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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Biden Speaks in Michigan to Pitch Infrastructure Spending Bills; One-on-One With Former Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham; One-on-One With Former Trump Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham; Facebook's Whistleblower Testifies About Platform's Secrets. Aired 4- 5p ET
Aired October 05, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, this bill also invests in our workforce by providing so much-needed breathing room for working families. After all, how can we compete in the world if millions of American parent -- parents, especially moms, can't join the workforce because they can't afford the cost of childcare or eldercare; they have to stay home.
For example, here in Michigan, the average two-parent family spends $10,400 on childcare costs for just one child each year. Thirty years ago, the United States ranked sixth -- sixth among advanced economies in the share of women in the workforce. You know where we are today? Twenty-three. Twenty-two countries have a higher percentage of their women in the workforce making a competitive wage than the United States.
While our competitors are investing in the care economy, we're standing still. And the fact is, millions of American parents are feeling the squeeze, having a hard time doing their job, earning a paycheck while taking care of their children or aging parents -- and at the same time, in the sandwich generation.
My Build Back Better plan is going to change that. It's going to cut the cost of childcare for most Michigan families by more than half. It's going to extend the historic middle-class tax cut to the Child Care Tax Credit, which we passed in my American Rescue Plan.
Now, most people don't know -- if you walk to the average informed person, doctor, lawyer, whatever, and said, "Child care tax credit," they're not sure what that means. But what it means is, you know, if you were making a decent salary and you had two kids or three kids or four under the age of 18, you get to deduct $2,000 for each child off your bottom line of your taxes you owe.
Well, guess what? If you're making 15 bucks an hour, you don't have any taxes to pay like that. So guess what you got? Nothing. Zero. Zero. No help.
My friends on the other team have no problem giving billionaires and millionaires gigantic tax breaks. This is a tax cut. You know, what it does is now -- and it's in place, and people in your state are understanding it now -- instead of it provides -- it upped the ante how much you could get for a child under seven: You get 3,600 bucks tax cut on a yearly basis, and you get $3,000 for a child under 17.
But guess what we did? That means we're doing it on a monthly basis now. It means you're getting either $300 a month or $200 a month, just like your Social Security check -- at home.
It's cut child poverty in -- by 40 percent. That money is already a life-changer for so many working families. And as I said -- it's actually -- I was wrong: In Michigan, it's 44 percent cut in child poverty.
We need to keep it going. My plan is going to put Americans to work constructing and rehabilitating safe and affordable housing to help ease the cost of housing while generating even more jobs. In most of the major metropolitan areas of America, they're -- you can't afford the housing.
And it helps to meet the moment on climate change as well. We're setting the course for America to achieve 50 to 52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 for us to reach net -- to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
This bill helps us get there in a way that creates good jobs, makes us global leaders of fast-growing clean energy industries, like electric vehicles, solar and wind power, battery power.
The bottom line is this: When we give working families a break, we're not just raising their quality of life; we're putting parents in a position to earn a paycheck. We're also positioning our country to compete in the world. That's what these bills are all about.
If you want proof, just come to this training facility. This is where hardworking folks come to learn how to operate road graders and so much more; where workers use virtual reality to master operating a crane and to learn how to deal with drones to look underneath bridges and so on; where young people in Michigan show up and emerge as expert technicians, engineers, heavy equipment operators.
They leave here with a shot at something great: a union job with good wages and benefits that allow them to maintain their dignity and their pride. It's a ticket to the middle class.
This is where the economy starts: with you -- your skills, your dreams, and your limitless potential. The only thing we've been missing is the will from Washington to finally build an economy around you -- an economy that gives you and your family a fighting chance to get ahead, gives our country a fighting chance to compete with the rest of the world.
We can't get here thinking small. We have to think big.
Let me be clear: We need to prepare for 10 years down the line. That's what these bills do. Both these bills spend out over 10 years, not in the first year.
So if you take the infrastructure bill, folks, it's described as a $1.2 trillion bill. What that means is that of all those investments in roads, bridges, high-speed Internet, water, everything else, all of it would be less than one half of 1 percent of our economy each year. And it's all paid for, and they don't increase the debt because they're paid for by asking the very wealthy to begin their par- - pay their fair share.
As a matter of fact, a significant portion of this plan cuts taxes for working people.
And best of all, the cost of these bills, in terms of adding to the deficit, is zero. Zero. Zero. And I made a commitment when I wrote these when I was running: No one making under $400,000 a year will see a penny in their taxes go up. That's why, in the infrastructure bill, there is no gas tax increase, because people making under 400 would have to pay more.
It's simple. If you're working here at this facility or your spouse is a teacher or a firefighter, there's no reason why -- combined -- why millionaires and billionaires in this country should be paying at a lower tax rate than you do. Hear me again now: a lower tax rate.
