tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg July 17, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." jonathan: good evening. charlie is away. i'm jonathan karl of abc news. we begin with politics. president trump has been on a state visit to france this week. when he returns to washington, he will find russia is still dominating the news. on thursday, senate republicans released the newest version of the bill to repeal and replace the affordable care act. joining me now, megan murphy, the editor of "bloomberg businessweek." and from washington, mike allen, the cofounder of axios. and yoni appelbaum, the senior editor for politics at "the atlantic."
it has been a heck of a week. i heard the president before he left for france was frustrated and lashing out over the fact the russia story will not go away. i have heard it suggested by some he saw this story involving his son as perhaps the worst development and worst day of his presidency. we have new developments. more new developments today. we have heard the president has hired a new criminal attorney, ty cobb. megan: they have been looking for someone to come in for some time now to be the enforcer on this probe, figure out how they will react in terms of rapid response, as well as making sure people adhere to a similar storyline going forward. you are right in the sense that it cuts the issues surrounding his presidency as he goes away again.
it intensifies. it is getting worse. drip, call it drip, dread. we are almost at flood, flood at this point. you wake up to new revelations about who was meeting with don jr. the number keeps increasing. today we see more people. we still do not know the full list of people. the second that story broke, you knew it could be a defining moment, just the sheer gravity of the allegations involved. it is not going to go away until people feel like they have been fully transparent. we still don't know what is out there in other emails. we still don't know what was discussed other than the version of the story. if he thinks this is going away right now, it is on a trajectory , of getting worse day by day. jonathan: what is significant about the other developments, this june 9 meeting with the russian lawyer, the now famous meeting set up by don jr. , attended by paul manafort and jared kushner.
now we learn in addition to the lawyer and promoter friend, we have at least two others. what's the significance of that ?>> how many people are in the -- what's the significance of that? megan: how many people are in the room i don't think matters. there are two issues. there is the don jr. issue where he knew not only this information was promised on hillary clinton but it came from russian officials. he also knew this was part of a concerted effort by russia to get his father elected. that is one half of the equation. for what he said in saying, "i i can't wait," that is stupidity. but the second half of the equation is jared kushner, paul manafort, people who should have known better and raised incredible alarm bells and red flags the second you saw an email promising that kind of information from that source. paul manafort, one of the most sophisticated political operators in washington for many
years. jared kushner, one of the president's closest advisors. i think it you hide this, there is stupidity on don jr.'s part. equation half of the is deeply troubling in terms of how far these connections went, how far -- what they knew, and what the president knew in terms of where it came from. jonathan: the age-old "what did the president know and when did he know it" is newly relevant. the president has said he did not know about this meeting until a few days ago. but now we have reporting that the president's legal team knew about this weeks ago. what is the significance of that? megan: -- mike: that's true. in addition to the legal team other senior staffers have known , about it for a couple of weeks. here is the problem with that. when don jr. put out a statement, which has been
reporting that the president was involved in crafting the statement, -- jonathan: the first statement, the one that said it was just about adoption. mike: right. and it was at the very least radically incomplete, and it was since updated. but then don jr. went on "hannity" and said it is all out there. but no, it turns out there are more people. this is why the president is right about the gravity of this. for establishment republicans, it has been a series of telling themselves stories about trump. you'll be fine when he's in office. he will be fine when we start to pass legislation. with the russian story, republicans have been telling themselves, "they just didn't know what they were doing." this was more keystone cops and -- than something insidious.
but now, we have these brutal montages on tv shows of these officials telling again and again there was nothing going on with russia, it is outrageous, silly. and we find out all of that is incorrect. that is the problem. how now do they give any kind of blanket denial or any kind of denial that will be believed? jonathan: if the president is deeply frustrated, lashing out because of the russian story and the fact it will not go away, that is what i was being told over and over again earlier this week, this story is not going anywhere now. chuck grassley has said he wants don jr. to testify before his committee. he wants paul manafort. this is the judiciary committee. this is not even the house and senate intelligence committee investigation. this is another one. he wants paul manafort before his committee next week. is this going to happen? yoni: it is beyond frustration.
