for Jetjet bush.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:29

    And be screaming at you outside of bed bath and beyond. Stop covering this. Was that
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:32

    where you were? I was I was in Reagan Airport. Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:35

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:35

    And I will tell you that, like, I agree that we should not have, and Zooker has said this subsequent, we should not have just run his rallies start to finish with no fact checking and not doing the same for anyone else comparably.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:51

    Sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:52

    I a hundred percent agree with that. But Where you and I disagree, and I still feel this way is, Judge Bush should have done more press. I don’t know that it would have changed anything. Donald Trump was a phenomenon. But I do not think the the decision to subscribe to the old rules of how catered it’s when they do press and when they don’t do press.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:16

    Donald Trump re broke all the rules he changed everything, and I think that called for a more aggressive press strategy just in terms of willingness to do interviews. And that’s where you and I also disagree.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:26

    Yeah. No. No. I think now we agree. That’s there was our one to one.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:29

    That’s it. We’re even. Okay. So now here we are today. This is a genuine question.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:34

    I talked to Susan Glass about earlier this week. I don’t know how to deal with it because Donald Trump goes out and does a speech. And his speeches are just wheels off nonsense, and he does election fraud stuff every time. Yep. Which is not true.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:46

    He does January six. Apologia now, every speech.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:49

    Not just apologia. He starts his rallies with January six criminals singing the national anthem, and he calls them hostages at a time when there are actual American authorities in Gaza. You’re downplaying it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:02

    Okay. Thank you. So there you go. So there’s that. He’s cheering on the the insurrectionists.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:07

    He’s lying about Joe Biden Ron DeSantis. And you could just go through the list, lying about the economy and this cry and, like, the concept that if Javid said, like, oh, crime is up. When crime is down, there would have been a fact checked about us, and we had to apologize. Right? Like, like, that stuff doesn’t even get mentioned.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:21

    But if you do the lead every day and talk about the crazy stuff that Trump said, then, you know, Republicans will come on and say, Jake, you’re so biased. You’re so biased. Right? How do you deal with it? In this day and age, how do you deal with Trump everyday lying, and the premise of his campaign really being a lie about the election.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:37

    Okay. So first of all, I’m not afraid of being called biased, and I get called that by the left and the right all the time. Period, full stop. I do think that the way that we cover Trump is something that takes thought and care because You know, it’s crystal is a great thing on his sub stack, which is, you know, the fifty craziest lines from Donald Trump’s speech last night or the thirty craziest lines from is interview with how he curts last day or whatever and he does. It’s always a great read.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:07

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:08

    But I don’t think a TV version of that would be of service to my viewers, I think when he says something that is shocking, and knew it is worth discussion, like I did yesterday with his comment that any American Jew who votes for Democrats and choose vote for the Democratic party about seventy percent of the time roughly hates the religion hates Israel and they should be ashamed of themselves. Which is an empirically a false statement. I know plenty of progressive Jews or Jewish Democrats who love Israel and love their religion. I’m even related to a few of them. And two, shocking is the nicest thing I can say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:53

    So we covered that. I covered it. We had a discussion with From and Crystal. We covered it. It’s not like I don’t cover it, but I’m not gonna hand over my show to Donald Trump.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:02

    There’s a lot of stuff to cover, and I wanna
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:04

    make sure that we’re providing a a broad
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:04

    and well sourced and interesting news show. But I do think about it a lot.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:12

    In weird way, yeah, we’ve all come full circle. Weird way. I’m kind of like show as rallies. People, like, so they’re so crazy. Maybe we can just do now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:19

    Anyway, I we were running out of time. You mentioned the jurisdiction, and I’ve I’ve two more things I have to talk to you about. I’m very curious about your take on this, like, the rising anti Semitism, the threat. I know you cover a new show. I know this is personal to you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:31