A police officer or teacher, a union crane operator, and a nurse -- they paid a higher tax rate -- a higher tax rate than a significant portion of the major corporations in America and the super wealthy.
Look, it isn't right -- isn't right that 55 of the largest corporations in America, in this country -- and I come from the corporate capital of the world. More people -- more corporations are incorporated in the state of Delaware than all -- every other state combined. But you know how much those 55 companies -- I can go on; more than that -- they made over $40 billion and they paid zero -- zero in federal income tax.
Since the pandemic began, the number of billionaires -- and I forget the exact number there are in America -- have seen their wealth go up collectively by $1 trillion, $1 trillion.
It isn't fair. It needs to change. Look, working folks understand that.
That's why, despite the attacks = the attacks and misinformation, my plan has overwhelming support of the polling data from the American people. They understand what's at stake.
They understand that workers and families have a better shot and Americans have a better shot.
I'm a capitalist. I think you should be able to go out and make a million dollars, or a billion. But just pay your fair share. Join the crowd, man.
They know that this is about dignity and respect. It's about changing the paradigm so the economy works for you, not just for those at the very top.
It's about building this economy from the bottom up and the middle out. That's what I've done my entire career. That's why I ran for president.
As I said, I'm a capitalist. I think you should be able to make a lot of money in America. But just pay your fair share. Pay your fair share.
I took this agenda to the country. They said it was time to build an economy that looks out from Scranton, Pennsylvania -- where I grew up as a kid -- instead of looking down from Wall Street. An economy that looks out from Howell, Michigan, and towns like it all over America, that brings people from every race, background, religion into the game.
That's what -- and notwithstanding some of the signs that I saw com- - that's why 81 million Americans voted for me. The largest number of votes in American history.
A clear majority who supported when they supported me.
Look, it's now time to deliver.
Let me close with this: The world is watching. Not a joke. The autocrats of the world believe the world is moving so rapidly that democracies can't generate consensus quickly enough to bring their people together to get things done.
They think democracies -- not a joke -- in my meetings with Putin, in my meetings with Xi Jinping and other leaders, they truly believe that we can't compete in the 21st century because things are moving so fast -- democracies take so much time that they are so divided that they can't get together in time to act.
They believe -- they believe they'll win -- they'll win the day and they can dictate their way forward and leave us behind. They're betting -- not a joke -- they're betting, for the first time, we won't respond to this inflection point in history, that we'll fail to rise to the occasion.
But you've heard me say it a lot of times: It's never, ever been a good bet to -- to bet against the American people. Never.
Look, just look back a little ways. After World War Two, the United States did what we're trying to do now: invested in the American people to lead the world. At the time, presidents and congresses of both parties and Americans of all political views stepped up.
I'm not being sentimental here. There was racial discrimination; it was a fact of life. We know how deep-rooted racism is in this country. We saw the Klan marching right here in Howell generations ago and again in recent years. It's a never-ending battle.
But think about what also unfolded in this critical -- in these critical decades. Great protest movements summoned the nation to most promise -- of equity.
The GI Bill sent millions of veterans to college. The federal government helped make home ownership possible because it's the vehicle by which people can generate wealth. Most of us who come from lower or middle class backgrounds, that's how our parents were able to generate any wealth. The investments in our home for those who could previously only dream of having a house to call their own.
We invested in the Interstate Highway System, propelling our economy into the future. We invested in the space race, which led to huge strides in technology. We invested in something called DARPA, a program within the federal government that helped create the Internet.
Folks, we need to step up again. But the challenge of today is one of economic competition. Let's learn from that history, not because it was perfect, because Americans then did what they must do now, invest in ourselves, to show the world that American democracy works and that, given half a chance, there's nothing -- not a single thing we can't achieve when we do it together.
I know we can do this. I'm positive we can. I've never been more optimistic about this country than I am right now. We're going to restore faith, pride, and dignity in the future of this country.
And we're going to pass both of these bills and start building this economy to beat the competition and deliver for working families.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God protect our troops. Let's get this done. Thank you.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
You have been listening to President Biden speaking in Howell, Michigan, pushing his two major economic priorities.
Let's bring in CNN's Jeff Zeleny, traveling with the president in Michigan.
Jeff, why is the president taking his message on the road?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, simply to rise above the noise in Washington. The president clearly making the case for the substance of both of these bills. First, infrastructure. Talking specifically about the need for the U.S. to stay competitive with the world. Needs to improve the country's infrastructure and talking about his education programs, health care, climate change and the like.
