tv Charlie Rose PBS July 17, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
welcome to the program. i'm jonathan karl of abc news, filling in for charlie rose. we begin with politics talking to mike allen, megan murphy and yoni applebaum. >> some of the things that are happening, the antics that are 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're appropriate or not, whether we're dealing with mika or some of the other things. i do get worried that we are becoming so inured. this is something in the next 24 news cycle, the next event, the next thing we brush off. are we becoming inured as voters
and society. but some of this is unacceptable. >> we continue with craig unger, a new republic discussing trump's russian laundromat. >> where you can go through all of the purchases for example at trump tower. whenever you get a name you google it. he sold many apartments there in florida, he had developments where about a third of the units were sold to russians. in panama city panama, he has a trump towers and dozen and dozen of the units were sold to russians. this was a fire sale in a way to bring in russian money, donald trump, jr. said as much. >> we conclude with trip adler, the ceo of the on content subscription service scribd. >> you can have a frictionless great experience with great recommendations to read what you
want. right now there's the experience where you have to buy books individually over here, you have to subscribe to individual newspapers and individual magazines over here the in our case we bring that together in one experience. >> politics, donald trump and russia and trip adler when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: bank of america. life better connected. >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> good evening, charlie is away. i'm jonathan karl of abc news.
we begin tonight with politics. president trouble has been on a state visit to france this week, but when he returns to washington, he'll find that russia is still dominating the news. and on thursday, senate republicans released the newest version of their bill to repeal and replace the affordable care act. joining me now, megan murphy. she's the editor of bloomberg businessweek, and from washington, mike allen, the co-founder of axios and the axios am newsletter. and yoni applebaum, senior editor for politics at the atlantic. wow, it's been a heck of a week. megan, i've heard the president before he left for translashing out deeply frustrated over the fact that the russia story won't go away. i've heard suggested by some that he saw the, this story
involving his son don, jr. as perhaps the worst development, the worst day of his presidency. so we have new developments. more new developments today. and we've heard the president has hired a new criminal attorney, ty cobb. >> yes. they've been looking for someone to comment to be the enforcer on this probe, to get more discipline on it, figure out how they're going to react to it in terms of rapid response and making sure people adhere to a singular story line going forward. but you're right in the sense it cuts the entire issue surrounding his presidency as he goes away again. and yet it intensifies. people call it drip drip dread. almost flood flood flood at this point. you wake up to new revelations about who is in this meeting with don, jr. about promising intelligence about hillary clinton. the number increases even today we see more people. we still don't know the full list of people. the second that story broke, you knew it could be a defining moment just for the sheer gravity of the allegations involved there. and it's not going to go a way
until people feel like they've been fully transparent. we still don't know what's out there. we don't know what's out in other e-mails. we still don't even know what was actually discussed other than their version of the story. if he thinks this is going away, right now it's on the tra jectity of getting worse day by day. >> what are the significance of the day's other developments. you mentioned this june 9th meeting with the russian lawyer. this is a now famous meeting set up by don, jr., attended by paul manafort, attended by jared kushner and now we learn that in addition to the lawyer, the promoter friend who contacted first about this, we have at least two others. what significance is that. >> how many people in the room i don't think matters. i think it will still go, there's two issues here. there's the don, jr. issue where he knew not only that this information was promised on hillary clinton but that it came from russian officials. he also knew that this was part of a concerted effort by russia
to get his father elected. so that's one half of the equation. now for what he said in saying i love it, i can't wait. essentially i can't wait to meet. that is stupidity but the second half of this equation is jared kushner, paul manafort, people who frankly should have known better, should have raised incredible alarm bells, red flags the second you saw an e-mail promising that kind of information from that source. paul manafort, one of most sophisticated political operators in washington for many years. jared kushner as well. one of the president's closest advisors at the time and continues to be so. so i think if you hide this off, there's the stupidity on don, jr.'s part. the other half of the equation is deeply troubling in terms of how far these connections went, what they knew and particularly what the president knew about this kind of information that was being pedaled in terms of where it came from. >> so mike the age old what did the president know and when did he know it. the president himself said he didn't know about this meeting
