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Top Secret, John Stamos, CIA Museum

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
October 2, 2022 3:22 pm

Top Secret, John Stamos, CIA Museum

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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October 2, 2022 3:22 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, David Martin delves into the classification of government secrets. Plus: Norah O'Donnell visits a museum of CIA spycraft; Seth Doane talks with actress Cate Blanchett about her new film, "Tár"; John Dickerson discusses with Maggie Haberman her new book about Donald Trump, "Confidence Man"; Tracy Smith profiles actor John Stamos; Kris Van Cleave looks at the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

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Today's CBS Sunday Morning Podcast is sponsored by Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Does your financial advisor know you as well as the markets? At Ameriprise, we take the time to get to know you and your goals. We provide one-to-one financial advice that's personalized to you to help build your portfolio along with your financial confidence. For more information and important disclosures, visit americrise.com slash advice.

Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC. I'm Mo Rocca and I'm back with season three of my podcast Mobituaries. I've dug up even more stories about the people and things that fascinate me. From the fruit that once scandalized, the shape of the banana made it taboo, to the band that played Second Banana to the Beatles.

They were lucky to come in second and the truth is they only came in second for about two months. Listen to Mobituaries starting October 5th on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Good morning.

I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. As you know, in August the FBI sees thousands of documents from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, many of them labeled secret or top secret. But beyond issues of possible wrongdoing, this morning David Martin raises a very different question. Just why is so much government information classified and could that top secret status do more harm than good? The classified documents the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago are tiny drops in a tsunami of government secrets. Do you have any estimate of how many classified documents there are?

That's really unknowable. The ever-growing stockpile of classified documents ahead on Sunday morning. How many people are there out there who can classify documents? Almost five million. Five million?

Five million. Then it's on to Hollywood for conversations with two shining stars. Seth Stone sits down with two-time Academy Award winner, Cate Blanchett, while Tracey Smith is talking with actor John Stamos. In the world of television, John Stamos is quite literally a big shot and he's happy to look back. And did you dream of being a star? I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be famous so bad. And then once I got it, I loved it.

I still do. While Cate Blanchett is looking forward with a new movie and another ambitious role. I have never been more daunted. Blanchett and Stamos this Sunday morning. On the subject of top secrets, Nora O'Donnell checks out the CIA Museum, home to some of the most famous and most secret artifacts of the Cold War. John Dickerson sits down with New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, author of a much-talked about new book on Donald Trump. Plus, an update on the devastation from Hurricane Ian and more on this Sunday morning for the 2nd of October, 2022.

And we'll be back after this. You may recall former President Trump recently claiming he could declassify documents, as he put it, just by thinking about it. In fact, the process of classifying or declassifying information is a lot more complicated than that.

And therein, David Martin tells us a problem. The documents spread out on the carpet at Mar-a-Lago, their classification markings clearly visible, are tiny drops in a tsunami of secrets kept by the US government. Do you have any estimate of how many classified documents there are?

That's really unknowable. John Fitzpatrick managed the flow of classified documents in both the Obama and Trump White Houses. He says the last reliable count was taken when most classified documents existed only on paper. They were in the tens of millions of documents a year. Has it become easier or harder to classify information?

As a practical matter, it has become easier. The proliferation of classified computer networks provides an environment where the proliferation of classified material increases. The 9-11 attacks and all the subsequent alarms of terrorist plots against the homeland brought with them a surge of classification, which even worries the person in charge of keeping secrets, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines. Do you think that over-classification is a national security problem?

I do, Senator. I do think it's a challenge. Earlier this year, she wrote, Deficiencies in the current classification system undermine our national security by making it difficult to share information with allies and the public. It's a fairly arresting statement. The system designed to keep national security secrets is undermining national security. I agree with her.

Tell me why you agree with her. There's a culture of classification. Protecting secrets is a problem. Protecting secrets is always better than releasing secrets.

It's a false binary, but it's the way people view it. Most secrecy is not about real damage. It's about preventing one form of embarrassment or another by the government. Top secret. Tom Blanton is director of the National Security Archive, which for the past 35 years has used the Freedom of Information Act to pry loose boxes upon boxes of previously classified documents. We've seen probably on the order of 10 to 20 million pages of declassified U.S. government documents over the years.

The walls are lined with some of his favorites. This is a piece of internal CIA email about the torture program and specifically about how they destroyed the videotapes of the waterboarding. If tapes of the CIA's waterboarding have captured al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah ever became public, the memo says, they would make us look terrible.

It would be devastating to us. This document would have stayed classified indefinitely under the CIA's sources and methods protection. Do you file Freedom of Information Act requests on a daily basis? About 1,500 a year. How many people are there out there who can classify documents? Almost five million. Five million?