Jake, I can tell you, it is similar to a speech we could have heard Joe Biden deliver a year ago here in battleground Michigan. He delivered these speeches on the campaign trail. He announced these initiatives in the spring. Summer has gone by. Now we're into the fall. Simply the White House is
trying to refocus the nation on his agenda items. He said it's not left versus right. Not progressives versus moderate but, in fact, it is that. In fact, Democrats have very slim majorities in the House and indeed the Senate.
So that is what this president, this White House, this administration needs to push through. But he's simply trying to get out of the noise in Washington to rally support for why the ideas behind these bills are necessary. Left unspoken were what is going to be cut out of these ambitious ideas that he campaigned on a year ago because now the bottom line is what is the price tag? Not $3.5 trillion. It's likely to be $2 trillion, if that.
So that is something that the president, of course, has to fill in the blanks. In short, he's back here in Michigan trying to make his case for these bills. But his audience actually still, Jake, is Washington.
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us now live on Capitol Hill.
Ryan, President Biden obviously hoping his message in Michigan will trickle up. The provisions in his legislation poll well. But right now, they have some holdouts in Washington.
Do you think he can change any minds at this point?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been a refocusing of the White House in their outreach to Capitol Hill to try and get Democrats on the age -- on the same page and remind them they have more in common than they have -- that divides them.
And you see the president making this plea do his Capitol Hill colleagues through a series of meetings. He had one yesterday with more progressive members, another one today with more moderate members to remind them of the specific provisions in his agenda. As Jeff mentioned, they poll very well, but people by and large are supportive of. And he wants them to get away from just referring to this top line number as an end all, be all and instead prioritize these programs. And then present that to the American people through a deal that all sides can agree upon.
But, Jake, no doubt that there is still a real impasse here between the moderate wing of the party and more progressive wing of the party. Moderates aren't comfortable with that hefty price tag, $3.5 trillion, which now even progressives have said they're willing to come down upon, but there's still a monstrous chasm between where progressives are willing to come down to and what moderates are willing to go up to. And the president is trying to find some common ground there, floating somewhere in the range of $2 trillion. That may be too much for someone like Joe Manchin and not enough for someone like Pramila Jayapal. So, the goal here is show him out in -- you know, in America with the
infrastructure behind him, showing, you know, shovels in the ground with the positive progress that could come from passing this legislation, as a reminder that they all have the same goals. They just have to find a way to get there -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Ryan, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
A warning that Donald Trump's next administration could be filled with January Sixers if he were to win in 2024. His former press secretary joins me next.
And he tried to play spoiler in the 2016 presidential election. Now, Even McMullin is here to talk about his campaign against Trumpism. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our politics lead now: a chilling warning about what the future might look like if former President Donald Trump runs and wins and takes back the White House in 2024.
He will be unleashed. He will seek revenge and retribution against anyone he thinks wronged him. He will enact draconian policies and issue a flurry of pardons, all of that according to former top Trump aide Stephanie Grisham, who joins me now. She was the White House press secretary and communications director for President Trump and the chief of staff and communications director for first lady Melania Trump.
And she is the author of the brand-new book "I'll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House."
Stephanie, thank you so much. I appreciate your being with us.
I want to get to that warning in a moment.
But, first, I want you to talk to any of our viewers who might be sitting there skeptically, with their arms crossed, wondering, why should they trust what you have written in what you're saying now? Because, on CNN earlier today, you admitted that you lied on behalf of then-President Trump.
So why should the public believe that you're telling the truth now?
STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That is a fair question.
I think that the fact that I have admitted just that shows that I'm really trying to be as open and honest as possible. The book, when people read it, I think you will see that I don't -- I don't spare many people, but I also am very, very hard on myself. I am not out for any kind of redemption. I just wanted to lay out a book.
After I left D.C., I left and watched things from afar, and I got really scared. And I think, as a true believer and a true loyalist and one of their fiercest defenders in the beginning, I want people to know my journey and what I saw, and how disillusioned I became, and then let them make up their own minds.
TAPPER: You know, something I wondered as I read the book, when you get to the election of 2020, you talk about how you wish there had been some sort of third option for you to vote for. You didn't support Biden and his policies, but you had real misgivings about Donald Trump at that point.
And you wished there had been another Republican you could vote for because you're a conservative Republican. Did you vote for Donald Trump in 2020?
GRISHAM: I did not.
TAPPER: So you just left it blank?
GRISHAM: I wrote some -- I wrote somebody in.
TAPPER: You want to tell me who it is?
GRISHAM: I don't.
So, let's get to what led you to finally resign, the events of January 6. You write in the book: "January 6 was a truly devastating day for the country, but, looking back now, it was bound to happen."
I don't disagree, but why do you think it was bound to happen?
GRISHAM: Well, because, after he lost the election, he was so hyperfocused on making sure everybody knew the election was stolen.
