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Interview with Glenn Greenwald; Trump 's Modus Operandi, Changing the Subject; Pope Open to Married Men Becoming Priests; Pope: Always Give to Panhandlers; Schwarzenegger Viral Video Criticizes Congress. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 11, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:00] BLACKWELL: All right. That's it for us this hour. We'll see you back here at 10:00.
PAUL: Don't go anywhere. "SMERCONISH" is coming at you right now.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish coming to you from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where we welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
WikiLeaks has dumped intel revealing CIA spying capabilities. But is the group founded by Julian Assange promoting government transparency or seeking to hurt the security interests of the United States?
I'll ask the man who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting about the NSA. Glenn Greenwald is here.
Meanwhile, the weekends without President Trump having provided evidence of his claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama. So were his accusatory tweets just another example of presidential distraction?
And Pope Francis makes news by saying he's open to the idea of married men serving as priests and advocates giving panhandlers money even if they'll use it to drink alcohol.
And finally, the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, had me to his California home this week to talk about gerrymandering. He also made a Trump joke. Which one do you think got more attention?
But first, more WikiLeaks surfaced this week. This time exposing CIA spying techniques. CIA material consisting of 7,818 Web pages and 943 attachments said to be the largest CIA leak in history revealed the know-how to compromise Apple and android smartphones and even listened through a Samsung smart TV.
Here's former head of the NSA and CIA, General Michael Hayden, describing this to Stephen Colbert.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA CHIEF: There are some bad people in the world who have Samsung TVs, too. There are people out there that you want us to spy on. You want us to have the ability to actually turn on that listening device inside the TV to learn that person's intentions. This is a wonderful capability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: But thus far no evidence of the CIA hacking tools having been used against Americans.
When the Web site founded by Julian Assange began, it seemed to stand for governmental transparency. But this latest leak crystallizes the following question at least in my mind. Is the intent of WikiLeaks more to promote transparency or to harm U.S. interests worldwide?
I'm in that latter category. I don't like the way that Edward Snowden revealed secrets, but I must acknowledge the constitutional issues he raised where the techniques that he outed were in use. But with these latest revelations, what I see is the CIA doing its job. In fact, if the CIA weren't learning how to eavesdrop in a technologically sophisticated world, I think that the agency would be derelict in its duty.
Don't get me wrong, if we find out that without probable cause or a warrant they're listening in on regular Americans, I'm going to say otherwise. But for now, I wonder what public good WikiLeaks is really doing, where they never seem to reveal governmental intel secrets about American adversaries.
I want to hear what Glenn Greenwald says about this, it seems right in his wheelhouse. Glenn Greenwald was the reporter whom Edward Snowden contacted to voice his concerns about the surveillance state. You'll remember that he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work in "The Guardian" about the NSA. His most recent book is "No Place to Hide," and he's co-founding editor of "The Intercept."
Glenn, respond to what I just said. Is this not the CIA doing exactly what their job is?
GLENN GREENWALD, PULITZER PRIZE WINNER FOR REPORTING ON SNOWDEN LEAKS: We don't know because most of this has taken place completely in the dark with very little oversight or public debate or accountability. And that's the problem with having these agencies that exercise enormous power and there's almost no way to learn about them because virtually everything that they do is decreed to be secret, and therefore it's a felony to disclose it.
And let's remember where WikiLeaks got this information, even the U.S. government has told media outlets they didn't get it from Russia. It wasn't the Russians or Putin who took this information and gave it to WikiLeaks. It was people inside of these programs working on the program who became extremely concerned about the scope of the CIA's capabilities vastly exceeding what the public knew including some quite dangerous things such as purposely keeping vulnerabilities and commonly used software programs and decided that it ought to be public so that we, the public, could have a debate about whether or not we want the CIA to be doing this. SMERCONISH: Right. But to have a debate about it is to completely
defuse the opportunity for the CIA to listen in on evildoers like al Qaeda and ISIS.