every time he lashes out, he makes it worse for himself. this has become the problem. the first rule of scandals is you want to get ahead of it. this is a white house constantly trying to find ways to catch up to a narrative escaping it. it creates two sets of problems for this white house. one is it gets increasingly difficult for the public to buy the stories it is releasing when it releases a new story with new details which have previously been of scared, or which falsify earlier statements with each progressive day. there is nothing impossible to believe except every previous story of the version the white house has put out has been proven to be false or misleading in some significant respect. the other is that it is starting to distract the white house's ability to do anything else. an increasing number of aides are getting pulled in. they face their own legal liabilities. they can be called to testify. this is a nightmare for any
white house, a scandal broadening and distracting from things it would like to be doing and talking about. the president's reactive style is a key driver of that. megan: and this is the thing they brought in ty cobb, a new , lawyer. these people are not listening to their existing lawyers. you have don jr. talking about this on "hannity" and then being contradicted a day later. no lawyer on the planet would be advising the president or his family to be publicly discussing the kinds of things they are discussing for precisely the reason that the facts to not match up with what is coming out of their mouths. it is interesting they brought someone else in. they are their own worst enemies and their own best friend. they are still playing to the base. they still have a large group of people who think he is being left, that it is obstructionism in washington blocking his agenda. it will be interesting to see going forward with health care
if they cannot get it through the senate, how much he removed himself from the entire process of his signature attempted legislative achievement. that is extraordinary. whether or not it is a calculated method to the madness to remove himself so he stays away from the blame, is interesting to me as to where the american people will stack up as to who they point the finger to. i'm not sure the russia thing is resonating as much as we think it is with the broad rank-and-file. jonathan: one of our mutual friends said that basically people already think there was collusion, people that support donald trump do not care. people who do not like donald have already made up their minds. what is the resonance? public resonance is not going to affect the investigation.
the investigation goes on. but it affects how the investigation is seen. mike: that is right. that's why you are right to cover the opportunity cost. you were there, you covered it. you know george w. bush's most productive period and barack obama's most productive period were those first few months when their party controlled the entire congress. those days are precious and fleeting. there are increasing signs they will be fleeting for donald trump. he has to jam in as much as he can with all of the foot dragging over health care, with the distractions, they are now behind on that. i think anybody would take the under on the health care vote. right now, they are exactly where they need to be to barely pass. you lose two republicans. mike pence breaks the tie. one more person walks through the door and health care is dead. everybody around this table has
covered these votes. you know how it works. either you have it or you lose 10. when it looks like a turkey that will sink, people will get off of it. very bleak picture for health care. tax reform way far behind. i'm told it will try to do the development during the august recess and work on it in september. have significant action on it by the end of the year. we are told if they cannot get it done by the first quarter of 2018, you know how hard it is to do something in an election year. the president's economic adviser gary cohn is going to head out of there. very bleak time and very little to show for controlling the entire federal machinery. jonathan: they are at 50 votes on health care. not for the bill itself. simply for the procedural vote to begin to be able to debate the bill.
i still talk to republican leadership in the senate and those working this issue in the white house who tell me they think they can still get it done. can they? yoni: they are absolutely hopeful they can get this done. the problem is the senators sitting on the sidelines with reservations are feeling to some extent cut out of the process, and even worse, they have objections to the bill. for some, it is too conservative. for others, it is not conservative enough. there is the criticism president trump himself lodged the house , bill is too mean. it is not clear this revised version addresses that criticism. it is a tough circle to square for leadership. it puts the administration in a difficult spot. it campaigned on a variety of promises. this was one of the big ones, repealing and replacing obamacare. mcconnell has stopped using the word repeal in his speeches.