    There’s an easy answer for a newsman. Both sides are bad. There’s, you know, some stuff Jonathan Last. It’s bad. There’s some white Jonathan Last, Nick Fuentes, who have you already mentioned, elements that are bad.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:42

    I wonder how you, like, wade through all that and separate, like, what are the most intense threats? What are the real threats about antisemitism? What is, you know, maybe more performative outrage? And how bad is it out there? What’s your sense of the state of play?
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:57

    So I have two teenagers. So what college campuses are like is not frivolous, and I’m not suggesting that you were saying it was.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:03

    No. I’m not. Yeah. I’m absolutely not, by the way. That was a serious question How do you how do you wade through this?
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:08

    Both.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:08

    No. The only reason I raise it up is raise it is because I see some progressives on social media saying things like, oh, you can’t compare some jerk college student with Marjorie Taylor Green, and Jewish space lasers or whatever. And okay. First of all, I don’t have, like, a chart of, like, which one is worse. Like, they’re all bad.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:28

    Second of all, you know, I have kids that are in their teens. And so what the environment is like for kids in high school and college is pertinent to me. And even if I didn’t, it would still be important. What goes on in college campuses is important? And, also, like, I mean, one of the great curses of being Jewish is you don’t actually have to decide which is more of a threat.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:54

    These people yelling at you that you’re a a colonialist and you support genocide and you you’re an occupier and all of that, which is said just to Jews, just for being Jews, not
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:09

    Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:10

    Most Israelis do not support Netanyahu.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:12

    There have been cases of, like, somebody just in Yamaka on a bus getting shouted down by yeah. You see this. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:17

    Right. I posted something about the the anti Semitism or whatever about Trump’s remarks. I posted something on social media and a response from a progressive was some meme about, like, stop committing genocide. You fascists. I’m like, dude.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:32

    Man, I grew up in Philadelphia. I live in Washington, DC. Who am I genociding? Like, I’m not killing anybody. I’m an American.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:38

    Like, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. First of all, I mean, you could I don’t even get to the argument what what Israel’s doing and what to call it, etcetera. But I don’t think it’s a genocide. But beyond that, even if you do, what does it have to do with me? One of the great lessons of nine eleven was We don’t hold Arab and Muslim Americans responsible for things that people do in their name or things that people are doing in Egypt or Jordan.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:02

    I mean, it’s That’s prejudice. It’s no less prejudice when it’s done to Jews. But anyways, that’s from the left. And then on the right, you have statistically at least before October seventh, The real threats of violence were from the right, the white supremacists, etcetera, the faintestes of the world, that ilk.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:21

    And that’s where the attacks on the synagogues have come from. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:25

    Yeah. That was white replacement theory pushed forward by Fox, pushed forward by Donald Trump, pushed forward, by all sorts of people on the right, the idea that Jews are funding a replacement of the white populace with brown and black people, complete insane dilution. And it led to the deadliest act in American history at at Trio Life City of Guy in Pittsburgh. And I don’t have to pick You know? I I don’t know which one is gonna ultimately come for me in the middle of the night.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:54

    It’s gonna be one of them, but, like, I don’t have to decide which one is worse they’re both awful, and I see people empowering or at least being complicit in both of them on the democratic side and the Republican side much more in the Republican side when it comes to Republican officials. A hundred percent. But there’s people I mean, not on the federal level, but, like, on the local level, you look at, like, what’s going on at, like, the Berkeley High School?
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:19

    City councils.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:20

    Yeah. Or city councils, and it’s, like, people laughing about over seventh, people claiming that the rapes didn’t happen, all that stuff. It’s pretty offensive. So it’s a complicated an uncomfortable time to be Jewish in America, probably anywhere in the world, really. But the truth is I don’t look at one as worse than the other.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:39

    I think they’re both awful, and they’re both judging. Look, you’re I don’t think I’m breaking any news. You’re gay. There were homophobes on the left and probably still are for years and years and years and years
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:50

