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Reliable Sources

Believing Trump Means Believing In A Conspiracy; The Mystery Of President Trump's Unannounced Hospital Visit; One-On-One With Former Congresswoman Katie Hill; Katie Hill's Experience With Right-Wing Media Smears; Meet Prince Andrew's Interviewer; WAPO: The Global Reach Of Trump's Fake News Outrage; Cult Expert Turns His Attention To Trump. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 24, 2019 - 11:00   ET



BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. It's time for RELIABLE SOURCES. This is our weekly look at the story behind the story, of how the media really works, how the news gets made and how all of us can help make it better.

This hour, the train wreck interview the whole world is talking about. Prince Andrew sitting with BBC. His interviewer is going to join me live to tell me what happened.

Plus, right wing media's power and potential, former Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill has firsthand experience about what this is like. She'll join me live as well.

And we have brand new reporting about President Trump's mysterious visit to Walter Reed Military Hospital. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with his brand new reporting. That's coming up in a few minutes.

But, first, after five days of televised impeachment hearings, the facts are clear if you are willing to see them. As the "A.P.'s" Julie Pace puts it, the mountain of evidence is now beyond dispute. But disputes are the specialty of pro-Trump media. More than ever before, two Americas are split into two different news worlds.

I mean, think about it. Right now, in order to be a loyal Republican these days, loyal to the president, here are the things that you're supposed to believe. You're supposed to believe in the Ukraine conspiracy theory. You know, you're supposed to believe the whistleblower made up a false story. That Ukraine is guilty of meddling in the 2016 election. That Marie Yovanovitch wouldn't hang Trump's photo up in the embassy.

Let's put that scroll up. Let's talk more about all the things that you're supposed to believe in order to be a loyal Republican. You're supposed to believe that Adam Schiff, you know, is someone who knows the identity of the whistleblower. You're supposed to believe that CrowdStrike is at the center of what really happened in 2016.

Now, what we know from Fiona Hill and other witnesses who testified under oath is some of the conspiracy theories are promoted by Russian disinformation agents. Yet, we're also seeing Republicans promote these, stand by these, and insist you must believe them too.

It's a strange environment that we're living in right now. so, let me walk over to the panel and talk about what this week represented, and whether anything really changed.

Margaret Sullivan is here. She's a media columnist for "The Washington Post". Oliver Darcy, CNN senior media reporter. And Juliet Huddy, who's formerly a Fox News host for many years. She's now the co-host of "The Curtis and Juliet Show" here in New York, on 770 WABC Radio.

Thank you all for coming in.

Juliet, I know you have a lot of experience with these competing universes of information as someone who spent so many years at Fox News. It was discouraging for me this week to see that no matter how damning the evidence was, that was presented at the impeachment hearings, Sean Hannity just completed the different set of facts.

What did you see happening?

JULIET HUDDY, FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: I think what happens on Fox on a daily basis is what happens on -- basically, it's a microcosm of what happens in the world on a daily basis. Fox is banking on the fact that Americans are going to -- Americans who watch them, their viewers, are going to stick with them. I mean, we know that I think it's like 20 percent of America, closely followed the impeachment hearings.

I was talking to some relatives of mine over at my house. I was telling Margaret this. And they're Trump supporters. And, I said, OK, so what did you think of the impeachment? We didn't watch. How do you get your news? We look at the headlines.


HUDDY: The headlines when I go to their house, it's on Fox News. When I look at their computer screen, it's Breitbart or "The Hill".

So the headlines and the information that they're getting is curated by a very specific agenda-driven narrative. And that is the right. So, they're not getting any of this information.

And Fox is banking on the fact as is Hannity to Tucker Carlson and the rest of the crew, the "Fox and Friends" folk, they're banking on the fact they've done a good job of convincing us, the rest of the world and their viewers that the media is lying. That critics of are liars and the enemy of the state, and they're banking on the fact that everybody is going to stick with them and not go outside the lines.

STELTER: Yes, and I saw this when I watched the nightly newscasts and watched Sean Hannity's version of the Republican nightly news. Let's look at Lester Holt on one side and Hannity on the other.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: The most explosive testimony yet.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Everything the president said to Sondland is exculpatory.

HOLT: There was a quid pro quo.

HANNITY: No quid pro quo.

HOLT: Former White House Russia expert.

HANNITY: Today's witness, a so-called Ukraine expert.

