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CNN Special Reports
All The President's Lies. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 21, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's a simple scam. It's a whole hoax.
They've defeated ISIS.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: We all know he does it.
TRUMP: The whistleblower has been very inaccurate of lies.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: He's Babe Ruth of Lies.
TRUMP: Windmill. They say the noise causes cancer.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP: This is a drug for him.
BRINKLEY: There is no president that lied as if they were a form of breathing, except Donald Trump.
TRUMP: Nobody has been transparent than me.
TAPPER: This isn't a partisan thing. He just empirically says a tremendous number of things that are just completely wrong.
DANIEL DALE, CNN FACT CHECKER: Yes, exactly.
GLENN KESSLER, FACT CHECKER, THE WASHINGTON POST: In recent months, it's been about 22 a day.
DALE: From the weather --
DAVID TITLEY, RETIRED REAR ADMIRAL, U.S. NAVY: The infamous sharpie. You can't make this stuff up.
TRUMP: Stronger, bigger, cheaper.
DALE: To immigration and trade.
TRUMP: We're not paying for the tariffs. China is paying for the tariffs for the 100th time.
TAPPER: So we wanted to know, what is the impact of all these lies?
In the U.S. --
SINAN ARAL, PROFESSOR, MIT: Repetition increases the belief in false news.
TAPPER: On Capitol Hill --
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The president was a factor in my decision not to run again.
TAPPER: In Science --
What's at stake?
MARY GLACKIN, PRESIDENT-ELECT, AMERICAN METEOROLIGICAL SOCIETY: Lives.
TAPPER: And the world.
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: The president stands up and basically says --
TRUMP: What a great outcome. Congratulations.
HAASS: Well, no, that's not the case.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Most of what he says should probably be presumed to be false until it's proven to be true.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: I am a conservative Republican. Never did I imagine I would be pointing out the gross flaws of a Republican president.
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: People say to me all the time, well, what I am I suppose to believe?
TAPPER: What should we believe? Who can we trust?
Tonight, a CNN special report, All The President's Lies.
Hi, I'm Jake Tapper in Washington.
Most presidents tell lies, whether Obama's, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, or Bush's declaration that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The notion of White House falsehoods is not new.
What is new, however, is the sheer volume and degree of false statements coming from this president, Donald Trump. And as he mounts his defense from the impeachment inquiry on a foundation of lies, I wondered what is the actual impact of this on our nation and what happens if there is some major international crisis and he needs all of the American people to believe him, to trust him, to have faith in his words?
I mean, God forbid that ever happen. But if your word means nothing, what happens then?
TRUMP: Maybe I could just see that. Kevin? GLACKIN: It's really kind of mind blowing to think we had a Cat 5 hurricane that sat off the Coast of Florida for multiple days and we weren't crazy evacuating and it was because we had confidence in that forecast. And then the story became Alabama.
TAPPER: The Alabama saga began September 1st when the president tweeted that along with other states, Hurricane Dorian was headed there.
TRUMP: Alabama is going to get a piece of it, it looks like.
TITLEY: If you go back through all the forecasts, Alabama had a miniscule, basically close to zero chance of any significant weather.
TAPPER: Alabama residents panicked by Trump's tweet, inundated the Birmingham National Weather Service.
KESSLER: They decided, well, we're going to put out a quick statement to warn people that this rumor is not true, not realizing that the president of the United States caused the rumor in the first place.
TRUMP: That was the original chart.
TAPPER: Even after the National Weather Service officials tweeted the correction, President Trump persisted.
TRUMP: It was going toward the gulf. That was what was originally projected.
TAPPER: Giving an Oval Office hurricane update with an obsolete weather map.
TITLEY: Somebody, possibly the president, I don't know, somebody in the White House took a black magic marker and extended the cone, if you will, of warning into Alabama, the infamous sharpie gate, right? And it could have died there. It probably would have.
TAPPER: Yet sharpie gate extended into a political firestorm when two days later, NOAA, which oversees the National Weather Service, released a statement publicly siding with the president. According to some media reports, Trump's staff pressured NOAA to declare his lies to be true.
TRUMP: No, I never did that. I never did that. That's a whole hoax by the fake news media.
