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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
Facebook Exec Responds to Co-Founder's Criticism; How to Make Sense of "Constitutional Crisis" Claims. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired May 12, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:15] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. Happy Mother's Day and welcome to RELIABLE SOURCES from CNN's brand-new studio here in New York City.
Here's what we have coming up for you this hour.
Chelsea Manning is out of jail but facing another subpoena, which means she may be back in jail in just a few days. In the meantime, she's here to join me live for an exclusive interview.
Plus, something many know a lot about, leak hunts. Another federal employee stands accused of slipping classified information to "The Intercept" website. "The Intercept's" top editor will join me live to react.
And later, to Fox or not to Fox. That's the question for Democrats. I'll speak with one of the people who was on Capitol Hill this week teaching lawmakers about how to appear on Fox News. What a job.
But first, today, the Facebook debate. Everybody has an opinion about Facebook. The company's actions and inactions have huge consequences for politics, business and news media.
And Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is coming out swinging with this op-ed in "The New York Times", declaring that the social network has become dangerous. He says Mark Zuckerberg's power is unprecedented and un-American, and he says the government must intervene by breaking up Facebook and enforcing new regulations.
Hughes dropped this op-ed on Thursday morning, then hopped on NPR, NBC, CNN, and he just appeared minutes ago on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS."
And right now, Facebook is responding.
Nick Clegg is the company's new vice president for global affairs and communications and this is his first television interview.
Nick, thanks for being here with me.
I think maybe we're having a little trouble with Nick. Let see if we can get him on.
All right. Little bit of trouble. What's that?
All right. A little bit of trouble here with the new set. That's OK. We're making a big move. We're going to get to Nick in a couple minutes.
In the meantime, while we work on that, let me bring in our panel. We've got an all-star panel. It's already. We're wired up and on set with us.
Jess McIntosh, Julian Zelizer and Catherine Rampell.
Catherine, a little bit surprise here but if you don't mind, let me start with you. This debate about Facebook and what to do, which is blared right here on the Sunday review section this morning, it is incredibly complicated, the idea breaking up Facebook, making them divest Instagram and WhatsApp, et cetera. And yet, the co-founder Chris Hughes is not the only one talking about this. Elizabeth Warren is on the campaign trail promoting the same thing.
What does it say about our country and about the world that Facebook has so much power that this is actively being debated?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the issue here is that Facebook has absolutely sinned against democracy, against its users. It's done a lot of bad things. It hasn't protected privacy. It's allowed Russian trolls and other adversaries to run loose and to manipulate its users.
But it's not clear to me that this particular prescription is actually going to do a lot to solve that problem. I don't really understand how forcing Facebook for example to divest from WhatsApp is going to do anything to rein in the Russian trolls.
STELTER: I see.
RAMPELL: Facebook has had three years now since the 2016 election when they essentially advocated the responsibility that they have deliberately or not developed in terms of shaping our discourse and it's not clear that they really have a plan for protecting democracy or at least not letting democracy to get distorted for 2020. I think that's really the question for Facebook. Why are they waiting for regulators to step in and help them do their job or tell them how to do their job. Whether or not that involves an anti trust solution is a separate issue.
STELTER: Well, I think we worked out the kinks. So, let's ask those questions to Nick Clegg. Let's see if we can get him on now from Palo Alto.
Nick, thanks for being here.
NICK CLEGG, VICE PRESIDENT FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS AND COMMUNICATIONS, FACEBOOK: Yes, good to see you. Sorry, it quite ironic. From Silicon Valley, we had some tech problems with the microphone but I think it's working now.
STELTER: You know, I'm grateful you're here. It's your first television interview in your new role of running comms and public affairs for Facebook.
STELTER: Obviously, you disagree with Chris Hughes. You don't want Facebook broken up. But why is he wrong, specifically?
CLEGG: I don't think dismantling companies is the way to deal with some of the complex issues which he quite rightly highlighted, data use, privacy, the attempt by folk from elsewhere to try and interfere in our elections. These are -- I don't in any way want to diminish the importance of those and heavy responsibility that Facebook bares to play a prominent role in solving those problems.
But chopping a great American success story into bits is not something that's going to make those problems go away. They won't suddenly evaporate. There were still be Russian --
STELTER: Then what do you propose instead? Then what is going to be done instead?