[09:05:04] GREENWALD: No, that's not true. And it's not true for several reasons. First of all, terrorist groups, terrorist organizations are very sophisticated. They're well aware of the fact that the U.S. government is trying to eavesdrop on all of their electronic devices. Remember that Osama bin Laden wouldn't communicate with anybody except by personal courier through somebody who was his cousin who he trusted greatly. Because of course terrorist groups already know and have long known that the CIA and the NSA, and other organizations are trying to invade electronic communications.
So what Julian and WikiLeaks did in this case was they -- and it's very interesting. They didn't just take the information and just dump it all onto the Internet. They redacted enormous amounts of this information including the actual code so that you couldn't tell how the CIA is doing it, you couldn't replicate it. You may not even be able to defend against it. So they took steps to prevent these programs from being destroyed but gave us enough information to give us the broad strokes of what these intelligence agencies are capable of and are, in fact, doing.
SMERCONISH: I understand the point that you're making. I'm just saying that by the revelations, even without revealing the code, it takes out of the U.S. arsenal the ability to implement these measures.
I want to show you something, General Michael Hayden was on the BBC making a point that I'd love you to respond to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYDEN: In order to do this kind of stuff, we have to recruit from a certain demographic. And I don't mean to judge them at all. That this group of millennials and related groups simply have different understandings of the words loyalty, in secrecy and transparency than certainly my generation did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: So General Hayden is saying that the millennials, who are often the leakers, are much different. There's a generational divide than the people who hire them. Respond to that.
GREENWALD: There may be some truth to that. People who are in their 20s and 30s who grew up with the Internet already an important part of their lives may value it more and differently and, therefore, be more deserved when there's actual invasions of privacy. That was something that Edward Snowden told me when I met him about what motivated him to leak, was that the Internet was so important to his development as somebody who grew up poor and not able to explore the world except through the Internet. That he valued the Internet too greatly to allow it to be turned into a surveillance state. The irony, though, is that some of the worst leaks have come not from
millennials but from people like General David Petraeus who leaked the most sensitive information, way more sensitive than WikiLeaks or Snowden leaked, to his girlfriend, his mistress, to allow her to write a bibliography or General Cartwright.
And this the problem that I have, Michael. You know, a lot of people like you say, look, I'm very worried about what WikiLeaks is doing, and that's fine. I think if WikiLeaks really had the intentions that you were claiming which is to destroy the U.S., they would release the code. They would release the targets and they're not doing that because they're trying to be responsible.
But I think the problem is there's no consistency. General Petraeus leaks extremely sensitive information. He gets a slap on the wrist. Doesn't spend a day in jail. And then Michael Hayden forgets he exists and says, oh, it's millennials doing this.
Leaking is a very common practice in the U.S. but if you're powerful, you get away with it. You get really rich like Bob Woodward has done. If you're powerless, you get put into prison. And that's a major problem.
SMERCONISH: Glenn, I've got to ask you about the big picture issue, being this ongoing probe of presumed Russian hack or attempted hack of the American election. I follow you on Twitter. And you tweeted something that caught my eye. Put that up on the screen, and I'll read it aloud.
"Number one, Trump presidency is dangerous. Number two, CIA, deep state abuse of spy powers to subvert elected government is dangerous. One can cogently believe both."
Speak to that issue.
GREENWALD: Sure. I mean, I'm somebody who has advocated a lot of political positions, devoted my journalism and my legal career before that to a lot of positions that the Trump presidency is waging war on so I do think the Trump presidency poses severe dangers. But there is also a severe danger from having these unelected but extremely powerful people who operate in the dark, who exercise permanent power in Washington subverting the democratically elected government which like it or not is the Trump presidency.
There's an article in the "Boston Globe" today essentially calling for the generals to intervene and save us from the elected political officials as though we're Egypt. There's a lot of calls from Democrats for the CIA to continue to subvert the Trump administration which they dislike for a whole variety of ideological reasons.
And I'm very worried not just about the dangers posed by the Trump presidency but of this desire that we seem to have to have the military industrial complex, as Dwight Eisenhower called it when he warned about them 60 years ago, intervening in our democracy by imposing their own will outside of the democratic process.