TAPPER: You were with NOAA for more than 30 years. You've seen a lot of presidents. Have you ever seen anything like this?
GLACKIN: No, I haven't seen anything like this at all. I don't think I've ever seen such outrage.
When you start to move the focus off of the National Weather Service to the White House, then you begin to politicize this. Now, you've blurred the source. If we see repetition of this type of things, then I think the public's confidence in the accuracy of our forecast is called into question. Because the question will be, was that the National Weather Service forecast or is that what the administration told them to do?
TAPPER: So what's at stake.
GLACKIN: Lives. I think what we're endangered of losing here is people won't take action when we need it, whether it's hurricanes, tornados, flash floods. And when they don't take action, people die.
DALE: Way before the Alabama sharpie stuff, Trump was already lying about the weather.
TAPPER: Such as on his first day in office.
TRUMP: I have to say the crowd was unbelievable today. You know, I looked at the rain, which just never came -- it's like God was looking down on us. I will tell you.
TAPPER: Meet Daniel Dale.
DALE: If you were there, you know that it rained during his speech. From literally the first week of his presidency, Trump and his administration taught us that you just can't rely on what they're saying about even the most verifiable things that we can see with our own eyes.
TAPPER: Dale was hired as a sort of lie detector for CNN.
DALE: What's happening is that reporters would sometimes fact-check him on Twitter but it would mostly stay on Twitter.
So I thought I'm going to tweet a daily list of how many false things he said. And this is a quantifiable empirical matter. If Nancy Pelosi was averaging 60 false claims a week, I would probably do a tally too. But the fact is that no one else in American public life, at least in Washington, is telling as many lies as the president, Donald Trump.
TAPPER: We asked the White House to participate in this documentary about the president and his relationship with facts, and they declined.
KESSLER: In the first hundred days, he averaged about five false or misleading claims a day. But in ecent months, it's been about 22.
TAPPER: Glenn Kessler heads up the fact checking team at The Washington Post.
KESSLER: We have a Pinocchio scale. Four Pinocchios is the worst. Three Pinocchios is mostly false. It's something that is really, really bad.
What we came up with is the bottomless Pinocchio because he repeats things over and over even though they've been deemed false. TRUMP: Republicans in Congress passed the biggest tax cut and reform in the history of our country.
KESSLER: That's wrong. It actually ranks 8th.
TAPPER: Dale uses a spreadsheet to keep track of Trump's false claims.
DALE: And they're all coded.
TAPPER: These were all new lies? This one is a different lie?
DALE: So when he repeats it, I count it again.
TAPPER: It's just incredible. I mean, it's like baseball statistics except if lying were like, for hitters, what an RBI is.
TRUMP: Listen to this one president.
DALE: Trump lies about almost literally everything, every conceivable topic. Over six weeks, we tracked this summer, it was the economy and trade that had become the number one topic.
TRUMP: We can't have a $500 billion a year trade deficit.
KESSLER: The number is exaggerated. It's not $500 billion.
TRUMP: The windmill --
TAPPER: What is the effect of this barrage of lies?
DALE: Trump has created a situation where a lot of people who still trust him are not going to believe people who are trying to give them important, accurate information about their lives, whether that's doctors or scientists who are telling that climate change is a real problem.
TAPPER: Because President Trump does not adhere to facts, he has no apparent regard for science or scientists. He's rolled back environmental policies and blocked progress fighting climate change.
TITLEY: Climate change is a hoax. Everybody remembers that. It's wrong but everybody remembers it.
TRUMP: By the way, today we have the cleanest air. We have the cleanest water that we've ever had in the history of our country.
TITLEY: We have more carbon dioxide in the air than we ever have in the history of human civilization. No, we don't have the cleanest air.
He mocks things. And then you have people like me or other scientists who is like, well, no, it's not like that. It's complicated.
FMR. GOV. CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN (R-NJ): What this president has been doing is unfortunately numbing us to lies. TAPPER: Christine Todd Whitman was a two-term Republican governor and headed up the EPA for President George W. Bush.
WHITMAN: They have put a gag on scientists. For instance, scientists know that if they find something, as they do their basic science research, if it's contrary to what the administration wants, you don't bring it up.
