Major GOP donors call on the Republican National Committee to disavow Donald Trump. The Republican presidential nominee is defending himself against sexual assault accusations from multiple women. Trump has denied all of the allegations. WikiLeaks dumps another round of Hillary Clinton emails, this time from her campaign chairman John Podesta. Polls show the Democratic candidate leading in 6 of 13 battleground states, with less than a month to go before Election Day. The CEO of Wells Fargo resigns, in the wake of a fake bank accounts scandal. And Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize in literature.


  • Jonathan Weisman Deputy Washington editor, The New York Times; he formerly covered economic policy and Congress for the Times; author of a new novel, "No. 4 Imperial Lane."
  • Lisa Desjardins Political director, PBS NewsHour
  • Jake Sherman Senior writer, POLITICO; co-author, POLITICO’s Playbook

Live Video


  • 10:06:53

    MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. In Florida, Donald Trump strongly denies sexual misconduct allegations, calling them ludicrous and preposterous. Michelle Obama offers an impassioned criticism of Trump in New Hampshire telling voters no woman deserves to be treated this way. And amid a sales tactic scandal, Wells Fargo chief, John Stumpf steps down.

  • 10:07:23

    MS. DIANE REHMHere to talk about the top domestic stories from the week in news, Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times, Lisa Desjardins of the PBS NewsHour and Jake Sherman Politico. Feel free to join us. You are always part of this program. Give us a call at 800-433-8850. Send us an email to Follow us on Facebook or send us a tweet. Well, what a week in the news. Welcome to all of you.

  • 10:07:58


  • 10:07:58


  • 10:07:59

    MR. JAKE SHERMANThanks, Diane.

  • 10:08:00

    REHMGood to have you with us, Jake. Lisa, let me start with you. This week has begun and ended with such nastiness and the vice presidential candidate on the Republican side, Governor Pence, has said that on CBS this morning and on "Today," that he or someone else is going to present evidence later today to refute all of these allegations published by New York Times, People magazine, other organizations.

  • 10:08:50

    DESJARDINSThat's right. So Governor Pence says within hours, we will be receiving some kind of evidence from the Trump campaign that these allegations are false. Now, we have to wait and see exactly what they present. Many people have raised the fact that Donald Trump, in the past, has sworn he will present evidence proving his case on things such as President Obama not being born in the United States. He never did present that evidence. So we have to wait and see exactly what we get.

  • 10:09:19

    DESJARDINSBut we have to also question what kind of evidence is possible here. To run down where we are in this story, it's hard to believe it's only been a week that we've been talking this, by my count, seven women have come out and accused Donald Trump of unwanted touching, groping, kissing, those kinds of things. And an additional four women, who were pageant contestants, have said that Donald Trump walked in on contestants when they were in states of undress. These allegations go back to the '90s, in one case to the '80s. And I think the most recent is about 2005.

  • 10:09:57

    DESJARDINSBut it is a wide range of accusations, different locations, different women. And the idea that I’m not quite sure what sort of evidence could prove all of them false at once today, but we have to wait and see.

  • 10:10:10

    REHMWhat kind of evidence might we expect, Jonathan?

  • 10:10:15

    WEISMANI think it's probably just more conspiracy theory. He has this notion that Carlos Slim, who is actually a concrete magnate in Mexico, who also rescued the New York Times when the Times was in dire financial straits during the financial crisis of 2008, the somehow Carlos Slim, being of Mexican heritage, somehow fed the New York Times falsehoods or something. But it is impossible to actually beat this down.

  • 10:10:50

    WEISMANThere was, yesterday, after the Times posted its story about the two women alleging groping going back to the 1980s, there was a woman who posted in the comments section of the New York Times newspaper a story about going up -- she was a student at Saint Anselm College. She went up to the candidates, during one of the Republican debates just last year, and casually shook their hands and when she got to Donald Trump, he took her aside, touched her face gently and said, so beautiful.

  • 10:11:23

    WEISMANAnd she posted this just on the comments section. It's impossible to beat it back because there are just too many women.

  • 10:11:29

    REHMSo as we see this nasty debate over Donald Trump, Jake, here we have dumping of emails from Wikileaks on Mrs. Clinton.

  • 10:11:47

    SHERMANIt's stunning because Donald Trump keeps saying publically that nobody's concentrating on the Wikileaks revelations, but Donald Trump himself is not concentrating on these thousands of emails that have been released. And so far, it hasn’t been as damning as it could be for Hillary Clinton. You are seeing the inner workings of the Clinton campaign, how they deal with troublesome issues, how they deal with kind of the competing factions in the Clinton orbit.

  • 10:12:13

    WEISMANAnd as we know, there are many competing factions in the Clinton orbit. And we have seen some of Hillary Clinton's policies and -- her policies evolve on trade and on other kind of thorny issues, but if I were in the Clinton campaign, I'd be really concerned because they have released about 5 to 6,000 emails at this point?

  • 10:12:36

    DESJARDINSI think about 9,000 from Podesta.

