STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Maggie Haberman on Trump, 18 months in

It's been 18 months to the day of Donald Trump's inauguration -- and the pace of change has been relentless. White Ho...

Posted: Jul 21, 2018 12:50 PM
Updated: Jul 21, 2018 12:50 PM

It's been 18 months to the day of Donald Trump's inauguration -- and the pace of change has been relentless. White House correspondents are exhausted. But Maggie Haberman's role has remained constant. She just keeps serving up scoops.

"I try to just really burrow into the just-the-facts piece... because everybody has a lot of emotions about what's happening right now [and it] can become difficult because people are very emphatic about everything that is taking place," Haberman told CNN's Brian Stelter on this week's Reliable Sources podcast. "It is at the end of the day... a story... And we go and we cover a story the way we would cover anything else."

A White House correspondent who joined the New York Times in 2015, Haberman has been covering Trump extensively since 2011 and was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018. She discussed what's changed -- and what hasn't -- in the past year and a half of the Trump presidency.

Listen to the whole podcast here:

Just before sitting down with Stelter on Friday, Haberman and her colleagues broke the news that Michael Cohen secretly taped Trump discussing payment to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump.

"This story I think is a significant story, but I think that we have seen several significant stories throughout the course of the Trump administration and the Mueller investigation and then the SDNY investigation into Michael Cohen," Haberman said, referring to the Southern District of New York, which oversaw the raids of Cohen's office in April.

"We are all doing our best to, I think, focus on what we think is significant, as opposed to just sort of keeping tabs on minutia and incremental developments, because you could go crazy that way," Haberman said.

Trump kicked off the week by privately meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and then later inviting Putin to a meeting in the US. Appearing on CNN's "New Day" Friday morning, Haberman labeled it "the worst week of his presidency."

Speaking to Stelter, she applauded the press for its coverage of Helsinki. But, she thinks the media as a whole paints a lot of news with the same brush.

"I think that proportion has not been our strong suit in the media," she said. "Everything with him is new and different, for the most part... And then you have the accelerated speed of the news cycle of this era. And I think it is disorienting for all of us in a lot of ways. I think that when something truly major happens, like the president's meeting in Helsinki, and then the four days of fallout from it, it can be harder for people to judge the scope. And I think that that's unfortunate."

At the outset of Trump's presidency, White House insiders talked to reporters to do "a gut check or a reality check or to vent or so forth," Haberman said. "That was particularly true early on in the administration for the first six months when the president was surrounded by a lot of people who hadn't known him for a very long time."

Since then, the administration has had a high rate of turnover. But Haberman doesn't see the nature of relationships changing.

"I think the cast of characters has changed, but I think that working dynamics around Donald Trump are always going to be the same thing," she said. "There's always teams fighting against each other."

Trump has also continued to target the press since taking office. One of his go-to phrases has been "fake news," but he's now increasingly turning to "enemy of the state."

Haberman thinks there's a reason for this -- "He usually tries on a new label when he feels like another one didn't work."

Press briefings have continued for White House reporters, too, although, as Stelter mentioned, "they're happening even less often than they used to." He counted four briefings in the past 30 days.

Haberman thinks the briefings are still valuable.

"I would rather be able to ask an official a question," she said. "I don't understand the people who tell us the press should go stand up and turn our backs or walk out en masse."

Instead, what she'd like to see is journalists working more with each other. At Wednesday's briefing, the Hill's Jordan Fabian tossed his question back to NBC's Hallie Jackson when Sanders tried to avoid answering her.

The one thing that has changed in the Trump White House, Haberman has determined, is Trump's approach to his job.

"Last year, in 2017... he was aware of being in over his head, I think," she said. "And every president, to be fair, comes in feeling that way... Now, sometime around the turn of the New Year, you could feel, really, him feeling more empowered, more emboldened, more understanding of what the job was. Sort of some level of, 'I've got this now.' And that is what has changed. And that's not small."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297651

Reported Deaths: 6808
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19831231
Hinds18971395
Harrison16904283
Rankin12853265
Jackson12756234
Lee9725163
Madison9525204
Jones8045148
Forrest7300138
Lauderdale6879228
Lowndes6062140
Lamar594282
Lafayette5768114
Washington5235130
Bolivar4633124
Oktibbeha443395
Panola433798
Pearl River4219132
Warren4145115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall406795
Monroe3998129
Union397074
Neshoba3857171
Lincoln3632104
Hancock353578
Leflore3404122
Sunflower321386
Tate304674
Pike303497
Scott296871
Alcorn292863
Yazoo292666
Itawamba290775
Coahoma283169
Tippah280265
Copiah280159
Simpson277981
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255841
Leake254872
Covington250480
Grenada249178
Adams236278
Newton233353
George232845
Winston222579
Jasper214645
Tishomingo213266
Attala210571
Chickasaw202054
Holmes183470
Clay179452
Stone173529
Tallahatchie171839
Clarke170773
Calhoun158728
Smith154433
Yalobusha146036
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123335
Lawrence121721
Carroll119725
Amite112535
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102931
Tunica99824
Claiborne99130
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91523
Quitman77514
Franklin76520
Choctaw70317
Jefferson62927
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 500092

Reported Deaths: 10148
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson720821403
Mobile36436741
Madison32722469
Tuscaloosa24465422
Montgomery22826523
Shelby22301219
Baldwin19942289
Lee15084161
Calhoun13968296
Morgan13810255
Etowah13427327
Marshall11460215
Houston10140264
Elmore9523190
Limestone9443139
St. Clair9061228
Cullman9012183
Lauderdale8631214
DeKalb8510175
Talladega7650165
Walker6606260
Jackson6554104
Autauga636492
Blount6256128
Colbert6012121
Coffee5270104
Dale4688107
Russell408934
Franklin400979
Covington4000107
Chilton3924104
Escambia379673
Tallapoosa3636143
Clarke344653
Chambers3434111
Dallas3427142
Pike293373
Marion289096
Lawrence286387
Winston258768
Bibb246458
Marengo245457
Geneva240670
Pickens226457
Barbour214351
Hale212969
Fayette202857
Butler201766
Henry183841
Cherokee178340
Monroe166839
Randolph165541
Washington157136
Macon147945
Crenshaw147355
Clay146254
Cleburne140341
Lamar133933
Lowndes133351
Wilcox123125
Bullock117736
Conecuh107124
Perry106427
Sumter101032
Coosa90324
Greene88932
Choctaw56123
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 39°
Columbus
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 42°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 38°
Starkville
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather