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First Charges Filed in Mueller Investigation; Right Wing Media's Campaign of Confusion; News Media's Role in Exposing Sexual Harassment; Capitol Hill: the Most Interesting Beat in America?; What Keeps "60 Minutes" Ticking for Five Decades. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired October 29, 2017 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:10] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the story behind the story, of how the media really works and how the news gets made.

This hour, a watershed moment for women in the workforce. Sexual harassment finally getting the attention it deserves. These men in some cases losing jobs since stories about alleged wrongdoing. But are journalists playing catch-up?

Plus, the tension between the White House and Capitol Hill continues to build. I'll talk with two reporters about what's really going on in the minds of GOP senators.

And later, what keeps "60 Minutes" ticking? The news magazine's executive producer is here weighing in on Trump, investigative journalism and the future of the franchise.

But, first, America's conspiracy theory president is at it again. President Trump today trying to discredit the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the election.

Moments ago, he tweeted this: All of this Russia talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic tax cuts and reform. Is this coincidental? Not.

A not joke from President Trump, but this is not a laughing matter. These probes, of course, have been going on all year long. The goal is to find out what went wrong last year, how the Russians interfered in the election last year and to ensure it doesn't happen again.

So, let's take stock about why the president is on a tweet storm this morning, why he is trying to change the subject. It's because the White House, the political press and the nation is on edge. By this time tomorrow, by this time Monday, someone could be charged and taken into custody in the ongoing special counsel Robert Mueller investigation.

It's an explosive development first reported here on CNN on Friday night, that a federal grand jury has approved charges in the ongoing probe. Of course, Mueller was appointed back in May to lead this investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, five months later, we're on the verge of indictments. We have an all star panel standing by to talk through it all,

including Carl Bernstein and "Politico's" Jake Sherman.

But, first let's go to Shimon Prokupecz. He's our, course, one of our justice reporters, one of three reporters who broke this story on Friday night.

Shimon, do we know anything more than we knew on Friday about what might be coming?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, Brian. Well, quite honestly, we really don't. We've made our round of calls this morning, both my colleague, Evan Perez and Pamela Brown have been on the phones with attorneys who are representing some these are defense attorneys that are representing some of the folks that are being investigated by the special counsel, and so far, we are not any closer to knowing, to verifying who is going to be charged, who may surrender, who's going to be arrested.

There's all this talk of surrenders, but usually when someone surrenders attorneys are notified ahead of time. So, basically, prosecutors and investigators say bring your clients to us, let's say Monday morning, he's going to or she's going to be placed under arrest. That, as far as we know, based on the people that we have so far talked to, has not occurred.

Now, it could be that it is someone that is completely off the radar and that is why we don't know. So, yes, Brian, it's still all quite a mystery to most of us.

STELTER: Your story was citing people briefed on the matter, but I wonder how important it was that CNN happened to have a reporter at the courthouse on Friday. There was a lot of activity at the courthouse on Friday.

Is that the kind of thing that tips reporters off something might be coming?

PROKUPECZ: Absolutely, Brian. So, you know, as is the case on every Friday, what we've been doing is we've had a producer, we've had our photo journalists at the courthouse staking out essentially, standing by, waiting to see what kind of activity is going on there, who's coming in, who's leaving.

And our producer did see the prosecutor, Andrew Wiseman, who's been leading some of the grand jury activity, some of the financial aspects of Bob Mueller's investigation, he was there. She saw him go in. There was some concern about the activity. She raised it. So then it began various events that we then started making phone calls, talking to various people to try and figure out what exactly was going on. So yeah, that played a big part in us breaking this story.

STELTER: Let's add to the conversation Carl Bernstein and Jake Sherman.

Carl, first to you. We saw Governor Chris Christie on Jack Tapper's "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning saying he's concerned about the leaking here, that the leaking could be illegal. Are you also concerned? The fact that we know these charges are happening, is it in fact an illegal leak?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. First of all, I would doubt very seriously that it comes from Mueller's office, that we have some 20 lawyers involved in these matters who are talking to Mueller's office.