    Oh, yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:50

    I mean, I remember people going after Lindsey Graham accusing him falsely or whatever of being gay. A Democrat, the head of the Democratic Party in North Carolina, South Carolina doing that. Holophobia has never been just one party, although it’s certainly much stronger in one party than it is, in the other. But for years, it didn’t really even used to be that way necessarily outside of, you know, San Francisco.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:13

    You know, even every once in a while, from fans of the part, I get talk a little less about your gayness. I get that comment about once every week or so. Don’t Why do I have to shove it in my face, Tim? Yeah. Don’t read your kinda shake.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:23

    Okay. We’re overtime, but I’m serious. That’s serious. I was I was really moved I I watched your segment about CJ Rice. It’s a personal story.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:30

    It could if you we’ll put it in the show notes if you wanna watch the whole thing, but if you just wanna give us one minute on that story, yeah, I’d really I’ll appreciate
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:37

    CJ Rice was a patient of my dad’s. My dad’s a pediatrician, and he practiced in a lower income section of Philadelphia for most of his forty plus years, fifty plus years of being a pediatrician. And he CJ Rice was just one of many. My dad saw him In two thousand eleven, he had just been shot in what CJ says was a case of mistaken identity. He was riding his bike with his buddy and He was a, you know, low level drug dealer in South Philly, but not violent.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:06

    He’d never picked up and picked up for anything violent. So he could barely walk. He spent time in the hospital, His pelvis had been shattered. He’s, you know, stitches all up and down his chest. And he could barely walk much less run, and then a few days after my dad saw him, there was another shooting in Philadelphia, South Philly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:24

    And this one, nobody was killed, and thankfully nobody was even seriously injured. But the people who were injured could not identify who did it, And then the police got a tip overnight, came in and showed a photo lineup, one of the victims said that she did it. This is the only evidence against CJ. And it was really bad, really weak testimony, but There was a trial in two thousand thirteen. My dad testified, but CJ had the worst lawyer in the world.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:56

    She was just awful. She let things be admitted that she’d never been admitted. She was just incompetent If you or I, Tim, or our children were ever charged with anything similar, we would have much, much better representation. And in fact, it’s been said before that it’s better to be a guilty rich white man in America when it comes to the judicial system than it is to be a poor black innocent person. Long story short, and it’s too late for that, I guess.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:21

    I’ve already gone long. CJ goes to prison. He tries to get out. He tries to and not escape. He tries to appeal the process.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:27

    In two thousand sixteen, he writes to my dad asking for medical records from the hospital where he had been taken after he was shot. And he and my dad strike up a correspondence, a pen and paper letter stamp correspondence, because he’s in present, and make this effort to try to get him out of the appeals process fails. Not surprisingly, they usually do. The system is designed to protect itself. And after the final appeal failing, my dad finally listens to me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:55

    I’d been begging him. Let me write about this. Let me write about this. Let me do let me tell the story. I started working on the story in two thousand twenty, in two thousand twenty two, the Atlantic publishes the story.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:06

    It’s called this is not justice. A Philadelphia teenager and the empty promises of the sixth amendment, which is the right to counsel. And that’s fall. My dad hires a different attorney who’s working on a habeas petition to argue that CJ’s attorney was so incompetent. It wasn’t a fair trial.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:26

    And what happens after that is good news. The system then starts working for CJ for the first time ever, the district attorney’s office grants that he gave Avis addition in September. The first judge grants it in October, the second judge grants it in November, And Monday of this week, we announced that the Philadelphia district attorney had dropped all charges exonerated CJ, and he is a free man. And, it has been one of the most I would say one of the two most important pieces of journalism I’ve ever done, the other one being writing the book the outpost about Afghanistan. But that was just telling a story This was more.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:07

    This was activism because I I don’t think CJ could have done it because I believe my dad, who is honest to a fault, And if you ever meet him, you’ll know what I mean. So he’s out and, he’s trying to pick up his life if any of your viewers or listeners are inclined to have the means. You can go to my pin to tweet or just Google CJ Race Gofundme And we’re trying to raise money so that he can go to school, get an apartment. He’s thirty years old, but he went away to Prissy turned himself in when he was seventeen and he couldn’t make bail, like thousands and thousands of people in prison. You know, he couldn’t make bail.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:44

    So he was doing time, even though he hadn’t been convicted or anything. And, you know, we’re talking right now. I’m, you know, we still talk all the time. And, he’s trying to figure out to get an apartment, and I’m just and it did occurs to me, like, he has no idea how to get an apartment. Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:59

    He has no idea about rent. He has no idea about references. I don’t even know what his references are gonna be. He spent the last thirty years
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:08

    Takes ever, I think. It sounds like
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:09

    Yeah. No. I’m I’m happy to be a reference for him. But, I mean, Yeah. And this is a guy who didn’t even do anything.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:15

    He didn’t even do it. You know? Anyway, so that’s the story. We have a a documentary on it airing Sunday night at eight eastern on CNN, and it has been a long battle. I wish I could tell you that my dad is happy, but but That’s, again, you have to you have to meet my dad.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:30

    Not in his nature?
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:31

    No. He’s just, you know, he’s just upset about the injustice of it all.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:34

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:34

    But, I’m like, let yourself have one minute to smile.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:39

    Yeah. Take a w.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:40

    He smiles when he talks to CJ. So, anyway, that’s the story.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:44

    I love that. I appreciate that. We’ll put, the all the details in the show notes, go support to CJ. That’s very admirable. I’m going to the Jake Jake Tapper.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:51

    You can see him every day on CNN on the lead of the Jake Tapper. We’ll accept if I’m on deadline White House. On that day, you can miss him. But the rest of the day, as you can see, the lead, and, United States have scandal, which wraps this Sunday, as well as the CJ documentary. Thanks, brother.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:05

    Appreciate the time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:06

    Thank you, Tim. It’s great to see you again. Keep up the great work. I love watching.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:10

    Thank you to Jake Tapper. Really appreciate his time. Stick around. We’ve got some mailbag questions for you. I need freedom too.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:40

    Alright guys. Solo mailbag today. I’m gonna just try to rapid fire, pop through a few of them. A couple of them. You can save the Jake Tapper podcast so you know where to look for it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:29:50

    If you wanna know the answer to things such as Rachel’s question, tell me more about the central valley bean coop pinto bean bag on your wall. I’m originally from Buxton, North Dakota, and I’m wondering if you and I have any mutuals. Well, Rachel, no. We do not have any mutuals, but we do have a lot of mutual pen pals because I think every person that has ever lived in Buxton, North Dakota has emailed me. About this being back.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:13

    And, I’ll tell you the story is kinda just a coincidence. It’s a pandemic story. My husband was a policy person for Heidi Heitkamp Center out North Dakota, who we should get on this pod, by the way, Heidi’s amazing. And so they were touring farms around state together. And, he saw this here, valiant horse man bean bag and thought it was cool.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:37

    And, we also have some coffee bean bag art in our house. And so we got this. We put it up in kind of a corner. It’s nice, but we got nicer art than this. We we put it up in a corner.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:46

    And that happened to be our zoom corner in our old house in Oakland. And we started zooming, and then there was a novel coronavirus that you might have heard about. And then all of a sudden, rather than going to a studio to do my television hits, I was doing it from the zoom corner in our house. And the beanbag was behind me. And people liked the beanbag so much that it came with me all the way to Louisiana So there it is.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:11

    That’s the b meg story. My husband loves North Dakota, by the way. I have no connection to Buxton, but hello to all you Buxton folks. Okay. We’ve covered some of this this week, but I wanted to put a finer point on it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:22