HOLT: Blasting Republicans for spreading a conspiracy theory for Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election.


HANNITY: Ukraine, did, in fact, interfere in the 2016 elections to help Hillary Clinton and hurt Donald Trump.


STELTER: It's cynical on Hannity's part, but, Oliver, it does work.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. I think this week really showed there's no depth the right wing media won't sink to to defend this president. And, you know, we talk a lot about Hannity as well and how he misinforms viewers. I think we should also talk about how Fox on the news side largely does not inform viewers.

I think this week we saw, for instance, the website which is supposedly part of their straight news division run by Hannity's former producer. It looked more like Breitbart than you would expect straight news Fox News to look like. If you look at the panelists they brought onto talk about the legal impeachment hearings, they were bringing on people like Ken Starr, McCarthy, people who are sympathetic to the president's case.

And finally, you know, we were using our chyrons throughout the week to inform viewers about the damning testimony that was coming from these witnesses.

STELTER: Right, chyron is the banner on the bottom of the screen. A lot of the time on fox news, they weren't putting the breaking news about the hearing on the banner.

DARCY: Right. And this is from Fox's news division. They go to advertisers and they say, we are fearless in our news coverage, we are straight down the middle and have an opinion, but the news division is tell it how it is. And I think this week, it really highlighted how Fox supposed -- so-called news division is not really doing that on a daily news.


STELTER: The journalists there feel squeezed by the situation. DARCY: Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, good journalist, they are there.

But, largely, this news division and the way you see it operate on the websites and the way you see them do things with the chyrons, it just really shows they are really hesitant to be critical of the president and to just put in what the witnesses are saying.

STELTER: Like what is happening?

DARCY: Yes. What is happening in the real world.

HUDDY: The lying by omission thing that we talked about previously. It's, yes, they leave things out.

STELTER: Look at what the president did. He called into "Fox and Friends" on Friday morning in order to talk for 53 minutes about his view how things are doing.

Here's how "The Washington Post" described that interview. It said: Trump continued to make lofty promises of soon-to-come bombshells, he peddled falsehood, he spread long-debunked conspiracy theories, he attacked his perceived enemies, he dabble in misogynistic tropes, all while playing the role of persecuted victim.

Now, Margaret, you're at "The Washington Post." That's why I want to share this. We need writing and reporting to explain how bonkers this is.

MARGARET SULLIVAN, MEDIA COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right, I mean, we can't just sort of say, you know, take it down the middle and sort of say here's what the people on the right are saying. Here's what the people on the left are saying. That amounts to a false equivalency, because, unfortunately, you know, what's being viewed as left wing media is actually what I like to call the reality-based press.

And, you know, I don't think that most of the time and particularly on the evening shows, but as Oliver says, not just on the evening shows, you're not getting reality. You're getting a skewed version of things and that is by design.

STELTER: And there's so much confusion as a result. You wrote a column for "The Post" this week. Let's put the headline on screen, addressing this sense a lot of people have, that I don't know what to believe. You hear this all the time these days. It's a pretty relevant excuse. I don't know what to believe.

But you say that's a copout?

SULLIVAN: I think it is a copout. I think as American citizens we like to say news consumers, but really what these people are and all of us are American citizens ought to make ourselves informed. And so to say, well, gee, I don't really know. I'm hearing things on different sides.

You know, read a newspaper. Watch the evening news. OK. You want to watch Fox, but compare and contrast. STELTER: Yes.

SULLIVAN: And get a sense and go beyond the headlines. And I think that when people say I don't know what to believe, I'm confused, I actually think we should push back on that and say well, you know, this is actually really important what's going on. And it's really -- you ought to find out.

STELTER: And seek out primary source material, et cetera. I also would like to point out what we're not seeing. That leads me to GOP lawmakers, the leaders of the Republican Party and how they're not showing up on this screen. They're not showing up anywhere but Fox.

Mitch McConnell, for example, zero interviews in the past three months. We searched all transcripts, ABC and CBS, and NBC and Fox and CNN, MSNBC. He hasn't done a single interview, (INAUDIBLE) only that CNBC runs randomly.

It's not much better if you at Steve Scalise, if you look at McCarthy, we can put these on screen here. Scalise pretty much all on Fox News, showing up almost nowhere else in the past three months. And this is something that's true for almost all the leaders of the Republican Party.

I know you're not surprised by this, Oliver, but I do think we should recognize they've mostly stayed in a bubble.