MICHAEL MANN, CLIMATOLOGIST, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY: He's literally taking a half century of environmental protections that were put in place to protect our water, to protect our air and to act on climate and eliminating them over the course of a few years.
TAPPER: As troublesome, according to military brass, Trump turning a blind eye to climate change poses a threat to our national security.
TITLEY: It changes the very operating environment where our soldiers and sailors, airmen and marines need to work and need to prevail. The Arctic is kind of a poster child for that, how the ice is melting out.
TAPPER: And although definitive lines between climate change and geopolitical impacts are hard to prove conclusively, Climatologist Michael Mann has an even bigger concern.
MANN: Syria is suffering from the worst drought in at least 900 years. And that drought forced rural farmers into the cities, like Aleppo. It creates an environment where terrorist organizations can more easily recruit people. And that is the context in which ISIS formed.
TAPPER: Leading to catastrophe.
Up next, perhaps Trump's biggest lie.
TRUMP: The whistleblower's been very inaccurate.
The whistleblower got it all wrong.
KESSLER: It was a four Pinocchio claim. He said it 29 times.
TRUMP: It's a whole scam. It's an impeachment scam.
TAPPER: This Washington Post headline says it all.
As the biggest scandal of his presidency blew up, Trump made falsehoods his impeachment defense. Fact checkers stayed busy.
DALE: We had false claims after false claims.
KESSLER: We were surprised to see that even though we had only covered a couple of weeks, it instantly grew to more than 250 claims.
One of the statements about the whistleblower, that the whistleblower was very inaccurate almost instantly became a bottomless Pinocchio, which you get if you repeat 20 or more times.
TAPPER: He's referring to remarks Trump made about a whistleblower complaint that stated that the president had tried to pressure Ukraine and withheld aid while pushing for dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
TRUMP: The whistleblower's report was very wrong.
D'ANTONIO: I think when the Ukraine scandal and the conspiracy theory that the president is depending on, we're seeing lying at a scale that is somewhat new and is very complex.
He looks for hints from others. Oh, Ukraine was to blame for interfering in the 2016 election, not Russia. This is all crazy talk. And all of it is a lie.
TAPPER: President, part of his lack of faith in facts is his belief in conspiracy theories, pushing the Ukrainians to investigate this crazy theory of the DNC servers in Ukraine.
HAASS: It's head shaking. What matters is that he's saying things that are clearly not backed by facts, that are clearly at variance with reality, and that diminishes his credibility.
TAPPER: More false claims were found in the transcript of the call between him and the Ukrainian president.
TRUMP: My phone call was perfecto. It was totally appropriate.
DALE: He said that Joe Biden specifically pressured Ukraine to take a prosecutor off that particular case. That's not what happened.
TRUMP: If a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they would be getting the electric chair right now.
BRINKLEY: There is no president that lied as if it were a form of breathing except Donald Trump. In his mind, Nixon thought he was doing what's best for the United States. Donald Trump is operating on what's best for himself.
DENT: He weaponized himself to damage Joe Biden. And you know what -- and he may have been successful in that while at the same time blowing up his own presidency.
TAPPER: Republican Congressman Charlie Dent resigned last year partly out of frustration with President Trump.
DENT: I dealt with the president on healthcare. We had quite a celebrated dust up.
TAPPER: Dent is talking about challenging Trump in 2017 over the president's efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare. That Republican bill collapsed, but Trump has not given up.
TRUMP: Let me just tell you exactly what my message is. The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of healthcare.
PHILLIP: Based on my reporting on this issue, President Trump does not understand healthcare. And so when he dabbles in it, he often runs into falsehoods repeatedly.
TAPPER: Abby Phillip is a CNN White House Correspondent.
PHILLIP: The Trump administration is in a lawsuit right now arguing that the Affordable Care Act needs to be scrapped altogether, which would incredibly disrupt the healthcare system. But when you talk to President Trump about healthcare, he claims that they're trying to preserve protections for pre-existing conditions. And all of those things are not true based on the administration's position that they're taking in court.
TRUMP: We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.
PHILLIP: He wants to make the picture seem the best for him politically as possible even if it's not aligned with the truth.
TRUMP: With deals, that's what I do is deals.
TAPPER: The president casts himself as a deal maker, but very few deals have actually been struck.