  • 10:12:37

    WEISMAN9,000. And they are going to release 50,000 so -- between now and Election Day. And I know in our newsroom, every day these things come up and we are -- you know, we're like, okay, time to dig in again. But it hasn't been as bad as it could be for Hillary Clinton.

  • 10:12:54

    REHMJake Sherman is with Politico. He's the author of -- co-author of "Politico's Playbook." Lisa Desjardins is with the PBS NewsHour. Jonathan Weisman is at the New York Times, author of the novel "No. 4 Imperial Lane."

  • 10:13:16

    WEISMANI love the plug.

  • 10:13:17

    REHMAnd we should remind our listeners, you can see this hour of the Friday News Roundup. You can go to and click on Live. You've got lots of Republicans fleeing from Trump in this process, Jonathan. What's happening there?

  • 10:13:41

    WEISMANI mean, the Republicans down ballot are in a terrible position. We saw that with Joe Heck. He's a congressman from Nevada. He's running for the Senate seat being vacated by Harry Reid. And it got to be too much. He decided to renounce Trump, say he wouldn't vote for him. And what happened was all the Trump supporters in Nevada, there are a considerable number of them, have turned on Joe Heck. They're furious at him. He appears in public, he gets booed now by Trump supporters.

  • 10:14:16

    WEISMANRepublicans are in a terrible, terrible bind because on the one hand, if they stick by Trump, there are swing voters, especially women voters, who just can't stand it and can't have him -- can't have their candidate tainted by him. On the other hand, if they renounce him, they lose Trump supporters. It's a very bad position to be in.

  • 10:14:36

    REHMAnd how threatened are these down ballot seats?

  • 10:14:42

    SHERMANExtremely. When Congress left town about two and a half three weeks ago now, top Republicans in the House were telling me that they thought they could limit their losses in the House to single digits, which would be a great year for them. Now, at the top of the Republican party, it's the top of the House Republican leadership. They think they could lose the House and that is stunning that they would need to lose 30 seats. They think it's a serious possibility and they're in an all out dash between now and Election Day to preserve their majority.

  • 10:15:13

    SHERMANSo you could see a situation in which Hillary Clinton, who at this point, looks like she's going win, could have a Democratic Senate and marginally Democratic House.

  • 10:15:22

    DESJARDINSAt the same time, we're seeing, in the Senate, on these Senate races, some individual candidates, many of the individual Republican candidates have been, up until now, outperforming Donald Trump. We've seen these seats that the Republicans thought might be easy get a little bit harder. And it's a real question of how far Trump falls and how much -- if that really does start dragging down these candidates like Kelly Ayotte, who, right now, seems to be doing fairly well in New Hampshire, despite her own back and forth on Donald Trump.

  • 10:15:51

    DESJARDINSBut I think, to me, the Democrats need to pick up four or five seats to win the Senate and it's not 100 percent that they're going to do it yet, because they have these Republican candidates, like in Ohio, outperforming Donald Trump.

  • 10:16:04

    WEISMANBut their problem here is not how people answer the pollsters, it's who is going to go out to vote. So a lot of people might say, yeah, yeah, I support Kelly Ayotte, but in the end, if they can't stomach casting a ballot in the presidential election, so many of them will just say, I'm not going to vote. I'm not going to go vote for Kelly Ayotte and not vote for the presidential. I'm just going to stay home.

  • 10:16:26

    REHMOkay. And what about the Republican National Committee and what it's doing now?

  • 10:16:33

    WEISMANWell, the RNC is basically the Trump ground game and so the Republican National Committee, because Donald Trump never really put together a ground game, the Republican National Committee saw that it is the face of the Republican party at the ground level. And so to organize on behalf of the down ballot candidates instead of the presidential candidates isn't that hard a switch to flip because they're already there.

  • 10:16:59

    WEISMANHowever, if you look at it comparatively, I mean, they've got nothing on the Clinton ground game and on the DNC ground game.

  • 10:17:07

    SHERMANTo illustrate that, there's an amazing statistic that we had this morning where, in Florida, where Trump is actually boasting of his ground game, although he only has a handful of offices, new Democratic registrations are about 503,000 compared to 60,000 news Republican registrations. So this is a massive, massive gap to say the least.

  • 10:17:28

    DESJARDINSQuickly, there is a danger for Democrats about this. Republicans do have -- or Democrats have an advantage in that candidates like Kelly Ayotte do not have the power of a presidential campaign with them, but when I was in New Hampshire, I was with Maggie Hassan, the Democratic candidate for Senate, and one of her organizers told their canvassers to not talk to people who said they were Republicans. Democrats need to reach out to Republicans this year.

  • 10:17:49

    REHMLisa Desjardins of the PBS NewsHour. Short break, we'll be right back.