DARCY: Right. Well, they have trouble defending the indefensible, right? So, they're going to an outlet that's not going to press them on things that are uncomfortable, that are unfavorable to their narrative they put out. And, you know, the Republican Party and the right wing press have really, I mean, we say this a lot, but they've totally created and constructed this alternate universe.

And that universe -- these people are telling the truth and everyone else is telling lies. And it's easy for them to go in that universe and peddle this misinformation. They're not pressed on these things.


But if they were come out -- to come out in the real world, you see their arguments fall apart. You saw that, for instance, when Jim Jordan went on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER". And his argument just fell apart, collapsed under the weight of reality.

In the other universe, you know, they're not bound by the same laws of physics. They're allowed to, you know, just put stuff out there that makes no real sense and the hosts don't press.

STELTER: It makes me wonder what it would be like to have ten minutes to interview McConnell, you know? Just a couple of questions and see how he reacts.

All right. To the panel, thank you so much.

Coming up here, two of CNN's best, the aforementioned Jake Tapper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta join me with two different angles about the president and his lack of credibility. Most importantly, why it matters. That's next.


STELTER: Now to all the president's lies.

You know the last time Washington was in the grip of an impeachment inquiry, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde wanted us all to view the news through the eyes of a child. Hyde passed away in 2007. But his words stand out to me today. This is from 1999 when he read aloud a letter from a third grader in Chicago.

Hyde was making a point about how the president is a role model for the country.


THEN-REP. HENRY HYDE (R-IL): As that third grader from Chicago wrote to me, if you can't believe the president, who can you believe?


STELTER: If you can't believe the president, who can you believe? There's such power in that question. Of course, it applied then to Bill Clinton and now applies to President Trump who kind of makes past presidential liars look like amateurs.


Trump's lying is so pervasive and so suffuse, it's the subject of an hour long special by CNN's Jake Tapper called "All The President's Lies". He speaks with Amanda Carpenter and Daniel Dale and other experts, talking about how the president is gaslighting the country.

The special premiers tonight, Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

And Tapper is joining me now for a preview.

Jake, is it fair to say we're at the point that the president and his allied media outlets are waging a disinformation war on the public? Is it that bad?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there's a lot of disinformation coming from President Trump and his allies in the media and on Capitol Hill. There's a lot of things that are said that are just factually not true.

And the truth is I was thinking about this documentary before Ukraine happened, and before this scandal broke. But it has become -- disinformation, lying has become a key part of his defense. I mean, he says the president says, that the whistleblower complaint has been disproven. That's not true. The main components of it have been backed p by further testimony.

He says that Adam Schiff made up his own version of the call, and then was proven wrong when the president released the call. And that's not what happened at all. The president released the rough transcript. Adam Schiff, and you can argue about the wise-ness or the wisdom of this, but he did his own little version of it in front of the House Intelligence Committee that time, but it wasn't -- he wasn't trying to mislead. He was trying to do like a mob version of it.

But in any case, the point is like, the president's timeline is completely off. And so much of this is designed, I think just to confuse the American people, and muddy the waters and cloud what the facts are.

STELTER: And that's where the gaslighting comes.

Do you think journalists are going to look back in years and regret not doing more to speak out about this lying and deceit? Clearly, this prime time special is a way to address how ridiculous it's gotten.

TAPPER: I think some reporters will. I mean, I don't think, you know, for instance, Daniel Dale, who was our fact checker, or Holmes Lybrand, who's another one of our fact checkers here at CNN, or Glenn Kessler at "The Washington Post" or any of us who attempt to just state unequivocally what the facts are and what they are not, not only with President Trump but with any major politician, although especially President Trump who lies so frequently. I don't think we necessarily have anything to look back on with regret.

But I certainly think there are other journalists who are not doing it. I'll tell you, when I prepare for interviews --


TAPPER: -- I read previous interviews that the Democrat or Republican I'm about to interview has done. And I'm quite often and I'm not going to give you any names or networks, but I'm quite often stunned at the degree to which just blatant lies are not only said by politicians, but sometimes by members of the media. It gets so confusing for Americans and for Trump supporters and Trump opponents. I think people just throw up their hands and walk away.

But it's not just the lie itself that President Trump is pushing. It's the corruption of the truth, the fact that all these people around him have to start talking, acting as if President Trump is talking about this thing that is actually a legitimate beef that he might have when that's not at all what he's talking about.