he's acknowledging, at least implicitly, that that's not what they are doing. even this much more modest attempt to largely reform medicaid and not the system as a whole is now on the shoals. that's a very dangerous place for any administration to be if , it campaigns on promises which were popular and arrives in office and finds it difficult to deliver on the promises. they will send congressman out to face the voters in 2018. it will face the voters in 2020 , and may not have a lot to show for it. jonathan: what does the president do the day after it goes down? megan: this is where i bring in the crazy like a fox argument again. the thing that is most interesting about this bill is it has made people aware of how important medicaid is as a program at all stages of life, for all types of people. kids, women, the elderly, rural america. how far it stretches and how damaging the scale of the cuts
could be, nearly $800 billion, to everyday health care people obtain and get. the poorest kids, the elderly in nursing homes. here is something definitely true. the exchanges need to be fixed. the marketplace needs to be fixed. there are too few people providing plans under obamacare. premiums are too high. even the staunchest democrats agree there needs to be something to fix the marketplace. what could happen, it is possible there is some type of bipartisan compromise that moves forward. chuck schumer has said he has willingness to work on that type of legislation. is it possible if the senate bill died next week, that they come forward with some type of near-term compromise to prop up the exchanges, bring premiums down, get the marketplace functioning better, that can be
hailed as a victory on both sides? of course not repeal and replace. not the signature promises republicans have campaigned on for seven years. but something donald trump could claim a victory? i think it is possible. jonathan: instead of repealing obamacare, you're talking about strengthening obamacare. megan: or play it off as fixing it and making it more palatable. the republican party as a whole, anathema. one thing is for certain. that marketplace needs to be fixed. there is agreement on both sides that needs to be done. if this bill goes down, i am not sure it is possible for them to abdicate entirely under the -- on doing something to shore up critical health care for a large portion of americans. jonathan: i want to come back to the legal team. you mentioned, megan, there is a new lawyer. this comes after the extraordinarily strange chapter in building the president's lead
attorney, until now, i guess still very much part of the legal team. can you explain this? he sent threatening emails to somebody he did not know? megan: he went on a late-night email rant to someone who criticized him in an email. but the language was so abusive. "i'm going to move on you -- ," stuff you would not hear in modern conversation, particularly from the president's lawyer. he has apologized. they put out a statement saying it was after a long working day. i think we do need to think about the degradation of the office in general with some of the things happening in the antics happening. this is the personal lawyer of the president of the united states. we talk all the time about the president's tweets and whether they are appropriate or not.
i do get worried we are becoming so immune to this that this is just the latest in a 24-hour news cycle and the next thing we brush off. some of this stuff is frankly unacceptable. it would not be tolerated in any workplace. certainly not my workplace. are we concentrating, among the madness that we dismiss as madness, are we focusing on how severe some of this madness is and how deep it goes and how troubling it is and what kind of example we are sending to the rest of the world? jonathan: that tone is set from where? megan: the president himself. that is the problem. when you have someone in that oval office who has no -- i thinkcipline the longest we have ever seen him have message discipline is when he has gone dark three or four days max. jonathan: this week, when he
went without a single public event on his schedule, sunday, the wednesday -- megan: are we really in a position where he can't be in public to enforce message discipline? that is troubling. let's be serious. we have isis, the fight against isis. north korea, massive geopolitical instability and problems. and we are focused on his lawyer sending a late-night email rant. jonathan: that is what they would say. they would say isis is on its heels in iraq, defeated in mosul, essentially run out of raqqa. the stock market has hit consecutive highs this week. in his words, the president has done more legislatively than any president since washington, and he had a tough time with congress.