[09:10:06] SMERCONISH: So let me ask a final question and try and wrap together all these subjects.
Does Glenn Greenwald give any credence to a conspiracy theory that's now getting legs which says, hey, it wasn't the Russian playing games with our election, it was actually the CIA playing games with our election?
GREENWALD: I think it was probably both. And not -- I think it was not just the CIA and the Russians but I also think the FBI clearly sided with Donald Trump and did a lot of damaging leaks on purpose to hurt Hillary Clinton. It was almost like a proxy war, our election was, for unseen forces. And what I'm hoping is that we have a real investigation where the evidence is publicly disclosed so that we can stop playing these games with anonymous leaks by people with unseen agendas trying to manipulate public opinion.
And we have a real examination of what's actually true and what's conspiratorial nonsense. And until now, we don't have that. And that's very dangerous.
SMERCONISH: Glenn, thank you so much for being here.
GREENWALD: Great to be with you. Thank you.
SMERCONISH: What do you think? Tweet me @smerconish. I'll continue to read some live as the show unfolds. Here we go. Bill burns, "Smerconish, Greenwald, love or hate them, WikiLeaks has been more accurate and revealing than mainstream news media."
Hey, Bill, I disagree insofar as I believe we're living in a golden age of investigative journalism. And that right now but for CNN and "The New York Times" and the "Washington Post" and all those, quote- unquote, "fake news outlets," we'd be in the dark on a hell of a lot of things, and Lieutenant General Flynn would still be the National Security adviser. So give some credit where credit is due.
Coming up, where the weekends without any support for the president's Twitter rant alleging that President Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower, it's time to ask the question of whether that response was part of an ongoing diversionary MO.
And after Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted me a compliment about things that I said here on CNN, he invited me to his California home this week for a cigar and a political discussion. What got picked up by the press I think says a lot about our national discourse and not in a good way. And I want to tell you about it.
[09:16:07] SMERCONISH: Leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said Friday there's still no sign that President Obama wiretapped the Trump campaign. But President Trump has not backed off the incendiary accusation that he tweeted last weekend, nor has he provided any more evidence to support his claim.
My next guest thinks this is part of a pattern with President Trump. What he calls Trump's modus operandi. When backed into a corner, he changes the subject.
James Hohmann is the national political correspondent for the "Washington Post" and the author of its "Daily 202."
Give me the cliff's note version, give my audience the cliff's note version, of what you wrote earlier this week, saying, look, this is the drill, this is what he does when he's backed into a corner.
JAMES HOHMANN, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you, Michael. It's absolutely true. And it's worked for him. He's president. The fact is every time that Trump is taking heat in a sustained way, he throws something out there, whether attacking a moderator of a debate after he has a bad performance, claiming that his mike was faulty. When he was -- when the 2005 video came out, he brought all of Bill Clinton's former accusers to the next debate to try and change the subject.
He's -- he's good at knowing that when he says something really provocative, even if it's totally untrue, we're all going to start talking about that because we have such a short attention span in the media and as a people. And there have never been any consequences. He has repeatedly not told the truth about things, not been forthcoming, made these outrageous claims that don't end up being backed up by facts. And he never suffers consequences. He's the president.
And so he's learned from that and he continues to do that. That's exactly what the wiretapping thing was. He was watching TV last weekend, everyone was talking about Jeff Sessions refusing to recuse himself after at best misleading Congress under oath. He was angry that that had stomped on his speech before Congress so he decided he wanted to change the subject. What better way to change the subject than accusing Barack Obama of the worst crimes politically since Watergate?
SMERCONISH: James, you listed all of these examples in the "Daily 202" earlier this week. The example of him struggling during the primary debate to explain these disparaging comments about women and attacking Megyn Kelly. The blood coming out of the wherever. The "Access Hollywood" video comes out, as you point out, he brings the Clinton accusers to St. Louis at the seconds debate. I'll never forget that night.