until just a few days ago. but now we have reporting that the president's legal team knew about this weeks ago. what's the significance of that? >> that's true, john. in addition to the legal team, other senior staffers have known bit for a couple weeks. here's the problem with that. is that when don, jr. put out a statement which it's been reported that the president was involved in crafting that statement, it was the first statement. >> the one that denied that basically said this was just about adoption. >> right. and it was at the very least radically incomplete. it has since been updated. but then don, jr. went on hannity and said it's all out there. but no, it turns out there's more people. this is why the president is right in your telling at the top about the gravity of it until
now. and john hasn't, the trump canned de, the trouble presidency for establishment republicans, it's been a series of telling themselves stories about trump. he will be fine when he's in office. he will be fine when we start to pass legislation. and with the russia story, as you know, republicans have been telling themselves oh these guys just didn't know what they were doing. this was more keystone cops than something insidious. but now we have these brutal montages of these officials telling again and again including yourself that there was nothing going on with russia. that it's outrageous, that it is silly. and we find out that all of that is incorrect. so that's the problem is that how now do they give any kind of a blanket denial or any kind of denial period that will stick or be believed. >> and yoni, if the president is deeply frustrated, slashing out because of the russia story and the fact that it won't go away.
that was what i was being told over and over again earlier this week. i mean, this story's not going anywhere now. chuck grassley has said he wants don, jr. to testify before his committee. wants paul manafort. this is the judiciary. this isn't even the house and senate intelligence committee investigation. this is another one. and he wants paul manafort before his committee next week. is this going to happen. >> it will be on a frustration. every time he lashes out he just make it worse for himself. this has become a problem. the first rule of scandals is you want to get ahead of it. this is the whitehouse which is constantly back on its feet. constantly trying to find ways to catch up to the narrative. and it creates two sets of problems for this whitehouse. one is that it gets increasingly difficult for members of the public to buy the stories that it's releasing when it releases a new story with new details which previously have been obscured or which falsify
earlier statements with each successive day. you're right. there's nothing in the current account which is on its face impossible to believe. except that every previous version of the story that this whitehouse has put out there has proven to be false or misleading in some very significant respect. the other is that it's starting to distract the whitehouse and it's ability to do anything else. increasing number of aides are getting pulled in. their own legal liabilities to be called to testify. this is a nightmare for the white how, the scandal that is broadening on it and distracting from the things we would really like to be doing and talking about. and the president's reactive style is a key driver of that. >> this is the thing. they brought in ty cobb now, a new lawyer. these people aren't listening to their existing lawyers. you have don, jr. out there talking about this on hannity. then being contradicted by a set 16 facts -- of facts a day
later. no lawyer would be discussing the kind of things they're discussing precisely for the reason the facts don't match up what's coming out of their mouth. it's interesting they brought someone else why. they are their own worse enemies and their own best friends. they still have a large group of people who think that he's being attacked by the left, that it's obstructionists in washington and blocking his agenda. it will be interesting to see going forward with healthcare is whether or not if they cannot get this bill over the floor, if they can't get it through the senate, how much, he's basically removed himself from the entire process of so far his signature attempted legislative achievements. this is extraordinary. and whether or not it's a calculated, a sort of method to the madness to remove themselves so that he stays away from the blame. it's interesting to me to where the american people are going to stack up of who they point the finger to. i'm not so sure the russia thing is still even whether it's resonating as much as we think it is, with the broader rank and
file outside of the coast. >> mike, is it the sense, one of our mutual friends said that basically people already think there was collusion and people that support donald trump don't care about it and the people that don't like donald trump, you know, they've already made up their minds. >> what is the resonance. the investigation goes on but it's how the investigation seems. >> you're right to point to the opportunity costs. you were there, you covered it. you know that george w. bush's most productive period and barack obama's most productive period were those first two months, two years when their parties controlled the entire congress. and those days are so precious and they're fleeting and there's increasing signs they will be fleeting for donald trump.