STELTER: Right. And then we get more confused and that's why we need specials like yours.

So, Jake, thank you so much.

TAPPER: Thank you, Brian.

STELTER: And Tapper's special is tonight, Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time here on CNN. Look, the clear result of "All The President's Lies" is a lack of

credibility, not just for the president but for his aides as well. That's why there's been so much speculation about the unusual trip to Walter Reed last weekend. Trump says he went for a routine physical because he had extra time. But does it all add up?

Neurosurgeon and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has been following up on this. He's spoken to several doctors who previously worked at the White House or are currently in touch with the White House to try to find out what's going on. His new story was just published on

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, what is the new reporting?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, first, as a starting point, any time a 73-year-old man with clinical obesity and a history of heart disease goes to the hospital unannounced, you know, obviously, medical people are going to ask why, and what prompted that. And keep in mind, you know, the president going to the hospital is a big deal no matter what.

There's lots of things that need to happen at the hospital. Corridors get closed. We learned roads -- certain roads get closed. That's why an institution-wide notice goes out. That didn't happen here. So, that was a bit unusual.

Also, what we subsequently heard that the president had done at Walter Reed after going through the process of getting to the hospital were basic laboratory tests, primarily, that could have been done at the White House.


So, those are important points. You know, we see video of when the president is leaving the White House. We see Dr. Sean Conley getting into the vehicle with him. That's important.

Doctors that I talked to said in their entire time as White House physicians, they never rode with the president. That's a security concern, and yet, you see the doctor riding with the president on the way to Walter Reed this past Saturday. So, eight days ago now.

We don't know what to make of that. And it's hard to say that it means anything. We know that Sean Conley released after we asked questions in terms of his own explanation of things. And what he spent time doing in the memo that he released was basically saying here are the things the president didn't have done as opposed to what he did have done.

So these are all sort of just question marks. I will say one thing, Brian. President Trump seems to have gotten in and out of the hospital within a couple of hours.


GUPTA: That's a good thing. If it were something more serious or something requiring intensive care, it seems like it would have been longer.

STELTER: Right. And certainly, he's been on camera since then. No outward issues, but because of this administration's lack of credibility, we are left with these questions.

And you say in your story your greatest concern is not whether he's being honest with the public, but whether his doctors are being honest with him.

GUPTA: Look, this is a huge concern, Brian. I think the idea of having what are supposed to be independent medical professionals in a way acting beholden to the president as we have seen in the past, I'm not making that up. I mean, everyone remembers the Harold Bornstein letter where it was said, you know, unequivocally, he'll be the healthiest president ever. His health is astonishingly excellent.

I mean, really flowery language. Then we come to find out allegedly that letter was entirely dictated by President Trump himself to Dr. Harold Bornstein. That is obviously blatant beholden -- being beholden to someone.

When I asked Dr. Ronny Jackson, you remember, Brian, last year in 2018 at the press conference a couple questions, I want you to listen to this for a second. This is the more nuanced sort of stuff you have to get through. Listen to this.

STELTER: Yes, let's listen.


GUPTA: And he does have heart disease. Is that what you said?

DR. RONNY JACKSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN: He doesn't have a heart disease.

GUPTA: Because he had a CT scan before that showed calcium in his -- in his coronary blood vessel.

JACKSON: He does. He -- he had -- he had a -- so, I think -- so technically he has nonclinical atherosclerotic coronary -- coronary atherosclerosis.


GUPTA: Brian, you see what I mean there? I mean, that's the challenge. So, he did not -- first, he did not disclose the president even had this test. He was telling about his magnesium levels, his potassium levels.

The fact that the president had a coronary CT scan of his heart, that's not -- it was never in the official record. It's only because I had a source that told me about it that I was able to ask Dr. Ronny Jackson about it.

Second of all, I said so this shows heart disease. And you saw, he was -- he was really struggling there to try to basically, I think, avoid saying the word disease, which i It sounds like he was basically told not to do.

And yet, that's what the study showed. That's the challenge, Brian.

STELTER: It would be great to see a press conference today or next week with one of the president's doctors, but I'm not going to hold my breath, unfortunately.

GUPTA: That's right.

STELTER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

STELTER: Full stories up on

Up next here on RELIABLE SOURCES, former Congresswoman Katie Hill is going to tell me what it's like to be covered --



STELTER: So, what happens after you resign from your congressional seat amid a revenge porn scandal?