Five million. Today's classification system grew out of the secret project to build the atom bomb, arguably the greatest secret ever. The head of the project, Lieutenant General Leslie Groves, later wrote he was keeping it secret from the Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, all other nations, and those who would interfere, which included Congress. What General Groves created in the national security classification system was a big bang.

And that universe is still expanding. The three basic levels of classification are confidential, secret, and top secret. Confidential information would cause damage to the national security if it got out. Secret would cause serious damage. And top secret, exceptionally grave damage. Beyond top secret, there is SCI, which stands for Sensitive Compartmented Information, also known as Special Access Programs. Those are considered the most closely held secrets of the government. Do you have any idea how many special access programs there are? I don't. Are we talking about a handful of programs or are we talking about hundreds?

Ultimately, you're talking about hundreds. Each special access program has its own code name. Here's a once top secret memo directing that satellite photography must be handled in a separate compartment known as Talent Keyhole. A document like this would be kept in a room called a SCIF. Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.

There are physical standards for locking them, for alarming them, and soundproofing them. The best known SCIF is the White House Situation Room, where the president meets with his national security advisors. All the presidential libraries are equipped with SCIFs, but there is no SCIF at Mar-a-Lago. Does the president of the United States have a security clearance?

The answer is no. The president derives his authority to see any classified information from his constitutional authorities. Is it assumed that the president has a need to know absolutely everything?

It is. Can the president just flat out order a document to be handled? A document to be declassified?

Yes. The president's authority to classify or declassify information is derived from the same constitutional authority. When he was president, Donald Trump declassified the transcript of his phone call with Ukraine's President Zelensky, asking for help in digging up dirt on Hunter Biden. All of its original classification markings have been crossed out, and it is clearly stamped unclassified. Compare that with the documents the FBI spread out on the floor after their search of Mar-a-Lago.

There's not a line through those markings. There's not a stamp saying this is releasing the next state authority of somebody. Even when the president says, I want something declassified, there's a whole process it has to go through.

Most documents are not declassified until long after they have been shipped to a presidential library like this one in Austin, Texas, where all the papers of Lyndon Johnson's administration are stored, and where more than half a century later, some still remain classified. Tom Blanton recently asked the George W. Bush Library to declassify the notes of the president's prep sessions for his first meeting with Vladimir Putin in 2001. Great moment in history. You know, this is 22 years ago when Putin was still our friend.

Might even do us some good today in figuring out Putin's grievances and maybe some off-ramps out of this current tragedy in Ukraine that Putin started. When did you file this? In January. Of this year, so... Nice people down at the George W. Bush Library in Dallas said, sorry to tell you, Mr. Blanton, but it's going to be 12 years before they get around to it. Which side is winning? Forces of classification or the forces of declassification?

Oh, the forces of classification have long won. Also, we're going to get into things that you just kind of won't believe, and we're not able to do in daytime television, so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go. Four days after making landfall in Florida, it's looking like Hurricane Ian is one for the history books. Dozens of deaths. Millions without power. Billions in damage.

Chris Van Cleave assesses the aftermath. Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 monster storm, roared ashore Wednesday near Fort Myers, Florida. Its 150-mile-an-hour winds tore apart homes and devastated businesses in its path.

The storm surge, up to 12 feet, seemed to wipe communities right off the map. The deadly triple threat of wind, rain and flooding makes it one of the worst hurricanes to ever arrive on Florida's shores. This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida's history.

Concern over Ian was building for a week. The storm ravaged Cuba on Tuesday, plunging that island into darkness. The first time a hurricane caused the entire nation to lose power. First, Ian's track hinted Tampa might take a direct hit.

Something that hasn't happened in a century. But by midweek, the storm tracked further south, taking a path similar to Hurricane Charlie, another Category 4 storm that ravaged southwest Florida 18 years ago. This is way, way, way bigger than Charlie. But Ian was nearly double the size of Charlie when it came ashore. The storm spanned nearly the entire Sunshine State. I've been here 40 years plus. This is by far the worst storm I have ever witnessed.

Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson wrote it out in a second-story downtown condo. What is that moment like when you're getting walloped? It's not something you want to go through. But if you ever go through it, it really, it's amazing that the destruction, that the wind and water can do, the force that comes behind that. Ian's storm surge swamped the barrier islands.

The bridge to nearby Sanibel Island lays smashed and broken, stranding hundreds who ignored evacuation orders. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis didn't mince words when describing the destruction. And it got hit with really biblical storm surge.

But Ian wasn't done. After crossing Florida, it regained hurricane strength before slamming into South Carolina Friday. Oh man, it's washing it away. The scope of the damage is not yet fully measurable.

Not in dollars and not in the many lives lost. Some two and a half million people lost power in Florida. Lewis Bryant just moved to this Fort Myers neighborhood. Wednesday, he was in the middle of a storm.

Wednesday, he had nearly three feet of water inside his new home. Saturday, his first mortgage payment came due for a house he now can't live in. Just to get the house repaired and all that, it's going to take a lot of time.