so you have to jam in as much as you mike can. with all the foot dragging that's gone on over healthcare with the distractions, they're now behind on that. i think anybody would take the under on the healthcare 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 that door and healthcare is dead. and everybody around this table covered these votes where you know how it works. either you have it or you lose ten, right. it's not going to lose by one or two when it looks like a turkey that's going to sink people are going to get off it. bleak for healthcare. tax reform way far behind. i'm now told they're going to do the development of that during the august recess, come back, work on that in september. have significant action on it by the end of the year. we're told they can't get it
done by the first quarter of 2018, of course you know how how hard it is, you know gary conan is going to head out of there. very little to show for the entire machine. >> yoni they're only at 50 votes for healthcare not on the bill itself. simply for the procedural vote to begin to be able to debate the bill. but you know, i still talk to republican leadership both in the senate and those working this issue in the whitehouse who tell me they think they can still get it done. can they? >> yes. they are hopeful. they're absolutely hopeful they can get this done but the problem is that the senators who are sitting on the sidelines with reservations are both feeling to some extent cut out of the process. and even worse, they have objections to the bill. for some it's too conservative,
for others it's not conservative enough. there's the criticism that president trump himself lodged. the house bill was too mean. it's not clear that this revised version of the bill addresses that criticism. so it's a really tough circle to square for leadership. and it puts the administration really in a very difficult spot. it campaign on a variety of promises. this was one of the big ones, repealing and replacing obamacare. mcconnel has stopped using the word repeal in his speeches. he's acknowledging at least implicitly that's not what they're doing and even this much more modest attempt to largely to reform medicaid and not the system as a whole is now on the shoals. if it's on promises that are popular and finds it's very difficult to deliver on the promises, it's going to send congressmen out to face the voters in 2018. it will face the voters himself in 2020 and may not have a whole lot to show for it. >> and the question is what dos
the president do after it goes down. >> this is like the fox argument again. the thing that is most interesting i think about this bill, it's made people so much aware in particular of how important medicaid is as a program at all stages of life for all types of people, kids, women, the elderly. how much it's paying now to rural america. how it stretches and how damaging the scale of the cuts could be nearly 800 billion to every day healthcare that people obtain and they get the poorest kids, earlily that are dealing with dementia and nursing homes, how much it pays for. so here's something that is definitely true. the exchanges need to be fixed. the marketplace needs to be fixed. there are two too people providing plans under obamacare under the aca, the premiums are too high.
even the staunchest of democrats agree. what's possible is a partisan compromise and willingness to work on that legislation. is it in fact possible that even if the senate bill dies next week, that they come forward with some type of near term compromise to prop up the exchanges to bring premiums down to get the marketplace function better that can possibly be haled as a victory on both sides. of course not repeal and replace, not the signature promises that republicans have campaigned on for seven years but something that donald trump has claimed a victory. i think it's possible -- >> instead of repealing obama, you're talking about strengthening obamacare. >> fixing it. or played off of fixing it and making it more palatable. now of course for the republican party as whole, anathema. there's one thing for certain. that marketplace needs to be
fixed and there's an agreement on both sides that needs to be done. so if this bill goes down, i'm not sure it's actually possible for them to abdicate entirely on doing something to shore up critical healthcare for a large portion of americans. >> before we wrap up, i want to come back to the deal team because you mentioned megan if there's a new lawyer. this comes after this extraordinarily strange chapter in all this involving mark kazowitz. can you explain this. he went threatening e-mails to somebody he didn't even know. >> he went on a late night e-mail rant to someone who criticized him had in an e-mail. but the language was so abusive. i'm going to move on. stuff that you just wouldn't