they have an entirely different view of this. they would say we are spending too much time focusing on these issues and not enough on what they are accomplishing. what are they actually accomplishing? mike: the accomplishments he pointed to are correct. the president will rightly point to those economic signs. one of the undeniably biggest accomplishments of the first six months has been giving business a spring in its step. we see that in the markets, we see that in ceo announcements. but think of the bandwidth this is soaking up inside. here is the amazing thing to reflect on. for all of the craziness and fascination of the last six months, there has not been a transcendent crisis at home or a
national security event abroad that would test the infrastructure of the white house. or are they up to, still capable of mobilizing for a transcendent crisis? and they are now also divided, even within the inner sanctum of the oval office. axios reported this week that the president's legal team is pushing for there to be a wall between him and his son-in-law so they cannot discuss the russia investigation. there is frustration from the president's legal team that he has been discussing the investigation. there are different legal teams. there are different p.r. teams. every person for themselves in this west wing, many of whom are going to face questioning from prosecutors. there is not the unity you would get in the last few white houses that this has covered, because
now by both circumstance and personality, we have a bunch of fifedoms and people are worried about their own jeopardy rather than protecting their guy. which usually is the first team of anyone working in the white house. jonathan: in the midst of that, there is the white house communications operations, which would normally be the one coordinating the message in terms of policy stuff. we have not seen sean spicer in public for more than two weeks. we have had precious few white house briefings. most of them off-camera. where are we with the shakeup of the communications team? is it coming? they seem to have faded into the background. mike: the problem is they cannot get people to come in. they are desperate for talent. they cannot get people to come in. because of the investigation, it is hard for people to leave. jonathan: you can understand the obsession with this. there has been more leaking out of this white house, leaking of conversations in the oval
office, conversations between the president and foreign leaders, transcripts. it is quite remarkable. yoni: leaking is a symptom of the underlying malady, which is you are looking at a white house which does not have any degree of consensus about what it wants to achieve. it has fractions vying for the attention of an easily distractible leader. you get the leaks because they are talking to each other and the president through the press. that is a huge problem for the white house. but ultimately it is not really , a communications challenge. it is an agenda challenge. this should have been a good week for the white house. the president is often at his best when he's on foreign trips. instead, the russia story overtook the positive message it wanted to send. it overtook attention from the revived prospects of the health care bill in the senate. what comes across as a communications challenge for the white house becomes a question, not of message discipline, but of discipline, of the president being able to remain focused on the things he wants to achieve,
to communicate to his staff to bring them on the same page. when a president fails to achieve that, when he can't bring the purple -- people working for him into agreement, that is when you get the leaks and infighting. that is when you get the tremendous problems that come with it that the white house now experiences. jonathan: yoni appelbaum of "the atlantic," mike allen of axios, megan murphy with "bloomberg businessweek," thank you for being here. ♪
♪ jonathan: president trump's relationships with russia are again in the news this week. the trump family and said -- has often said contradictory things about the trump organization's business ties to russia. here is what donald trump told nbc's lester holt in may. president trump: i have had dealings over the years where i sold a house to a wealthy russian many years ago. i had the miss universe pageant which i owned for quite a while. i had it in moscow a long time ago. other than that, i have nothing to do with russia. jonathan: in 2008, donald trump, jr. told the real estate conference, "russians make up a pretty disproportionate
cross-section of a lot of our assets," and he added, "we see a lot of money pouring in from russia." as craig unger reports in this month's edition of "the new republic," the money has been pouring in for the better part of three decades. and some of that money has come from questionable sources. i'm pleased to welcome him to the program. fascinating, detailed, lengthy, heavily had been researched -- heavily-researched story about trump's ties, business ties to russia, about the role russian money has played throughout his business career. craig: absolutely. i think we see these blockbusters dropping almost every day now in the press. what i was trying to do is say , you know, they don't come out of the blue. this is part of the story that goes back to, as i found in 1984 , when for the first time a guy named david met with donald trump. this was a fellow with ties to the russian mob. he goes in and buys five condos.
the state attorney general later said that was laundering money. jonathan: five condos in trump tower. craig: absolutely. jonathan: let's take a look at basically the thesis of your story. you write, "a review of the public record reveals a clear and disturbing pattern. trump owes much of his business success, and by extension, his presidency to a flow of highly suspicious money from russia." and then you add this. "without the russian mafia, it is fair to say donald trump would not be president of the united states." i want to unpack the story going back to 1984. you put a very important caveat in this piece. you write that to date, no one has documented trump was aware of any suspicious entanglements in his far-flung businesses, let alone he was directly compromised by the russian mafia or that corrupt oligarchs closely allied with the kremlin. so far, there is no smoking gun.