CLEGG: Well, first, of course, Facebook needs to do more. And we are -- we are confident that we're going to be considerably better prepared for instance for the 2020 U.S. elections than we were for 2016.
[11:05:03] And actually, just recently, some independent academics from a network of universities, Princeton, Michigan, and elsewhere, have said that misinformation in our platforms has plummeted by 75 percent, the extent of it compared to 2016. And we need to do more.
And, of course, we need to do more on a whole range of other fronts, whether it is providing greater reassurance to people that data is kept securely and safe on Facebook platforms to guarantee people's privacy where they rightly are entitled to expect that. So, of course, Facebook is and continues and must continue to do more.
But equally, this is not something that any company can do on its own. We're dealing with some very profound ethical and political issues. We do also need regulators, politicians and legislatures to -- how can I put it -- sort of move beyond the sort of phase of just throwing rocks at each other or where politicians throw rocks at tech and tech throws rocks back. I'm actually trying to sit down and come up with new rules of the Internet.
The Internet is a relatively recent phenomenon. Companies like Facebook are still very young, only 15 years old. They have experienced explosive growth around the world. Yes, they encountered a number of challenges, problems, issues, have made mistakes in the past which are self-inflicted, but I don't think anyone could reasonably expect that any single company can come up with all the answers on it own.
This is something that we need to do in partnership with regulators and lawmakers, not just in D.C. but around the world.
STELTER: So, you're saying there are problems. You just disagree with Chris Hughes' problem how to solve them. Back In 2017 when you were a British lawmaker, leading a partner over
there, you wrote about antitrust. You said, I'm quoting here, as an old fashion liberal who believes in the virtues of competition, I remain perplexed that the way U.S. competition law only seems to clear about the effect of near monopoly market dominance by a tiny number of big players if and when it increases the prices paid by consumers.
Now, of course, Facebook is a free product, but it sure has all the feel of a monopoly.
Have you changed your views in the past two years?
CLEGG: No, I haven't changed my views. I just don't think that Facebook can reasonably be described by anyone as a monopoly. It faces ferocious competition from -- everyone from YouTube to iMessage, from Snapchat to Pinterest. I mean, there is a range of different apps and platforms that you can use if you want to share videos, photos, if you want to message each other.
So, I don't think -- I mean --
STELTER: But almost no one in the scale of Facebook and Instagram and WhatsApp.
CLEGG: Well --
STELTER: Almost no one with that scale and you buy up the companies that might have that scale.
CLEGG: Well, let's remember when Facebook bought up WhatsApp and Instagram, they were considerably smaller than they are now.
CLEGG: I think it would be a rather odd message to send to American business that when they grow businesses and ever make them ever more successful, and allow millions, indeed, billions of consumers to use for instance, WhatsApp for free, which it wasn't when it was bought up by Facebook, that somehow it should be penalized for that success.
I don't think -- in the eyes of non American, it's a very American tradition to start penalizing success. That is not -- that is not what antitrust law is used for. I don't believe Facebook is a monopoly.
And, by the way, on the key sort f engine room by which Facebook makes money, which is on the digital advertising market, I think the latest estimate suggest we have about a 20 percent share of that market here in the United States. Some of our competitors have a far, far larger share than that.
CLEGG: So, it seems to be -- yes, sure. But not just Google. We compete with Goggle, we compete with Amazon and many of these companies, by the way, are considerably bigger than Facebook.
I don't think anyone would think it's logical to say just because you don't particularly like I think in Chris Hughes' case, he doesn't like Mark Zuckerberg's management style, or he doesn't like the leadership of the company, you're going to take a sledgehammer to sort of crack a nut and say, well, therefore, we're going to dismantle it all together.
And one thing I can tell you is --
STELTER: I think he is saying this because of the poison, the amount of poison that is spread on Facebook and WhatsApp, not just in the U.S. but around the world, and elections in India and Brazil and elsewhere. The problem is the poison that we're all choking on, and I know that Facebook didn't invent it, but it exists every day on Facebook.
CLEGG: Sure. But does anyone seriously think that poison or that attempt to influence elections, unpleasant, hateful, violent content is going to suddenly go away because Facebook has been broken up? In many ways, you could -- you can make the argument, I certainly would make the argument because we have considerably resources to apply to the problem -- so, for instance, Facebook's artificial intelligence tools used to increasingly block hateful material before anyone sees it, over 99 percent of ISIS and Daesh, terrorist-related material is blocked before any human being sees it.