hear in modern characterization particularly in the president's lawyer. he apologized putting out a statement saying it was after a long working day. look, i think we do need to think about the degradation of the office in general. some of the things that are happening from the antics that are 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, whether we're dealing with joe and mika or dealing with some of the other things. i do get worried that we are becoming so inured. that this is just the latest in a this hour news cycle. the next event. the next thing that we brush off. are we becoming inured as voters as a society. some of this is just frankly unacceptable. you would not, it would not be tolerated in any workplace,
certainly not my workplace or our workplace. and are we even, are we concentrating among all the madness that we dismiss, are we d how troubling it is anddeepme frankly what kind of example we're setting to the rest of the world. >> that tone is set from where? >> the president himself. and that is the problem is when you have a, someone in that oval office who has no message discipline, i think the longest we've ever seen him have message discipline is when he's gone dark about three or four days max. >> this week when he got a single public event on his schedule, sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday until he took off. >> are we really in a position where he can't be in public in order to enforce message discipline. that is tremendously worrying indeed for the president of the united states. let's be serious here. we've got isis being, fighting against isis, north korea, massive geo political instability and problems. and we're focused on his lawyer sending a late night e-mail
rant. >> that's actually what they would say. they would say look, we've, isis is on its heels in iraq, mosul, run out, the stock market has hit a consecutive highs this week. in his words, the president has done more legislatively than any presidency since washington. they have an differently view of this but they would say look it's, we're spending too much time focusing on these issues and not enough on what they're actually accomplishing. what are they coy. >> they point to the economic times. one of the most undeniably
bigger accomplishments for the first six months has been giving business a spring in its steps. we saw that in the market and ceo announcements but think of the babbled -- bandwidth this s soaking up inside. this is the amazing thing to reflect on. for all the craziness and all the fast nation of these six months, there hadn't been a transcendent crises. either something at home or a national security event abroad that would test the infrastructure of this. are they set up to or are they still capable of mobilizing for transcendent crises. and they're now also divided, even within the very inner sanctum of the oval office. actually it's reported this week that the president's legal team is pushing for there to be a wall between him and his son-in-law jared kushner so he can't discuss the russian investigation or frustration on
the president's legal team that his senior advisor jared kushner and he have been discussing this investigation. as we know there's different legal teams, there are different pr teams. so it's every person for themselves in this west wing. of whom, many of whom who are going to face questioning from prosecutors. and so there's not the unity that you would get in the last few whitehouses have covered buys by circumstance and personality we have a bunch of fiefdoms and people are worried about their own equity rather than protecting their guy which is the first team of anyone working in the whitehouse. >> in the midst of that there's the whitehouse communications operation which would normally be the one coordinating the message both in terms of the policy stuff and on all of this. we haven't seen sean spicer in public for more than two weeks.
we've had precious few whitehouse brief, most of them off camera. i mean where are we with the shake up of the communications team? is it coming. do they seem to have just kind of faded into the background. >> the problem is, john, as you well know from your own reporting, they can't get people to come in. they're desperate for talent. they can't get people to come in. and of the investigation it's very hard for people to leave. this is dan rather used to have great expression, he used to talk about a too long car ride on the way to the beach and that's like thank you very much. what this west wing is, they're kind of stuck with each other. and with these massive differences of opinions about how do you handle the cops, how do you handle the legal issues. distrust. who is leaking. one of the "new york times" stories on don, jr. was attributed to three advisors to the whitehouse. are those inside, are those outside. it's not specified.