And he was fomenting...
TAPPER: Which is not true, of course. It was not.
GRISHAM: That is not true.
GRISHAM: I believe -- I believe Biden is our president. I don't like what he's doing, but I believe he is our president.
But he was -- he was fomenting violence. He was listening to people, conspiracy theorists, and he was putting statements and tweets out there. And Donald Trump knows full well that he has a base of people out there who are willing to do whatever is needed or whatever he suggests to them. And he knows he can suggest things and also not have consequences.
And I believe this is why leadership in the Republican Party and a lot of Republicans won't speak up. I have to believe that people feel the same way I do, but they're afraid. They're afraid to speak up because of the people that -- like the people that were at the insurrection on January 6.
There's a violent, violent mob out there.
And watching him push that through November, December was difficult.
TAPPER: It's not just that Joe Biden is president, right? It's that he was duly elected, fairly elected. There's no evidence of any fraud that would have changed the election at all in any state, correct?
And, I mean, even if you look at Arizona, which he was really hanging his hat on for a very, very long time, it turned out Biden won it by larger numbers. So he -- yes, he was elected president, and it was legitimate.
TAPPER: What was Donald Trump doing while the Capitol was under siege on January 6?
GRISHAM: It is my understanding from some people -- I was in the East Wing. Well, I was actually at home. We were telecommuting with COVID.
But it's my understanding from some people I was talking to that he was in his private dining room watching the TV and really talking about what fighters they were and how tough they were.
TAPPER: You said earlier today that one of your biggest fears is that, if Trump wins again, people from the January 6 crowd, the insurrectionists, will end up in the White House.
Who are you talking about specifically? Who do you fear will become part of the White House?
GRISHAM: I don't have specific names. I don't.
I mean, I have said people such as Sidney Powell or Rudy Giuliani or some of the people who believe wholeheartedly in these conspiracy theories. I believe that, if he were to win in 2024, he will pick whoever stood by him, defended him, and he will place those people who will have defended the indefensible into the White House.
And I want to -- I noted earlier there was a guest on a different show that said I'm not saying anything that anybody doesn't already know. And I think that, for all of us in politics, perhaps this is -- perhaps this is something that a lot of people know, but I think that there is -- there are citizens out there who don't realize what a 2024 Donald Trump presidency can look like.
And I'm just hoping against hope that I, by being completely honest, can help people just understand what the consequences could truly be.
TAPPER: And you write about that in the book. You write about how, if Trump does end up back in the White House, he will be unleashed. He won't have to run for reelection. He won't have to be worried about what voters think about him.
You suggest there could be retribution and revenge. Against whom?
GRISHAM: I mean, OK, not to be joking, but I bet he will put me in jail.
I really think anybody who spoke out against him. I think that look at what he's doing now. When you consider the Republicans who voted with their conscience and voted for impeachment in his second impeachment, Liz Cheney, Anthony Gonzalez, et cetera, he's already looking to -- looking for revenge on them and placing people who a lot of them don't even have what it would take to be a congressman.
And it's not about those people being good candidates. It is about Donald Trump seeking revenge and getting people into the Congress who will do exactly what he wants.
TAPPER: Let's talk about January 6 for one more second.
Do you think that Trump was responsible for people coming to the Capitol on that day specifically so that they would stage a violent protest to stop Congress from certifying the election? Do you think that was his predetermined goal?
GRISHAM: That's a really -- that's a really good question. My short answer is, I don't know.
But I think that I know his -- I know his playbook pretty well. And I know he was well aware that there was going to be a very large gathering, a Stop the Steal gathering, that he was going to be speaking at. I know that his campaign was working directly with some of the people, some of the vendors who were kind of organizing the campaign.
I believe that, when he went up there and made those strong statements of, we must be strong, we must go fight, let's walk down to the Capitol, I believe he knew he was saying, and I believe he -- again, like I said at the beginning, he knows what people are willing to do for him.
But he also can -- has plausible deniability because he can just say, that is not what I meant.
I also believe that he could and should have put something out immediately asking people to stop the violence, because I believe, once again, there are people out there who listen to him. And he didn't do that for hours.
TAPPER: There's a committee that's -- a special committee in the House of Representatives investigating the events of that day, as I'm sure you know.
Have they reached out to you at all? Would you cooperate with them if they did?
GRISHAM: Yes, I would cooperate if they reached out. I have had a couple of very casual conversations about it. I haven't been formally asked. But, yes, I would cooperate if needed, absolutely.
TAPPER: Do you think that the president was essentially trying to stage a coup?
GRISHAM: I do, when you look at what he was doing to Vice President Pence, when you look at how many ways he was trying to get people in phone calls, even with Georgia and Arizona, and then again with pressuring Mike Pence, with all he wanted to do, and in that memo that has now come out about all the ways to overturn this election.