  • 10:20:02

    REHMAnd welcome back. As I said at the outset, it's been a busy week of news. And the First Lady Michelle Obama made lots of news yesterday with her speech. I have an email here from Karen. She says, as Michelle Obama said yesterday, I can't stop thinking about this. And neither can I. I was there yesterday, says Karen, in the bleachers, surrounded by women nodding and affirming as she spoke. It was real and raw, and I shed a tear. She's brought up deeply personal acts of intimidation, assault and unwanted attention that I and other women have felt. Jake.

  • 10:21:00

    SHERMANI mean, I think the Clinton campaign recognizes that, at this point in time especially, Michelle Obama is their most effective surrogate.

  • 10:21:08

    REHMShe is powerful.

  • 10:21:09

    SHERMANI -- the calls into the White House must have been pouring in...

  • 10:21:13


  • 10:21:14

    SHERMAN...during that speech.

  • 10:21:15


  • 10:21:15


  • 10:21:16

    SHERMANPlease bring her to me. Please bring her to me. It was amazing.

  • 10:21:18

    REHMWell, and frankly I would not be surprised to see her run for political office at some point in the future.

  • 10:21:27

    DESJARDINS.She'd certainly have a lot of support.

  • 10:21:29

    REHMBut talk about her impact, Lisa.

  • 10:21:31

    DESJARDINS.Well, I think -- I want to touch on something beyond the horse race here. She has an incredible impact for Democrats, for Hillary Clinton, for everyone on the Democratic ticket. But what we got in that speech yesterday was something -- she was speaking above politics, which is also politically smart. And she was saying, this is something -- this discussion about sexual assault, these words that I'm hearing alleged from this presidential candidate, have struck me to my core.

  • 10:21:55

    DESJARDINS.This -- she was speaking days after we saw a phenomenon on Twitter as a blogger named Kelly Oxford asked women to testify to their stories of sexual assault. She began that with her own story, when she was 12. And what happened and millions of tweets came in, and I'm getting goose bumps now even talking about it. And I think what's happened this year, a door has opened in which people who have experienced sexism and racism are telling their stories to people who have not experienced those things. And it's a conversation that is opening eyes in a new way. Now, what -- where this goes, I don't know. But it's happening very fast and it's new.

  • 10:22:36

    REHMI'd like to hear from you, Jonathan, as to how this discussion has affected you as a male reporter.

  • 10:22:48

    WEISMANWell, it's funny because I almost fell back on the -- a father of two daughters ...

  • 10:22:52

    REHMYeah. Yeah.

  • 10:22:53

    WEISMANBut I stopped myself. I stopped myself. I mean, you know, it is -- it has been actually a startling experience. I mean, during that tweet your experiences, I saw people I know tweet these experiences. Sarah Feinberg, who we've all known as a political operative in Washington for a long time, she tweeted one of her experiences. And it's like a slap in the face. You're stunned. And I think that men, I mean, there was something that -- that was something that the first lady said yesterday, when Michelle Obama said, you know, this is not -- that men have to take notice of this. This is not about women. It's not about, you know, mobilizing the female vote here. This is a cultural phenomenon. And I think that everybody is taking notice.

  • 10:23:38

    REHMAnd Jake?

  • 10:23:40

    SHERMANI think it's been eye opening. And I think that, in a lot of ways, this is just first kind of entering the political sphere and we're first seeing the impact and the really powerful impact this is having across the country.

  • 10:23:55

    REHMYou know, I want to ask you all about that phrase, locker-room talk.

  • 10:23:59


  • 10:24:00

    REHMBecause that's what Donald Trump said originally. You know, this is just locker-room talk. This is the way men talk all the time when they're with each other. Is that true in your case?

  • 10:24:17

    WEISMANHonestly, I mean, when I heard that, I -- I don't want to sound so righteous here, I know. But I just thought that was a joke. That's crazy. People don't sit around talking this way. They don't.

  • 10:24:26

    DESJARDINS.But what's interesting is apparently some people do. Because even Ben Carson, who you wouldn't have expected necessarily to say this, a neurosurgeon, said that is how men talk, he's -- to Brianna Keilar on CNN. And, you know, I mean, I'm not an athlete nor a man in a locker room. So I'm probably the one least able to speak to this. But I can say, from this conversation -- I've thought a lot about my career as a female journalist and especially starting out as a reporter covering a state legislature.

  • 10:24:52

    DESJARDINS.You know, I'm looking back on those times so differently, when I just accepted all kinds of inappropriate actions around me -- touching, hugs, comments, jokes, all of those things -- because I was one of the few female reporters at the state House I was covering, I accepted it. And even now I feel like, you know, I really am looking at the way I am treated differently than I was before. And it's empowering.

  • 10:25:17

    SHERMANI do think, on Capitol Hill, there is some -- there is a culture of what you're describing. And I've seen it.

  • 10:25:22


  • 10:25:23

    SHERMANAnd I know female reporters who are friends of mine have experienced that, I mean, politics is a male-dominated world. And I think people lose perspective of what's appropriate and what is not appropriate at times. And I think we've all seen that on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail. But I was an athlete at some point, although it doesn't seem like much like that today. I've never heard any of this talk. I mean, joking about sexual assault is not something that anybody I've ever known has done.

