LISTENING IN SERIES: PREET BHARARA INTERVIEWS MAYOR ERIC ADAMS

Our Listening In series is back with Mayor Eric Adams in the hot seat, getting grilled by one of New York’s former top prosecutors- Preet Bharara- on his taxes, policing and much more. Click here to listen to the full interview from the “Stay Tuned with Preet” podcast.

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

TONIGHT WE REPREMIER OUR LISTENING IN SERIES, KICKING OFF WITH A MUST-SEE CONVERSATION FEATURING NEW YORK CITY MAYOR ERIC ADAMS.

HIS HONOR RECENTLY SAT DOWN WITH PREET BHARARA, THE LEGAL SCHOLAR AND FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR NEW YORK'S SOUTHERN DISTRICT, WHO IS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS HARDLINE APPROACH TO FIGHTING CORRUPTION IN ALBANY AND ON WALL STREET.

HE WAS FIRED BY DONALD TRUMP THREE MONTHS INTO HIS PRESIDENCY.

THEIR SITDOWN AT COOPER UNION COLLEGE TACKLED ALL OF THE LATEST CONTROVERSIES SURROUNDING THE MAYOR, FROM RELEASING HIS TAXES TO BROKEN POLICING AND REMOVING HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS AND A POSSIBLE WHITE HOUSE RUN.

FEATURED AS PART OF BHARARA'S PODCAST IT WAS PART OF THE JOHN J. IZLEEN -- LET'S LISTEN IN.

HOW MUCH ATTENTION TO YOU PAY TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT?

HOW MUCH ARE YOU MANAGING THE POLICE DEPARTMENT?

HOW INDEPENDENT IS THE POLICE COMMISSIONER FROM THE MAYOR?

SHE -- IF YOU KNEW THE COMMISSIONER YOU SHOULD HAVE HER ON ONE DAY.

WOULD SHE COME?

YES, SHE WOULD.

SHE'S NOT GOING TO LET YOU RUN HER.

SHE IS ONE TOUGH, TOUGH COOKIE.

YOU KNOW THAT?

BUT HERE'S THE IMPORTANT THING -- I'M THE LEADER OF THE CITY, AND GENERALS SHOULD LEAD FROM THE FRONT.

THEY SHOULDN'T LEAD FROM THE REAR.

I'M NOT GOING TO SEND MY COMMISSIONERS, MY DEPUTY MAYORS INTO BATTLE AND SAY, HOW WAS THE WAR?

I'M GOING LEAD THEM INTO THE WAR AND FIGHT THE BATTLE.

AND AS A FORMER -- I'M THE ONLY MAYOR IN THE MYSTERY THAT WAS A FORMER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.

TRADITIONALLY THE MAYOR S HAD T TURN OVER PUBLIC SAFETY TO THE POLICE COMMISSIONER AND TAKE A STEP BACK.

RUDY GIULIANI WAS NOT A COP.

HE WAS AN ATTORNEY, BUT THAT'S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT THING.

AND IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT, WHERE YOU CAME FROM.

HE WAS.

IT IS APPARENT THE PARTNERSHIP WE HAVE DEVELOPED IS TO REALLY BOUNCE IDEAS OFF OF EACH OTHER, AND SHE IS A PERSON THAT DOES NOT COME WITH AN EGO.

SHE'S ABOUT, HOW DO I MAKE THE CITY SAFE?

THAT IS HER ONLY FOCUS, AND SHE'S DOING AN AMAZING JOB ACCOMPLISHING THAT, AND WARRIOR GOING TO TURN AROUND THIS CRIME.

SO, A LOT OF BAD THINGS HAPPENED WITH RESPECT TO CRIME IN THE CITY SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN MAYOR.

IN YOUR THIRD WEEK, TWO YOUNG POLICE OFFICERS WERE SHOT TO DEATH.

ONE OF THE SADDEST THINGS YOU CAN SEE.

JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO THERE WAS A SUBWAY SHOOTER WHO BROUGHT TO MIND AWFUL TERRORIST ATTACKS.

THE CRIME STATISTICS ARE NOT GOOD.

CRIME HAS GONE UP.

THERE'S A FLURRY OF HATE CRIMES HAPPENING IN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY, IN THE ASIAN COMMUNITY, AND IN THE TRANS COMMUNITY.

NOT JUST HERE, BUT AROUND THE COUNTRY.

I GUESS MY FIRST QUESTION ABOUT THAT IS, WHAT MATTERS IS NOT JUST WHETHER CRIME IS INCREASING BUT THE PERCEPTION OF WHETHER CRIME IS INCREASING.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PERCEPTION IS OF NEW YORKERS ABOUT THAT?

AND DOES IT MATCH REALITY?

YES.

WHEN YOU SEE THE INCREASE IN CRIME, THOSE ARE REAL NUMBERS.

WE HAVE TO FIGHT TWO THINGS.

WE HAVE TO FIGHT THE PERCEPTION, BECAUSE PERCEPTION IS REALITY, AND THEN WE HAVE TO FIGHT THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF THOSE WHO ARE VICTIMS OF THE CRIME.