but everybody wonders. you know from your own conversations, throughs intense fervent speculation within the west wing who it is. you know we love to gossip about it. the west wing is no different. if you were in politics you would be more inkleined tight. i can tell you who is doing the leaking on these stories is something of constant fascination and conversation. >> yoni, lastly, you can understand the obsession with this. there has been for, there has been more leaking out of this whitehouse. i mean leaking of conversations in the oval office. conversations with the president and foreign leaders, transcripts. it's really remarkable. >> yes. you're looking at a whitehouse which really doesn't have any degree of consensus what it wants to achieve. it's the attention of an easy distractible leader. they get lakes because they're talking to each other and the
president through the press. that's a huge problem for the whitehouse but ultimately it's not a communications challenge. it's an agenda challenge. this should be a good week in the whitehouse. the president is often at his best when he's on foreign trips but instead the russia story again took the positive message it wanted to send. it overtook attention for the healthcare bill and the senate. what comes across as a communications challenge for this whitehouse ultimately becomes a question, not a message of discipline but of discipline that the president be able to remain focus on the things he wants to achieve. to clearly communicate them to his staff, to bring them all on the same page. when a president fails to achieve that in convert and adrenal that's when you get the leaks, insiding and the tremendous problems that come along with it that the white house now experiences. >> all right, yoni balance all of the atlantic, mike lynn of
axios and megan with bloomberg businessweek. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having us. >> president trump's relationship with russia are again in the news this week. the trump family has said contradictly things about the trump's organization business ties to russia. here's what don trump told nbc lester holt in may. >> i have had dealings over the years where i sold a house to a very wealthy russian many years ago. i had the miss universe panel i had for a while. i had it in moscow long ago. but other than that i have nothing to do with russia. >> back in 2008 don trump, jr. said russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. he added we saw a lot of money pouring in from russia. as craig unger reports in this
month's issue of the new republic the money has been pouring in are for the better part of three equal aids and some of that money has come from questionable sources. his story is called trump's russian laundromat. i am pleased to welcome him to the program. >> thank you for having me. >> detailed, length e story here in the new republic about trump's dies, business ties to russia, the role that russian money has played throughout his business career. >> 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 con out of the blue. this is part of the story that goes back to as i found in 1984, at a time when for the first time a guy named david bogen met with donald trump. this was a fellow with ties to the russian mob. and he goes in and buys five condos. and the state attorney general later said that was laundering money. >> five condos in trump tower.
>> absolutely. >> let's look at basically the thesis of your story here. you write a review of the public report reveals a clear and disturbing pattern. trump owes much of his business success, and by ex tension his presidency to a flow of highly suspicious money from russia. then you add this. without the russian mafia it is fair to stay donald trump would not be president of the united states. i want to kind of unpack the story going back to 1984. you also put a very important caveat in this piece. you write to date, no one has documented the trump was even aware of any suspicious entanglements in his business let alone he was directly compromised by the russian mafia or corrupt oligarchs who are no closely alive with the kremlin. so far when it comes to trump's ties to russia, there is no smoking gun. you find a lot of smoke. >> there's an enormous amount of
smoke. when it comes to a smoking gun, it's very hard to prove what was going through donald trump's mind whether he was knowledgeable. wer was built, it was only the second building in new york that allowed buyers to purchase something anonymously without disclosing their identity through shell companies. we see that going on for more than 33 years. and now, you come up to the president -- to the present, since he's been president, about 70% of the sales in his buildings have gone to shell companies where we don't know the identity. >> say that again, 70%. >> 70%. seven o. >> you came to this figure of five condos. drum actually goes in person to the closing. >> yes. that in itself is unusual. you have to wonder is this suspicious at all. have you ever gone around and
bought five condos. this is a guy who doesn't have a clear source of income t. >> there was much in here that's been in the public record but you kind of collect it all and do some further reporting on it. one, it hadn't gotten much attention was a trip that donald trump made back in 1987 to the soviet union to moscow during the gorbachev years. we have a photograph here of donald trump and ivanna his prior wife on this moscow visit. what was drutd doing in moscow in 1987, this was during the gorbachev area and there was a lot of talk about building a trump tower in moscow. something he's gone back again and again but it's never really happened. >> building a trump tower in moscow. >> yes, there are 3 some trump towers all over world but not in moscow.
when he comes back for the first time you see his presidential ambitions. in 88 he went to new hampshire to throw his hat in the ring for the new hampshire primary. >> i've gone back and looked a that speech. some of the themes are very similar to what he's saying now. >> it's amazing and took out full page ads in the "new york times" and washington post. the foreign policies he's articulating now, very anti-nato, anti-european. and it seems like i mean this is preputin era but it seems like it could haval can out of the mouth of vladimir putin. >> he said some interesting things about the russian leaders back then. again, this is the waning days of the soviet union. we're still in the soviet union. ronald ronald reagan is of course president. he goes back a couple times. but you quote him praising the soviet leaders in comparison to the american leaders.