  • 10:25:49

    REHMWe talked a lot about this yesterday. We talked about the prevalence of pornography in people's lives today, even to young people as young as 11, and the extent to which we all have to speak out about what's been going on in our society. It's become part of the culture. Men and women accept more and more and more of what's happening. And it seems to me it's the right time to have this kind of conversation. Going to open the phones here to Cory in Ocala, Fla. You're on the air.

  • 10:26:37

    CORYHi. Good morning, Diane. How are you?

  • 10:26:39

    REHMFine, thanks.

  • 10:26:41

    CORYMy question, there are actually -- one's a question and one's kind of a comment. I am obviously a resident of Florida, you know, a swing state. Mostly though I've been a Republican my entire life. I'm 41. I have not voted for a Democrat for president since I was old enough to vote. And quite frankly, the other day, I cast my ballot in early voting here in Florida for Hillary Clinton. And I almost felt like a traitor to the party. But just wanted to find out what your comments or thoughts were on, you know, how many people are there like me, who may not go around telling everybody they voted for Hillary Clinton, but have just been put off by these comments?

  • 10:27:19

    CORYAnd that's not the way I speak. That's now what my dad spoke or my grandfather. And I'm just wondering if Hillary Clinton's lead in some of these battleground states isn't, you know, larger than some of the polls are reflecting. Because you've got life-long Republicans like myself who have just said, enough.

  • 10:27:34

    REHMEnough. Exactly. Jonathan.

  • 10:27:36

    WEISMANWell, it's interesting, because the Trump camp likes to say that there are all these people who are too embarrassed to say that they want to vote for Trump and they don't tell the pollsters and they're going to go -- secretly go vote for Trump and it's going to be this shocking victory. But I think that there are at least as many people like you who don't want to say that they're voting for Hillary Clinton but are going to vote for Hillary Clinton because they just can't stomach, at the end of the day, pulling the lever for Donald Trump.

  • 10:28:05

    DESJARDINS.A big question right now, is a voter like Cory voting for Marco Rubio in Florida? Is he voting for Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio? That's a big question and we don't know the answer to that.

  • 10:28:16

    REHMAnd, sorry, Jake, go ahead.

  • 10:28:18

    SHERMANI just was going to say, I've had Republican members of Congress come up to me and say, this isn't a partisan issue for me. Like, I don't find Donald Trump acceptable to lead the country and I won't be able to tell my kids in 20 years that I voted for him.

  • 10:28:32

    REHMAll right. But the other current problem that Democrats may face is how many people simply do not vote because they want neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump.

  • 10:28:47

    WEISMANOr the alternative is that they -- the sense that, you know, when it got close, you started seeing Jill Stein's numbers diminish. You saw actually Gary Johnson's diminish as well, because people who wanted to file a protest vote had decided they were going to actually vote for Hillary Clinton. If everybody is confident in a Clinton victory, some people might not show up to vote, some people might vote for the third party because they figure, well, what -- it's, why not cast a protest vote?

  • 10:29:13

    REHMAll right. And here's a call from Louie in Indianapolis. You're on the air.

  • 10:29:20

    LOUIEHi, Diane.

  • 10:29:21

    REHMHi, there.

  • 10:29:22

    LOUIEI want to ask your panel. This is about the prevalence of this discussion over the last week or so. It's been everywhere. The media is cramming this 11-year-old video and it's material down the public's throat, while WikiLeaks has released current data on the criminal, corrupt conduct of the other candidate. And it goes literally unannounced.

  • 10:29:48

    REHMI'm sorry that you feel that way. We did indeed bring that up. And, Lisa, you've got more comments to make.

  • 10:29:57

    DESJARDINS.I'm glad the caller raised this. I know this is a very common thought. You know, I'll -- I will speak for News Hour that we have done segments on both. I personally did a segment on the WikiLeaks -- the emails that we've been getting. One issue with the WikiLeaks kind of release is that we get more every day. You know, and so we're reporting on it every day. The video was one video so it was sort of one, big, giant, you know, kind of bomb, if you will. And I think what's happened since is we've seen more accusers. So each of these stories has had different developments each day.

  • 10:30:25

    DESJARDINS.But with the WikiLeaks emails, I think why they have not gotten more attention right now is because there are not any, sort of, the glaring, giant headlines coming from it. I think we did see, when there was the speech from 2013 that Hillary Clinton made to a bank where she talked about wanting open borders that was headline worthy. That is very significant. And I do think we talked about it. We should continue talking about what Hillary Clinton really thinks, but in this particular set of emails, I do not see the evidence of criminal activity that our caller is talking about, maybe in other Clinton histories, past.

  • 10:30:58

    SHERMANAnd also the candidate, Donald Trump has the ability to control the narrative here. He's speaking to crowds of 10,000 people every, you know, network in America has their cameras on him. And he is, instead, threatening to sue The New York Times and discussing his own issues, instead of talking about Hillary Clinton's issues.