We'll figure it out. The repair work, it's almost like where do you start? We start by getting the roadways clear, so that people can get to where they need to be, especially emergency responders. Before the storm, there were about 130 boats tied up to these docks. The force of the storm surge picked up the docks and most of the boats.

Today, only seven remain in the water. This is our home. Everything we own is inside of here or inside of a storage trailer. Patrick New didn't just lose his boat. It was also his home.

His home, a home that's in ruins. So you're starting over? Completely. Oh yeah, it'll be tough, but I've done it before. Do it again.

I mean, everybody's going to do it. Five years after Hurricane Irma, 30 years since Hurricane Andrew, both ripped through South Florida, the rebuilding has already begun once more. I don't know if you ever get back to normal, but we will be back up and running before you know it. Even if some think twice about staying. Charlie was not this bad and Irma was definitely not this bad. So what's your takeaway from this one?

Get out of Florida. The Central Intelligence Agency has gathered and guarded our nation's secrets for 75 years. This morning, Nora O'Donnell takes us behind closed doors. The Hope Diamond, the spirit of St. Louis, the U.S. Constitution. They're just some of America's national treasures on display in Washington, D.C. Now add to that list this brick from Osama bin Laden's final hideout, the AK-47 found by his side, flight suits worn by clandestine surveillance pilots. There's the dead rat. And this taxidermied rat used by spies to hide messages during the Cold War. They really put intelligence in a dead rat? That's the truth, yeah.

All right. These artifacts are among the hundreds on view at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters here in suburban Virginia. On view, that is, only to those cleared to enter the high-security complex.

And this is the latest addition. Such as CIA Director William Burns. Do we still use spy cameras?

Yeah, no, we still use a lot of, you know, gadgetry like this, but it's a lot more sophisticated. And more like James Bond? Yeah, that's James Bond Plus, I think, these days as well. Yes, the CIA's museum highlights the high-tech side of spycraft, but its true purpose is to inspire employees with stories like that of agent Marty Peterson. In the 1970s, Peterson was assigned to work with a recruited Soviet informant codenamed Trigon. Marty happened to be the first female CIA case officer to serve in Moscow. And this was to take advantage of what was a blind spot for the KGB at the time, because the KGB in those years tended to be very dismissive of the capacity of the people and the capacity of women to conduct intelligence operations. They didn't think a woman would be a CIA spy?

They did not. So basically, what Trigon would do is use cameras like these to photograph documents. He'd put the film either in a hollowed-out rock or a hollowed-out brick, or old milk cartons like this one, and leave it in mutually arranged dead drops in locations around Moscow that Marty would then come and collect. Eventually, the KGB arrested Trigon, and he swallowed a suicide pill rather than be interrogated.

Shortly after, Peterson was captured and expelled from the Soviet Union. It's a lesson in the risks taken by CIA agents and those who come to trust them. How important is the intelligence you get from human sources? Well, collecting intelligence from human sources is a very important part of CIA's mission. You know, our officers are working literally as we're sitting here to try to recruit foreign agents and to try to work with them to obtain intelligence that can directly help ensure the safety and security of American lives. I have a profound obligation as director of CIA to protect them.

On the right side, as I walk in every morning, there's our memorial wall, which has 139 stars on that simple marble, each one honoring a CIA officer killed in the line of duty. So there's not a moment when I walk by that wall when I'm not reminded of my obligation to take care of people, and that means protecting sources and methods. The past few months have been dominated by reports about the potential mishandling of human source intelligence by former President Donald Trump.

Burns could not speak about what was found at Mar-a-Lago, but he made clear what's at stake. How damaging is it to the agency if human sources are revealed or if this human intelligence is compromised? Well, you know, without commenting on any particular investigation, I mean, I think there are lots of instances in the past when compromising, you know, that human intelligence, failing to protect it, carefully being reckless about it, has cost lives. The CIA Museum does nod to such failures, assets killed through the treachery of turncoat spy Aldrich Ames in the 1980s. It also covers the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco, as well as the 2003 agency assessment that finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq would be, quote, a slam dunk. Still, it's hard not to marvel at operations like Project Azurian, the 1970s salvage of a wrecked Soviet submarine. The Hughes Glomar Explorer, now docked at Long Beach, California, a mystery ship that has emerged as the nerve center of a CIA operation. The CIA enlisted billionaire Howard Hughes to provide a cover story that his ship, the Glomar Explorer, was searching for minerals on the ocean floor, rather than helping the CIA harvest Soviet military secrets. The press did find out about it, right? They did in 1975.

A year after the successful salvaging of a large section of the Soviet submarine, the Los Angeles Times broke the story. No comment. The Ford administration, for the first time, used what became known as the Glomar response, which was, we can neither confirm nor deny the story as well, which you've heard a few times since then. I know. And now I finally put it together because there's many times as reporters, we've asked for information and we get the, we can neither confirm nor deny, and this is it. This is where it came from.