Well, former California Congresswoman Katie Hill is remaining very visible and she is speaking out against what she calls right-wing media smears. Hill resigned at the end of October after admitting she had an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer before coming into office.

The story came to light after conservative blog called "Red State" released intimate photos of Hill with an unnamed female campaign staffer and made other allegations against her. Then, "The Daily Mail" piled on with other photos as well. You know, in the words of "The Atlantic", this happened gradually and then all once.

But now, it's been a few weeks. And Hill is still on Capitol Hill sometimes. She's remaining very public, speaking out about the impeachment inquiry, et cetera.

So, let's hear from her now. Katie Hill joining me from Washington.

You were up Capitol Hill this week.


STELTER: Tell me about what the last few weeks have been like.

HILL: I mean, it was a -- it was a very con conscious decision to be public, right? And I think what the right wing media and those who attacked me wanted was for me to be silenced. And I think that that's something we see on attacks against women, not just high profile women but women across the board, is that these kinds of attacks are meant to silence you, demean you, and show that you do not have power. So, for me, it was really important to show that that's not going to

work. And I have to own up to my responsibility in this, but I think coming forward and saying, I'm going to continue to be a voice for people who believed in me and what this whole fight is about is something that, you know, I believe in. So --

STELTER: So, you did admit to a breach of responsibility with this inappropriate relationship, but you've also denied other elements of these accusations against you. There's been this very ugly divorce proceeding, you say that, you know, you're the victim essentially of this smear campaign. Am I getting that all right? Is that correct?

HILL: Yes. I mean, you know, I think there's a lot of complicated aspects to this, right? But there's -- you know, the biggest thing for me is that this is a -- I think we can't -- we have to look at this from an entire perspective, and at the end of the day, you know, I did step down, but I'm going to continue to fight for the things a matter, and part of that is figuring out what that next step is.

And right now, we have a -- we have a criminal in the White House. We have Republicans on Capitol Hill who are doing everything that they can to, you know, defend him even when it means they're sacrificing their own integrity, and are lying to the American people nonstop.


So, that's what I'm going to do.

STELTER: What should people understand about what it's like to see these Web sites publishing intimate photos or what it's like to be attacked on Fox News? There's multiple layers here but what do people know about that experience?

HILL: I think it's the -- you know it's one of the darkest things that you can experience. And you know, I think that this is what we have to think about is that this isn't just happening to me, right? This is happening to girls and women across the country.

And you know that's why we see -- and I was asked about this all the time on the campaign trail by really young, you know, teenagers and girls who are -- you know, who experience cyberbullying in different capacities and who are saying that this is -- what are you going to do about this, right? And we don't have an answer for that. So we need to figure out that fight.

But you also see it as a tactic that is constantly used by the right. Look at what they're doing to the witnesses on the impeachment inquiry. Look at what they're doing to, you know, to try to silence anybody who speaks out in a way that they don't like.

STELTER: I was going to bring that up. It's very different circumstances but these witnesses, they go out there, in most cases, they don't want to be up there on Capitol Hill testifying. And then they go home at night, and if they turn on the T.V. they're getting besieged and smeared by Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Is it like an out-of-body experience? Like what was it like to be called names etcetera?

HILL: Oh totally. And you have to -- you know, you really can't understand until you're there, right? I mean, as a public figure you're used to attacks, right? But when it -- when it -- when it gets to the level of these threats and feeling like you're not -- you're not seen as a person anymore. And that's -- the dehumanization is it's something that I think people can't really understand unless you've been there and that's exactly what the right-wing media does and that they're doing to these witnesses.

And you know, look what they're doing to Fiona Hill and what they did to Ambassador Yovanovitch. And I think that you see it for in particular with women because they are -- that is what the right likes to do, right? That's -- they're easier targets and they are true threats to safety.

And, you know, my own family experience that, myself, right? But it's really disgusting, it's horrific. It's not something that we should do, you know, on our own side, right? I don't -- I think we have to be -- we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard and recognize that no matter -- even how despicable we think somebody is, they're still a human. And you can't -- you can't -- you really can't dehumanize them like this.

STELTER: Katie Hill, thank you so much. Great to see you.

HILL: Thank you.

STELTER: A quick break here on RELIABLE SOURCES. And after the break, the interview that led a prince to resign from public life. We're going to talk with a journalist who conducted that exclusive interview and learn from her interviewing skills next.