DO YOU THINK THOSE ARE ALIGNED OR ARE THERE PEOPLE UNDERESTIMATING OR OVERESTIMATING CRIME IN THE CITY AT THE MOMENT?

I THINK IT'S A COMBINATION.

YOU GET UP IN THE MORNING, READ THE PAPER AND HEAR ABOUT SOMEONE HIT IN THE HEAD WITH A HAMMER WHILE ENTERING THE SUBWAY STATION.

THEN YOU ENTER THE STATION AND SEE ENCAMPMENTS, DISORDERLY CONDUCT, YELLING AND SCREAMING, DIRT AND TRASH.

NOW WHAT YOU READ TURNS INTO YOUR REALITY.

EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT A VICTIM OF A CRIME, YOU ARE SAYING, I SEE A STATE OF DISORDER.

SO THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE ACTUAL CRIME AND WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO ARE SEEING CONDITIONS THAT LEAD TO YOU FEELING UNSAFE.

THAT'S WHY WE WENT INTO REMOVING THE ENCAMPMENTS ON OUR SUBWAY SYSTEM.

SO I THINK THAT'S A GREAT POINT.

FOR YOU AS A MAYOR AND WERE YOUR POLICE COMMISSIONER, IS THE WAY TO ATTACK THE ACTUAL PROBLEM OF CRIME AND PERCEPTION OF CRIME TO GO AFTER ACTUAL CRIME, OR ARE THERE THINGS YOU CAN DO THAT ARE DIFFERENT TO MAKE PEOPLE FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE IN THEIR PERCEPTION?

COMBINATION.

I USE THE TERM INTERVENTION, PREVENTION.

INTERVENTION ARE THE LONG-TERM THINGS WEIR GOING TO DO.

PREVENTION IS RIGHT NOW.

WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?

WE SHOULD NOT HAVE PEOPLE SLEEPING ON OUR SUBWAY SYSTEM.

THAT WAS AN INDICTMENT ON US.

THERE'S NOTHING DIGNIFIED ABOUT LIVING IN THOSE CONDITIONS.

WE MUST REMOVE THE ENCAMPMENTS.

ARE THOSE PEOPLE ENGAGING IN CRIME, OR IS THAT A DIFFERENT ISSUE OF HOMELESSNESS AND PEOPLE UNHOUSED?

THAT'S ONE OF THE QUESTIONS WE SHOULD ASK THE GOLD FAMILY.

IT'S AN UNHOUSED PERSON WITH MENTAL ILLNESS THAT PUSHED HER TO THE SUBWAY TRACKS.

THOSE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS, NO ONE IS GIVING THEM THE MENTAL HEALTH THEY DESERVE.

I'M NOT GOING TO WAIT UNTIL MS.

GOH IS PUSHED TO THE TRACKS.

I'M GOING GIVE PEOPLE THE HELP THEY DESERVE.

WHEN WE STARTED DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES, ONLY 22 PEOPLE IN THE FIRST WEEK RESPONDED TO OUR CALL.

NOW WE HAVE 700 PEOPLE, BECAUSE WE BUILT TRUST.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO FOLKS WHO KCRITICIZE YOU AND SAY, REALLY WHAT MAYOR ADAMS HAS DONE IS TO GET THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE WITHOUT HOMES OUT OF SIGHT RATHER THAN GET THEM HELP?

I THINK IT'S TO THE CONTRARY.

I THINK THEY SHOULD DO WHAT NORMAN SIEGEL IS GOING.

HE'S PUTTING TOGETHER A VOLUNTEER GROUP OF 100 DIFFERENT NEW YORKERS THAT ARE WILLING TO GO IN THE STREET AND SPEAK WITH PEOPLE.

BEFORE I STARTED THIS INITIATIVE, I SPENT WEEKS GOING INSIDE ENCAMPMENTS, TALKING TO PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING IN ENCAMPMENTS.

I SAW HUMAN WASTE IN THE CORNER.

WHEN YOU WENT --

I SAW PEOPLE USING DRUG P PARAPH PARAPHERNALIA.

WHAT DID THEY SAY TO YOU?

THEY SAID THEY WERE AFRAID TO GO INTO SHELTERS.

THEY SAID THEY'D RATHER BE ON THE STREET.

ARE THEY RIGHT TO BE AFRAID OF SHELTERS?

THEY'RE NOT RIGHT.

SOME PEOPLE DIDN'T AGREE WITH THAT.

LISTEN, NEW YORK, 38 MILLION PEOPLE DIFFERENT OPINIONS.

BUT ONE MAYOR THAT'S GOING TO MAKE THE DECISION.

SO WHAT DID I DO?

I TOLD MY TEAM AFTER HEARING FROM THOSE PEOPLE, I SAID, LET'S MAKE BROCHURES AND SHOW THEM WHAT THEY'RE MOVING INTO.

WE WENT OUT WITH BROCHURES AND THEY LOOKED AT THEM AND SAW THE CONDITIONS.

THAT'S HOW WE WENT FROM 22 TO 700.

I'VE SEEN BROCHURES OF HOTELS THAT I'VE GONE TO AND THERE WAS A LITTLE BIT OF A DISCONNECT.

