Adam Interviews David Cay Johnston

Local investigative journalist talks about his latest book about Pres. Trump

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - David Cay Johnston has arguably investigated Donald Trump longer than any other journalist, and he’s done much of that reporting from his home in Brighton.

In the late 1980’s, Johnston, who had specialized in economics and tax law, turned his attention to Trump, but it was his reporting on other topics that earned him a Pulitzer Prize.

The former New York Times reporter has been on the cable news circuit as of late following his recent work focused, once again, on Trump.

His newest book, “It’s Even Worse Than You Think,” is hitting stores now.

Thursday, he talked with Adam Chodak.

Adam: What in this book is new, that people haven’t seen before?

Johnston: People don’t know about the RCEP. Donald Trump killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, of which I was one of the prominent critics in America. He didn’t do anything to replace it so the Chinese have stepped forward with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. 15 Pacific East Rim countries plus India, not the United States and these countries are tilting away from us and towards China.

My book is about what this administration is doing to you that has not been covered in the news media with glancing exceptions here and there. Your income, your future income especially, your safety, driving down the highway, your safety on the job, your health, your children’s health and education, they’re all being undermined by the actions of this administration. The Trump Administration has put political termites into the structure of our government and they’re eating away at it just like real termites would to your house until one day you put your foot through the kitchen floor.

Adam: You have people who read that and say. “OK, but the economy is doing well, the stock market is up, we’re creating more jobs.” What do you say to those folks?

Johnston: The economy has been on the mend since 2009, job creation during the 8 years of Obama - and I was just as critical of Obama as this guy - is 20% lower in Trump’s first year which is what we should expect because we’re nearing full employment. The stock market is very high. What’s Trump going to do if - and it will - the stock market falls? So, yeah, the economy is pretty good right now, but this was in the works before he came into office.

Adam: What has life been like for you since this stardom?

Johnston: That’s not why I got into this … The day Donald said no one had ever heard of me when I got his tax return I was in JFK Airport and a couple stopped me and wanted to take my photograph of me with their children. I haven’t been able to walk through an airport in the United States, Canada, London or Berlin for 5 or 6 years without strangers noticing me.

I want people to understand what’s happening to our government, what the policy is. It’s very easy to get caught up in the palace intrigue and the chaos and the craziness going on in the White House, but that’s just interesting. What really matters is what’s being done to our government.

We have a man in office who never did a day of public service in his life before this, who is manifestly unfit to serve and he’s the President and we have to cope with this and limit the damage we have and unfortunately the checks and balances in our constitution are not working, they should be working, but they’re not.

A lot of people assume I hate Donald Trump. I don’t hate Donald Trump. Does a homicide detective hate the person he’s trying to find who committed the crime? It’s my job. I’ve known him longer and more deeply than any other journalist in America.

Adam: Has this been hard on you? Death threats or anything like that?

Johnston: No. No. No. Look, cops runs towards gunfire, firefighters run towards fires, investigative reporters run towards good stories. Even when I was writing about crooked cops at the LAPD who were killing people for money and vicious mobsters and had little children at home, I always put my home address and telephone number in the phone book.

 

 


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