but you find a lot of smoke. craig: there is an enormous amount of smoke. when it comes to a smoking gun, it is hard to prove what was going through donald trump's mind, whether he was knowledgeable. at the same time when trump , tower was built, it was only the second building in new york that allowed buyers to purchase something anonymously through shell companies. we see that going on for more than 33 years. now if you come up to the present, since he has been president, about 70% of the sales in his buildings have gone to shell companies where we do not know the identity. jonathan: 70%? craig: 70%.
jonathan: you mentioned the beginning of trump tower and this russian figure who buys five of these condos. donald trump goes in person to the closing. >> that in itself is unusual. you have to wonder, is this suspicious at all? have you ever bought five condos? this is a guy that does not have a clear source of income. jonathan: there was much in here that has been in the public record, but you collect it all and do further reporting on it. one that has not gotten much attention was a trip that donald trump made in 1987 to the soviet union, to moscow, during the gorbachev years. we have a photograph here of donald trump and ivana, his his then-wife, during this visit. what was donald trump doing in moscow in 1987? >> this was during the gorbachev era. there was a lot of talk about building a trump tower in moscow. this is something he had gone back to again and again, and it has never happened.
there are over 30 trump towers all over the world. it has never happened in moscow. when he came back for the first time, you start to see his presidential ambitions. in 1988, he went to new hampshire as if to throw his hat in the ring for the new hampshire primary. >> i have gone and looked back at that. some of the themes are similar to what he is saying now. >> it is amazing. he took out full-page ads in the new york times in washington post that put forth the same kind of foreign policy he is articulating now. it was very anti-nato and anti-european. it was pre-pollutant, but seem like it could have come out of putin, but it could have come out of the mouth of vladimir putin. >> he said some interesting
things about the russian leaders back then. this is the waning days of the soviet union. ronald reagan is of course president, and he goes back couple of times, but you quote him praising the soviet leaders in comparison to the american leaders. craig: right. it is interesting. he has watched russia become a mafia state, and rather than being appalled by it, it seems to me he is embracing it. and the mafia state that putin has put together -- it is an interesting phrase, but what does it really mean? what you see is a system of oligarchs and mafias, crime bosses, and putin allows them to work, allows them to become wealthy, as long as they are serving putin's interests. and as long as they don't challenge him politically. have taken an interest in trump properties. trump tower was a very in demand property from the very beginning. craig: right, but you have to
wonder about money laundering in this. if you look at special counsel robert mueller and the people he has fired recently, a woman named lisa from the justice department, who is said to have enormous experience, and a fellow named andrew weissman, who is also an expert in money laundering. >> i want to get to that in a minute, where the investigation might be going and whether it could be looking into some of this, but you highlight several of these russian mafia figures, who either owned trump properties or had business dealings with the trump organization. one of them is an individual named takanov. this guy actually owned property in trump tower very recently, was involved in the property of property of trump tower as recently as 2013. craig: right, and there was a big bust. 29 people were arrested.
>> this was in trump tower and there was a bust? again, this is people who own property in trump tower. own or rent? craig: there were owners among them, certainly. >> the police come in and there is a raid at trump tower. again, this is not donald trump, but it is his building. what happened, 2013? craig: 29 people in two rings were arrested in total. >> arrested for? craig: for gambling ring and money laundering. there were indictments, and his nickname -- i keep mispronouncing his full name, but he later turned up back here. >> he was indicted? >> yes, and he fled the country. >> interpol was after him. there was sort of a manhunt to
find this guy. craig: right, and yet he ends up on the red carpet at the miss universe pageant in moscow near donald trump. remember, that is sponsored by the person who set up the more recent meetings in -- with donald trump junior in june of last year, and that has been the big news this week. >> this is fascinating. you have a guy wanted internationally, under indictment, and nobody knows where he is for seven months. and he shows up in the vip section at the miss universe -- again, you also point out, you he said he bought the tickets to get into the vip section. there is no evidence that trump saw him there or knew he was there.