I do. It's dangerous.
TAPPER: If you finally did resign out of disgust over what happened that day, why did you say in your statement that it was, quote, an honor to serve the country in the White House?
I said it was an honor to serve the country, which I believe wholeheartedly. I said it was an honor to serve Melania Trump and her mission to help children. And I was very proud to help her with her mission to help children. There's...
TAPPER: Yes, you write very favorably about Melania Trump's, in your view, genuine affection for kids.
GRISHAM: Yes. Yes. And that is true.
And so I actually worded that tweet very, very carefully. It doesn't say President Trump. It says serving my country and Melania Trump and her mission to help children and take care of children.
TAPPER: Alyssa Farah, who took over the press shop after you left the West Wing, said this about claims in your book:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALYSSA FARAH, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: There's also ways to engage the press short of doing a press briefing. She could have done backgrounders in her office.
But it seemed like she was largely MIA on the job. And I will say this. I think the book is a little -- it's just disingenuous. She wasn't just a Trump staffer for all four years. She was an originalist. She campaigned for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What's your response to that criticism?
GRISHAM: She wasn't there when I was press secretary. She doesn't know if I held backgrounders in my office, which I did.
She doesn't know the one-on-one meetings that I intentionally held with many, many reporters, and she doesn't know the calls and e-mails that I answered on a 24/7 basis.
Look, I fought North Koreans for the press. I did a lot of things for our press corps, including not allowing the president to kick them off the White House grounds. So, there is a lot of -- a lot that I did behind the scenes.
Alyssa came in with Mark Meadows, and we did not work together at all. So I think it's easy for her to judge, but I think she said that before reading the book. So I would encourage her to read the book and get a lot of the context and nuance there.
TAPPER: I think possibly one of the other things Alyssa was -- and I'm kind of extrapolating, but possibly one of the other things that she's talking about when she refers to you as an originalist is, there were people that worked in the White House for Trump who were people who considered it their patriotic duty to try to have Trump succeed, even though he might not have been their first choice, like, let's say, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, for example, or H.R. McMaster, et cetera...
GRISHAM: Yes. Yes.
TAPPER: ... people who wanted the trains to run on time, who wanted to be ballast in the ship.
But you -- before Trump took office, when you were working on the campaign, he -- you knew that he had bragged about committing sexual assault on the "Access Hollywood" tape or called to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., which is bigotry and unconstitutional. He said a judge couldn't be fair because of his Mexican heritage. He attacked Gold Star families, suggested John McCain wasn't a hero because he had been captured, and on and on and on.
TAPPER: And you were all in on that.
Did you think his presidency would be different from how he ran for president?
GRISHAM: Well, a couple things I would say there.
You're right. I was in there from the beginning. I really felt that the president, the former president, gave voice to a lot of people who felt forgotten. And I went to his rallies and I saw an excitement in politics that I hadn't seen in a long time. And I was very excited about that.
By the time the "Access Hollywood" tape came out that you mentioned, he was the nominee, and I was in it at that point. And, right or wrong, I turned my head and thought, well, now he's the Republican nominee. I'm a Republican. I have been here. I'm going to see this through. It's either him or it's Hillary Clinton, and I certainly didn't want Hillary Clinton.
But I did turn my head to a lot of things. And I -- it kept going once I got into the White House. One thing I will say is that I spent two- and-a-half to three of my years in that White House working in the East Wing. And the East Wing was very different. We were very independent from the West Wing. I was very, very proud that Mrs. Trump was one of the first to put something out about Charlottesville.
I was very proud that she, while the jacket turned that whole -- into a fiasco, I was very proud that she wanted to go to the border and look at the child separation issue. She was somebody who was independent and would go against her husband with some of his more controversial issues.
And so it was naive, I'm sure, but I thought I was literally on the right side of the house in that regard.
TAPPER: We should just say, with the jacket, there's a photo on the back. That's you. And that is the first lady with her "I really don't care, do you?" jacket, which you have a whole chapter in there in which you say she didn't even think anything of it. It wasn't a statement on anything.
TAPPER: And then -- what did you say? You're being called to the principal's office, because President Trump...
GRISHAM: Yes, that's...
TAPPER: President Trump is so angry about it.
GRISHAM: He was not happy with us. No, he wasn't.
TAPPER: And then he came up with a lie. He concocted a lie. Let's say that you were talking about the press.
TAPPER: And -- but that wasn't true at all.
GRISHAM: That was not true at all, no.
TAPPER: But that's one of many, many lies that you own up to in the book of telling.
And -- but, I mean, at a certain point, you're not just lying to the press. I get that nobody cares about us. But, like, you're lying to the American people.