STELTER: Now to the power of an interview. The Duke of York Prince Andrew, a son of Queen Elizabeth II sat down for an interview with BBC "Newsnight" last week. It seemed like he was attempting to explain himself about his association with Jeffrey Epstein but this interview only made things worse for the prince.

He did not seem to comport himself well in the interview. He claimed they had no indication that Epstein was doing anything wrong at the time. He didn't seem that remorseful about this relationship with a sex trafficker and pedophile.

Prince Andrew did use the interview to deny allegations that he had sex with an underage woman who said she had been trafficked by Epstein. So he did issue a denial about that, but even some parts of explanation didn't all that up and he faced an intense backlash to the interview. You can see here some of the reactions to the interview.

He has now stepped back from all his public duties for the foreseeable future. Here to talk about the story behind the story about how this interview came about is the BBC's Emily Maitlis. Emily, first of all, there's so much I want to ask you about how to conduct an interview of this scale, in this magnitude. How did you land this interview in the first place?

EMILY MAITLIS, JOURNALIST, BBC: It was a lot of preparation. I think it's fair to say it didn't happen overnight. Sometimes on T.V. we give the illusion that these things are sort of produced out of thin air or magicked up. And as you know well, Brian, they never come together without an awful amount of preparation, and advance thoughts, and a certain amount I guess of indecent begging. And this one took months and months to get us to that place, yes.

STELTER: Let's take a look at just a little clip from the interview to get -- give people a sense of how you were asking your questions. Here's the clip.


MAITLIS: All of this goes back to your friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. How did you first become friends? How did you meet?


STELTER: A very simple question, I would -- I would argue very softly spoken. This was not a situation where you were trying to point your finger at him and get him to admit to guilt. So tell me about that strategy.

MAITLIS: You know what, this may sound odd, but in one way it was a very straightforward interview. I knew that we only had one shot at this. There were no previous interviews like it. There was nothing I could go to try and compare it with old answers. It was an interview about getting information.

And it was an interview that I knew would be watched by women who had been girls whose lives had been turned upside down by Jeffrey Epstein and who lives in some cases have been damaged directly and I knew that there would be answers that they were looking for.

So the whole strategy as far as you can call it one of the interview was just to try and get information on every step of the way, understand the reasons he made certain decisions, understand his presence or his absence, understand why he'd agree to things when he'd last seen Ghislaine Maxwell.

It was just about trying to get in the most forensic way possible an understanding of the whole picture. Because we had scraps, we had the photograph, we had sightings, we had little bits of CCTV. We had witness accounts and then we had the deposition in court of the women themselves.

And for me, the most important thing was just to take all the information and try -- and try get a narrative that actually people sitting at home could understand.

STELTER: At one point, he said he used -- not been able to sweat and that partly as part of his denial about this allegation. Did he seem truthful to you? Did he seem sincere?


MAITLIS: You know what, it's for -- it's for other people to decide whether what they saw and what they heard made sense and whether they think he was telling the truth in what he said. But from my perspective, he seemed authentic. He seemed candid in his desire to engage with the questions.

And as you well know, as an interviewer, that's all you can ask for. You ask for somebody to take your questions head-on, to engage with them, to try and give you the best response or the best understanding.

I mean, you know, I'm not a lawyer. I didn't come to this with a -- with a dog in the fight. I wasn't trying to prove something or it wasn't meant to be a fight, it wasn't meant to be as sort of verbal jousting. I just promised him you have the time, the place, the breath to tell your story and we will give you that if you engage with the questions.

And to be fair there was no question that they batted away. There was nothing that we came across where he tried to divert or you know take me down a rabbit warren of a different answer. And to be frank, we are so used to politicians and interviewees in this country who don't really want to engage with the question at all. But that for me was almost the most surprising thing about that hour.

STELTER: You also allowed for silence and embraced silence and just let him, you know, sit there until he answered. And that's also an important interviewing tactic, isn't it?

MAITLIS: What we learned on "Newsnight" was just how important it is to have the proper amount of time that an interview requires. And I remember going into the interview, my editor Esme Wren said you know what, if you need to pause, you need to pause. If you need to say something again, you say it again. And actually, if you have, you know, three seconds to wave a mic onto somebody's nose and try and grab a doorstop question, that can't be done.