We also are allowed -- we're also able to provide those tools to Instagram. You wouldn't be able to do that in the future. We spend this year, we will spend this year as a company more in making our platforms as safe and secure as we can and, yes, it's a constant battle.
[11:10:06] It's a constant battle. We're not going to pretend we're going to be able to, you know, find everything before folks see it and, of course, we need people to help us, to report material, which we can then either downgrade or take down.
But we will be spending more this year alone on those kind of efforts than the total revenues of Facebook when it was publicly floated earlier in a decade, all of that would be harder if we were to instead -- I don't know -- spend a decade in the courts deciding about whether Facebook should be broken up or not.
STELTER: It sometimes seems like reporters are the ones finding examples of misinformation and other toxicity on your platform. CNN Business this week, for example, wrote about Instagram and how the #vaccineskill was showing up prominently when you type in the word vaccines. After that CNN story, Instagram blocked the hashtag.
This seems like a really complicated situation, a situation where journalists are doing heavy lifting for you. Is that a fair assessment? Is that how the way it should work? CLEGG: Well, I certainly think we of course are under a duty and
obligation not just journalist, when members of the public or anybody, and they can do it, of course, on the apps themselves, report material they don't think should be on the platforms. We then respond.
So, yes, of course, we react. But interestingly, what we're trying to do as a sort of general strategy is move from being reactive, which of course was certainly the origins in the way we tackle the lose of this unacceptable material and become more proactive. I gave you that example of a terrorist-related, ISIS-related content earlier.
CLEGG: But we've just -- we've just announced for instance that our latest -- and we produced these transparency reports every six months where we tell the world how we'll we're doing or badly we're doing in blocking or identifying unacceptable content.
And on hate speech, which, of course, is much more complicated than terrorist-related content because one person's hate speech is another person's freedom of expression. But on hate speech, our proactive systems and our identifying close to 65 percent of hate speech material before anyone sees it, which is up from 24 percent about a year ago. So, we're getting better. Yes, we need, of course, the cooperation of other folk to be able to report material to us.
There is so much volume. The volume, of course, that we're dealing with is enormous. Over 100 billion messages are communicated across our platforms. That's just messages every day.
So I think we're getting better. I think we do of course need to cooperate with others. We do need new rules of the road, but I don't think it would be sensible for anyone, obviously, not for Facebook's point of view, but actually not for society's point of view as a whole if instead we were going to start dismantling the company all together and as Chris Hughes argued -- and tell you, folk in Europe, Mark Zuckerberg was in Paris just on Thursday and Friday talking to regulators there and to President Macron, and I strongly suspect folk in China well, we're looking dismayed at the idea that American decision makers want to break up successful American companies.
It's oddly enough, only a debate which is being sort of lead here, not in other jurisdictions.
STELTER: Well, this is about costs and benefits, and we just need to reduce -- all of us collectively need to reduce the costs of these platforms and raise the benefits.
CLEGG: Yes, totally.
STELTER: You used to be a deputy prime minister of the U.K. Why did you decide to join Facebook now?
CLEGG: Because I think there is debate about the kind of -- the frontier, if I could put it like that between tech and society at large, our democracy, our privacy and so on is one of the most important, one of the most fraught, yes, one of the most difficult and controversial debates around. So when I was asked by Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg whether I wanted to join them not just on the communication side of things but I also run Facebook's policies.
CLEGG: You know, for me, of course, that is a fantastic opportunity to play, I hope, a helpful role in ensuring that Facebook plays in turn a responsible role in this evolving debate, because, look, the way that the rules of the Internet are drawn today in my view or rather not drawn will be quite different to the way they are drawn in 10 years time.
And I think big tech companies have a choice. Either they play ball and they try and play a responsible role in that debate or they try and duck it all together. And the moment that I heard from Mark Zuckerberg that he wants Facebook to play an active and responsible role in helping to forge partnerships with regulations and governments around the world so that we get these rules right for the future and for future generations and, of course, for me that is a very interesting, interesting challenge.
STELTER: Nick, thanks so much for coming on. Please come back soon.