>> right. i mean, you know, it's interesting. he's 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's an interesting trays but what does it really mean. what you see is a sense of oligarchs and crime bosses that comes up again and again and again. putin allows them to work and allows them to become wealthy as long as they're serving putin's interest and a long as they don't challenge him politically. >> many of them seem to take interest in trump property. trump tower was a demand property from the very beginning. >> right. but you have to wonder about money laundering though in this. if you look at special counsel robert mueller and look at the people's he's hired recent
ly hired lisa pay who has enormous experience. and andrew wiseman who is also an expert in money laundering. >> i want to get to that in a minute would you think the investigation might be going and whether or not it could be looking into some of this. but among, you highlight sell of these kind of russian mafia fixes either owned trump properties or had business dealings with the drum organization. one of them is an individual named tacktafnov, i think i'm pronouncing his name right. this guy owned property on trump tower recently as 2013. >> right. there was a began blink ring there. there was a big bus. 29 people were awe -- arrest the. >> this was in trump power.
>> absolutely. >> this was to bust. now again this is people who owned property in trump tower or own or rent. >> they were owners among them certainly, yes. >> so the police come in. there's actually a raid at trump tower. again this is not donald trump but it is his building. so what happened, 2013. >> so 29 people two rings were arrested in total. >> arrested for? >> for gambling and money laundering. there were indictments. and he later turned up that year. >> so he was indicted. >> yes. and he fled the country. >> there was an interpol was after him. >> right. >> there was kind of a man hunt to find this guy. >> right. and yet he ends up on the red carpet at the miss universe
pageant in model could you near donald trump. and remember, that is sponsored by -- who helped set up the most recent meetings with donald trump, jr. in june of last year. and that's been the big news this week. >> so this is fascinating. you have a guy that's want internationally. he's under indictment. and nobody knows where he is for seven months. and he shows up in the vip section. now again, you also point out, i mean he says bought the tickets for, to get into the vip session. there's no evidence that trump saw him there or knew he was there. but there he was. very close by. >> right, right. and there's just so many quince -- coincidences like this
you say wait a minute. >> you make the case when trump really had his financial crises when atlantic city went south in the what, late 80's. that it was russian money in part that helped bail him out. how so. >> there are really two phases. the first part i think was buying condos. the second phase is after trump and atlantic city he ended up with total of four bankruptcy, 800 million in personal date. he didn't have much in real estate. he couldn't get a bank loan anywhere. in 2002 a company named bayrock moved into trump tower. they are a real estate development company and they want to partner with him. essentially they made him an offer that he could not and did not refuse. where they put up about a billion dollars in financing or helped raise the money. trump put up nothing in
financing. but he got 18% of the profits for licensing his name. >> why isn't this just a smart business deal for trump. he's got a name that the russians clearly are attracted to, believe in. so, i believe why not? >> well, it was a smart business deal but part of the real question is didn't he know he was dealing with monsters. did he know he was dealing with people with a criminal past. and bay rock, for example. one of the principles is a man named flex sader and through his part was tied to a big russian mobster. the other people in bayrock you guess you could call them oligarchs, multibillionaires doing very very well in putin's mafia state.
and it's also important to remember when you're dealing with the russian mafia it's american politicians dealing with tony soprano. the russian mafia is an adjunct of russian intelligence. so you are being compromised in effect especially if you end up as president of the united states. >> so when he tells lester holt, when donald trump tells lester holt just a connal months ago that he really has had precious few dealings with russians over the years. he says i sold a house to a very wealthy russian businessman many years ago. i had the miss universe pageant in moscow a long time ago. other than that i've had nothing to do with russia. >> that's absolutely ridiculous. in new york you have databases where you can go through all of the purchases for example at trump tower which is something i've done. and every time you get a russian name you just google it. i mean so he sold many amounts
there. in florida he had developments where about a third of the units were sold to russians. in panama city panama he uses trump tower. and dozen and dozen 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. >> so you mentioned mueller and the fact that mueller has brought in experts on financial crimes among the prosecutors he's brought on to his team. do you think this is where he's going. do you think he's going to go through and combing through donald trump's dealings going back decades ago with russians. that seems pretty far afield with the question of russian interferes in the election. >> i don't know if it is far afield but one thing in all of this, i think, you know, part of
the question has he been compromised by russia, does putin have something he's going to hold over him. if he's been involved in criminal activity, then that is really being compromised. now, proving that is something that i can't do as a reporter. i can't get into his mind set. i don't have subpoena power. >> you can't see the tax return. >> right. and actually, in terms of his dealings, so much of this, so many of the units were sold to shell companies. and reporters can't really penetrate that. you need subpoena power to do that. >> so is it your sense that that's where this goes. when you said you don't think it's unrelated to the russian interference of the election, the suggestion is that the russians could have something over trump. >> absolutely. i mean there are all these financial dealings. i mean, i think, i mean i don't think it's an exaggeration to say without the russian mafia he
would probably not be president today. and that means he's indetailed to them. >> you're saying that because russian money and questionable russian money kept his businesses afloat when he had his back against the wall. >> fascinating story. still a lot of speculation, a lot of unanswered questions. but absolutely fascinating story. thank you very much, craig unger. >> thank you. >> trip adler is here. he is the ceo a and co-founder f scribd. it's an on-line 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 scribd promises longer premium content and liar returns for publishers.