That's where it all started, yeah. For Director Burns, one new exhibit has particular meaning. It features this model of the house in Kabul, Afghanistan, where the last surviving mastermind of the 9-11 attacks, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was hiding. This past July, Burns took the model to President Biden to obtain the go-ahead for the drone strike that would kill the terrorist leader. A few days after the strike against Zawahiri, I was in New York City and, you know, made a quiet visit to the Ground Zero Memorial. And, you know, it gives you an opportunity to reflect a little bit, in this case, on the measure of justice that the Zawahiri strike, as well as the bin Laden strike 10 years before, had brought for the 9-11 victims and their families, but also for CIA officers who had lost their lives. And these seven stars are from our base in Khost. These are seven CIA officers who lost their lives on the hunt for Zawahiri 13 years ago, in 2009. So for CIA, that's not something that any of us have ever forgotten. To preserve the memories of the missions and the people who carry them out. That's the aim of this most unusual museum, dedicated to the secrets kept behind these walls.

I know what it is you saw. For it is also in my mind. One of the most celebrated actors of her generation has taken on one of the most challenging roles of her career. Cate Blanchett is in conversation with Seth Downe. Should we do this interview in German? Absolutely, we should do it in German. Are you conversational at all?

No, that's what I learn at school. She's mastered and made a career out of the art of transforming herself. In her latest film, Cate Blanchett becomes the conductor of a symphony orchestra in Germany. She wouldn't be running a rehearsal in English, so I have to speak in German, so it was one of those things where it just would have been inauthentic if I'd not. This ambitious role is the latest in a long list.

The Australian actress won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. Noble effort. Saw your scarface picture. Violent. Realistic. Movies are movies, Howard, not life. And she earned the Oscar for Best Actors as an unstable former socialite in Blue Jasmine. Are you out of your mind? She is a teenager, for Christ's sake.

She's no bear. She's played a queen, an elf, and Bob Dylan. You know, we all have our own definitions of all those words. You have all these different accents that you can do.

They all end up, if I try and replicate them later, like I'm in a call center in New Delhi. So they all sound the same. So you learn them for a film and then they just go? Yeah, I can't do a general something.

It has to be really specific and then I forget it. While the roles change, Blanchett's approach is consistent as she makes clear in the film Tar out this week to critical acclaim. See, I start the clock.

You know, my left hand, it shapes, but my right hand, the second hand, marks time. She plays conductor Lydia Tar with a signature attention to detail, resulting in yet another character that's nuanced and complex, though she admits it was daunting to conduct an actual orchestra. And just, you know, having to say, okay, I'm going to give you the downbeat and you have to follow me.

I'm just wondering if you might quickly rig something up for us. Learning the language of music and how to conduct in a way sounds like it was more difficult than learning the actual language German. I played the piano as a schoolgirl, had schoolgirl German. I had to do a lot of preparation, but I mean, look, an audience couldn't be less interested in an actor's homework because it's like, look how hard I worked. You know, it's like, who cares? But you love the homework.

I do. I mean, I found the whole thing fascinating. Tar's screenwriter and director Todd Field says he wrote the part for Blanchett and would not have made the movie if she said no. It's his first film in 15 years. Why did you want only Kate?

No one else was available. It's clear Blanchett does not always take herself as seriously as others may. I could never have imagined what she brings. I mean, she is...

Unbearable, exacting... No, exactly, speechless. You know, she started working on this a year out. She was already working on conducting. She was already learning German. She was already learning to play the piano. That's all her, note for note.

I've never ever worked with someone, ever. On a play or anything else that shows up, and they know all of it. Everyone's lines, every single piece of scene description. We met the actor at Abbey Road Studios, made famous by the Beatles, where the London Symphony Orchestra was realizing a plot line from the movie. In a way, you're kind of completing what you set up in the film.

Exactly. The character Lydia Tarr had been preparing to record Mahler's Fifth Symphony, which this orchestra did as part of a concept album that's being released as a companion to the film. I called Natalie Upperton.

What's it like? Before they shot, Blanchett worked with conductor Natalie Murray Beale. It's such a mix of skills. Your leader, sometimes, your boss, your interpreter. And you have to be aware of 100 people in a room, all working within a system.

Blanchett studied how to use the baton, what's called stick technique, and learned how to use the orchestra itself as a sort of instrument. You get this amazing electric charge. And in that space, I can understand how some people can think that they're the king or queen of the world. And it's really important that you allow that space to come into play.

You allow that space to kind of be filled again with humility. And I think that's what you witness in the character. It's a provocative film which explores of-the-moment themes, Me Too, and cancel culture. Your character has this interesting mix of appearing very powerful, but also very vulnerable. Yeah, we've all got those dualities in us, don't we? And I think we spend half of our lives in the middle of a confidence trick of pretending we've got our **** together, when in fact, we don't. The world and being alive is full of nuance and grey areas.