The morning after agreeing to settle the fraud suit against Trump University he demands that the cast of "Hamilton" apologize to Mike Pence. Fires Mike Flynn, then holds that 77-minute long press conference that went on and on and on. Takes the eye off that message, then gets angry when critics point out that he lost the popular vote. What does he say? Well, three million to five million voted here illegally.
Does it ever catch up with him? Or is he preying on our short attention spans? Because sure as heck, by tomorrow, there's going to be something else we will have moved on to, and we won't have enough time to recap today. HOHMANN: And we really -- that's exactly right. And on the voter
fraud allegation, he says three million to five million people voted illegally. No evidence of that at all. They claim that there's going to be an investigation. And that's why I thought the media did a really good job this week at continuing to press Sean Spicer in the briefings, trying to get the president to offer some evidence.
It was very telling that Donald Trump excluded the media from a lot of different events and things where he normally would have included them because he doesn't want to answer these questions. And the only way he's going to learn not to make unsubstantiated claims that are false is if there are consequences, and if the media doesn't just move on to the next shiny object.
SMERCONISH: And final observation, as you point out, this comes directly from the Roy Cohn playbook. Explain.
HOHMANN: So Roy Cohn was Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel during the McCarthy hearings, the witch hunt during the 1950s.
[09:20:02] Ultimately discredited and censured by Republicans in the Senate when they overreached. Dwight Eisenhower came after them. He flees Washington in shame and disgrace. Moves to New York, becomes a powerful lawyer, represents mob figures. Anyway, he ends up connecting with Donald Trump in the '70s right when Donald Trump has been sued by the Justice Department for discriminating against African-Americans in their housing projects.
Trump says to Roy Cohn, this notorious lawyer, what do I do? Roy Cohn says, never apologize. When someone attacks you for something attack them for the exact same thing. Accuse them of what they accuse of you of. Counterpunch. Never give an inch.
And so Trump, represented by Roy Cohn, ends up suing the Justice Department for attacking him, for suing him for housing discrimination, refuses to settle, goes into this protracted multi- year fight, and it wasn't just that Cohn was his lawyer, Cohn was his mentor. That's how Trump sort of learned to navigate the Manhattan world in the '70s and the '80s. And it's that -- that same model.
And that's why it's ironic last weekend when Trump was accusing Obama of wiretapping him that he called it a McCarthyism because literally that's -- Donald Trump learned this playbook from Joe McCarthy's lawyer.
SMERCONISH: James Hohmann, my day begins with "The Daily 202." Thank you, I appreciate it.
HOHMANN: Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: I want to talk about this to a Trump insider. Joining me now, CNN's recent addition, former senior communication adviser for the Trump campaign, Jason Miller.
Jason, it's great to have you here. Did he just crack the code? JASON MILLER, FORMER SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER TO TRUMP CAMPAIGN:
Well, let me just back up one second, Michael, before I jump in, and thank you very much for having me. You know, you made a comment as we're heading into this last break that this is one of the biggest stories of the week as we talk about the tapping issue, although I'd push back and say, I think probably the biggest story of the week were these great jobs numbers we had yesterday. But getting to James' -- 235,000, that's --
SMERCONISH: Wait. Can I throw a flag? Can I just throw a flag? I mean, I agree. The jobs figures are tremendous. But I have to have a smile when I say this because if they were the jobs figures that had come out on President Obama's watch, he'd be saying they're all fraudulent. Now all of a sudden he accepts them.
MILLER: But what you're seeing right now is -- I had the opportunity this week to speak in front of both the National Association of Manufacturers and the Financial Services round table. So I was around a lot of CEOs this week. And what you're hearing is this renewed spirit in the economy. You're hearing folks talk about new programs and investments. And that's why I think we're seeing these job numbers start moving already. Folks are betting in advance of the reforms they see coming from the tax code, from repatriation of funds, so that's -- there's a lot of optimism, a lot of I think energy out there in the economy.
So I would say that's probably the biggest story of the week. But I know you want to get into James' story, to which point I'd push back a little bit here and say that the president is a masterful counterpuncher. And I think he also has a very unique ability to call things out as he sees it. To work around the media in the cases where he needs to do so. And to get his message across in a way that's not filtered through everybody else.