    Here’s Josh from Coffee County, Georgia. What do you think are some of the best strategies to convince these double doubters to not vote for Trump. If I get any of my friends that far, should I even suggest voting for Biden or avoid that so as not to push them back to the right again? Know, we talked about this a little bit on the next level yesterday with Sarah Longwell about it with Steve Hayes. You heard my interview with Steve Hayes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:44

    I think you’ll have a sense for where I come down on this. I made this point with Steve, but I think that it’s worth appreciating. I trying to nudge him and other people in the commentary space and other people that have influence and op ed columns, etcetera, to just make the case that they know who the worst option is. They know who the riskier option is. And so let people know that that who is the better choice?
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:09

    Even if you don’t think it’s a good choice, Joe Biden, love you’ll know who you think is the better choice. I think the obligation of someone in the public space is different than the obligation of the voter. And if you’re in Coffee County, Georgia, man, you know, I mean, there were there was a fake. It looks like Josh said one of the fake electors was a member of his church. There are gonna be some people there that’s just the idea of of pulling the lever for a dam is just too unimaginable.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:31

    Right? And if they voted for trump twice, moving them from that to not voting is a win. And I think it’s gonna be different from different people. Some of them liking Georgia, I think, in particular, are not gonna like how they’re lied to about the election. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:47

    They experienced this stuff. This was in their face closer. And so those election lies see this in the focus groups are gonna be really salient for people, particularly in Georgia. And so talking about that, how you can’t trust trump. You don’t know what he’ll do next time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:01

    You saw the risks just how unpatriotic it all was. The storming of the capitol having Trump flags over our capital. I it’s just as unimaginable. If that is enough to nudge those people in rural Georgia to not vote for Donald Trump, Joe Biden’s gonna take that. Joe Biden’s gonna take that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:18

    And I think it’s okay to bring up the areas where Joe Biden is is gonna be more aligned with them, and there are gonna be a few. You know? Maybe it’s worth bringing up his support of NATO. Maybe they’re not on the NATO side. So I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:31

    You’re gonna have to know more about your audience. Maybe the fact that he kept the Trump tariffs is a plus for them. That’s gonna be a minus for me, but that might be a plus for some of these voters. See, like, Joe Biden is not radical. I mean, look, Joe Biden kept the trump tariffs He wants to build the factories, the chips plants in these communities.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:47

    I think you can go online and get a list of where all of these factories are being built in red states. You know, I think that’s that’s a good thing to talk to folks about. Try to reach them on a values level with that. Those to me are some of the you know, better arguments. I think that when you go to that rvat dot org, page through the videos.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:06

    You know, some of the videos are gonna be from people who seem you’re gonna be able to smell it. You know, some of them are gonna smell a little bit more like their college educated suburban folk who just took a while to get it come around. And some of them are gonna feel much more like they really are trump. They liked the trumpiness. They liked the trump y part of the party, but they just had these other reservations.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:26

    Whatever it is, the fact that they are they have somebody in their life that is feeding them good information or that their media consumption habits are different. For whatever reason they’ve been able to kind of break out of that bubble. And so try to help nudge other people out of that bubble. It’s something that we’re gonna keep talking about. Finger wagging is a big no.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:44

    You know, I say this all the time, but there’s a reason I’m not doing Republican voters against Trump this time, sending them to the Secret Podcast, Probably not a help anymore. It just is what it is. We’ve realigned where I’m, like, I’m a red dog democrat. I will do some more writing. I wrote something to a family member before the twenty twenty election about why my best argument from a more conservative, more trump friendly point of view, why they should vote for Biden back then, maybe going back to mind some of that material would be used full.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:16

    If you’re a board plus subscriber, you know, make some comments underneath this podcast, and and I can kinda help point you guys to stuff that you think might be useful. Okay. Lastly, life advice, my favorite segment. Some people don’t like it. I had a comment.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:28

    It was like, why do why do I care what you think? Maybe you don’t. That’s fine. That’s fine. It’s the last question of the podcast.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:34