In January of 2018, during a surreal televised meeting, President Trump shocked lawmakers from both parties when he appeared open to an immigration deal that would eventually grant millions of undocumented immigrants' citizenship.
TRUMP: You're not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take it that further step, I'll take the heat. I don't care. My whole life has been heat.
LINDA CHAVEZ, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Donald Trump has never taken the heat on anything.
TAPPER: Republican Linda Chavez served as the Director of the Office of Public of Liaison for President Ronald Reagan.
CHAVEZ: Donald Trump is not a great deal maker. Immigration is one of his signature issues and he's been unwilling to even consider that. He has not acted as if Congress even has a role to play.
TAPPER: Trump never signed immigration reform. He later reversed himself throwing his support behind a conservative Republican immigration bill.
TRUMP: I hope we gave you enough material. This should cover you for about two weeks.
TAPPER: Again, in February -- [22:20:00]
TRUMP: I really see a lot of common ground.
TAPPER: -- Trump stunned Republicans by embracing Democrats on a comprehensive gun control law.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can buy all these weapons.
TRUMP: Well, this is what you're going to have to discuss. Jo -- yes, Jo and Pat, you're going to have to discuss that. You'll sit down with Diane and everybody else.
TAPPER: it made for great T.V., but that proposed gun legislation never went anywhere.
In the wake of several recent deadly shootings, Trump has continued to flip-flop on gun control.
TRUMP: Frankly, we need intelligent background checks, okay?
TAPPER: Yet weeks after that statement on Fox, he dialed back.
TRUMP: Going very slowly in one way because we want to make sure it's right.
TAPPER: Congress is at a virtual holding pattern on any gun legislation.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I've said repeatedly that we need guidance from the president about what kind of proposal that would make a difference he would actually sign into law.
TAPPER: White House blames the Democrats and impeachment for the hold up, but Trump has repeatedly blown up negotiations.
D'ANTONIO: Donald Trump told me specifically he is not interested in making deals that [eople feel good about later. In fact, he doesn't want to go back and make a second deal with the same party. He's happy to take everything for himself and then move on. So we now have a paralyzed Washington.
TRUMP: It's very easy actually to work with them. You know why it's easy? Because I make all the decisions.
TAPPER: Few decisions, few deals. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why many House Republicans are exiting.
DENT: I didn't want to deal with the circus, and there will be more. There will be more departures.
TAPPER: Coming up --
BRINKLEY: The one word that scares him the most is recession.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TRUMP: The tariffs are not being paid for by our people. It's being paid for by China.
China is paying for the tariffs for the 100 time.
DENT: It's demonstratively (ph) false statement. Donald Trump is a graduate at the University of Pennsylvania. Every time Donald Trump says the Chinese are paying those tariffs, that sound you hear is the sound of heads exploding at the Wharton School of Business.
TAPPER: That's because those billions of dollars in tariffs President Trump placed on thousands of Chinese items entering the U.S. is usually paid for by the U.S. importer who often passes much of that cost to you.
KESSLER: They're paid for by the Americans who are buying Chinese products. So rather than use the word, tariff, we should say this is a tax on Americans.
TAPPER: What Americans are hurting because of the tariffs?
ROBERT SHILLER, ECONOMIC PROFESSOR, YALE UNIVERSITY: Well, consumers have to pay higher prices. Farmers have been particularly hurt because of the retaliation.
TAPPER: Retaliation. China placed tariffs on hundreds of American products.
RICK TELESZ, SOYBEAN FARMER: Here's a pretty typical plant.
TAPPER: Hurting farmers, such as this man in Western Pennsylvania, who spoke with CNN's Gary Tuchman this summer.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN REPORTER: What percentage of your soybeans is exported?
TELESZ: 100 percent of my beans.
TUCHMAN: 100 percent?
TUCHMAN: And do you know how much of it goes to China before these tariffs?
TELESZ: I assume they all went to China.
TAPPER: Farmers, however, are feeling a little relief thanks to billions in U.S. government subsidies and a recent move from China to ease some agricultural tariffs.
Along the Maine Coast, lobster dealers have no such relief.