And I think that that's where the film is really human and really provocative. Do you have self-doubt when you hit that? Yes, right now I'm full of it.

Yeah, of course, of course. I mean, that's why I think I probably keep working in a way to try and repair or make good for mistakes and missteps. You've done some pretty spectacular performances. Oh, I've also done a lot of garbage. For everything that you do, you think, oh, that was all right.

There's five pieces of garbage that you put out into the world. I mean, you never know what's going to work. And also, you never know what's going to connect with an audience. Clearly, she's connected, but Blanchett, who got her start in the theater, claims being in the limelight does not come naturally. It took me a long time to be comfortable with being looked at. It's very uncomfortable.

But even longer to feel comfortable with being quote-unquote famous. In her life away from the spotlight, she's married to playwright Andrew Upton and is a working mom. What are you like as a parent? I'm an excellent mother. Just ask my four children. I am extraordinary. No, I don't know.

I don't know. How do you protect that role with the celebrity and all of the pressures that that brings? I really try not to bring my work home. For Blanchett, the work is a form of escape. I'm not interested in playing myself. I mean, I do that in my everyday life, which is why I go to work, because I bore myself rigid. I don't want to play myself.

An escape which showcases her remarkable ability to transform. It happened this past week. The passing of two beloved members of our Sunday morning family. Correspondent Bill Plant and long-time contributor Roger Welsh. To begin, Major Garrett has an appreciation of our friend and colleague Bill Plant. Bill Plant was a German-American who was a young man. He was a young man. He was a young man.

He was a young man. Bill Plant was a journalism legend who never acted like one. With a career that spanned the civil rights struggle, Vietnam era, and five presidents over 35 years.

How do you do? My name is Bill Plant and I'd like to show you some of my work. Bill's broadcast career began in 1956 at a radio station here in Chicago, where he read the news and played classical music. He started at CBS News eight years later and is among the few to interview both Martin Luther King Jr. Have all the activities of the past weeks in Selma come to fruition now? And President Barack Obama. Mr. President, why is there such a disparity in the way blacks and whites see race relations?

Bill's bellowing baritone was his signature. Did you make a mistake in sending arms to Tehran, sir? No, and I'm not taking any more questions. Mr. President, do you believe Osama bin Laden's denial that he had anything to do with this? He exemplified the best of accountability journalism from his front row seat to history, even when getting to that seat required a climb.

That was very impressive. Or when he wasn't in it. Bill Plant? No, Bill's not here?

That's shocking. Bill was fearless and relentless, whether covering foreign conflicts or political conventions. His tenacity earned him a seat at the anchor desk. Good evening. He was a generous soul who poured his hobbies into his work.

Now, a lot of people think that screwtop means bad wine. And his penchant for adventure propelled him around the world. Bill Plant, CBS News, Miami. Bill Plant, CBS News, Inouye. Ho Chi Minh City, Berlin.

With the president in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Bill was loved by his CBS News colleagues and by no one more than Robin Smith, his wife of 34 years. Bill was a friend. He was fun and funny. He made you feel special and important. As one colleague put it, what a great guy. And Roger Welsh, Sunday morning's own poet of the plains, died this past week in his beloved hometown of Dannebrog, Nebraska.

We don't get excited in this town. His postcards from Nebraska brought us stories about life in small town America, reported in his classic overalls. Dannebrog's not on the way to anywhere, he wrote. He's a great man. He's a great man.

Not on the way to anywhere, he wrote. I'm here by choice. I like the plains. But most of all, I like the people. Goodbye and thank you, Roger Welsh.

Is becoming more apparent and I think that's something that Putin is going to have to try to manage. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Mo Rocca and it's been a while, but I've been busy digging up even more stories about the people and things of the past that are fascinating me now. What did your father think of the label of the whole idea of the Latin lover? From the screen idols who redefined Hollywood's leading man. I think it was a love hate relationship. My dad hated the word macho.

That's what I call the Latin lover type of a role, which is the one dimensional. To the dog who introduced millions of kids to classic literature. I remember like on my 10th birthday, I think it was, we were going to go mini golfing and I insisted, but we had to stay home for wishbone first. Listen to Mobituaries starting October 5th on the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Maggie Haberman has spent more than a decade covering Donald Trump. Her reporting has led to a new book and she tells our John Dickerson all about it. How long has Donald Trump been in your head or you and his? At least 11 years for this level of intensity. Maggie Haberman has become the chronicler in chief of the Donald Trump era.

Usually from her dining room table in Brooklyn. In 2016 alone, she had 599 bylines or co-bylines in the New York Times, more than one a day. And that pace has slowed only slightly in the years since. And what's it like to have Donald Trump in your head or be a part of his thinking for 11 years? I had one of his old friends say to me, he doesn't wear well over time.