But I think the other thing, too, I think there's probably a bit of a frustration for anyone who's a supporter of the president, whether in the White House or whether they're outside of the White House of these continual leaks, these continual -- the nameless, faceless sources who are really running what I think is an orchestrated effort to try to smear the president. I think it's right that he goes and pushes back on this.
SMERCONISH: Well, I would just say that -- I know that he focuses on the way in which we get information but when the information is accurate and troublesome, that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention to it.
I think that James Hohmann's piece was insightful insofar as it made me appreciate that the constant attacking in Roy Cohn's style by President Trump takes advantage of short attention spans and this 24/7 cycle because we're on to the next thing before we figure out, hey, what he said yesterday, was that accurate? Was that true -- I mean, take a look at the statement about Obama tapping into Trump Tower. Like where's the justification for that? A week has passed, and there's nothing.
MILLER: Well, let me start with specifically to that last point. I mean, we do know a couple of things. And again, I don't work at the White House and I can't speak for the administration. But we do know that conversations were being monitored for Trump associates this last year. We know there were two FISA court applications, one of which was granted. We know that there's been talk of these transcripts, of these recorded conversations, so we know absolutely the conversations were being recorded.
But to the big picture about the president and his communications style, you know, I spent a lot of time around him this past eight months. I never once heard him talk about Roy Cohn or, you know, the process type things, or, you know, back story of McCarthy or anything of this as you're talking about. What I frequently would hear the president talk about is that we have to get our message out. We have to cut through the media, we have to take it right to the people.
And I think he's really developed a style where he's able to do that. And so I see more of him getting his -- getting out what he wants to and not have that being filtered. But I -- I think you might disagree on that one.
[09:25:08] SMERCONISH: Hey, Jason, to be continued. I'm glad you're here. Thank you.
MILLER: Yes, thanks, Michael. Appreciate it.
SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Tweet me your @smerconish.
Catherine, hit me with another one. What do we got? "Smerconish, Trump complains about fake news story then comes with a false claim that Obama wiretapped him."
Well, Gina, that's the whole point I was just trying to get at in this conversation about how it's a constant counterpunch strategy. I mean, he is. He's a tremendous counterpuncher. But we then move on to the next round of the fight without ever having scored what just transpired. If that makes sense.
Still to come, Pope Francis, he says that he might consider allowing married men to be priests. And that you should always give to panhandlers even if you think they're going to drink booze with your money.
[09:30:17] SMERCONISH: Pope Francis made news a couple of times this week speaking out about allowing married men to become priests and advising people to always give to panhandlers and not worry about how that money might be spent.
First in an interview with a German newspaper "Die Zeit", Pope Francis said the lack of Catholic priests was an enormous problem for the church and indicated he would be open to a change in rules governing eligibility for the priesthood. Here to discuss, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League.
You know, Bill, if the issue is a priest shortage, there's an easy fix -- half the population is excluded from that job right now, maybe it will also lead to that.
BILL DONONUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: I don't know if it's an easy fix. Frankly, for the first thousand years in the church's history, it was expected, it was commonplace that you practice celibacy. But it wasn't codified until the 12th century. And there's been a lot of talk since.
Cardinal Egan, when he left as archbishop of New York, said maybe it's time to put it on the table. So, let's say you go ahead and do it. Now, let's say you're a diocesan priest and you get a call, you got to do a funeral on a Saturday morning. Then your wife tells you, oh, but honey, you know, your son or daughter's got a soccer game. Guess who's -- who that's going to get pitched to?
My concern is the single priest -- who will be most of them at least in a transition period -- are going to wind up with the burdens. The calls at the night, you know, the wife is sick, let's give it to Joe. Joe is single.
And then you've got the order priest, that's about a third of the priests, you know, the Marianists, the Jesuits, Dominicans and the like, these guys live in a tight-knit community. And at night they have their buns, they have their wine, they have their food. Now, some are going to be split off with a wife and the kids and whatnot.