STEPHANIE NADEAU, OWNER, THE LOBSTER CO.: Well, I used to sell about half of my lobsters to China and now I can't sell any of my lobsters to China. So it's impacted about half of my business, 50 percent of my sales.
TAPPER: So why did the president decided to tell this lie?
TRUMP: The American taxpayers are not paying for it.
RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: His goal is headlines, headlines and provoking rage, polarization. But there's also part of the administration that sort of China is an even empire camp that really always wanted to see the U.S. separating from China, that would like to see us have a fundamentally different economic system.
And I think that to the extent that it bolsters him with his base, Trump is quite happy to go along with that.
TRUMP: China was taking $500 billion a year out of the United States.
TAPPER: Once again, that's not factual.
KESSLER: First of all is the number is exaggerated. It's not 500 billion.
TAPPER: Last year, the U.S. trade deficit with China was around $380 billion.
TRUMP: And we lose for many years $500 billion a year with China. In many other countries, we lose billions.
KESSLER: It's not a money-losing thing. It just means that we buy more products from China than the Chinese buy from the United States. And that's a good example of where it's hard to say it's a lie because I think he really believes we are losing that money.
D'ANTONIO: If the president says, they are holding billions of dollars in our debt, that sounds really bad. And he has paved the way for this regime of lying by discrediting economic indicators in the past.
TAPPER: Discrediting economic indicators by exaggerating.
TRUMP: Republicans passed the biggest tax cut and reform in history with massive tax cuts for the middle class.
TRUMP: Well, we have no inflation. That's a very big thing.
TAPPER: and lying about economic data. President Trump does this all the time.
SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I talked to the president prior to this. And he said to quote him very clearly, they may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now.
TAPPER: Then Press Secretary Sean Spicer may have sounded like he was joking, but he was talking about a serious issue, the president's willingness to discredit official government numbers but only when it suits him. D'ANTONIO: He would say that he doesn't believe what the unemployment rate was announced to be during Obama administration. Those numbers are cooked.
TRUMP: I hear 5.3 percent unemployment. That is the biggest joke there is in this country.
D'ANTONIO: So now that he's president, he'll cite those numbers.
TRUMP: So the unemployment numbers just came out and they're the best numbers we've had in over 50 years.
D'ANTONIO: But he'll say, I'm the source now. When Obama was the source, that was the discredited source, but trust me, trust me.
TAPPER: One result of this misinformation from President Trump, it may have helped juice the economy. That's according to Robert Shiller, a Nobel Prize winner in economics. His latest book looks at how stories or narratives influence economies.
What is the impact of his lies on the economy?
SHILLER: In the long run, I think it's not good to set up an atmosphere of lies and counter-lies because I think it's hard to do business in that environment. But in the short run, it can boost business by creating some kind of confidence, some sort of false beliefs.
TAPPER: Such as exaggerating communications with China to make it seem as though a trade deal is imminent.
TRUMP: China called last night our top trade people and said, let's get back to the table.
TAPPER: There's no evidence that phone call was ever made. That was a Monday in late August. The Dow had dropped 623 points the Friday before. Two officials told CNN, Trump conflated some messages coming from China because he was eager to project optimism that might boost markets.
It may have worked. The Dow closed up 270 points that Monday. And keep in mind, a president's boasting can boost the market or the overall economy. It has happened before.
SHILLER: Calvin Coolidge was accused of untruth in the 1920s in promoting the bull market of the roaring '20s. After the 1929 crash, Coolidge became subject of ridicule.
TAPPER: Fast forward to today where there is evidence that the U.S. economy is slowing down, but the president refuses to accept that fact.
Tweeting late August, the fake news lame stream media is doing everything possible to create a U.S. Recession even though the numbers and facts are working totally in the opposite direction.
FOROOHAR: The U.S. economy is slowing. Trade has been flat or falling for a number of years now.
BRINKLEY: The one word that scares him the most is recession. He almost is like the witch melting in the Wizard of Oz when you say the word. He may crosses himself, no, because that will doom him.
FOROOHAR: He has run so much on I'm good for the markets, I'm good for the U.S. economy. Well, if we're in a recession, it's not going to feel that way to a lot of people.
NADEAU: In this area right here, there's probably 30,000 pounds of lobsters.
TAPPER: It already doesn't feel that way to the business owners struggling because of the president's tariffs.