And I think that the collective we have experienced that at various points. Haberman has been covering Trump since the late 90s as a Metro reporter for the New York tabloids. Now she's written a book about him, Confidence Man. I want to read from something you've written to fully reckon with Donald Trump, the presidency and his political future. People need to know where he comes from.

What do you mean where he comes from? New York in the 1960s, 70s, 80s was a very, very unique setting because of this combination of dysfunctional and sometimes corrupt forces that touched on media, that touched on city hall, that touched on the political party system in the various boroughs, that touched on how real estate projects got done, and which touched on racial tribalism, John. And that is a big piece of what he took from his life in New York. The current incarnation of that racial tribalism shows up in some of Haberman's scoops about Trump's presidential years. Like other books of the Trump era, Confidence Man has gotten attention for new revelations. Trump considered firing his son-in-law, engaged in casual transphobia.

But Haberman's larger goal is to put the scoops in the book and her Times coverage in an archaeological framework to chart a 50-year steady unchangeable DNA. Donald Trump is generally the same depending on the context. And he tended to treat the White House as if he was still in a real estate office dealing with local county leaders as if it was still 1980. What are the elements in the Donald Trump playbook that he's had his whole life? So he has a handful of moves that he has used forever. And people tend to impute a ton of strategy to what he's doing. But really, there are these moves. And it's the quick lie.

We've completed the wall. It's the backbiting with one aide versus another. It's not looking good, right?

Not looking too good. It is the assigning blame to someone else. When you say me, I didn't do it. We have a group of people.

We have a group of people. All of this, again, is about creating a sense of drama, a sense of chaos, and often, John, about keeping the responsibility off him. But you stand by that claim about him?

I don't stand by anything. Haberman's reporting has irritated and embarrassed Trump, yet he agreed to sit down with her three times this past summer. Were you surprised he talked to you for your book? No, he talked to everybody for their books. It's an almost reflexive need to sell himself. He said at one point to somebody else, but with you in his presence, he said you were like his psychiatrist. He treats everyone like they're his psychiatrist.

This is not a specific to me thing. This is what he does. He works everything out in real time with everyone. Haberman offers new detail about Trump's refusal to accept defeat in 2020, quoting sources who heard Trump say we're never leaving. You know, we won, George, just so you understand. Donald Trump's reluctance to leave office, was that part of that playbook that developed so many years ago?

Or is that something new? It was both, John. It was part of the theme of him believing that everything was always going to work out with him because it always had, whether it was his father helping navigate systems for him or helping him financially or elected officials lining up for him. He always believed things would work out.

And after November 3rd, 2020, it became clearer with each passing day that that was not going to happen. And he did not know how to handle it. When he did leave the White House, he wasn't empty handed. His FBI agents found in that search of his Florida home. When Donald Trump referred to things in the White House as his possessions, there was a long history of him doing that. Do you think that that's why he took those classified documents?

I do, actually. I think it's also possible he took them for another reason. And we don't know what that is. He sees everything in terms of leverage, whether he can have an edge over someone else. He definitely likes trophies.

It's the art of the steel. Trump is facing legal peril in multiple jurisdictions. A fraud suit in New York. Election interference charges in Georgia. President Donald Trump was too dangerous to be left alone.

The January 6th riot investigation. And then those documents from Mar-a-Lago, where he's mostly holed up these days. You write that when you saw him after he left the White House, that he seemed shrunken. In one of the interviews, he had very visibly lost weight. And so that was certainly physically shrunken. But he just seemed diminished. And one of the things that I discovered as I was talking to people through the course of the last year is that he became this almost Charles Foster Kane-like figure who was sort of roaming around his club and existing in his own world and having to be reminded of what holidays were.

Someone totally out of the rhythms of normal daily life. What's your view of whether he'll run again? With the caveat that I don't know and that I could have proven wrong, I think he's backed himself into a corner where he has to run. I think that he needs the protections that running for president he thinks would afford him in combating investigations that he calls a witch hunt.

The baseless, abusive and depraved lawsuit against me. And it is the way that he fundraises and makes money. So much of his identity now is about being a politician. So I expect that he will run.

That doesn't mean that even if he declares a candidacy that he will stay in the whole time. Whether he runs or not, Trump has left his mark on the GOP, whose national party committee labeled the January 6th riots legitimate discourse and where a third of the Republican candidates running for election in 2022 have adopted his lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Has he essentially transferred the skills of the New York real estate world, as strange as that is, into a political party? He has transferred how he views the New York real estate industry into the Republican party.

And not just the New York real estate industry, but the New York political system. We've seen it in ways that are overt with the Republican party in terms of comments that get made at rallies. Look at the Biden, the Brandon administration in terms of what they're doing.