I'm not saying that this is a sufficient reason, Mike, not to consider it. In fact, I think they should at least discuss it. I don't think the pope is wrong in that.
I'm simply saying that there are a lot of social permutations and complications that are attendant to this idea.
SMERCONISH: Right. But if you marry a man who's a priest, I think it goes with the territory that come the time of the soccer game, he may have a higher calling.
DONONUE: Well, I would hope so. But I hope they think these things through. I think if they're just going to get this off to the bishop, and as the bishop then goes saying to the parish priest, well, you figure it out. Now, again, if they want to discuss this, by the way, you know the way the church moves, OK?
So, everyone watching the show right now is going to be long dead and buried by the time they get to this, you know that. That's the way the church works. So, if they want to start the process and have a conversation, let them have it.
But they ought to first talk to the priest today and ask them what they think and how it might affect lifestyle, and then proceed.
SMERCONISH: Let me say -- and watch my words very carefully -- celibacy does not cause pedophilia. There, I've said it.
SMERCONISH: But it has nevertheless been a cloak, a cloak for pedophiles in the past.
SMERCONISH: Do you think that's also part of the thinking and reason why we're having this conversation?
DONOHUE: I don't know. But I know from the John Jay study of the priests in this country that less than 5 percent of the abusers -- very few abusers, by the way, less than 5 percent were pedophiles. Almost all of them are homosexuals.
So, I guess I'll be the last guy in the country who has the guts to say it -- I'm not saying homosexuality causes predatory behavior. I am saying that 81 percent of the victimizers, the victims are male, 78 percent of them are post-pubescent. They were adolescents, and 100 percent were victim -- of the victimizers were male.
There's a word in the English language, it's called homosexuality. Let's not dodge this.
SMERCONISH: Well, I'm not dodging it. I -- what I'm seeking to advocate is the idea that when you increase the pool of prospective priests, it's good for society.
DONOHUE: Yes. I would agree with that overall. But I'd still think we have to look at what's driving this. And you say pool -- the entire -- increase the entire pool. You know, it's funny. That -- you may want to talk about woman priests. The woman who I'd like to see a priest don't want to be priests because they're dedicated to Jesus. The ones who I think have lost it and who are out there for power are the ones who want to become priests.
So, this is a much more complex discussion. If people have the guts to talk about it, I don't think Catholics do.
SMERCONISH: Bill, well, this cafeteria Catholic does. So, thank you for coming back.
DONOHUE: Thank you so much.
SMERCONISH: Now, in other pope news, on the face of it, a pope saying giving to the poor -- well, that doesn't seem controversial. In an interview with an Italian magazine which serves homeless and marginalized people in Milan, the pope said that people should always give money to panhandlers without worrying how that money will be spent and look them in the eye when doing so.
[09:35:07] Well, not everybody is agreeing with him. When I polled my Sirius XM Radio audience on this, and asked, do you agree that you should always give to panhandlers without worrying where the money ends up, 57 percent said, no, I don't agree.
Joining me to discuss, homeless advocate, Sister Mary Scullion, and president and executive director of Philadelphia's Project HOME. She was named by "TIME" magazine as one of the world's most influential people.
Sister Mary, thank you for being here.
Do you agree with the pontiff on this issue?
SISTER MARY SCULLION, PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROJECT HOME: I do, Michael, because I think what Pope Francis is calling for greater compassion. He's calling us to see the men and women that are asking for help on the streets.
Poverty is crushing around our globe. Pope Francis sees this issue in a more global perspective, not just from maybe an American perspective where we see that many of the men and women on the street who are asking for many are suffering from addiction.
And I really love that Pope Francis is calling for a greater compassion to actually see the plight of people in need in our country. And true compassion leads to action. Sometimes even the people that we love the most we have to say no to. So -- but that spirit of generosity, of being engaged by those in need I think is so critically necessary today when so much of our society is hardened to the plight of the poor or even blames the poor for their plight.