very close by. craig: right, right, and there's so many coincidences like this, you have to say, wait a minute, there is a pattern here. i think this is what they will be investigating. >> you make the case that when trump really had his financial crisis, when atlantic city when went south in the late 1980's, that was russian money in part that helped bail him out. how so? craig: there were really two phases. the first was buying condos. the second phase, after trump expanded to atlantic city, he ended up with six bankruptcies. he was $4 billion in debt. he could not continue. he did not have much real estate. he could not get a bank loan anywhere. in 2002, a company called bay rock moved into trump tower. day are a real estate development company, and they wanted to partner with them. they made him an offer that he could not and did not refuse, where they put up about $1
billion in financing or helped raise the money. trump put up nothing in financing, but he got 18% of the profits for licensing his name. >> so why isn't this just a smart business deal for trump and he has got a name that the russians clearly are attracted to, believe in, so i mean, why not? craig: it was a smart business deal, but part of the real question is, did he know he was dealing with mobsters. did he know he was dealing with people with a criminal past? when bay rock, one of the principles man named felix , a seiter. seiter, through his father, was tied to the big russian mobster. rock, ir people in bay guess you could call them all of
mark's, multi billionaires doing oligarchs, multi billionaires who were doing really well in putin's mafia state, and it is important to remember that the russian mafia, when dealing with the? yeah, it is not like american politicians dealing with tony soprano. the russian mafia is an adjunct of russian intelligence. you are being compromised, especially if you end up as president of the united states. >> so when donald trump tells lester holt that he really has had precious few dealings with russians over the year, he said, i sold a house to a wealthy russian business many years ago. i had the miss universe pageant in moscow a long time ago. other than that, i have had nothing to do with russia. craig: that is absolutely ridiculous. in new york, you have databases where you can go through all the purchases of trump tower, which
is something i have done. every time you get a russian name, you just google it. he sold many, many apartments developmentsrida, where about one third of the units were sold to russians. in panama city, panama, he has a trump tower, and dozens and dozens of the units were sold to russians. so this was a fire sale in a way to bring in russian money. donald trump jr. said as much. mentioned meuller and the fact that he has brought in experts on financial crimes prosecutors he brought onto his team. do you think this is where this is going? do you think they will start going through, combing through donald trump's dealings going decades ago? that seems pretty far afield from russian interference in the election.
craig: one thing in all of this is that, you know, part of the question is, "has he been compromised by russia?" does putin have something he can hold over him? if he has been involved in criminal activity, that is really being compromised. now, proving that is something that i cannot do as a reporter. i cannot get into his mindset. i do not have subpoena power. >> and the tax returns. craig: in terms of his dealings, so much of this, so many of the units were sold to shell companies, and reporters cannot really penetrate that. you need subpoena power to do that. >> is it your sense that that is where this goes? when you said you do not think it is unrelated to the russian interference in the election, do you think the suggestion is that the russians could have something over trump? craig: absolutely.