And we have seen it in subtler ways in terms of how candidates deal with journalists or how they engage with basic fact sets. Not everyone has reacted in some form of emulation to Donald Trump, but most of them have. Haberman writes that Trump told her how much easier his life would have been if he'd never run for president. And he looked back not on what he'd accomplished, but on what the presidency had meant for Donald Trump. When Donald Trump asked himself and your president if I had to do it all over again, what did he say? What he said was the answer is yes, because the way he looks at it is he has so many rich friends and nobody knows who they are.

And it was very evident that he saw the presidency as the ultimate vehicle to fame. The Young and the Restless has been the number one daytime drama for 35 consecutive years. Now, in its 50th season, fans can enjoy their favorite soap in podcast form. YNR revolves around the lives and loves of the residents in Genoa City. This Midwestern metropolis is filled with generations of a wide variety of characters. Every week, hear all the rivalries, romances, hopes and fears from the Emmy Award-winning series delivered directly to your ears.

Watch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS, streaming on P+, and listen wherever you get your podcasts. This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. Major Garrett is the guest this week, along with David Becker, to talk about their new book, The Big Truth. One of the things you argue in this book is that if one side is going to deny election, they're not going to be alone in that after a while. We're getting nearer and nearer into this world where election denialism is a tactic.

It can't be a tactic. What we're seeing from election deniers now is they say they're going to bring lawsuits. They say there's going to be evidence, and it's going to be a lawsuit.

They say there's going to be evidence, and it's going to be mind-blowing, and then they never actually produce it. For more from this week's conversation, follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Hey, Michelle. Michelle, can you shout Uncle Jesse? Uh-huh. That's it. You said it. You said Uncle Jesse. It's Sunday morning on CBS, and here again is Jane Pauley. He's starred in any number of successful TV shows, plays drums with the Beach Boys.

He's actor John Stamos, and he's talking with our Tracy Smith. Let's start with a big question. Why not? Do you feel like you're having a moment? I hope I am. But then if you have a moment, then that moment has to end, right, or something. I'm happier than I've ever been. You want me to clap? If John Stamos is happier these days, this could be a reason why. You know, if you would have just kept your lips off me, we wouldn't be in this predicament.

He's about to start the second season of the Disney Plus series, Big Shot, about a hot-headed college basketball coach who gets fired and ends up coaching a high school girls' team with a certain intensity. You know, it doesn't upset me that we stink. Actually, it does. But what gets me are the mental mistakes, because that means lack of focus, which means lack of commitment, and that... Is it difficult for you to play a hard-ass? No. No? Why not?

I don't know why. Truth is, John Stamos might be one of the nicest people alive, even if he's not, by his own admission, much of a sports guy. Oh, s***.

No. I mean, it's the jacket. It's totally the jacket. But he is someone who seems to be hitting his stride.

Success is a peace of mind. On screen and off. What's wrong? What's happening? In the past four decades, John Stamos has become something of a fixture in our lives. He's the heartthrob who won't ever break your heart, the friend who won't ever let you down. Put on a happy face.

Put on a happy face. From here to Broadway, someone who's been called one of the truly underrated actors in the game. These days, he's also a husband and a father.

He married actor and model Caitlin McHugh in 2018, just before the birth of their son, Billy. It was the end of what he says was maybe one of the longest childhoods in history. I went into becoming an adult, kicking and screaming.

When you have the whole world going, you look 20 in a year then. I didn't have any of those tent poles that say you're an adult. I was just skating through. You didn't have to grow up.

I didn't have to. I had a Peter Pan syndrome, which is dangerous. The boy who didn't want to grow up was born in Orange County, California in 1963.

John Stamos was the first of Bill and Loretta Stamos' three children. And even as a kid, little John seemed destined for the stage. And did you dream of being a star? I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be famous so bad. And then once I got it, I loved it.

I still do. You know, these people go, oh, I hate being famous. I hate taking pictures. If you've seen me somewhere, ask for a picture.

I'm happy to do it. Because it's what I wanted my whole life. Every time I turn around, you're yelling at me.

Now, if that's how it's going to be, I'm back out on the streets. He skipped college to try his hand at acting and landed a role as Blackie Parrish on the long-running soap General Hospital. But his star really took off in 1987, when he was cast as Uncle Jesse Katsopoulos in the TV series Full House.

Hey, look alive. Uncle Jesse's here. So Full House.

Full House comes along. I'm not going to lie. It was very difficult, a lot of it. A lot of it was. Why? Because it just wasn't where I saw myself.

I mean, the reviews were like, this show won't last till Thanksgiving. Gently, now gently. There we go. This is great.

We should be mothers. Oh, yeah. And now I'm so proud of it. Now I'm really happy that I did that show. I'm glad I did it, obviously. Whatever his feelings about Full House, it made John Stamos a next level star and gave him a best friend in co-star Bob Saget. This was Saget's toast at his friend's 50th birthday bash. You deserve so much happiness, and you are so full of love, and you are such a great person.