NADEAU: We really developed the business in China starting in 2009. This was the focus of my business. And now the Canadians have my customers and I don't know if I can ever get them back.
TAPPER: As for her future --
NADEAU: If he's re-elected and these tariffs stay in effect, I quit. And I won't be the only one.
TAPPER: Up next, what the president's lies say to America's allies.
TRUMP: Well, what I have done is I've defeated ISIS.
We have defeated ISIS, essentially.
We defeated ISIS.
KESSLER: ISIS was never really defeated.
TAPPER: When the U.S. president lies on the world stage, he is doing more than trampling the truth.
TRUMP: We captured many, many ISIS fighters. Most of them came from Europe.
TAPPER: He's upending world order.
HAASS: the United States has essentially gone from what I would describe as the principle architect and the principle general contractor of the world, the preserver of the world. To now, we've become the principle disruptor.
TAPPER: Trump's lies are a big part of that disrupting. Richard Haass was the Director of Policy Planning for the State Department under President George W. Bush. He's now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He believes there are two kinds of Trump lies.
HAASS: One is to present only one side of a story.
TAPPER: Such as hailing the end to the recent Turkish assault on the Kurds in Northern Syria.
TRUMP: By getting this ceasefire to stick, we've done something that's very, very special.
TAPPER: Instead of explaining that he helped facilitate Turkey's attack by withdrawing the U.S. troops who, as part of their duties, were protecting the Kurds, a U.S. ally.
HAASS: And then you have situations like we saw more recently in the wake of his decision to Turkey and Syria, where the president stands up and basically says, this is a great success.
TRUMP: And now people are saying, wow, what a great outcome.
HAASS: Well, no, that's not the case.
TAPPER: The case was Kurds living near the Turkish border with Syria lost lives, homes, territory.
TRUMP: We've done a good job.
TAPPER: That's not what the president's lead adviser on Syria and against ISIS testified on the Hill just 90 minutes before President Trump delivered that victory speech.
JAMES JEFFREY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY: The Turkish incursion into Northeast Syria is a tragedy. It was long-standing U.S. government policy in two administrations to keep that from happening.
BRINKLEY: We had been telling the Kurds that we would try to make sure that they weren't murdered or tortured.
TAPPER: But the president had also promised he would bring the troops home.
TRUMP: I campaigned on bringing the soldiers back home, and that's what I'm doing.
BRINKLEY: He sees an election coming with Americans in Syria and just pulls them out. He's trying to fulfill those campaign promises as an inoculation against the lies.
TAPPER: He pulled them out of Northern Syria, but there remain U.S. troops in Syria.
MARK ESPER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Those who remain will continue to execute counterterrorism operations while staying in close contact with the Syrian Democratic Forces who have fought alongside us. Additionally, the United States will retain control of oil fields in Northeast Syria.
TAPPER: U.S. troops are still there. They're just not protecting Kurds, who lost thousands of people while helping the U.S. fight ISIS.
DENT: We certainly betrayed an ally in the Kurds.
TAPPER: And this amplified an ominous message that has been ricocheting around the globe ever since Trump took office.
D'ANTONIO: We don't stand behind our deals, we're not honest and the world doesn't trust us.
TAPPER: What does that do to other allies of the United States when they see, oh, the word of the United States, the word of President Trump is actually worthless? What affect does that have?
HAASS: Read the Israeli press. It makes Israel more uncomfortable about taking risk. The Saudis increasingly believe they're on their own.
WHITMAN: He has made it so that now the Japanese and the South Koreans are looking at, we're going to have to deal with Kim Jong-un because we can't trust the United States to be there for us.
HAASS: By definition, if you're an ally of the United States, you've made a consequential decision to place your fate in our hands. If it's determined that what we're saying can't be taken at face value, they're going to basically say, we can't depend on these Americans. They don't speak consistently. They're not being honest with us. So we're going to maybe develop nuclear weapons of our own or we're going to cut deals of our own. So I think that's the danger with our friends.
TAPPER: And the enemies --
HAASS: I think our foes are going to be much more prone to testing us, whether it's Iran or Putin.
TAPPER: On Iran, the U.S. pulled out of the Iran deal. Trump is saying he didn't like the deal and that Iran was not complying with it.