[11:05:05] There are many possible sources of information. I'm not going to go to where they might be or what I might know, but that's another red herring. We seem to be looking at lots of red herrings, including the president of the United States this morning again trying to make the question here not about what the Russians did in our campaign and whether he or people in his campaign had any kind of foreknowledge of what they were doing, but to make the conduct of Hillary Clinton the issue just as he's tried to make the issue of the press rise above the question of what did the president know and those around him and when did they know whatever it was.

BERMAN: And we're going to get more into the Hillary Clinton piece of this and that campaign of confusion a little later on in the program. But, Carl, I noticed you said on Friday night on I think Don Lemon's show that this is a deadly serious matter. Do you think journalists are meeting the moment and taking this as seriously as it should be?

BERNSTEIN: Yes. I think we have seen some of the greatest reporting of the presidency that we've seen in the last 50, 60 years by "The Washington Post," "The New York times," some by CNN, by "Mother Jones". We've seen that there is an attempt by the White House and the people around the campaign and the president to try and keep investigators from learning whatever there is to learn here.

And, incidentally, I have talked to many lawyers involved in this who believe that at unlikely that Mueller will come up with evidence of, quote, collusion or necessarily foreknowledge by the White House. They don't know but they think it's possible, and knowing Mueller, they believe that if he doesn't find anything, he'll be imminently fair to the president of the United States and those around him and make a report that would exonerate the president of the United States and those around him.

I think we need to have cooperation, respect for Mueller's investigation, and I do go back to Watergate here. Donald Trump keeps talking about this is like Watergate. If it were really like Watergate, the Republican Party, the president's party would be as in Watergate encouraging this investigation, cooperating with this investigation and saying we now have the mechanism to find out what has happened here. Republicans, let's sit back, not accuse Hillary Clinton of various crimes.

If there are things that involve Russia and Hillary Clinton here, you can be assured, I believe, that Mueller would take a look at it and it would come up. But the issue here is not Hillary Clinton. The issue is the Trump campaign, what the Russians did in our election, and so far the president of the United States who seems utterly disinterested in whatever the truth of that matter is.

STELTER: What does it feel like, Jake Sherman in Washington, as this news is impending? You're the co-author, of course, of "Politico's" playbook newsletter. I know you're about to send it out right now. Is it kind of a feeling of tension as folks wonder what's going to happen tomorrow or in the coming days?

JAKE SHERMAN, SENIOR WRITER, POLITICO: Yes, you have to keep in mind, this is a president that doesn't really have any legislative achievements, a party that is tied to the president with 38 percent approval ratings in a new poll that came out this morning. The mid- term elections are around the corner. Donald Trump doesn't have to worry about election until 2020. Republicans on Capitol Hill are going to be trying to keep their majority in the House, their majority in the Senate.

Put aside the fact that the president says things that on Twitter all the time that are potentially politically perilous for his party. You have this investigation and we now see that somebody is going to be indicted. There's going to be information that comes out in the next couple days that Republicans are going to come back to Washington, you know, Monday, Tuesday, and get swarmed by reporters to answer about the charges on Capitol Hill.

So, that's a tough political dynamic to deal with for members of Congress who, you know, want to keep their heads down and try to do tax reform or an infrastructure bill.

STELTER: There's the news about this and then there's the hopes and the fears everyone has, right? Trump supporters hope that Trump will fire Mueller. Trump supporters fear some bad news for Trump and his White House. On the other hand, Trump opponents hope this is the beginning of a Trump takedown. They fear the firing of Mueller.

It feels to me like everyone is bringing their own emotions, not journalists, but viewers bringing their own emotions to this moment.

SHERMAN: That's absolutely right now. And I think the interesting thing to keep an eye on is, if Trump does fire Mueller or if he does pardon somebody that's charged in this investigation, what do Republicans do on Capitol Hill? I mean, that's a very, very difficult political dynamic for people who are facing election next year if the president dismantles this investigation or pardons somebody that's charged.