  • 10:31:14

    DESJARDINS.No, he is bringing up the WikiLeaks emails.

  • 10:31:16

    SHERMANBut his prominent -- his predominant message...

  • 10:31:18


  • 10:31:19 the lawsuit against The New York Times and his media bashing.

  • 10:31:23

    DESJARDINS.And also, yesterday, he brought in FBI Director James Comey and kind of implied that he's part of the conspiracy, said that he is corrupt. So you see kind of where Donald Trump is throwing punches, that circle is widening.

  • 10:31:36

    WEISMANThe WikiLeaks story is so complicated. Look, we...

  • 10:31:38


  • 10:31:39

    WEISMAN...The New York Times has a front-page story on WikiLeaks yesterday. But it's complicated by all of the issues of the origins of the WikiLeaks things. Who did the hacking? Is this part of the Russian government's efforts to interfere with U.S. elections? It's a much more complicated thing than a tape of Donald Trump saying that he likes to assault -- sexually assault women.

  • 10:32:06

    REHMAnd what about Hillary Clinton's response to the leaks?

  • 10:32:12

    WEISMANHillary Clinton has had a -- actually, I suppose it was a smart way to approach this -- she has kept the lowest profile she possibly can. She is stepping away from the public spotlight. She's hardly doing any events -- public events until next Wednesday, when the next debate is.

  • 10:32:31

    REHMAnd how do you play that strategy out?

  • 10:32:36

    WEISMANI think that the strategy is, why step in the way when your opponent is shooting himself in the head?

  • 10:32:42

    DESJARDINS.And her campaign has said, we will not authenticate any of these emails. So we won't even respond to the content or alleged content, as they see it, of these emails.

  • 10:32:49

    REHMAnd John Podesta...

  • 10:32:51


  • 10:32:52 in the middle of that.

  • 10:32:53

    DESJARDINS.Absolutely. These emails that are being leaked right now are all having to do with his account, either received or sent by him, the campaign chairman of Hillary Clinton and sort of one of the largest figures in sort of the "Game of Thrones" world on the Democratic side.

  • 10:33:07

    REHMLisa Desjardins of the PBS NewsHour. And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." And let's take a call from Butler, Pa. Andy, you're on the air.

  • 10:33:25

    ANDYThank you, Diane. I would like to say, I believe the standard for acceptable sexual behavior by a president was set by Bill Clinton when he was in office. It was verified by a Congress who refused to impeach, further verified by all the women feminists and everyone else at that time who never said anything about it. The women who accuse Donald Trump today are lying. And the reason I can say that is because Hillary Clinton removed the lines from her website that said, a woman who accuses rape has a right to be believed. Thank you.

  • 10:34:00

    WEISMANWell, I covered Bill Clinton's impeachment.

  • 10:34:03

    REHMHe was impeached.

  • 10:34:04

    WEISMANHe was, indeed, impeached. In fact, one of the lines that you're hearing from some Republicans is, look, Bill Clinton -- when Bill Clinton sexually assaulted or, in this case, it was consensual, but when he lied about sex to a grand jury, he was impeached. He was not convicted and removed from office that is absolutely true. But the man has the stain of being the only elected president every to be impeached, and only the second president ever to be impeached. And the fact is that I think that reporters like me, who were back -- who were covering the impeachment in the '90s, do have a lot of self-reflection.

  • 10:34:45

    WEISMANBecause I have to say, that when Paula Jones came forward and made her accusations, when a lot of the women who are now back in the news made their accusations of Bill Clinton, I think a lot -- there were a lot of dismissals. There was, like, oh, Paula Jones. Listen to her, the way she talks, she's kind of low class. There was a -- I think that times have changed and changed in the right way. I don't think that we are as dismissive now of these accusations as I think some people were back in the '90s. And I think that there is -- there are Democrats and reporters and journalists who probably have some forgiveness to ask for.

  • 10:35:23

    SHERMANAnd let's leave aside the Bill Clinton element. It's been stunning to me to watch Donald Trump supporters and surrogates dismiss these incidents out of hand. I mean, the truth is we don't know the veracity of these claims. But to dismiss a bunch of women who are making pretty detailed claims about things out of hand is an interesting development.

  • 10:35:45

    REHMHe raised the point that Hillary Clinton removed the rape accusations from her website, Lisa. And he regards that...

  • 10:35:56


  • 10:35:57 evidence that these woman now accusing Donald Trump are lying.

  • 10:36:04

    DESJARDINS.I think we have several strains trying to collide here. And I think there are different things to talk about. I think when you talk about Hillary Clinton and you talk about the way that she reacted to women making accusations against her husband, I think it is fair to look at that and fair to look at her response there. As a wife, you can understand why she might be defending her husband. As a politician, you can understand it. As a person who advocates for women's rights, you might have a different set of expectations. I think that's fair to look at.

  • 10:36:31

    DESJARDINS.I think, but the caller said that he feels Bill Clinton set the standard for how we look at presidents and sexual conduct. That really -- that got to my core. I know -- I believe the caller was speaking rhetorically. But I hope that's not true. Because, right now, we should -- Bill Clinton should not be a reason to accept philandering behavior, much less, you know, something that leads down the road to sexual assault.

  • 10:36:56

    REHMAnd Bill Clinton is...

  • 10:36:57

    DESJARDINS.And so we need to pull this conversation back.

  • 10:36:58

    REHMBill Clinton is not the candidate for office.

  • 10:37:02

    DESJARDINS.And he is not the candidate, exactly.

  • 10:37:03


  • 10:37:04

    SHERMANI agree. I think what Lisa said is right. It's completely fair to look at how Hillary Clinton handled the situation, no matter how long ago it was.

  • 10:37:11

    REHMJake Sherman, senior writer at Politico and co-author of Politico's Playbook. We'll take just a short break here. When we come back, we'll talk about whether, in fact, these leaks from WikiLeaks -- where have they come from? Are they legitimate? And more.

  • 10:40:01

    REHMWelcome back. To the domestic hour of the Friday News Roundup and you can see this hour, if you like. You can go to and click on "watch live" even as you hear the program. Here's an email from Charles. How strong a case will Trump have against the New York Times in the event he chooses to sue? Jonathan Weisman.

  • 10:40:34

    WEISMANWell, I'll, I'll comment for the New York Times. He has no case. In fact, it would be a suicide mission for him to sue, because that would give New York Times lawyers the power of the -- legal power of discovery and we would use it very wisely, I think. There was -- the New York Times' lawyer answered this yesterday, and basically said you cannot sue for defamation if the defamation that you're alleging was brought on by yourself. And went through point by point all of the ways that he had -- he had assassinated his own character.

  • 10:41:10

    REHMAll right. And here's a question, why have there been no leaks of the RNC or the Trump campaign? Why only Democratic leaks? Lisa?

  • 10:41:24

    DESJARDINSThis opens up, of course, the big question about where these leaks are coming from to begin with, and Democrats allege that it is all to benefit Trump. We also know on a more confactual basis that the FBI and the President himself, they've all said that they believe Russia is involved in the DNC hacks. And now we've heard from John Podesta, whose emails we're talking about this week, that he's been told by the FBI that they are investigating this latest leak, also as related to the Russians.

  • 10:41:50

    DESJARDINSSo if that theory is true, that the Russians are interested in getting Donald Trump elected, that would be one reason why perhaps we're not seeing Republican emails. But, you know, none of this, we're still a little bit in murky territory. We don't know exactly where we are, but it is a notable fact that as of yet, we have not seen RNC emails or Trump campaign emails leaked in the same way as we have for the Democrats.

  • 10:42:13

    SHERMANIt is a rare thing for the United States government to accuse a foreign power of doing this, and it took some time for the Obama Administration to level that charge, but last week, it pointed the finger at Russia. It said Russia is doing this to disrupt the United States elections and the spokesman for the White House, Jay -- Jay Carney? Not Jay Carney. But the Press Secretary for the White House said that President Obama is likely -- is right now mulling a response in kind. That is -- that is not likely leveled at a foreign power like Russia.

  • 10:42:53

    REHMThat's a pretty frightening thought that a foreign government could in some way manipulate the thing that we here in this country hold most precious, our right to vote and the fact that our vote counts. Is this an effort to truly reshape the way Americans believe in their own country and in their own sovereignty?

  • 10:43:25

    DESJARDINSI think there -- that certainly is the dominant theory right now. And I think that when we come closer to election day, we have to be more and more careful about how we talk about these leaked documents. How we assume if they're true or not. And we have to watch the polls very carefully, but then we also have to be careful about how we talk about that, because as you say, part of this is not the actual substance of these leaks, but the idea that something is wrong in the American government.

  • 10:43:50


  • 10:43:51

    DESJARDINSSo it's a very -- it's a tricky thing to cover for journalists. We have to be very conscientious.

  • 10:43:54

    REHMHere's an email from Bobby, who says, I keep hearing different things about the Trump campaign leaving Virginia to concentrate elsewhere. Can your panel please clarify? Jake.

  • 10:44:10

    SHERMANI think that's factually correct, that they have completely left Virginia. Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead in Virginia, a state where every statewide elected official now is a Democrat, which was -- is a massive shift from not only 2008, but I mean, this was a solidly Republican and part of the bedrock of the Republican coalition for many, many years.

  • 10:44:31

    REHMAnd how important is Virginia in the overall picture?

  • 10:44:35

    DESJARDINSComing into this year, Virginia was seen as very important because it was -- it's 13 electoral votes, where exactly the kind of number that Donald Trump needed, in addition to Florida and Ohio to get to 270. So if you take Virginia off the board for Donald Trump, it creates a very large map problem for him. I do have to back up and say, as a Virginian, I've been paying especially close attention to our state. And you know, Virginia, the polls have been solid blue for months, more Democratic than polls in Pennsylvania.

  • 10:45:06

    DESJARDINSI also cover the Trump campaign and I know that Trump advisors have had this great internal debate, for months, over whether they stay or go in Virginia. And it seems like they just, they took a long time getting here. But it doesn't seem like Virginia was in the cards despite some who argue otherwise for Trump this year.

  • 10:45:22

    WEISMANAnd to give you a sense of how dramatic that is, when you looked at the 2008 race, the 2012 race, the three big states were Florida, Virginia, and Ohio. If you, if you take Virginia and Pennsylvania off the map for Donald Trump, he could win Florida and Ohio and still lose this election, which is pretty dire for him.

  • 10:45:47

    REHMAll right, to Suzanne in Mt. Airy, Maryland. You're on the air.

  • 10:45:52

    SUZANNEHi, good morning.

  • 10:45:53


  • 10:45:54

    SUZANNEThere's a candidate that's rising in the polls out in Utah, Evan McMullin. What do you know about him and could he be any threat to any of the four candidates? And I'll take...

  • 10:46:03

    WEISMANEvan McMullin was a fairly low level aide in the House of Representatives. He's a conservative Republican. He puts himself up as the true conservative alternative to Donald Trump. He hasn't had much traction anywhere in the country, except Utah, because he's a Mormon. And he went to BYU. He has a real potential to draw enough votes away from Donald Trump that Hillary Clinton could win Utah. I do not think that McMullin could win Utah, but I do actually think he is a true threat to Donald Trump in one of the reddest states in the country.

  • 10:46:41

    SHERMANAnd I -- and Hillary Clinton is beginning to target Utah voters.

  • 10:46:42


  • 10:46:43

    SHERMANAnd has released Utah specific videos to try to play on Donald Trump's weakness there which is mostly because of these new revelations about his past.

  • 10:46:53

    DESJARDINSSo I've pulled up my nerdy spreadsheet that I've been putting together. That's why I have my laptop here for folks who are watching online. And, you know, Utah has the most red, red, red polls this whole time until now. And that's because Evan McMullin is getting in the 20 percent. In one poll that we had yesterday, that's just one poll, but that's a real problem for Donald Trump. And as you look, as I look at my nerdy color coding of all these other states, you see blue, blue, blue. And yellow, yellow for tied increasing more and more across these states that the Republicans really need.

  • 10:47:23

    DESJARDINSAnd part of that isn't just Hillary Clinton, but Gary Johnson, you know, the Libertarian, we saw him lose a few points in polls after he had his Aleppo moment and then his Aleppo 2 moment where he had trouble on foreign policy. I have noticed in the last couple of days Diane, Gary Johnson's been actually doing better, and I think this might be because Trump is doing worse and some Trump voters are going to Gary Johnson at this moment.

  • 10:47:47

    REHMOn the other hand, might that not create, or the possibility of creating another Ralph Nader moment as it did in Florida?

  • 10:47:57

    DESJARDINSI don't think he's quite at that level yet, but I do think he helped -- right now, he's helping Hillary Clinton verses it wasn't clear for many months. He was taking away from Hillary Clinton, now he seems to be drawing more from Trump voters. (unintelligible) Jonathan?

  • 10:48:08

    WEISMANI mean, watch Alaska. Alaska, true -- Alaska, there is not much polling, but there is evidence that Gary Johnson could actually win Alaska. So...

  • 10:48:17

    REHMHow interesting. All right, here's an email from Maggie. With Donald Trump's campaign faltering, and his attack on Hillary Clinton and the RNC getting so nasty, what is the benefit to us, the voters, of another debate? Should the third debate even happen? Who would benefit the most from a third debate?

  • 10:48:47

    SHERMANI think reporters are asking the same question, because I think the returns have been diminishing. And I will say about the third debate, it is focused at least mostly on foreign policy, which is not something that's gotten a ton of attention in the other debates. It's gotten some. But it's also hosted by Chris Wallace, who is of Fox News who is a very, very talented, very sharp questioner. So I do think that this debate will be very tightly scripted and I think Chris Wallace doesn't really take a lot of monkeying around so I think that it will be a fascinating thing to watch.

  • 10:49:18

    REHMDo you agree?

  • 10:49:19

    WEISMANI mean, look, I have to say that at the end of the last debate, I was feeling like I was cleaning the mud off myself, and it was not an edifying experience. And frankly, now that Donald Trump has said that he is unshackled, we don't know what shackles look like. I don't -- just because Chris Wallace is talking, is supposed to be talking about foreign policy doesn't mean that Donald Trump will be. So I don't know. I'd be very interested to see how much the readership, I mean, the viewership drops off for this debate.

  • 10:49:50

    DESJARDINSLet me be the Pollyanna here. I still keep hope alive that we actually could get -- we've seen glimmers of serious policy discussions in these first debates. They've been overshadowed by sort of the rhetorical nonsense.