TRUMP: They are not in compliance with the agreement.
TAPPER: Both U.S. allies and some of the president's own advisers said Iran was in compliance. It's not anymore.
The Iranians are now enriching uranium beyond the allowed amount and using centrifuges banned under the deal. All of this is designed to pressure Europe to change the terms of the deal to compensate for the U.S. withdrawal from it. CHAVEZ: Just pulling out, in some ways, undercuts our standing in the world stage. Any country that signs a deal with a Democrat has to believe that if a Republican comes in or vice versa that that agreement is going to stand.
TAPPER: That has added yet another reason for the global community to question Mr. Trump, who has threatened military action if Iran steps out of line. He tweeted in May, quote, if Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran.
HAASS: Why shouldn't the Iranians worry over what we might do? They may just say, well, they didn't help the Saudis after the Saudis were attacked.
TAPPER: And then there's Russia.
HAASS: Putin, what really worries me, is how do we know that he won't basically say, well, I've gotten away with this on Ukraine?
TAPPER: He's talking about Putin's illegal annexation of Crimea, which happened during the Obama administration.
HAASS: And I've gotten away with this on Syria.
TAPPER: He's referring to Putin's decision to move Russian troops into the Syrian territory recently abandoned by the U.S.
HAASS: Maybe he's going to probe us with some NATO country, maybe in Montenegro, maybe in Estonia. And my concern is that this inconsistency, this unwillingness to stand by what we say and to be consistent with what we say, I'm worried that it's going to lead to a lot of tests of the United States.
TAPPER: More tests, Haass believes, because the U.S. president has less credibility.
HAASS: And there's no person's credibility that matters more than the president of the United States. It is the person with whom billions of people around the world through their governments have placed their futures, their faith, their security, their confidence.
TAPPER: Up next, the impact of Trump's lies on the human mind.
TALI SHAROT, PROFESSOR OF COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: As dishonesty gradually increases, the reaction of the public actually decreases.
TAPPER: November 4th in Lexington, Kentucky.
TRUMP: You haven't heard about the whistleblower after that, have you?
TAPPER: As impeachment loomed, the president did not let up on false statements. TRUMP: The whistleblower said lots of things that weren't so good, folks. You're going to find out.
KESSLER: He believes that if he says it over and over and again, it will somehow make it truer. And it doesn't.
TRUMP: As you know --
TAPPER: Trump lies are growing and getting bolder.
KESSLER: One might have hoped that he would have slowed down, but instead he's actually gotten worse.
TAPPER: Some of his defenders will say, he doesn't get every detail right. You guys in the media make too big a deal out of this.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S PRESIDENT: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
DALE: Look, every politician sometimes lies and gets things wrong. Trump isn't always intentional when he's getting things wrong. But after literally thousands of these, at some point, I think those defenses just start to sound silly. With this frequency, this quantity, there is an intentional strategy.
TAPPER: Conservative Analyst Amanda Carpenter believes that strategy is gaslighting. It's an abstract concept of manipulation, making people believe things that are not there.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CONSERVATIVE ANALYST: I wrote the book Gaslighting America because I see what Trump is doing is so much more than lying. It's bigger than that.
He finds these narratives that are floating around the conspiracy theory blogs and picks up on them because there's an appetite for it.
Ukraine escapade is classic gaslighting.
TRUMP: Where is Hunter --
CARPENTER: He just doesn't tell a simple lie. He spins things up. Look, he's doing government investigations to find things that weren't there.
TAPPER: Carpenter is talking about falsehoods spun by Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, conspiracy theories that Joe Biden pushed out a Ukrainian prosecutor because he had been investigating his son, Hunter. That's false according to mounting evidence including testimonies from top diplomats who paint a vivid picture of Giuliani's efforts to coax Ukraine into launching a probe into Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 elections.
TRUMP: Take a look at Biden and you'll see tremendous corruption. TAPPER: The trouble comes when the public believes these false claims rather than the facts.
CARPENTER: He is excellent at spinning these things up, trapping people into the narrative. And people want to believe it.
TAPPER: Historian Timothy Schneider has another theory.