[11:10:00] That's very, very difficult for Republicans -- from the Republicans that I've spoken to, this is kind of a nightmare scenario, right? I mean, how do they -- do they begin to impeach him? I mean, how do they viscerally react, how does the leadership react on Capitol Hill?

STELTER: I don't know about you guys but I feel like this is the calm before the storm.

BERNSTEIN: Brian, can I add something here?

STELTER: Yes, Carl, please?

BERNSTEIN: And that is that it's not the job of the press here to, quote, take down a president or take a position on any of this. What we're trying to do, what the press needs to be doing and is doing is to find the best obtainable version of the truth. And, so far, it's been doing a pretty good job of it.

It also is the job of the people in the Congress of the United States to say, hey, that's what we want too, the best obtainable version of the truth. Let's set apart partisanship, ideology here. We do know that there has been a terrible intrusion into our free elective democratic system in a way that no foreign power has ever interfered in our election.

Let's get to the bottom of it. Let's not prejudge the president or anyone else. Let's find out the facts.

And it's very difficult to do in an atmosphere in which the president of the United States routinely lies and brings misinformation and disinformation to the table and tries to make the conduct of others, particularly Hillary Clinton, the issue. He's the president of the United States, not Hillary Clinton, as I've said.

If there's some reason to think that Hillary Clinton has, quote, colluded with somebody, Mueller will pick that up, I think we would all hope. But that's not the issue here.

STELTER: Carl, Jake, you're both sticking around so please stand by.

Quickly, Shimon, just -- what do we expect tomorrow? What time? What will you be doing tomorrow? How does this work?

PROKUPECZ: Well, I'll certainly be up early and probably working through the night as will the other members of our team here. And we expect something will happen because that's what we've been told, but it could always get moved. These things sometimes change, so that could happen.

But if someone does surrender, normally in cases like this, they do it pretty early in the morning, maybe 6:00 in the morning, maybe 5:00. A time is set up. Perhaps the FBI will meet the person that's surrendering at a location and bring them to FBI offices here in Washington, D.C.


PROCUPECZ: And then we will get word on when the indictment will be unsealed and when there will be a court proceeding, arraignment, presentment, whatever it may be and then we'll go from there and we'll be at the courthouse waiting to see what happens.

STELTER: All right. Shimon, thanks so much for being here. Carl, Jake, please stick around.

PROKUPECZ: Thank you. STELTER: More on that Hillary Clinton part of the story, the conspiracy theories and alleged scandals we're hearing about from right wing media. We'll be right back.


[11:16:37] STELTER: Defending President Trump can be hard to do. So, some of his allies in the media don't even bother to try. Instead they change the subject.

This is a campaign of confusion. It is one of the most important things happening in American politics today. I mean, if you watched the opinion shows on Fox News this week, you might have thought Hillary Clinton was president, not Trump, Clinton.

Here is how the campaign of confusion works. First, "The Hill" newspaper revived a relatively old story about Russian efforts to gain influence in the American uranium industry during the Obama administration. Fox became fixated on this story and the messaging was clear, the Russian investigations were recast as a scandal for Clinton and the Dems.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: If they want real Russia collusion, we've got it for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Uranium One deal, that's treasonous.

HANNITY: It's incontrovertible and it put our security at risk.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: It's not like 20 percent of our national supply of string cheese. It's uranium.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we should be focusing on the continued lies of the Clinton administration.


STELTER: The Clinton administration he said. Finally, FOX has found the real Russia scandal. That's how it's portrayed -- uranium, uranium, uranium.

Now, FOX got help from Republicans on Capitol Hill who announced fresh investigations into the uranium issue. And then, President Trump picked up on it.

But Clinton is overall a convenient boogie man. Look, there may be something newsworthy here. I'll leave that to the experts. But in right wing media, this uranium story blotted out the sun. It fit in a pattern we've seen before. Trump's media allies downplay, deflect and deny stories that are trouble for the White House. Instead they tell viewers and readers to hate Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's time, folks. It's time to shut it down, turn the tables and lock her up. That's what I said. I actually said it, lock her up.


STELTER: No subtlety there. Pirro combined the uranium story with the bogus idea that the Dems cooked up a Trump Russia dossier story full of lies, when as you know, parts of the dossier have been confirmed.

But here's the question for you. Are you confused yet? That's the campaign. It's really a campaign of confusion. Just constantly saying the other side is worse, the other side is doing it.

And President Trump is leaning into this in a big way. This morning, here's a tweet storm he shared just in the past little while. He said: I've never seen such Republican anger and unity as I have concerning the lack of investigation on -- here we go, here's the list -- Clinton fake dossier, now $12 million.

Then it continues, the uranium to Russia deal, the 32,000-plus deleted e-mails, the Comey fix and so much more. Instead they look at the phony Trump/Russia collusion which doesn't exist. The Dems are using this terrible and bad for our country witch hunt for evil politics.

But the Rs, the Republicans, are now fighting back like never before. There's so much guilt by Democrats and by Clinton and now the facts are pouring out. The last two words are important there: do something, says the president of the United States.

Back with me now, CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein and joining the conversation is Bruce Bartlett.

[11:20:00] He's the author of the brand new book "The Truth Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks."

Bruce, how do we avoid splintering into two separate Americas, living into two alternative realities?

BRUCE BARTLETT, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH MATTERS": Well, unfortunately, I think that's already the case. But what I found interesting in your introduction here is how a completely made-up story, something that's totally out of whole cloth forces its way onto a place like CNN simply because the right wing propaganda channel which is FOX made it a story and they talked about it so much, you felt you couldn't ignore it even though it's complete nonsense, completely baseless. You had to report that it's something that is being discussed among the Trump supporters and thereby lend inadvertently credibility to this nonsensical story.

STELTER: You can be critical of me here. Do you think it's a mistake for me to explain what's being heard in right wing media?

BARTLETT: No. But there has to be a better way of doing it to discount the fact that FOX is really just an arm of the Republican Party and should not be given the respect that a genuine news organization like CNN or "The New York Times" or "The Washington Post" are deserving. And it should be treated the way you treat statements by Sarah Huckabee Sanders as just PR and nothing more.

STELTER: The president's hearing this stuff and then he's repeating all of it on Twitter. I think this is the problem that journalists run into. If it's made up as you said and yet the president's promoting it, then we have to address it, I think.

BARTLETT: It's a feedback loop of the blind leading the blind. I don't know what to do about it.

STELTER: Carl, do you have any solutions for us?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that when the president of the United States or FOX or those who support him, Republicans who support the president, put something out there that becomes a big part of the debate, we're obligated to report on it as part of the debate and then try to do our own reporting and fact check it. And I think that's what we ought to do here. That we ought to go on the air with a really serious fact check on what this is about, put it on the air and move on.

But, really, we keep coming back to the fact that there's a cold civil war going on in this country. Donald Trump, of course, has brought that cold civil war almost to the point of ignition, but really we always come back to one central question here, and that is about a foreign power interfering in our election and the president of the United States who seems utterly uninterested in getting to the bottom of what happened and the fact that his family and people in his campaign and people in his business organization have had dealings with the Russians, that need to be examined.

If there's nothing there, he should welcome it. He should say, there's nothing there, I'm going to go talk to the special prosecutor. I'm going to have my family talk to them. Let's all get this cleaned up now as quickly as we can and as expeditiously and in terms of the best attainable version of the truth, and Mr. Mueller, we'll help you do that. That's not what we're seeing. The remarkable thing is the Republicans on Capitol Hill who have continued to encourage this smoke screen about Hillary Clinton.

They know, of course, that Hillary Clinton is a lightning rod for the, quote, so-called base of the president and the Republican Party, and in a certain time though t it may wear out and it's reckless and irresponsible not to be looking for the truth and rather to be looking for Clinton's scapegoats.

STELTER: But if President Trump is hearing Clinton, Clinton, Clinton on FOX, he's parroting it, right? Let's take a look at some examples we put together of how FOX says it first and then the president says it second.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could make an argument for Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. You know, I mean, are you going to change the name of the Washington monument?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- slave owners.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. That's my point.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have an idea, let's build a wall and let the DREAMers stay.