CLEGG: Thank you.
STELTER: Maybe we'll do it over Facebook Live next time.
CLEGG: OK. Thank you, thank you.
STELTER: When we come back, the panel is back with me in just a moment.
[11:18:22] STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.
Democracy in the United States is being tested. Every day brings new headlines about more subpoenas and more legal spats and more stonewalling. Democrats say we're in a constitutional crisis. And I just keep asking myself how are news consumers and how are citizens supposed to make sense of this?
Now, the panel is back here with me now, Jess McIntosh, Julian Zelizer and Catherine Rampell.
Catherine, if I had to have you summarize this week in all of these dramatic developments in a headline, in a one-sentence headline, what would it be?
RAMPELL: I would say the frog has been boiled.
RAMPELL: Yes. STELTER: We're at that point now?
RAMPELL: Yes. You know, I'm referring to if you put a progress in a pot of water and you slowly raise the temperature, the frog won't jump out, right, because they don't get they are about to be boiled.
Look, I think that the public is basically become inured to the idea that Trump is just going to break norms, break laws, violate the Constitution, violate pretty clear statutes and that's just Trump being Trump, you know? It not a threat to democracy, that there is no constitutional crisis, that it's all outrage and blends together and it's drama playing out.
STELTER: The situation you're describing is kind of scary, though.
RAMPELL: Oh, absolutely.
STELTER: Jess, you laughed at the idea of the frog. I think laughing in agreement. What would your headline be?
JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Trump is banking that you can't keep up. I think the headline from this week is that there were too many headlines and he's, he is absolutely putting all of his faith in the fact that the American people do not have time to follow all the twists and turns of mechanizations of what he's trying to hide, the things he's stone walling on, the pieces of information he's refusing to give up after being legally compelled to do so.
[11:20:05] People are busy. They have jobs and lives and families. They're not able to follow a 24-hour -- I'm hardly able to follow a 24-hour news cycle.
STELTER: But you're coming to this as a liberal commentator, what do you want the press to do differently?
MCINTOSH: What I really want is to put pressure on the Republican Party at this point. The only reason why we're in a constitutional crisis, the framers actually saw the chance that we might have a president who refused to compile by the rule of law. What they didn't see was that the entire political party who got him there would be engaged in helping them undermine our own democracy.
At some point, we have to ask Republicans how much they are willing to sacrifice in the future principles in order to let this guy run away with everything.
STELTER: Julian, your headline this week, it's in "The Washington Post". It's in today's paper. It says Democrats are complicit if they don't impeach Trump. The headline print is, it's time for impeachment.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure, I think we are at a moment of impeachment proceedings. My headline would be --
STELTER: But we're not actually there in Washington.
ZELIZER: Well, that would be the headline, time for Congress to act.
I don't think we can depend on the public to sort through everything. That is why we have a House of Representatives. I think the Mueller report changed the dynamics in terms of putting a pretty troubling picture out there for the public.
And just as important, this blanket stone wall that we have seen since the release of the report is unprecedented, in terms of using presidential power. So now the Republicans are, they are complicit in letting this just go. But House Democrats do have the authority and they have to make a decision, do we start an impeachment process and that's on the table.
STELTER: And there's all this debate about the trade war, as well.
Catherine, you wrote a column this week titled, Trump's -- it's hot air and debt, that's what he's used over the years, over the decades really. Hot air and debt.
RAMPELL: I think what we have seen is that while many of us, including myself, used to say, oh, well, Trump says he's going to run government like a business. There is no relevance between managing a major company and managing the federal government.
In fact, he's used a lot of same business practices that succeeded in his business and applied them to the presidency which helped him and hurt the rest of us, including the idea that, you know, he treats the tax code, the law, the Constitution, as just an opening offer and then he uses the threat of unending litigation, of exhausting litigation, to basically get the other side, the side that has the law or the Constitution or tax code or legally binding contract or what-have-you on its side to get them to cede ground.
And I think that's a lesson he took from his business. That's the lesson he's applying to the presidency. He's done it with other things from his business, as well.
I mean, the headline refers to, you know, a lot of the debt he ran up within his company, but also the debt that he's run up within the United States. He's kind of engaged in the same pump and dump policy economic style that the "New York Times" reported he engaged in in his private business.