And the talent and the looks, everybody resents. But you are just, you know, you're just a heart. And I just love you very, very much. The two were practically inseparable.

And when Saget died this past January, after a fall in a Florida hotel room, Stamos was shattered. I don't know what else to say about it other than, obviously, you know, I met one of the biggest influences in my life was Bob. I wouldn't be who I am without Bob. My parents, that's obvious, but him, you know, he was there for everything.

All the good, all the bad. He was my brother. You know, he's the brother that I always wanted. This is Bob's guitar that he, that they gave, that his wife gave to me.

You can only play dirty songs on here. John Stamos is a collector. His home is filled with photos of heroes who became friends. The surgeon concurs with my assessment. Hey, don't worry, boss.

I'm not one of those I told you so kids. He's also collected a few screen credits, like a long-term part on the hit series ER and more. With looks, charm, and a star on the Walk of Fame, it always seemed like Stamos had the perfect life. But there were times, he says, when he didn't always want to live it. For the longest time when I was not sober, I was fuzzy, I thought, I've done it all. I don't want, I wouldn't, I don't want to kill myself, but I didn't care if I died. You didn't care if you died? I didn't, I said, I've done it all.

I've died, if I die tomorrow, it's OK. I've, you know, what was I thinking? I hadn't done it all. I still haven't done it all.

Not even close. And he got something of a wake-up call in 2015 when he was arrested for driving under the influence. You know, that fateful night of, I got in my car, I thought I could drive, and I couldn't. And I just have flashes in my mind about driving in circles, and people were driving near me and the roller went around, Uncle Jesse, pull over, say you're driving.

And then I, you know, when I went to rehab, and it was, it was the hardest thing ever. My friend said, you know, your mom was really worried about you. He said, my mom would call him and say, I'm worried about Johnny, because I thought I was fooling everybody, that's the thing too. Anyway, that was that.

So when that happened, I said, this is my, I can't screw this up now, I have to stay with this. And here's something you might not know about John Stamos. He's a hell of a drummer. He's been playing with the Beach Boys and co-founder Mike Love since the 1980s. You two have gotten close over the years.

I mean, I don't mean to put you on the spot, but what... He asked me to be in his wedding. Not in my wedding. He married Kaitlin and I. Yeah.

Yeah. You know how they say, don't meet your heroes. I'm glad that I met him, because he's everything that you want Mike Love to be.

And maybe after a few decades of figuring it out, John Stamos is everything he wants to be too. So what's the future look like? I don't know. I don't know.

More kids, I hope. Well, I'm not looking too far in advance. I'm just thinking about now, because the next moment might be someone, you know, gone.

Right? And this moment's pretty great. This is a great moment. Winnie the Pooh said something like, today is my new favorite day. Making these new memories, and it's, you know, my new favorite day. Today is my new favorite day.

It's a new book about family, friendship, and coming of age. Contributor, Hua Su, tells us about his decision to stay true. When I was a teenager, my father moved from our home in California to Taiwan for work. My mother and I stayed behind in the US. So my family bought a pair of fax machines.

Hua, here is the answer. In theory, this was so my father could help me with my math homework. It was the early 90s, and faxing was cheaper than long distance calling, and more efficient.

There were no awkward silences. I was starting high school, and everything, like my grades and extracurricular activities, suddenly seemed consequential. Like many immigrants, my parents had faith in math. You couldn't discriminate against the right answer.

I feel sorry that I cannot be around all the time to support you, whenever you need. I could always fax my father a question in the evening, and expect an answer by the time I woke up. My homework requests were usually marked urgent. He replied with equations and proofs, and comments he thought would interest me. This year's World Series was very exciting, wasn't it?

We were like two strangers trading small talk at a hardware store. That's the dilemma of life. You have to find meaning, but by the same time, you have to accept the reality.

What do you think? Through these makeshift dispatches, he tried so hard to parent, and relate. When Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, took his own life in 1994, my father wrote, We have to have emotion that differentiate human being with machine, robot.

But we also need to know how to control it. But I was a teenager. It was the heyday of alternative culture, and I was desperate to be different.

From my parents, and from everyone else around me. My father's faxes helped me grasp challenging mathematical concepts. Yet there were questions neither he nor my mom could help me navigate.

What I want to say is that we have to have ideal thinking to change the world, to be better. Just as he was reacclimating himself to Taiwan, a place he had left decades prior, I was trying to find my way in the suburbs of Silicon Valley. We managed to stay connected. But I was an American child, and I was restless, and I was searching for my people. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. government were, you know, sharing absolutely insane, violent fanatical conspiracy theories from the most questionable sources. Sign up for America Change Forever on your favorite podcast app. Available on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-28 21:05:03 / 2022-12-28 21:26:51 / 22

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