TRUMP: We are looking at allowing people to stay here, but very importantly, what we want, we have to have a wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you thought the cover up of Nixon by Watergate just a covering up a third rate burglary was a big deal, this is covering up Russians taking over control illegally of U.S. uranium assets.

TRUMP: I think the uranium sale to Russia and the way it was done so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed, I actually think that's Watergate modern age.


[11:25:11] STELTER: Carl, real quick, your reaction to Trump using that Watergate word?

BERNSTEIN: First of all, the most significant thing, parallel between Watergate and what we're seeing now has to do with the behavior of the Republican Party and Republicans in Congress.

In Watergate, Republicans were the heroes. They said we are going to put principle above party, above ideology. We want to get to the truth. They voted for articles of impeachment in the Judiciary Committee against Richard Nixon.

Senator Barry Goldwater, the great conservative, marched to the White House and said to the president of the United States: you must resign. And lo and behold, a day later, the president of the United States resigned because of his conduct.

We need to see a Republican Party that is open to the truth wherever it leads and let's see what happens. Let this investigation proceed without trying to smear it.

STELTER: One more example of this FOX effect, if I can call it that, let me show a brand new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll out this morning showing President Trump with a 38 percent approval rating. That's his lowest standing yet in the NBC/"Journal" poll.

But I'm more interested in this other poll showing Trump at 38 percent, it's a FOX News poll from this week. But if you blinked, you missed it. This graphic right here, FOX only showed this graphic once on air all week long. So, FOX spent a lot of money conducting this poll and then CNN actually covered FOX's poll four times as much as FOX did.

Bruce, your reaction?

BARTLETT: Well, I think that your earlier video was extraordinarily interesting. I think sometimes we get the cause and effect relationship backwards. We think, oh, we see this Hillary nonstory about uranium. We think the White House leaked it and encourage FOX to run with it.

I think it's the other way around. The people at FOX are thinking, what can we do to help Trump today? Well, let's gin up the Hillary story again. And you yourself have reported on many occasions that those three idiots on "Fox & Friends" seem to be the president's biggest advisers.

STELTER: Hey. Why name call? Why the name-calling?

BARTLETT: Well, because I think -- I think we have to call a spade a spade. I think one of the problems in the media is that they're afraid to say Trump is lying. They're afraid to say that the people at FOX are just propaganda. I'm just trying to use plain language to say what I think is the truth.

STELTER: Carl, Bruce, thank you both for being here.

BERNSTEIN: I think this may be more complicated than that.

STELTER: How so?

BERNSTEIN: I think things may be a little more complicated than that and that perhaps sometimes we pay too much attention to FOX. FOX is a hugely powerful element of politics in America today. It has a commitment ideologically to a point of view, and it does very little to hide it.

Perhaps we're overplaying the FOX effect here and what we ought to be doing is keeping our heads down and doing our reporting , which really is what most reporters I know are doing here, to provide the best obtainable version of the truth which indeed is demonstrably different than the FOX narrative and the Trump narrative.

And we can put them up factually on the air and say, here are the facts, here's what the president is saying, here's what FOX has been saying. But let's do it in a calm way when it's relevant and let's not also inflate FOX here.

STELTER: Apples, not bananas, right Carl?

Carl, Bruce, thank you both for being here.

After a quick break, real reporting on sexual harassment, an ever widening scandal involving prominent men in many industries. We'll talk with two top reporters right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:33:31] STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.

Every day, there's a disturbing new story about sexual assault and harassment by powerful men, some of them in the media. It's been just about three weeks since "The New York Times" story about Harvey Weinstein came out, and ever since, there's been a flood.

The subject actually came up at the White House briefing the other day.


REPORTER: Sarah, obviously sexual harassment has been in the news. At least 16 women accused the president of sexually harassing them throughout the course the campaign. Last week, during a press conference in the Rose Garden, the president called these accusations fake news.

Is the official White House position that all these women are lying?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes. We've been clear on that from the beginning and the president's spoken on it.