If you know that you've got a decent amount of time, you've got 40 minutes or so to sit down, then sometimes it is the silences that speak more than the words. It is those pauses where you can each reflect on what's actually been said that allows the story to emerge in a better and more understandable way I think, yes.

STELTER: Right. You know, when I introduced you a few minutes ago, I said underage woman. An e-mailer pointed out to me, that's not the right word choice. Underage women are girls. This is a story about girls being exploited. And I wonder if you were thinking about them as viewers when you were sitting down with Prince Andrew.

MAITLIS: Very much. I mean, as I said at the beginning, when I went into that interview, I knew that this would be watched pretty much internationally around the world. And I was very conscious that those women who had been girls at the time would be watching what he said and looking for answers in what he tried to explain. And at one point, I actually said if Virginia Roberts, the woman who'd

made the accusations directly to Prince Andrew himself, if she's watching this, what is your message to her or for her. And he said, I don't -- I have no message to her. He was trying to just put himself in a place where he was talking directly about his own experiences and trying to explain that.

But yes, for my own part, I was very conscious that this would be watched by the girls at the time, by the women now who were trying to make sense of any of the experiences that they themselves have had.

STELTER: All right, Emily, thank you so much.

MAITLIS: My pleasure. Thanks for having me on, Brian.

STELTER: And the full interview is on the BBC Web site. When we come back here, the growing dangers for journalist around the world and what the Committee to Protect Journalist is doing to help.



STELTER: Egypt is continuing its crackdown on press freedom raiding one of the offices of one of the last independent news outlets in the country and detaining several journalists this weekend. Now, on the past few minutes, we've learned that in that case, those journalists have been released but this is yet another example of why this is a dangerous time to be a journalist in many parts of the globe.

Take a look at this data from the Committee to Protect Journalists. It shows you back from 1992 up until 2018 the number of journalists either killed, or imprisoned, or missing. You'd like to see this graph trending downward but instead, it has been trending upward in recent years 2016, 2017, 2018, being three of the most dangerous years.

And it's not just measured that way. You can also take a look at journalists who are denied access to government events. You know, there are lots of different examples of the press being limited in lots of different ways. And that's something that CPJ tracks every day.

Right now, I'm joined by the Executive Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon and Kathleen Carroll, she's the current CPJ Board Chair. They were in a meeting this week with Vice President Pence. So let's start there if that's OK.

I know, you all have been seeking this meeting with the Trump administration pretty much since the beginning of the Trump administration. And Joel, that finally came through this week.

JOEL SIMON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS: Yes, it finally came through. And I think what the opportunity was is we had journalists from around the world who we honored with our International Press Freedom Award and we reached out as we do with every administration to the leadership.

And we said, would you like to meet with them and to hear about their experiences and to understand the threats that they face? And we're very pleased that Vice President Pence said yes, and so we had a very interesting meeting.

STELTER: So you all say he was engaged, he seemed interested, but Kathleen his boss calls us the enemy of the people. So how do we reconcile that?

KATHLEEN CARROLL, BOARD CHAIR, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS: Listen, I think it's important for us to talk to everybody and they're not going to hear our point of view unless we talk with them, and we presented it pretty passionately.

The journalists who met with him had a very personal experience with fake news and enemy of the people being uttered from the White House. And moments later being uttered by the leaders of their country and fake news laws are being enacted in those countries and it means something very deeply personal to them.

So we wanted the administration be able to hear directly from people who were being impacted by the bank-shot effect of that language/


STELTER: Are there any specific requests that were made, Joel, about what the Trump ministration should be doing differently?

SIMON: Really what they -- what these journalists wanted to say is when the U.S. speaks out for press freedom and defends the rights of journalists, it makes a real difference. We had two award winners from Nicaragua who actually wanted to thank the administration and the vice president for speaking out on their behalf.

And then our other awardees wanted the vice president to understand that the kind of language that the Trump administration is using is making their job more difficult and more dangerous. And that was the message that wanted to communicate to him.

STELTER: Why is it that the number of journalists killed, imprisoned, is continuing to increase? Is it because of a lack of leadership from the U.S. and other countries?

SIMON: I think there are a lot of reasons. It's a long-term trend. First of all, it has to do with the change in technology and the way that news is gathered and disseminated around the world. Secondly, it has to do with the new generation of autocratic leaders who are deeply sensitive and concerned about critical coverage and are taking steps to limit and mobilize its impact.