So, that's what I think we're seeing here. That a lot of this sort of unsavory aspects of trickery that helped him do well in a private company he's using for ill.
STELTER: We need to see it for what it is. When it comes to the hot air and constant tweets, see it for what it is.
Let me turn to something you did this week on Capitol Hill, kind of interesting. We broke this on CNN.com earlier about Fox trying to get more Democrats on the air and more importantly, Democrats trying to get on Fox. Democrats in the House of Representatives went to a training session called "Winning on Fox News".
And you were one of the teachers? Is that right word, Jess?
MCINTOSH: One of the media trainers, yes.
STELTER: What did you -- what did you share?
MCINTOSH: So, I think there is a necessary debate happening in the Democratic Party about whether or not it is appropriate to lend legitimacy to Fox News. Myself, I stopped appearing on Fox News a few months before.
STELTER: Even before you joined CNN --
MCINTOSH: Even before I joined CNN, I made the decision that was not something I wanted to participate in as a Democratic strategist. I simply didn't want to help the propaganda arm of the Republican Party.
But when you're an elected official, the calculation is different. You have to represent people who might never vote for you, who might never share your views, and one of the only ways to get out of this morass that we're in right now as a country is by showing folks that there are people there to do the right thing, who are there to accomplish something for the people who sent them there. I think that's where the elected officials were coming from.
They -- generally, they were excited to reach this market share. There are tons of Fox viewers and not all reliable Republican voters. Some of them are -- they want to hear from Democrats in a way that isn't tainted by the opinion folks over at Fox. So I think those elected officials are excited about reaching those folks and let them know there is more to what Democrats are doing on the Hill than what they are going to hear from that particular media outlet.
STELTER: From prime time, especially.
STELTER: To the panel, thank you so much.
Quick break here, and two more exclusive interviews. "The Intercept's" editor-in-chief Betsy Reed is standing by. She's here to react to another arrest of another person charged with leaking government secrets to her website.
[11:25:03] And later, Chelsea Manning, her first interview since he was released from prison last week. Stick around. We'll be right back.
STELTER: Welcome back.
This week, we got word that a former intelligence analyst named Daniel Hale has been hit with charges for leaking classified documents to a reporter back in 2014. He's been arrested. He's now facing charges.
The indictment doesn't name the reporter or the outlet in question, but it's pretty clear the recipients of this alleged leak were Jeremy Scahill and "The Intercept" website. The site came out with drone papers back in 2015. This was a really important investigation with information about Obama's drone wars.
Hale is the fifth federal employee to be charged with leaking sensitive information during the Trump administration's years. This is an on going escalation of what the Obama administration was doing for the eight years Obama was in office.
Let me bring in "The Intercept's" editor-in-chief Betsy Reed. She's here with me now in New York.
Betsey, thanks for coming over. Happy Mother's Day.
: Thank you, Brian.
STELTER: I wish this was under better circumstances.
We now know of three cases where there are people accused of leaking it seems to "The Intercept". What do you see going on within the Department of Justice as they prosecute these alleged leakers?
BETSY REED, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE INTERCEPT: Like all journalism organizations, we do not speak about our anonymous sources, so I can't comment any specifically about any of these cases. But what I can say is that this is part of an escalation of the war on whistle-blowers that was launched really in earnest during the Obama administration that prosecuted eight journalistic sources under the Espionage Act.
[11:30:00] That is a 1919 statute that was actually designed for traitors and spies, and it was applied against people who were really stepping up to publicize information they thought was important for Americans to know. And what we've seen under Trump is an escalation of this very practice.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: You call them whistleblower, the other would say traitors. What do you think viewers should know about the kind of information that these government officials are allegedly providing to reporters?
REED: I think it's frankly preposterous to use the concept of traitor to describe someone who's brought into the public domain information about how the government is spying on its own citizens, how the government is carry on wars around the world in secret and not allowing the public to engage in substantive debate about the fact that there are unconstitutional processes going on that it results in the killing of American citizens abroad.
STELTER: The idea that we deserve more information not less especially about America's wars is something that I think we should all be able to agree on but it becomes this just issue about the sources, deciding to commit a crime by leaking documents. That's what the department justice is getting these individuals on.