STELTER: I'm surprised Sanders has not tried to clarify that answer. It is truly shocking to hear Trump's spokeswoman say that those women are all liars.

But the comments from the White House doesn't change the fact that journalists all across the country are looking into allegations against various men in various industries including the media. This is really a watershed moment for this issue, for this topic of women, including actually some men, but mostly women being harassed in the workplace. And we're seeing journalists shine a light on these stories.

Let's talk about it with two journalists who are doing that. CNN's Oliver Darcy, who broke the news about sexual harassment allegations against Mark Halperin earlier this week. And Jessica Valenti. She's a columnist for "The Guardian" and the author of the book, "Sex Object: A Memoir."

[11:35:04] Thanks both for being here.


STELTER: I'm trying to capture the idea that journalists now, dozens of them in dozens of news rooms are pursuing allegations against various individuals.

Oliver, how did it come about for you looking into Mark Halperin? OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: I got a tip a few weeks ago,

and I started asking around like you do for any story. And after some digging, it became clear that there was something there. So, we started to talk to people and interview women and we were able to put together a story with enough reporting to take it to Mark and ask him about the allegations.

Of course, he denied some of the more serious allegations, but he did concede and he has conceded in a further lengthy statement on Friday that he was guilty of harassment in the workplace.

STELTER: "Game Change", his next book, has been cancelled at HBO. The series about the book has been cancelled.

Do we know his status at NBC?

DARCY: We don't know his status at NBC. That's the only company at the moment that hasn't completely severed ties. Like you said, HBO, Showtime, his book, they're all done and the companies have backed off. So, we're waiting to hear from NBC. We'll see if they do something this week. That will be interesting.

STELTER: We've seen other men lose jobs at other companies, Jessica, at Amazon, at a number of other places in recent days. There's a very long list at this point.

But are journalists playing catch-up here? Is this a very belated reaction to a systemic problem?

VALENTI: Extraordinarily. This had been going on for a long time and it's wonderful to see that journalists are taking this seriously, that these stories are coming out and Oliver's reporting has been so great. And -- but I do worry with how fast the news cycle goes that we're going to lose sight of it, that we're going to lose focus on these stories. Though it does seem like more and more stories are coming out every day, so maybe that won't be the case.

STELTER: You know, the Halperin allegations that you wrote Oliver were from the 1990s of them, right?

DARCY: Right.

STELTER: So, conceivably, this could have come out 10 years ago, Jessica.

VALENTI: Yes, it's true. I think part of it is women are afraid, right? They're afraid that there are going to be consequences in the workplace and I think in your reporting, it came out that he actually did threaten someone.

DARCY: He told someone, yes, that they would never work in media and politics, according to the women I spoke to. But to Jessica's point, a number of people are afraid, even still today of coming out and saying, you know, this is what happened to me. I talked to people --

STELTER: So, you've spoken to accusers who don't want to speak on the record even now.

DARCY: Yes, because they're negotiating deals or they don't want to be seen as the person in the workplace who's the rabble-rouser and seen as like, oh, that person may cause trouble. And so, they don't want to come forward. They feel there might be repercussions in their career and that's something that's still occurring today, which is -- you know, it may sound shocking to us but I think, you know, a lot of people, for them, it's a real feeling.


STELTER: How did -- yes?

VALENTI: I was going to say, I think they're afraid for a good reason. We've seen over and over again that women are retaliated against in the workplace, not just in media but in across industries when they come forward about sexual harassment.

STELTER: Take us behind the scenes of how the story comes about, Oliver. So, how did you try to corroborate the accounts from the accusers?

DARCY: Well, it depends per case. But in some cases, in one case, we obtained a journal. The person who recorded, they logged it actually in the journal from years ago. In other cases, I talk to friends or people they had told years ago. So, it wasn't something that they invented the story recently. It's something that they had told friends a decade ago or two decades ago.


DARCY: And so, we're able to corroborate like that. And then, also again, his statement. He says, he said, he said, I'm guilty of harassments and I should have done better.

STELTER: And I don't mean to tiptoe here but there has to be some tiptoeing. There are other investigations going on, right, in this newsroom and others?