SMERCONISH: Sister Mary, I consider myself generous but don't typically give to folks that are panhandling, and one of the reasons is that I believe that that money is going to end up drying drugs or booze. The pope on this issue says, "I'm wrong."
Put it up on the screen what he said. The pope said, "If a glass of wine is the only happiness he has in life, that's OK. Instead, ask yourself what do you do on the sly? What happiness do you seek in secret?"
"Or another way to look at it," the pope said, "is to recognize how you are luckier with a house, a wife, and children, and then ask why should the responsibility to help be pushed on to someone else."
Is he correct in that respect? Should I no longer look at someone and wonder is this going to go a habit of some kind?
SCULLION: OK, Michael, you're both right, OK? And that is that -- the pope is asked -- it's really true. I mean, I've worked with men and women on the street that were actively addicted and, you know, have come in. What they've said is what sparked their choice to come in was both the tough love -- I think that's what you're talking about, but also people that looked at them and accepted them unconditionally. And unconditionally and non-judgmentally, you know, made a great act of kindness or generosity.
And often, people who are addicted or mentally ill are carrying all kinds of burdens and feel terrible anyway. You know, they feel terrible about their plight and may have tried to make that change and for whatever reasons couldn't. And sometimes it's that beautiful act of generosity and kindness and acceptance and unconditional love that makes them value themselves to make that change.
So, I think it's a combination of the tough love and the spirit of generosity and kindness and -- and unconditional love that we all need.
SMERCONISH: Look, he sparked a great conversation. I'm appreciative of Sister Mary Scullion. Keep doing God's work. How's that? No pun intended.
SCULLION: You, too, Michael, OK? We need -- we all need to be doing that for the kingdom. For the world --
SMERCONISH: Nothing wrong with that. Sister Mary Scullion, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Keep tweeting me @smerconish. Here's another that's just come in -- let's see.
"Bill Donohue is making the weakest argument ever against married men performing priestly duties." I take it the swamp monitor is just not going along with the soccer league rationalization that Bill gave to me. I wasn't either. But I enjoy having the conversation with him.
Up ahead, Arnold Schwarzenegger invited me to his home this week for a private meeting. I wasn't there to talk "Terminator", Mr. Olympia or even President Trump. The subject was gerrymandering, and that's all right with me.
[09:43:53] SMERCONISH: It was only 19 seconds long, but the comment went viral. I'm referring to one exchange that I had at the end of a long conversation that I enjoyed with former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at his home high above Los Angeles this week. His line that Donald Trump was, quote, "in love with Schwarzenegger," and the headlines it generated had nothing to do with the much more substantive content of our conversation.
And that distortion tells a lot about the political climate where more attention is paid to celebrity tweets than political solutions. See, Governor Schwarzenegger didn't invite me into his home to talk about his "Terminator" franchise, his Mr. Olympia legacy, nor his relationship with the president of the United States. Instead, the former California governor asked me to come over and share a stogies on his back patio and talk about gerrymandering.
Well, count me in. See, he'd been watching when I did a segment on that subject on my primetime special here on CNN called "Fixing the Divide." And Arnold tweeted his gratitude for covering the issue. I even mentioned his tweet when I came back from a commercial break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[09:45:04] SMERCONISH: Hey, check it out -- look at who tweeted in real time, the Terminator. "Smerconish, so glad you're shining a light on gerrymandering. We reformed in California."
Hey, Governor, I know you did. And I give you constant credit on my Sirius XM program. Come here and talk to me about it, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: I caught his eye because a few days prior, he had released a Facebook video to try and educate about his pet cause, and it went viral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: Here are some of the things more popular than Congress -- hemorrhoids, Nickelback, traffic jams, cockroaches, root canals, colonoscopies, herpes -- even herpes, they couldn't herpes in the polls. Gerrymandering has created an absurd reality that politicians now pick their voters instead of the voters picking the politicians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: No wonder more than 22 million people have already watched and heard Schwarzenegger explain that in California between 2002 and 2010, there were 265 congressional elections but only one district changed party hands. Or as he said, the former Soviet politburo had more turnover than California politics.