And it's a regret. And I say it in the book. And I talk about specific examples, especially with General John Kelly, that I regret and I will always regret.
I can't -- I can't go back. And hindsight is always 20/20. And I am under no illusion that people are going to suddenly believe me or hail me as some hero. I don't need that. I'm living in a great place. I have great friends. I have a great family. I'm looking forward now.
And if I can convince even a few people who were like me and who were complete loyalists to just kind of see the cultlike atmosphere, and understand that the Republican Party can only move forward in a positive way if we have another nominee, then I will at least have helped.
GRISHAM: It will never make up for anything, but I will have at least helped. And that is my hope.
TAPPER: Well, I mean, the atmosphere you describe in the Trump White House is abusive and toxic for...
TAPPER: I mean, I'm not even -- I'm not even talking about the things he's saying about the press or members of Congress. I'm just talking about the environment there.
You describe what you say -- this is a fairly shocking part of the book. You say President Trump had an inappropriate interest in a young press aide. He would summon her to his cabin on Air Force One, insist that should be included on trips, be promoted, put on TV. He said something about her body behind her back.
TAPPER: You said that you were worried about -- you would accompany her to Trump's cabin and never leave them alone because you were so worried.
Now, we're told, I'm told that there's a personnel office in the Office of the Administration at the White House that has H.R. functions. Why did you not officially report it, if you were that worried?
GRISHAM: I was very concerned. The person who was running the personnel office at that time was a lifelong Trump loyalist who, at the end, was doing nothing, but trying to weed out anyone who dared say anything bad about the president.
So I did not feel comfortable that -- there was not a neutral person in that position. And it would have just immediately gotten back to the president. Same with Mark Meadows. I just -- I did not feel comfortable going.
And so the best I had personally was just myself. I -- so I stuck with her. I don't know if she knew what was going on. I certainly didn't tell her. She certainly never complained to me. At that point, I would have had to go to somebody. But I did the best I could with that situation.
TAPPER: It's really creepy and disturbing.
I -- look, I don't want to bring up -- this isn't something that I'm bringing up in an untoward way, because you write about it quite candidly in your book, that you have had past experiences with abusive relationships, abusive members of your family.
And you -- I'm -- as I was reading it, I was waiting for you to draw the line. And then you arrive there towards the end, that that's why you stayed so long in the White House, because you're used to it.
Quote: "The Trump White House was just a fancy new setting for the same old crap I had dealt with my whole life, my ex, Mark Meadows, even the president, all men who I felt had lied to me, lied about me, called me names and/or made me feel worthless" -- unquote.
I ask you this in the most sympathetic way I can. Can you talk about that a bit?
And I don't -- I don't even need you to ask in an unsympathetic way, because I want to talk about it openly. It's something I didn't realize until I left D.C. and had some solitude in Kansas while I was sanding a floor, and it really hit me.
People who have been abused, often, they're so used to a certain environment, that that is what's comfortable for them. And I don't know if that's going to make sense to a lot of people.
So, for me personally, I can't speak for my colleagues, but all I cared about was keeping the former president happy. I just didn't want him to be mad. I would get physically ill. And perhaps that says something for me, too, that I just wasn't strong enough to stick around. And maybe I should have looked within and left just for that reason.
Mark Meadows, I didn't care much about keeping him happy. But he was -- he was -- also a very abusive way in his manipulations. And then, as you talked about, and, actually, I talk about today, I had an ex that I dated. And there was abuse in every way there.
And that's something I actually told the president and the first lady about, and they did nothing. If it didn't affect them, and as long as I was keeping quiet and being good, then I guess that kind of behavior was OK.
And, again, I should have known. We had another issue like that in our White House that went largely ignored, until the press pointed it out so much that that person had to be let go.
And let me just say that the person you're talking about, you don't name him in the book, but his name is Max Miller. He is running for Congress. And it's not just that President Trump, then-President Trump, didn't do anything about it when he learned that he was allegedly abusive to you in many very upsetting ways.
Trump is now backing this guy for Congress.
And he stands fairly likely to win a House seat.
You write about this. Again, you don't mention Max's name in the op-ed in "The Washington Post" or in the book. But that must be very upsetting and something that the voters in that district in Ohio should know about.
GRISHAM: Of course. I think so.
And I have learned myself since that he's got a history of violence with other women. But I didn't put his name in there on purpose, because I have moved on.
And, look, if there's anything I can take away from this experience, it's that I'm almost stronger than ever now, and nobody is going to abuse me again ever in any way, shape, or form. For me, this is about behavior.