DARCY: Of course, yes.

STELTER: And, Jessica, you know about some of these as well?

VALENTI: I do. I think a lot of us know about them.

STELTER: I think this is a situation where it shows how careful journalists trying to be. There's a sense of reporters publishing whatever they want whenever they want, when in fact we're seeing high standards applied at the "New York Times" and CNN and elsewhere to corroborate stories before they're published.

VALENTI: Absolutely. And I think, you know, for anything else, it's important for the victims, right? Like we know that women are blamed when they come forward. If we have that high standard, then we can at least shield them a little bit from the worst of that.

STELTER: Jessica, Oliver, thanks both for being here.

DARCY: Thanks.

VALENTI: Thank you.

BERMAN: We'll have continuing ongoing coverage in your nightly newsletter about this.

Up next here, two Republican senators announcing that they're leaving office but they certainly are not going quietly.


[11:43:18] STELTER: Hey, welcome back.

What is the most prestigious beat for journalists in Washington?

Well, historically, it's been the White House. White House correspondent jobs are coveted. In the past, it's been a launching pad to top anchor jobs.

But there's another story at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue that's just as exciting right now. Some days I think it's actually Capitol Hill as the most interesting beat in America. I mean, witness Republican Senator Jeff Flake announcing his retirement on the floor of the Senate calling President Trump's behavior dangerous to a democracy. Flame's colleague, Bob Corker, also heading for retirement also questioning the president's fitness. You probably saw this extraordinary walk and talk with CNN's Manu Raju, when Corker said Trump has great difficulty with the truth.

Raju is CNN senior congressional correspondent and he joins me now.

Manu, how do you get those interviews? How does it work in the halls of Capitol Hill?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can really just go up to anybody and ask them a question, which is the beauty of covering Congress. You cannot do that, of course, in the White House. You just can't go up to President Trump and ask him a question.

But in the halls of the capitol, it's fair game. Members are walking out of their meetings, walking in between, going to their offices, to committee hearings, on their way to vote. When they're in the halls, you can approach them and ask them direct questions about the key issues of the day.

Now, Brian, they don't always have to answer your questions. Oftentimes they don't. Oftentimes they duck into senators-only elevators. But, you know, you have the opportunity to at least put the question to them and have them respond to the major issues, and as a result, get them to make some key news because of course all big issues come to Capitol Hill.

STELTER: And I feel like what's different nowadays is all the live broadcasts of these interviews.

[11:45:02] So, viewers feel like they're there in real time because they are.

RAJU: Yes, absolutely. That's exactly what happened with Bob Corker. Now, I mean, really, key in this era of journalism is how, you know, the president is tweeting, live tweeting his thoughts and oftentimes he's tweeting things that are not accurate or they put Republicans in a difficult spot. You can get instantaneous reaction.

And that's what happened in that Bob Corker situation. He had tweeted attacking all morning long and had said erroneously that Bob Corker had asked him for his endorsement and the president said no and that's why Corker was retiring. So, I wanted to make sure that get Corker's reaction to that and see if there was any accuracy to what the president was saying. And Corker said it was flat-out wrong and went on a six-minute rant against the president for all the things he thinks the president is doing wrong.

And it's only because of the unique rules on Capitol Hill where you can talk to anyone just about anywhere.

STELTER: I'll brag for you a little bit. You won the Joan S. Barone Award this week for congressional reporting and just made me wonder, is it -- is it the secret? What's the secret? Is it wearing nice shoes, comfortable shoes for all these walks?

RAJU: Well, that does help. Don't get me wrong. The other thing, too, Brian, is that members of Congress may not want to talk to you so they'll go off in different routes, go through the basement of the Capitol, go outside. The key to be a congressional reporter is to know where members are going when they want to avoid you and find them at key moments and ask them questions.

That is the trick and it takes some time to learn about people's paths and where they go and how they try to avoid you and try to prevent them from avoiding you by intercepting them in key spots where they cannot escape your questions. So, that's one key aspect that seems to work.

STELTER: Manu, great to see you.

RAJU: Thanks, Brian.