But where California on his watch instituted the professional drawing of boundary lines, change has come, so strongly does he believe in the need for political reform that he founded the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy which has committed to advancing post partisanship. Its four reform priorities are redistricting, open primaries, transparency, and voter participation.
Now, the visit was intended to be social. But after our 90-minute chat, he was gracious in giving me some audio for my Sirius listeners, almost ten minutes. Almost ten minutes worth was all on political polarization and his advocacy for more independent thinking.
Here's an excerpt.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SCHWARZENEGGER: I believe strongly of what Eisenhower said, that politics is like the road, the left and the right is like the gutter, and the center is drivable. And I believe that the action is in the center, and I hope that the politicians wake up one day and just decide that they want to do the people's work rather than the party's work because the way it is right now, it doesn't work, nothing is getting accomplished.
(END AUDIO CLIP) SMERCONISH: Before I left, I thought I had to ask him just one more question. Just two days earlier, President Trump had gone on another Twitter rant, the one that accused President Obama of wiretapping him. And then suddenly, he was attacking Schwarzenegger.
So, I asked Governor Schwarzenegger about why the president, the leader of the free world, was bothering to tweet about his having left "Celebrity Apprentice." Here's the exchange.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Why do you think the president is fixated on you? Why does he keep talking about you through his Twitter feed?
SCHWARZENEGGER: I think he's in love with me.
SMERCONISH: Is that what it is?
SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes, I think so.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: That's the comment that went viral. At first I was disappointed that the reform message might get lost in the attention paid to what was clearly a joke.
But if you got beyond the lead of all those stories, most of them got around to the meat of the issues, or as Governor Schwarzenegger later e-mailed me, "If we can get people to pay attention to seven minutes of gerrymandering to hear me say the president might be in love with me, I'll take it."
Well, me, too. Good job, Gov.
Hey, that all started because of a tweet from Arnold. So, keep tweeting me yourself.
Up next, your best and worst, like this one -- the answer to that, Brian, is El Ray del Mundo, which I brought with me. Thanks for asking.
[09:53:20] SMERCONISH: Hey, if you missed anything, watch us on demand or see the clips at the show's website which is CNN.com/shows/smerconish. That's a mouthful.
Let's see what's coming during the course of the broadcast. Hit me with some tweets.
"Smerconish, Jesus, those wives are demanding. Soccer games? Really?"
Listen, Leeserann, send your tweets and your e-mails on that segment to Mr. Bill Donohue, the head of the Catholic League. I knew there was going to be a firestorm as soon as he said that's why we need to second guess having female priests. I disagree with him on that issue.
Next, "Smerconish, what's a cafeteria Catholic?"
Terry, that's the kind -- you ever get in a cafeteria line and somebody's got their tray and they're going to take a turkey sandwich and maybe they're going to take the jello. They don't want the milk so they're going to leave that behind. They're not going to take the cookie.
In other words, I'm going to take some of this and I'm not going to take some of that, but I'm not down for the whole program. I'm still an independent thinker while trying to raise my kids in the faith.
Next, "Glenn Greenwald on CNN jut now, election interference was a proxy war between CIA and Russia. MMM-kay."
Michael, yes, I thought that was interesting. It was my last question I think to Glenn because there's a conspiracy theory circulating in conservative circles right now. I know that Rush gave it some heft this week, which says, hey, maybe it wasn't the Russians who were playing games with the American election. Maybe, in fact, it was the intelligence agencies for the United States.
Did you hear what he said? He said he thought it was probably a combination of both. I sure hope we get to the bottom of that whole story.
Time for one more if we can. Here we go, "Why doesn't WikiLeaks ever release Russian e-mails?"
[09:55:03] Chris, that was my point, OK? I'll be accepting that Julian Assange is all about transparency and not harming U.S. interests what the next reveal is about Chinese intelligence or Russian intelligence or North Korean intelligence, someone antagonistic to the United States, but it seems it's always about us.
Follow me on Twitter. See you next week.