And I am not going to -- I'm not going to lie. It was like a gut punch when I saw that he endorsed him, knowing, knowing what happened, knowing -- I wasn't just some person that the president or the first lady didn't know. I told them that. And I had been there for five years. And I wasn't just making something up on the fly.
And I had already told Mrs. Trump. And after I blurted it out to the president, which I never intended to do ever -- I write about the situation in the book. But Mrs. Trump told me she was glad I had told him.
And that gave me some hope, stupidly, that maybe something was going to happen. So, the endorsement, really, it kicked me in the teeth. That was a -- that was a really, really tough one, based on what happened.
TAPPER: You also are pretty brutal in writing about Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the nicknames you and others in the White House have for them, the interns, and how Melania Trump, the first lady, referred to Ivanka as the princess.
Why do you think they were in the White House? Why do you think they were doing what they were doing? Because you don't describe them as having accomplished a whole great deal, other than Jared Kushner pushing forward criminal justice reform, which the president apparently hated, that Jared made him do.
But do you -- I mean, did they just like the proximity to power? What exactly was their purpose, do you think?
GRISHAM: Much like kind of -- and this is how the book is.
I start out talking about how much I really respected and admired everybody.
TAPPER: Yes, definitely.
GRISHAM: And they are no different.
And I want to believe still that they entered there wanting to help and try to do good. But, as I watched more and more and more, basically, to keep it simple, they wanted to be there when things were going great. They wanted to be in all the photo-ops. They wanted to, of course, meet the queen.
I think Jared especially got very, very heady with power. A lot of us did. Don't get me wrong. And I think he became a real liability, in that he would reach out to foreign leaders directly, rather than going through NSC. He went around every single chief of staff that we had, all four of them.
And, by the end, I just think he was almost a completely different person and didn't care about anything but kind of what he wanted, what he wanted to push through, and taking credit for anything that was good, and blaming anybody else when something went wrong.
TAPPER: Yes, even when it's -- something was his idea. You mentioned that several times.
GRISHAM: Yes. Yes.
TAPPER: So, anyway.
Stephanie Grisham, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Her new book is called "I'll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House." It is out as of today.
Best of luck with the book, Stephanie.
GRISHAM: Thank you so much.
TAPPER: Our next guest is taking on the Trump-led Republican Party. Will it work?
TAPPER: In our politics lead, a brand-new challenger to Trump's stranglehold on the Republican Party. 2016 presidential candidate and former CIA operative, Evan McMullin announced his plan to unseat Mike Lee in 2022. McMullin is running as an independent, he says. It's a state exclusively elected Republican senators for four decades.
McMullin joins us for his first national interview since declaring his bid for U.S. Senate.
Mr. McMullin, thanks so much for joining us.
I want to ask, former Vice President Mike Pence is doing anything he can to get back in the good graces of Trump. I want to you take a listen to what Pence said about the day the pro-Trump mob threatened to hang him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I know the media wants to distract from the Biden's agenda by focusing on the one day in January. They want to try to demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believed we could be strong again and prosperous again and support our administration in 2016 and 2020.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Just one day in January when a rabid MAGA mob threatened to hang the vice president.
I guess the other question I have for you beyond your question to that is 58 percent of Utahans voted to re-elect Trump in 2020. How are you going persuade them?
EVAN MCMULLIN (I), RUNNING FOR U.S. SENATE AGAINST SEN. MIKE LEE: I'm entering the campaign because we have deeper problems than even Trump. I know there's a lot of Trump talk and certainly I have spent a lot of time over the last four to five years warning against the dangers he posed to the republic.
But we've got deeper issues, and that is that we're so divided as a country. We're so polarized we're failing to solve major challenges facing the country. It was a tough summer here in Utah where we had forest fires both in the state and outside the state, and our air quality was the worst in the world. We're facing water shortages in which cities are having to truck in water, and that's all while we've got this raging never ending pandemic and the cost of health care and an exploding national debt.
These are all compounding crises that we have because I believe the extremes in our political system have gained too much influence. So, I'm running not --
TAPPER: Extremes so -- is Senator Mike Lee an extremist? Is that what you're saying?
MCMULLIN: I think Senator Lee went to Washington with the best of intentions, I really do. But I think he's lost his way in Washington. I think Washington has turned Mike Lee's head, and instead of working to find common ground and solve problems there, what he does is spends his time obstructing and dividing Americans, dividing Utahans, dividing Americans. And as a result of that, these crises keep getting worse and worse,
and Utah has very little say in what happens, a very small role in trying to resolve them. So, what I'm proposing is we take what I call the Utah way, which is our way of leadership, it is a way of leadership that finds common ground, even while we stick to principle, and we solve problems. That's how we do it here in Utah and I think Washington needs more of that.