But I do think that U.S. leadership is critical to defending the rights of journalists around the world and that leadership is missing. That leadership is missing in terms of the rhetoric and that leadership is missing in terms of the direct support for the rights of journalists and press freedom working in difficult and dangerous environment.

STELTER: And like I said, Kathleen, it's a bank-shot effect. There's a spectrum here, right, that goes from online harassment and lack of access to government events all the way to imprisonment and torture.

CARROLL: And murder, and murder.

STELTER: Jamal Khashoggi and others, these are big bold face names we all hear about but there's so many cases that I fear we don't.

CARROLL: Well, indeed. There were more than 50 journalists murdered in retaliation for their work according to CPJ's data in the year that Jamal was killed. And you know, the reason we make a fuss about the high-profile cases is if there's not justice for somebody like Jamal who was killed in a very public and hideous way, and government entities have decided that they know who ordered the killing and yet nothing has happened.

And so if we can't help in those circumstances, what is that going to mean for all those people who are being murdered in anonymity.


CARROLL: We don't want them to be anonymous. We want people to understand that there's a price to be paid for this kind of killing.

STELTER: Right. Thank you both for the work that you're doing.

CARROLL: Thank you.

SIMON: Thank you, Brian.

STELTER: A quick break here on RELIABLE SOURCES. Much more in just a moment.



STELTER: The world cult has been popping up more. Think about two weeks ago on this program, Anthony Scaramucci talked about his claim that Trump supporters are in a cult. Just last week Dan Rather said he thinks support for Trump seems increasingly cultish. And this weekend in The Washington Post, Trump critic and Republican Strategist John Weaver said the GOP is not a party anymore in the traditional sense, it's a cult.

But none of them are mental health experts, Steven Hassan is. He's out with a brand-new book called the Cult of Trump. He has first-hand experience escaping the Unification Church back in the 70s. And he's decided to write this book because believes there's something seriously wrong with our politics.


STEVEN HASSAN, MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR: So I define a destructive cult as an authoritarian pyramid structured group with someone at the top who claims to have total power and total wisdom that uses deception and control of behavior, information, thoughts, and emotions to make people loyal, and dependent, and obedient followers.

So for me, the issue between an ethical healthy cult where you're free to think and free to leave versus a destructive cult, I'm referring to Trump's organization and followership as a destructive cult where people are being fed propaganda and they're not being encouraged to think for themselves and not be encouraged to really explore and look at the details and arrive at their own conclusion.

Much of what they're hearing is emotionally driven loaded words, thoughts stopping and thought-terminating type cliches like fake news, or build the wall, or make America great again.

STELTER: You say the president is using mind control. But how is it provable?

HASSAN: So look, we can start with the pathological lying which is characteristic of destructive cult leaders saying things in a very confident way that have nothing to do with facts or truthfulness, the blaming others and never taking responsibility for his own failures and faults shunning and kicking out anyone who raises questions or concerns about his own behavior. His use of fear-mongering, immigration is a horrible thing.

STELTER: It is frightening to hear a cult expert say that you see all these signs right now today in American politics.

HASSAN: But wake up, this is what's happening and our democracy is a stake here. Freedom of the press is absolutely vital for a healthy, healthy country. And anyone like him that says the press is the enemy of the people, that's what Hubbard would say. That's what Moon said. That's what LaRouche said. Why, because they're demagogues.

STELTER: So finally, the first step, if you say this is a cult, what's the first step of deprogramming?

HASSAN: The first step with anyone who's a true believer is contact with people that are outside the bubble. Cult leaders want to isolate their people they want -- they want family and friends to just disappear rather than keep engaged. Hey, did you read this article? What do you think of it? You know, I'll watch one of your shows, watch one of my shows.

In other words, appealing to the person's true self, their authentic self that wants to be a good person, that want -- that believes in America and democracy and truth.

STELTER: For the people who are dreading Thanksgiving, you're saying it's an opportunity to get together.

HASSAN: Exactly. Let's -- we're family, we're friends. Let's talk and you know, truth will out, truth will stand up to scrutiny.

(END VIDEOTAPE) STELTER: You can hear the full conversation. See if you agree or disagree with them. It's up on the RELIABLE SOURCES podcast at What a week it has been. And CNN is recapping the entire week of the impeachment testimony with an Anderson Cooper special tonight, 8 p.m. Eastern time, "In the Words of the Witnesses" hosted by Anderson Cooper. We'll see you right back here at this time next week.