i'm pleased to have tripdler here at this table for the first time. >> thank you. >> i want to get into the story how you started this company just out of college. but before we do, you launched a deal just in the past month to provide newspaper content on scribd. "new york times," "wall street journal." tell me about that. this is just another way for people to access news content. >> yes. so scribd is a subscription service for reading. we offer, we basically offer everything you want to read, everything you need to read in one place. so you pay a small monthly fee and then we offer -- >> how much is that fee. >> $8.99. $9 a month. basically you pay and we offer over one million books, audio books, magazines and we recently
added newspapers to. we can provide a much more friction risk and new experience where you discover new things to read. ultimately get people to read more. >> do you expect this is the beginning of a major new effort in terms of newspapers. again you started out with user-generated content. books. this is a different thing. this is newspaper. you're focusing more on longer form kind of everything content. >> yes. we think that this is, it's all reading, right. the way our service works is you sign up to read and we show you all different types of reading around your interests. let's say there's one tonic you're interested in reading. let's say you're interested in learning more about global warming given 9 new movie -- the new movie coming out . you can go there and see all the news articles, all the magazine articles and newspaper articles in thatton topic.
we throw that all together. the lines are blurring between these different types of reading. because of the way this is organized we can drive more distribution into older articles, get people who want to go deeper on a topic and read articles that might not be breaking news at the moment. then we can ultimately pay journalists for the reading activity of those older more backless articles. >> which is a good thing by the way for journalists. >> that's really a large part of what we're trying to do is to create more revenue sharing with journalists. there's a question what's the best way to monetize journalism. people were thinking about it being advertising and being micro payments. we're finally at the point where we know it's the right model, prescription model. it works really well. it's working really well for video services, netflix and spotify,hulu. you have spotify and apple
music. even dating apps like tinder. for journalism it's a great model. people pay once read what they want. it's a frictionless just great way to pay to read what you want. the problem right now though is that while there are all these subscriptions, there are many subscriptions for news and they are off on a separate subscription. what we want to do is bring all those together into one subscription. >> like a news stand. your service has been kind of described sort of a netflix for reading, do you like that description. >> it works. it's a simple idea you pay one fee and have great experiences with great recommendations to read what you want. right now there's the experience you have to buy books individually over here you have to subscribe to individual newspapers and magazines over here. in our case we just bring all that together in one experience. there's people want to pay for each of these individually for
the package. if they're paying the bundle you can potentially get a lot of people subscribing the bundle. you can get tens of millions of people subscrieking that's a lot of revenues. >> the problem now for journalism it's a gold image for journalists. our stories can go far beyond whatever organization we work for, whatever newspaper, television station, television network, television newspaper google. it can be seen by millions of people ask there's no revenue. this is why we see newspapers struggling, newspapers dying. we see tremendous challenges for the networks. are you ultimately optimistic, pessimistic. where are you about the future of journalism? >> so i'm optimistic. >> there's no revenue coming in journalists can't be paid, there's no funding for investigative reporting. >> yeah. well you know with other types
of media, you know, like with e books for example. when the transition went from physical to digital, the publisher did a good job of the expectation you still have to pay for e books. the transition with news happens so awe bankruptity that -- >> it could be free. >> you could put content behind the subscription wall as long as the subscription is right. you have tens of millions or people paying for video subscriptions, music subscriptions. there's no reason why you can't get tens of millions of people paying for news with the right product. >> how do you share this. i somewhere an article or a story that i want to that i find interesting i want to put it on facebook and share it. but then i subscribe to scribd but what happens, my friends