there are all these financial dealings. i don't think it is much of an exaggeration to say, without the russian mafia, he would probably not be president today, and that means he is indebted to them. >> you are saying that because russian money and questionable kept hismoney businesses afloat when he had his back against the wall? craig: absolutely. >> fascinating story. still, a lot of speculation, a lot of unanswered questions, but absolutely fascinating story . thank you very much, craig unger. craig: thank you. ♪
>> trip adler is here, ceo and cofounder of an online content subscription service offering e-books, magazines, and now, newspapers. the platform has 100 million users and 500,000 paying subscribers, generating $50 million in annual revenue. as journalists increasingly cater to breaking news, it offers longer form premium content and higher returns for publishers. i am pleased to have trip adler here at this table for the very first time. >> it is great to be here. thank you for having me. i want to get to the
fascinating story of how you started this company just out of college. but before we do, you launched a deal in the past month to provide newspaper content on scribd. new york times, wall street journal, tell me about that. this is another way for people to access news content. trip: yeah, so scribd is a subscription service for reading. we offer, we basically offer everything you want to read, you need to read, in one place, so you pay a small monthly fee. >> how much is that fee? $.99ght dollars and dollars per month. , nine and basically, you pay, and we offer over one million books, audiobooks, magazines, magazines, and newspapers. by offering it altogether, we can really provide a much more frictionless and easy to read experience to discover new things to read and get people to read more and enrich their lives through reading. >> do you expect, is this the
beginning of a major new effort in terms of newspapers? you started out with user generated content, books. this is a different thing. this is newspaper, although you are focusing more on longer form evergreen content? trip: yeah, we think that this is all reading, right? the way our service works is you sign up to read and we show you all different types of reading a around your interests. let us say there is one topic you are interested in reading. let's say you are interested in learning about global warming. you can see all the books on that topic, on the magazine articles on that topic, all the newspaper articles on that topic, and we cross promote that together and offer that as a package. the lines are blurring between a these different types of reading. because of the way this is organized, we can drive more distribution to older articles, get people who want to go deeper
on a topic and read articles that might not be breaking news at the moment. and then we can ultimately pay journalists for the reading activity of those older articles. >> which is a good thing, by the way, for journalists, i mean. trip: we are trying to create more revenue to share with journalists. there is the question about what is the best way to monetize journalism. people who are thinking about it being advertising, micro-payments, i think we are finally at the point that we know what the right model is, it is the subscription model. it works really well. it is working really well for video services, netflix, spotify. netflix and hulu, those are subscription services for video. in the music world, you have services like spotify and apple music. even dating apps like tindr. for journalism, it is a great model. people can pay once, read whatever they want. it is a frictionless, great way
to pay and read what you want. the problem right now is that while there are all these subscriptions, there are are many suspensions for news, and off ine all sideloa separate subscriptions. what we want to do is bring that into one subscription. >> this has been described as a netflix for reading. trip: yes, you can pay one feet fee and have a subscription list experience. you have to buy individually over here or subscribe to the present magazines. we bring all that together into one experience. people want to pay for each individually, but they will pay for the package. if they are paying for the bundle, then you can potentially get a lot of people subscribing to this bundle. that is a lot of revenue to be returned back to journalists. >> the problem now for
journalism, in some ways, it is a golden age for journalists. our stories can go far beyond what ever organization we work for, newspaper, television network, twitter, facebook, google, but the downside is, it can be seen by millions of people, and there is no revenue, and ultimately, this is why we see newspapers struggling, dying, tremendous challenges for networks. are you ultimately optimistic, pessimistic? where are you about the future of journalism? trip: so i am optimistic. >> because if there is no revenue coming in, journalists can't be paid. is no funding for investigative reporting. trip: with other types of media, like with e-books, for example, when the transition went from physical to digital, the publishers did a good job.