What do you -- what do you say to people who worry about source protection given that it seems like three of these investigations involves people that leaked to your Web site? Are you all doing enough to protect them?
REED: Well we like other journalism organizations are doing our best to deploy you know strategies like using encryption and other technologies that are digital security specialists help us with. But you know, it's a risky business inherently doing national security reporting. Everybody on the beat knows that and they're knowing it increasingly now because one of the things that we've reported a lot on is surveillance, right, that the way that the government surveillance ordinary citizens.
But in fact, when it comes to their own employees and contractors, that surveillance is you know, exponentially more powerful. And so they know everything their employees and contractors do. They know what Web sites they're reading. They know who's printed which document. And so it is risky. And we try to be quite upfront with potential sources about what risks are entailed.
The fact is that deciding to become a whistleblower is a really momentous decision that takes a lot of courage and does entail risk that can be mitigated but it can't be completely eradicated.
STELTER: That's a challenge, an ongoing challenge. Meantime, it seems like there was more of a chill in the air because of all these (INAUDIBLE), a challenge for your newsroom and for others.
REED: Absolutely. The Committee to Protect Journalists recently did a story that was about interviews with a number of national security journalists from the New York Times and other institutions and they all said that there's a chill among their sources, that people are increasingly afraid of coming forward with important information.
And information like you know, we learned from the Pentagon papers, from the COINTELPRO documents in the 1970s that provoked really important debates about the Vietnam War and about the FBI's unconstitutional spying on Americans.
These are the kinds of stories that the government does not want Americans to know about and they will do everything in their power to stop it from coming out, which is why the work that national security journalists do is critically important and why every journalist should be concerned about prosecutions of journalistic, alleged journalistic sources.
STELTER: Betsy, thanks for being here. Great to see you.
REED: Thank you so much for having me.
STELTER: Thank you. A related story actually coming up next about someone who was arrested for leaking almost a decade ago. Now Chelsea Manning is facing jail time for a different reason. She will join me live right after this.
[11:35:00] STELTER: Chelsea Manning was in prison for seven years after leaking military and diplomatic secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010. She was facing up to 28 more years in prison when her sentence was commuted by President Obama in 2017. But two months ago, she was back behind bars for refusing to testify to a grand jury in Virginia.
Prosecutors apparently wanted her to tell all about her contacts with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Manning refused and said she already told everything years ago and the judge held her in contempt. Three days ago she was released because that particular grand jury was finished. But now she's facing another subpoena in just a few days and possibly more jail time.
Chelsea Manning's joining me now here in New York. Thank you for coming in.
CHELSEA MANNING, FORMER INTELLIGENCE ANALYST, U.S. ARMY: Hey, thanks for having me.
STELTER: What is going on with these grand juries? What do they want to know about Julian Assange from you?
MANNING: Well, first off, nobody's actually -- and none of this has any single person been specifically identified. What they've asked me questions about specifically are my conduct and how I did things which I all -- which I methodically laid out in you know, hours of testimony and a 40-page statement.
So they're really just trying to go through the same procedural you know, the same -- the procedure of how things happened again. And I think that --
STELTER: They just want you to describe the same things again?
MANNING: Yes, what they want to do. So --
STELTER: But it does seem like it's intended to be able to punish Assange further, right? We already know he's been charged -- the government seems to want to charge him with more counts and it seems that they want information from you for that. Is that your impression?
MANNING: I mean, I'm -- I think that's certainly my impression. But I think that what's interesting here is that the process of a grand jury is to obtain indictments. We already have an indictment, so why are we going through this process. And I think that the kinds of questions that I've been asked are about disclosures and how the things are disclosed and why they're disclosed as opposed to like the how it was obtained.
They're -- they don't seem to be interested in how the -- and you know, there's an enormous amount of computer forensics in this case. Like this is -- they don't need me to like do a case on like how it happened. They have that. What they're really interested in is what my intentions were which I laid out in the testimony. How -- you know what my impressions of how that would look like would be and you know, like what -- you know how much of that would be published. I think that's more of their interest. STELTER: And this was nine years ago that you were providing this information to Julian Assange. Some of it was cited as evidence of war crimes by the American government -- by the American military. This is still going off for you now nine years later. Do you have any regrets?