aren't. >> i mean, i think that the newspapers or scribd needs to build an experience where this content is behind a pay wall and people actually really want to put their credit card in and pay for this because the value they're getting with this subscription is so good, right. as long as you have critical mass content and a frictionless great experience people are willing to pay for that. >> let's get to how you started this company. i read through, you were a student at harvard. you were already, i saw somewhere that you were known as the auntrpnerd. >> we started tinkering with ideas. we tried everything from ride sharing service to craig list for colleges. >> ride sharing services, that will never work, right. >> yes. we were actually working very much on what kind of uber and
lyft but we figured they were ahead of the time. >> if the smart phones had been where they are now. >> that's true. with entrepreneur shine, even if you have the right idea but you're five years too earlier that's just as good as being wrong. you have to have the right idea at the right time. we're thinking of a number of ideas. eventually we're having a cross with my dad who is a doctor at stanford and he had a medical paper that he want to get published. and he was complaining just to get this paper seen by the right people was 18 months. this gave us the idea that we could just build a service would allow him or anyone to take any kind of written content and easily publish that on the web. we made a service of people who take documents publish them on the web find an audience. and the idea basically became very viral very fast and it took
off. and within a few years, we were reaching over a hundred million a month user. we were the largest websites in the world. we had over 80 million content up loaded and went from there. >> when did you start charging? how did that work? >> so we started out with free service. we were backed by investors. like all companies in this situation, we needed to start figuring out a business model. and we tried ads but ads didn't work too well. like they weren't really scaling for the type of volumes we had. we had actual buying and selling content on the service. that also didn't get much fraction. we were continue -- tinkering. between the traction we had and this idea we could build a subscript sun service for books we decided to go out and partner with all the big book publishers. >> when was that. >> five years in. we talked to all the big
publishers here in new york and we got the first ever subscription terms free books and we launched the first ever subscription model for e books. basically the idea you can use scribd for free and read all of the free content up loaded by users or you can pay $ per month and read all the best seller books. >> so what next? you started this company. you've got, you know, $50 million in revenue. you've got a hundred million users. what next? >> we're really focused on two key things. the one is building out the content library. we're acquiring more books and magazines and newspapers and going into other new forms of content too. the more, we want to give as much value and as much content to our subscribers as we can. and then the second thing is we're just continuing to improve the product. we want it so that as a subscriber we're giving you
exactly what you want to read and knowing what you want to read in any moment. we are going to build those two things and i think we can build a really large subscriber base. something that happened in the video and music spaces. that revenue probably passed back to authors and journalists and publishers which is really trying to build two sides of the e ecosystem. we can support journalism and play a key role in our society. we want to be a voice for supporter quality germannism. usual -- you can search the ful text. as you need the service it will recommend more content to you based on your interest. >> before you go, again going back to the entrepenerd. do you have advice in terms of going out and trying to get funding? i think in your story, one thing you tried not to do was to not
get too much venture capital. >> yes. i mean we never really had much trouble raising funding. that isn't entirely true. when we first started it was impossible to get any investors. then we launched the service and given we had so much traffic. we wanted tons of investors because people see the audience and re3enue growth and we're comfortable investing in that. my general advice about funding though is if you have a good product and a good team the funding will follow pretty naturally. if you've having trouble raising funding, it's most likely something about what you're doing. if you saw that first, the funding comes pretty easily. the idea and the teen. there's usually more funding than good ideas and there are more good ideas than there are good like engineers and people who actually work on that idea. it really all starts with the team. if you have a good team i think the ideas and the funding
witness come pretty naturally. >> all right, trip adler, debut here at the table. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, appreciate it. >> thank you. >> rose: for more about this prem and early episodes visit us on-line at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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