TIMOTHY SNYDER, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, YALE UNIVERSITY: He lies all the time but he doesn't lie all the time out of conviction. He lies all the time to just make sure that we're all confused.
TAPPER: It's similar, Snyder says, to another leader across the ocean.
SNYDER: The single most alarming similarity between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin is the basic pattern of lying. First, you lie all the time.
TRUMP: Why is it only the United States putting up the money?
SNYDER: Then you say it's actually the journalists who are the liars.
TRUMP: Well, obviously, it's fake because almost everything The Washington Post does is fake.
SNYDER: Then you try to thrive in confusion of the fact that you have the best spectacle and you have the best platform because you're the president of the country.
TAPPER: Could Trump's persistent attacks on the press influence leaders, other countries?
In November 2017, a Libyan T.V. station seized on a Trump fake news tweet that tried to discredit a CNN investigative report on slavery in Libya.
HAASS: Others around the world have gotten a message. They won't pay a price if they behave badly in this realm. And we're no longer setting an example that individuals around the world want to emulate.
TAPPER: The president's weapon of choice for spreading falsehoods is Twitter.
ARAL: The breath and speed with which his comments travel is very different than anything we've ever seen in presidential history.
When we analyze all of the true and false verified news that were spread on Twitter, what we found was that false news diffused farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in every category of information that we studied.
TAPPER: His studies show lies stick the more we heard them.
ARAL: Research shows that repetition increases the belief in false news. Even if I am repeating to you the false news headline in order to tell you that it's false news, hearing it again and again will make me believe that falsity.
TAPPER: So how does all of this lying affect us? What happens when a lie hits your brain?
SHAROT: Repeated lying is like perfume. The first time you put it on, it really smells quite strongly. The next time you put it on, less so. And after a few weeks, you can't smell it anymore because you desensitize.
TAPPER: Last year, scientist Tali Sharot and her colleagues put her perfume hypothesis to the test, forecasting how Trump's lies might affect the American psyche over time.
SHAROT: We made a prediction that we're going to see the average amount of falsehood increase everyday from the Oval Office. And at the same time, we're going to see less reaction from the public and inner circle.
And it turns out that that is exactly what happens. As dishonesty gradually increases, the reaction of the public actually decreases.
TAPPER: According to a recent poll, while most Americans trust the news media over President Trump when it comes to who's telling the truth about important issues, three-quarters of Republicans trust President Trump over the news media.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: There is an echo chamber. Folks weren't necessarily willing to fact-check this president. So he
gets away with it at least with a segment of his supporters because they don't trust institutions, right, because he has told them that those folks are not to be believed. I'm the only one to be believed.
TAPPER: But some in his own party are losing faith.
KASICH: I've got loyalty to people that I work with. But there's also limits to loyalty to just a political party when you see things happening.
DENT: Don't try to ever defend the indefensible with the president or explain the inexplicable, because you just can't explain it.
CARPENTER: I'm terrified that this level of lying is going to become the new norm in politics.
TAPPER: Is this the new norm? What impact will this ultimately have on the nation? The U.S. is still scarred by lies around Watergate and Vietnam. Will President Trump's falsehoods forever mark this era? How can we trust the next president?
SNYDER: I think these are all challenges and they're totally normal. And we have to remember that democracy is not given to us. Democracy is something that we have to work really hard to create.
TAPPER: Part of that hard work these days is seeking out the facts and then agreeing to accept them as facts.
[22:55:07] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tapes don't lie.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: The president lied.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, it's not the fake news media --
DALE: You've got to do your own research or go to an independent source to see if it's true. It's not my job to tell citizens, voters how to behave. But as a fact checker, I know that there is nothing so small that I can trust that is true from Trump. Every single thing has to be verified.
AUDIENCE: Four more years. Four more years.
DALE: It exhausts people.
TAPPER: Exhausting, but necessary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President, I think, fairly deliberately missed the point there.
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Have you got an extra camera in case the lights go out?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is what impeachment looks like.
NIXON: Olli (ph), only the CBS crew now can be in this room during this, only the crew. No. There will be no picture. No. After the broadcast. You've taken your picture.
ZAKARIA: Facing certain removal, Richard Nixon is moments away from resigning as president.
NIXON: That's enough, okay? All Secret Service -- is there any secret service in the room? Out.