  • 10:50:00


  • 10:50:01

    DESJARDINSRight. But I do think we may actually see some real policy discussion that we're yearning for. I'm not saying that will be the whole debate, but I think the setup here gives us the best shot we've had yet at these two candidates being serious.

  • 10:50:13

    REHMOne moderator, who is as you said, Jake, a good and sharp questioner. One who will keep these people absolutely focused on foreign policy. I think there's a real chance for important information to come. Jonathan Weisman, Lisa Desjardins, Jake Sherman, and you're listening to The Diane Rehm Show. Let's talk about Wells Fargo Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf, who steps down this week. Remind us of what led to his downfall, Jake.

  • 10:50:59

    SHERMANWell actually, this is something that Congress has got done, or at least helped accelerate John Stumpf's rush to the exits. There was terrible fraud at Wells Fargo, the company that he led, that he was paid tens of millions of dollars a year to lead. And it was a remarkable scene on Capitol Hill where Republicans and Democrats kind of came together in outrage, perhaps the only time they've come together in anything over the last couple years.

  • 10:51:25

    SHERMANI don't think that -- I think what he realized more than anything, or one element that he realized here in Washington is that the government oversight of his tenure at Wells Fargo would not fade away. And I think that was a driving factor, in addition to shareholder discontent.

  • 10:51:42

    DESJARDINSWhat happened, they, some two million bank accounts were set up on behalf of Wells Fargo's customers without their knowledge, which is unbelievable. And so we've seen John Stumpf now first say he was going to forfeit I think about 41 million dollars in stock options. Now he's leaving without having any severance pay. Before folks feel too bad for him, I think he's made something like 130 million dollars over his tenure.

  • 10:52:05

    REHMSo you're saying he's not going to get severance.

  • 10:52:08

    DESJARDINSNo severance. No.

  • 10:52:10

    WEISMANBut he's got plenty in the bank, so to speak.

  • 10:52:11

    DESJARDINSRight. So I think what's also interesting about the way this is happening at Wells Fargo, and this gets a little into the business nitty gritty, but they are actually splitting his job now into two. So CEO and Chairman, now there are two different positions, not just one and you see this is part of banks trying to figure out how to make themselves appeal better to federal regulation and to try and, I think, prevent larger reform efforts down the road.

  • 10:52:36

    WEISMANOne interesting subtext of this was that the fraud unearthed at Wells Fargo was unearthed by the Consumer Financial Protection Board, the CFPB, which was created by the Dodd Frank Law. And many of the Republicans who were laying into Mr. Stumpf have opposed the CFPB tooth and nail. And interestingly, a D.C. Appeals Court panel this week found the CFPB's government structure to be unconstitutional.

  • 10:53:05


  • 10:53:07

    WEISMANSo, we're -- we have a big mess on our hands, and after this election, somebody has to start fixing this stuff.

  • 10:53:14

    REHMAnd what the court said was unconstitutional was that it was led by a single individual rather than a group or a commission of some sort. And you want to comment?

  • 10:53:30

    SHERMANNo, I just think that also the House Republicans and Republicans on Capitol Hill more broadly have not only fought the agency tooth and nail, but have tried to strip it of funding. And I think the CFPB would argue that that's why they haven't been even more effective, is that they don't have the money and the resources to do their job.

  • 10:53:48

    REHMAll right. And finally, a surprising pick for the Nobel Prize in Literature this year. Bob Dylan. Jonathan Weisman, what do you make of this?

  • 10:54:00

    WEISMANWell, you know, it's funny, Bob Dylan has been pushed, actually by a New York Times columnist for several years now as really the great poet laureate of the United States. And when he got it, I think everybody was still stunned. I mean, I think there are probably some novelists and poets who are smarting. But the canon of Bob Dylan has lived on for decades. And some of his work, like "Blowing in the Wind," we don't even know who wrote them, because they've become so entrenched in our society that they've attained a status that is beyond his own -- his name.

  • 10:54:35

    DESJARDINSI think it's fascinating. This is really a redefining or expanded definition of literature, right?

  • 10:54:39


  • 10:54:39

    DESJARDINSAnd now that this is the first musician to win this prize, I think it will be interesting to see down the road, do we see our most lyrical musicians, including maybe rappers, hip hop artists, down the road being considered for this prize? I will say Kanye West is probably dusting off his shelf right now, that this is possible. Maybe he should hold off on that, but I can envision him having a new goal now.

  • 10:55:01

    SHERMANIn typical Bob Dylan fashion, he didn't release an immediate statement. He let this go, let this blow in the wind for a while, I guess we could say.

  • 10:55:07

    DESJARDINSOh, nice.

  • 10:55:08

    REHMWell, you know, the choice we picked for going out this morning is "The Times They Are a Changing." And let's hear it for Bob Dylan, this year's Nobel Prize Winner in Literature. How great to go out on an up note. Thank you all. Jonathan Weisman, Lisa Desjardins, and Jake Sherman. And thanks all for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.

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