    Turn it off. You’re gonna miss the song of the day. That’s okay. Turn it off. Come back tomorrow.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:39

    We’re gonna have great guests tomorrow. We are not changing this podcast into a life advice podcast though. You know, maybe that’s my future in the twenty thirties. Who knows? But having a little fun at the end, it’s gonna be a long year.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:50

    There’s gonna be a lot of politics, a lot of things to get mad about, you know, we can try to spread our wings a little bit. Okay. Alex. Twenty six years old. I’m at a crossroads as to whether to continue to pursue my ambitions in politics and public service.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:04

    Look for a nice job where I could just settle down and live my life uneventfully. I feel as though both those options will leave me tortured in a way. I’m more passionate than most of my friends about this in part because I saw my father country, Nicaragu, tipped over the edge into authoritarianism in twenty eighteen. Do you have any advice or tips on making decisions in this pivotal part of my life while taking into context our current political situation. I do have advice for you, Alex, age twenty six because I was at a crossroads.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:28

    I was at a Crossroads in god. When would it have been twenty eighteen, probably. And, I didn’t know what to do. I had hit a big career snag, and I wasn’t happy about some of the choices I’d made in my career. And I was talking to some of my friends, and I was saying to them, What should I do?
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:47

    Like, should I just what did you say? Sell down and live my life uneventfully? I was like, there was a big part of it. It was like, you know, I should try to get a PR job for Clorox. There’s a Clorox headquarters in Oakland, and I can just sell bleach and, like, work nine to five and coach my kids basketball team and be be.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:06

    Right? That was something that I was really quite seriously considering. Even he did some interviews. I did an interview with an airline, actually about doing airline PR comms. Maybe that wouldn’t have been as uneventful as I thought given what happened with Boeing recently, but, I thought about it, and I considered it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:23

    And your question was a question I asked everybody I had drinks with. What do you think I should do? What do you think I should do? And, you know, one of my friends said to me, See this fucking thing through? Like, what are you talking about?
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:33

    Not up, like, go out and fight. Like, you you put your neck on the line for Trump, and it was not a time to step aside and go sell bleach. And and he really just kinda bucked me up. And I was like, you’re right. And through that and through a little bit of healthy therapy, you can go to betterhelp dot com.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:51

    I was like, I need to find something for me that’s fulfilling. And I don’t know if fulfilling fulfilling and ambitious are sometimes aligned and sometimes they’re not. And so when you say, continue to pursue my ambitions in politics and public service. Okay. Maybe there’s a way for you to channel those passions that you have about what you saw happen to nicaragua and channel them into a kind of job that you just feel particularly motivated to do.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:20

    Something that really hit you deep down. And that could be advocacy. That could be a political campaign. It could be media. You know, I think that there are a lot of ways to do it in ways that are fulfilling.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:32

    And I think that I look back in some of my political life, and I let ambition get in the way of passion where I took jobs that were not fulfilling to my to me deep down on a deeper level that did not fulfill, you know, all of our desire to live with integrity, but instead fulfilled my ambition. And I think a little bit of ambition is good. There’s nothing wrong with the ambition, but trying to marry those things, ambition and fulfillment. That’s this week. Spot, man.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:54

    That’s the good stuff. So, Alex, you can go ahead and email me if you want to. If you want further thoughts on this, but, I’m happy to share that two cents. I’ve gone on long. Somebody asked me about widespread panic.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:05

    We’re gonna save that for the next mailbag. And, y’all, I appreciate you sticking around the Bulwark Podcast. We will be back here, manana, with a couple of authors in a good interview about what is happening in rural America. Talk to you all that. Me like, yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:21

    Open correctional gates in high desert. Yeah. Open our mind as we cast away oppression. Open the streets and watch our beliefs and when they my name is set to concrete. I prayed forever.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:46

    I’m a keep on running because The Secret Podcast is produced by Katie Cooper with audio engineering and editing by Jason Brown.
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