MANNING: Well, first off, I just want to point out that I don't actually know who I'm communicating with. I certainly have suspicions. I certainly have suspicions and I believe I've laid out like you know, I've laid out the -- in my testimony I said like you know, like sure, there's like percentage ranges as to like who it could be,
but I don't actually know who's on the other end of the of these communications.
MANNING: You know, so you know, the chat logs that you see, the indictment, which were in the court-martial record you know, we've already gone over this. You know, I've said as much as I can say about that. Now then, as to whether it -- I have any regrets you know, like I -- it's -- I don't relitigate things.
Like I did what I did with the information that I had, the knowledge that I had, and the tools and resources I had at the time. The simple fact of the matter is that in 2010 -- you know, in 2010 when all this -- you know, all this happen it was very different you know, landscape. You know, they -- even just trying to -- like I reached out to the New York Times and The Washington Post.
I reached out to the Washington Post first because I actually seen all the presidents meant so you know, so it was just this technological barrier, you know, the lack of encryption tools, the lack of knowledge about -- on the part of reporters about how to protect -- you know, how to -- about how to communicate and verify this kind of information.
[11:40:48] STELTER: But WikiLeaks did know how. Do you view the prosecution of Assange as a threat to press freedom?
MANNING: I mean, I think that -- I think that the Eastern District of Virginia is now turning into a rubber stamp for all these different prosecutions that really are going after you know -- and I think that ultimately what they really want is they want to go after journalists.
Like the-- like the -- this administration clearly wants to go after journalists. I think that if the administration gets its way as its laid out you know, in repeated statements like the media is the enemy of the people kind of thing, you know -- you know, then I think that we're going to see that you know national security journalists and you know a lot of -- a lot of disruptive you know, for this administration press. We're probably going to see you know indictments and charges, you know, but perhaps indirectly related.
And the average American commits -- you know, there's so many of federal offenses. The average American commits three felonies a day. So whenever journalism it makes a misstep, I think that they're put on notice now that the FBI and the Department of Justice are going to go after them on the administration's behalf.
STELTER: And what about you? You're due back on Thursday.
STELTER: Another subpoena for another grand jury.
STELTER: What's going to happen?
MANNING: Well, if they're asking this -- they want -- they've already stipulated they want to ask the same questions. So this is not about -- this is not about anything new. They're not even asking anything -- they're not even asking anything new. I've already laid all of this out.
STELTER: So you're going to refuse again.
MANNING: I am going to refuse. I don't -- I think that this grand jury is an -- I mean, I think that all grand juries are improper. I don't like the secrecy of it. One of the reasons why the -- why we had so much -- why there was so much secrecy and speculation and like so much like ham hand-wringing over the Mueller report was because of the secrecy.
We would know -- we would know far more if we would just have public hearings, bring the stuff out there and like you know -- and I did. I testified you know, before an open court with all these journalists there. Like I have nothing new to provide.
STELTER: But they want to hear from you again. That's the law. Will you be back in jail next weekend?
MANNING: Well, I'd be -- it's going to depend on -- we certainly have a motion to quash. We're certainly going to raise every single legal challenge. We have -- we have very -- you know, we have a very strong case. We had a strong case previously but now we have additional evidence as to what our case is.
STELTER: So it's up in the air. We don't know if you'll be sentenced to jail or not again.
MANNING: We don't. But you know, I think that we have a much stronger case in terms of like the legal objections which you know, the previous judge didn't -- he refused to even hear. He refused to even hear them or act on the motions. He just simply placed me in contempt and ignored our motions.
STELTER: We talk all the time about unprincipled politicians and what you're doing is an act of principle whether viewers agree with it or not, I can see that. Chelsea thanks for being here.
MANNING: Thank you. STELTER: Great talking with you. A quick break here and when we come back, Carl Bernstein talking about all the week's news trying to put it all together. We'll get to that in a moment.
[11:45:00] STELTER: So many Trump-related storylines are converging all of them convoluted but many pointing in the same direction toward presidential abuses of power. So are members of the media living up to this challenge? Let's ask Carl Bernstein. He's here with me in New York. Carl, that's the question. Are we living up to this moment in history?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, by we if you mean the press, I think -- I think yes. Our institutions, so far the answer is, not hardly.
STELTER: You mean the Congress?