STELTER: Before we go, let's put up that quote from "The Washington Post" from Senator Flake. This is from his op-ed. He wrote: We can no longer remain silent, merely observing this train wreck passively, as if waiting for someone else to do something.

Flake encouraging his colleagues to speak out. But I wonder if those words apply to journalists in some way as well.

Up next here on "RELIABLE SOURCES", imagine President Trump getting the legendary "60 Minutes" treatment. Is the show in line for an interview? I'll talk with executive producer Jeff Fager right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:51:34] STELTER: This year's 50th anniversary of "60 Minutes" is being marked by a new book penned by executive producer Jeff Fager.

You know, during the prior administration, President Obama was a regular on "60," granting many interviews. But so far, Trump has not had an interview since inauguration day. So, I asked Fager if one might be on the works.


JEFF FAGER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "60 MINUTES": We asked on a couple of occasions. I thought we might get an interview with him at the beginning of this television season, September. We never set a date or anything. So -- but, you know, actually, President Obama did so many interviews with us that it raises the expectation. You know, we didn't do a third as many with George W. Bush or with President Clinton.

So I'm not expecting that he's avoiding us. I think we're going to be doing an interview with him and I think he -- at some point, they're going to want to do and need to do a mainstream interview in a place like "60 Minutes", with a big audience.

STELTER: As opposed to all of the FOX News?

FAGER: Yes, I guess. I don't want to judge that either. I just -- I think it -- I think the "60 Minutes" interview is going to be an important interview to do, and they know it's going to be tough, but direct and fair.

STELTER: But you think he will eventually say yes?

FAGER: I think.

STELTER: Yes, because a pessimist would say he's decided to stay within a safe space.


STELTER: And not give interviews anymore to journalists.

FAGER: Maybe so, I don't think so. I think we will be doing an interview with him.

STELTER: It's interesting. There was a piece by "Variety's" Brian Steinberg recently that described what you told the staff last spring.


STELTER: Tell us about that. You were encouraging them to be, what is it, more timely?

FAGER: Yes. Well, you know, we always have a gathering at the end of the television season. And that's an opportunity for me to talk about the next year, the coming season. We started working months in advance, three, four, five months in advance.


FAGER: And it was my chance just to say, look, you know, we need to be on the news more. We just need to be more relevant. It is kind of a drumbeat from me. I think they hear it a lot and have since I took over, which is now 14 years, a long time.

STELTER: What is more relevant mean on a practical level?

FAGER: I think that it feels like it belongs in today's world. It's today's story. You know, there was a time on "60 Minutes" when I think we did too many, what we call evergreens, which are stories that can sit on the shelf for a long time and that shelf which we call a bank, I always say, the longer it's there, unlike any other bank, it actually loses interest.


STELTER: And a perfect example of that timely story from "60 Minutes" was the recent investigation jointly with "The Washington Post" into the opioid crisis, which prompted President Trump's pick for drug czar to withdraw. You can hear my full interview with Jeff Fager at and through our iTunes podcast.

And we'll be right back.


[11:58:49] STELTER: Before we go here, a quick look at the week ahead. One of the top stories is going to be Facebook, Twitter and Google's lawyers heading up to Capitol Hill, testifying on Tuesday and Wednesday about how their social networks were used to spread Russian propaganda during the 2016 election.

Check out our previous story at That's the home for all of our media news coverage, lots of other stories, including Jeff Glor's promotion at "The CBS Evening News", and a look at whether Bill O'Reilly can still make a comeback in the TV business now that his $32 million settlement has been revealed.

You can read all that coverage at And while you're there, sign up for our nightly newsletter. It's our six-night- a-week look at all the day's media news delivered right to your inbox at the end of the day. We have a lot of stories to share with you in the newsletter tonight, including another look at the week ahead and what we're going to learn and when we're going to learn it about Robert Mueller's investigation.

You can also check out our podcast there and let me know what you thought of the program. Tweet me or look me up on Facebook. I'm @BrianStelter on both site and I always think your feedback help shape RELIABLE SOURCES.

We'll see you right back here this time next week.