So I'm running to replace Mike Lee in the U.S. Senate to represent Utah and the Utah way and solve problems not only for our state, but especially for us, but in the meantime have greater influence over the direction of the country so we can help change the politics and get our country on track.
TAPPER: Are you going to try to get the endorsement of Mitt Romney, or do you suspect he'll support his fellow Republican Mike Lee?
MCMULLIN: You'll have to go to him for that. I -- you know, we are both friends of Senator Romney. And I imagine that, you know, that that will continue to be the case. You'll have the talk to him about how he'll handle his involvement or lack thereof in the race.
TAPPER: All right. Evan McMullin, thank you so much. Best of luck out there on the campaign trail.
Family members of both Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie now speaking publicly. What they said, coming up.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, Delta versus delta. Will the airline join all its other major competitors and require vaccines for employees?
And, she's now producing a series on the scandal that forever changed her life as well as a new HBO Max documentary on people who have had their lives ruined in the internet age. Monica Lewinsky will join me live.
But first, leading this hour, damning tell-all testimony from a Facebook whistle-blower who claims the company is well-aware its social media feeds and algorithms are toxic and addicting especially for teenage girls, but they're intentionally doing so.
Frances Haugen was a Facebook product manager and helped create the algorithms that control your feed. When she resigned she took tens of thousands of pages of internal research with her.
Today, she told a Senate committee Facebook is putting its long-term profit over the safety of your children.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER FACEBOOK PRODUCT MANAGER: They have to make sure that the next generation is just as engaged with Instagram as the current one. And the way they will do that is by making sure that children establish habits before they have good self-regulation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By hooking kids?
HAUGEN: By hooking kids.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Not to mention, of course, all the damage Facebook is doing to democracies around the world. And as this whistle-blower came forward this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was posting video of his sailing trip as his company faced a firestorm. How lovely.
As CNN's Donie O'Sullivan reports that is sparking another problem for the social media giant.
HAUGEN: Facebook's own research shows that. Kids are saying, I am unhappy when I use Instagram and I can't stop.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Powerful testimony on Capitol Hill today from Francis Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who left the company in May and took with her thousands of pages of documents, including Facebook's own research about the harms its technology causes teenagers.
HAUGEN: Kids who are bullied on Instagram, it follows them home, follows them into their bedrooms. The last thing they see before they go to bed at night is someone being cruel to them.
SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): I think we're going to look back 20 years from now and all of us are going to be like, what the hell were we thinking when we recognize the damage that it's done to a generation of kids.
O'SULLIVAN: Haugen's call to action? It's time for Congress to vote to regulate Facebook.
HAUGEN: The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed. They won't solve this crisis without your help.
O'SULLIVAN: The hearing also took stark aim at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who posted a video sailing with his family on Sunday just before Haugen exposed some of the company's research on children in an explosive "60 Minutes" interview.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Rather than taking responsibility and showing leadership, Mr. Zuckerberg is going sailing. His new modus operandi -- no apologies, no admission, no action. Nothing to see here.
HAUGEN: In the end, the buck stops with Mark. There is no one holding Mark accountable but himself.
O'SULLIVAN: In a statement attacking the whistle-blower after the hearing Facebook said she only worked for the company less than two years, had no direct reports, never attended a decision level meeting and it added it doesn't agree with her characterization with the issues of child safety on its platforms, but Facebook said it does agree it is time for Congress to make laws to regulate big tech.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were a member of this panel, would you believe what facebook is saying?
HAUGEN: I would not believe -- Facebook has not earned a right to just have blind trust in them. Facebook has not earned our trust.
O'SULLIVAN: And, Jake, today is unlikely to be the last day we will see Haugen up here on Capitol Hill. Senator Richard Blumenthal mentioned that committee might bring her back to speak more about the harm Instagram and Facebook can have on children and teenagers and Representative Adam Schiff mentioned yesterday that he may ask her to speak to the House Select Committee on January 6th to talk about Facebook's possible role there, possibly culpability in the insurrection -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Donie, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
But let's bring in another Facebook insider, Adam Conner, who spent seven years on Facebook's private and public policy team.
Adam, thanks so much for being there.
So, what's your reaction to Haugen's testimony today? Do her claims of a culture of profit over safety, does that jive with what you experienced there?
ADAM CONNER, FORMER FACEBOOK PRIVACY AND PUBLIC POLICY TEAM: First I want to say I think she experienced tremendous courage today. It's never easy to speak out, even when it's right, and I think she took a tremendous personal and professional risk today. And I really applaud her. And I know that I and I think a lot of other people who worked at Facebook over the years are going to be watching closely to make sure she's not unfairly retaliated against.
TAPPER: But do you agree with what she's saying that the company cares about profits above everything, including whether or not people in the world are imperiled or whether kids are damaged?