BERNSTEIN: Well, the Congress of the United States particularly because there has been no real bipartisan investigation of the most authoritarian president in our history, probably. And let's go back to basics here that we find ourselves in this situation right now because there is an ongoing cover-up by the President of the United States.
Whether that constitutes a violation of law, whether he is a criminal or not, that's for down the road. But right now it's obvious to anyone who watches, anyone who looks at the facts, reads the Mueller Report, the obstruction part, particularly, we are in the midst of a continuing cover-up by the president aided and abetted by the Attorney General of the United States.
Trump said he wanted his Roy Cohn. He's got him now in the Attorney General. And where this is taking us is to an unprecedented place. It's not about a constitutional crisis, this is a systemic crisis challenging whether our institutions are able to function in this country to deal with a president of the United States who is unique in our history, who has nothing but contempt for democratic tradition and the rule of law.
So really where the rubber is going to meet the road is going to be the Supreme Court of the United States. And Chief Justice Roberts has got his table being set for him in a way that may have an awful lot to do with the future of American democracy.
STELTER: You say systemic crisis though. I think I hear his fan saying Trump just being a tough guy. He's just holding on to his power. That's what every president would do. They would say he's not so different from the past presidents.
BERNSTEIN: Well, he's very different from past presidents.
STELTER But I feel like Fox News viewers are fed about this narrative about Obama and other Democrats and make them all the same. BERNSTEIN: Look, we can't -- we can't do anything about Fox News and
what they feed their audience anymore. What we need to do in the press is to continue our reporting. There is wide open area for reporting. Look what the Wall Street Journal owned by the same person who owns Fox News -- Fox News Rupert Murdoch reported last week about McGahn stiffing the President of the United States and saying he would not go and tell the Congress of the United States and others that the President had not obstructed justice, refused to do it. Who produced that story?
STELTER: The Murdochs. That's a great point
BERNSTEIN: The Murdoch press. So let's continue to do what we do best. You know, look at the tax story that the New York Times did showing us that we have a grifter president of the United States, a tax cheat, someone who is a fraud in business which is demonstrable which you've had his biographers who say the same thing, and now we are seeing the fraudulence through what the press is reporting today.
We need to be looking at the relationship of the Trump business organization with Russia and Russians and ethno Russians. There's plenty of room for original reporting. And incidentally, if this story were to go in some direction, that by some miracle exonerated President Trump, so be it.
[11:50:35] STELTER: That would be a good thing for the country.
BERNSTEIN: But so far -- so far all the evidence particularly the Mueller report is so overwhelming. And also, this is no exoneration about his conduct in terms of Russia and Russian contacts. That's not what the Mueller report says.
STELTER: The Mueller report, let's talk more about that Mueller report in just a moment. We'll be right back more with Carl in just a moment here on RELIABLE SOURCES.
STELTER: Carl Bernstein is back with me here. And Carl, I just want to note, the Mueller report has stayed in power. Look at this, number one and two on the New York Times bestseller list this week. Pretty impressive for a free you know, free PDF. All this talk about Robert Mueller testifying, when will he -- will it happen, how important is it we hear from Mueller on television?
BERNSTEIN: I think -- well, I think it's essential, whether he testifies before the committee or whether he chooses another venue. If the president claims executive privilege before that body, perhaps there's another venue that Mueller might choose, such as going on television himself or members of his staff in such a way that they don't reveal perhaps information that shouldn't be revealed for reasons of grand jury secrecy at the moment and at the same time, tell the story about what this investigation was about and what it really found.
We need to hear from that investigation, those who conducted the investigation and we also need the full report. It is essential that the American people have the full report through their representatives in Congress, every word of it. And there's one other thing we can't forget. There is an ongoing national security, counterintelligence investigation that was not part of the Mueller report that is ongoing.
There is much more that is going to be learned I think we can say with some absolute foreknowledge about what happened with Russians and what happened with the Trump campaign and people around him. But this idea of the President getting up and claiming some kind of complete exoneration, I think it's necessary perhaps on some of our times on the air, maybe we ought to read out loud and put up exactly what the report said about that. It did not say we exonerate the president.
[11:55:46] STELTER: Right. When Mitch McConnell says case closed, we should show that the case is open. Carl, thanks for being here. Great to see you.
BERNSTEIN: Great to be here.
STELTER: I appreciate it.
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