they said you still have to pay for e-books. the transition was news happens so abruptly that people quickly got trained that news should be free. i think you could put a lot of this content behind a subsumption pay wall as long as the experience is done right and you are getting enough value for that subscription fee you are paying. you have tens of millions, over a hundred million people paying video subscriptions, music subscriptions. there is no reason why you cannot get tens of millions of people paying for news with the right product. >> so how do i share this? i have an article or story you that i find interesting. i put it on facebook and share it, but it is behind a pay wall. i have a suspicion to scribd, subscription to scribd, but what would happen if my friends are not? trip: scribd needs to build an experience where it is behind a pay wall, and people want to put
their credit card in and pay for this because the value they are getting with the subscription is so good, right? have mass ofu content and a frictionless, great experience, people are willing to pay for that. >> let us get to how you started this company. i have read through -- you were a student at harvard. i saw somewhere that you were an entrepreneurd. >> it started when i was a senior at harvard. i met my cofounder, jerod, there, and we started a company tinkering with a lot of different ideas. we tried everything from ridesharing service to craigslist for colleges service. >> ridesharing service, that will never work, right? trip: we were just a few years were working on what uber
and lift were doing, but we were just a few years ahead of the time. >> if the smartphones had been with -- trip: that's true. if you are five years too early, that is just as good as being wrong. you have to have the right idea at the right time for these things to work. we were tinkering with a number of ideas, and eventually, we were having a conversation with my dad, who is a doctor at stanford, and he had a medical paper that he wanted to get published, and he was complaining that just get this paper seen by all the right people takes 18 months, so this give us the idea that we could just build a service that would allow him or anyone to take any kind of written content and easily publish that on the web, and we made a service that would allow people to take documents, publish them on the web, find audience, and the idea basically became very viral, very fast, and it took off. within a few years, we were reaching over 100 million monthly users. we had more than 80 million pieces of content uploaded, and
we went from there. >> when did you start charging? how did that work? we had a free in, service. we were back to my investors during like all companies in the situation, we needed to start figuring out a business model. we tried at, but adds the. work , but they did not work too well. we tried buying and selling content on the service, but that did knock it to much traction. we were tinkering with the social model. it became our main revenue source. between attraction we had with this idea that we can build subscription service for books, we decided to partner with the big book publishers. >> when was that? when did you make this leap. trip: five years in. we talked all the big book publishers in new york and got the first ever suspicion terms for e-books and launched the first substitution model for e-books.
basically the idea is you can use it for free and read all the free content or pay nine dollars per month and read all of these best selling books. >> so what next? you started this company. you got $50 million in revenue, 100 million users. what next? trip: we are really just focused on two key things. the first one is building out the content library. we are still acquiring a lot of great books and magazines. more newspapers. going into new forms of content. we want to give as much by few and content to our subscribers as we can. the second thing is we are continuing to improve the product so as a subscriber, we are constantly giving you exactly what you want to read and knowing what you want to read at any moment. we will continue to build those things, and i think we can build a really large subscriber base here similar to what has happened in the video and music
spaces. that revenue can be passed back to authors and journalists and publishers, which is what we are trying to do, build those two sides of the ecosystem. in doing this, i think we can really support journalism. journalism plays a really key role in our society, and we want to be, you know, a voice for supporting quality journalism. you can search the full text and everything, and it is also driven by recommendations. as you read, the service will recommend more content to you based on your interests. >> before you go, going back to rd, have you tried any different ideas? one thing you try not to do was to not get too much venture capital. trip: yeah. we never had much trouble raising funding. i guess that is not entirely true.
when we first started, it was impossible to get any investors. we launched the service and given we had some at traffic early on, we wanted to have tons of investors because people see that audience and the revenue growth, and we're comfortable investing for that. my general advice about funding is that if you have a good product and team, the funding will follow pretty naturally. if you are having trouble raising funding, it is most likely something about what you are doing. so if you solve that first, the funding comes pretty easily. >> these days that is very important. >> the team. there is usually more funding out there and more good ideas and engineers and people to work on the ideas. it all starts with the team and if you have a good team, the ideas and funding will come pretty naturally. >> all right, trip adler, debut here at the table. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thank you. ♪
♪ alisa: i am alisa parenti in washington and you're watching "bloomberg technology." let's start with a check of your first word news. president trump's made in america we kicked off at the white house. firms from all 50 states were invited to showcase domestically manufactured products. trump enjoyed overwhelming support from people who voted him in, but they are less enthused on his leadership on health care according to the bloomberg national poll. 60% think it is unrealistic a bill that improves on premiums and coverage will pass. u.s. trade representative robert lighthizer released a comprehensive summary of renegotiating objectives for nafta. the administration plans to seek