WITHOUT A DOUBT.

BUT PEOPLE WERE HOLDING ON TO THE CONDITIONS OF WHAT THEY THOUGHT THE SHELTERS WERE.

AND NO ONE IS GOING TO TELL ME THAT LIVING ON THE STREET IN A TENT WITH NO BATHROOMS, NO SHOWERS, NO MEALS, NO ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE, NO ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE, NO ONE IS GOING TO CONVINCE ME THAT IS MORE DIGNIFIED THAN SOME PLACE THAT HAS THREE MEALS, ACCESS TO SHOWER, ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE.

I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT, AND THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IN MY ADMINISTRATION.

[ APPLAUSE ]

IS BROKEN WINDOWS POLICING GOOD IN YOUR VIEW?

AND IS IT BACK?

IT'S BAD WHEN IT'S ABUSED, AND I DON'T BELIEVE IN THE CONCEPT OF BROKEN WINDOW POLICING.

BUT YOU DO BELIEVE IN THE COB SEPTEMBER OF -- I GUESS IT DEPENDS ON WHAT LABEL YOU GIVE IT -- IN QUALITY OF LIFE IMPROVEMENT.

AND HERE'S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

HERE'S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

MS. JONES IS WAITING ON THE STORE GETTING READY TO TAKE HER HARD-EARNED MONEY AND BUY HER SOME SHAMPOO.

SOME OTHER CHARACTER COMES IN WITH A BAG AND DECIDE HE'S GOING STEAL EVERYTHING OFF THE SHELF AND WALK OUT WITHOUT PAYING.

NO.

IT'S COST MONEY!

BECAUSE IF DWAYNE REED SAYS TO ME, I'M CLOSING DOWN MY STORES HERE BECAUSE EVERY DAY SOMEONE IS COMING IN AND STEALING WHATEVER THEY WANT AND WALK OUT, YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS?

THAT LOW WAGE CLERK IS NO LONGER EMPLOYED.

THAT PERSON STOPPING THE SHELVES IS NO LONGER EMPLOYED.

I'M NOT CRIMINALIZING ANYONE BY SAYING YOU CANNOT DO WHATEVER YOU WANT IN THIS CITY AND DISRESPECT OTHER PEOPLE.

SO I'M SAYING THERE'S A STANDARD OF RESPECT AND WE DON'T HAVE TO BE HEAVY HAND IN THE POLICING TO GET THERE.

THIS IS NOT A GOTCHA, BUT IF I DON'T ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS I'LL BE -- ONE MORE THING AND WE'LL LET YOU KNOW.

WHEN YOUR TAX RETURNS ARE AVAILABLE -- [ LAUGHTER ] HOW CAN I NOT ASK THE QUESTION -- WHEN YOUR TAX RETURNS.

I KNOW YOU GOT AN EXTENSION.

YOU GOT COVID.

YOU RECOVERED.

YOU LOOK GREAT.

WHEN YOUR TAX RETURNS ARE FILED, WILL YOU DISCLOSE THEM TO THE PUBLIC LIKE MOST MAYORS HAVE DONE?

YES.

IS THAT A YES?

HERE'S THE --

YOU DON'T HAVE TO MAKE A COMMENT.

I WANT TO MAKE A COMMENT.

HERE'S WHAT I WAS SAYING TO THE ARROGANCE OF THE REPORTER THAT ASK A QUESTION AND HOW HE ASKED IT.

WATCH HOW HE ASKED THE QUESTION.

AND THE CITY --

DID I ASK IT ARROGANTLY?

NO, YOU DIDN'T.

YOU WERE POLITE.

THE CITY GAVE CLEAR RULES -- THIS IS WHAT WE EXPECT OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO SHOW THAT THEY ARE TRANSPARENT.

THEY GAVE US THE RULES.

MY COIB REPORT, MY FILINGS, THEY TOLD US WHAT WE HAVE TO DO.

I COMPLY EVERY YEAR, EVERY YEAR.

SO WHEN YOU ARROGANTLY COME TO ME, BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT GOING TO DISRESPECT ME, AND ASK ME A QUESTION LIKE I GOT TO ANSWER YOU YES OR NO, YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO GET?

YOU'RE GOING TO GET A NO.

YOU WANT ME TO TEACH THAT REPORTER HOW TO ASK THE QUESTION PROPERLY?

YES, YOU SHOULD.

I PAY A LOT OF TAXES AND NEW YORK IS GOING SEE HOW MUCH I PAID.

SO DO I.

GOOD.

THE LAST THREE MAYORS OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, WHATEVER YOU THINK OF THEM, THEY ALL HAD ONE THING IN COMMON -- RUDY GIULIANI, MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, BILL DE BLASIO, THEY ALL RAN FOR PRESIDENT.

[ LAUGHTER ] AND I THINK THEY WERE LIKE THE WORST PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES EVER.

[ APPLAUSE ]

LIKE, THEY -- THEY SUCKED SO BAD.

AND DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, BLOOMBERG, WHATEVER PARTY HE WAS FROM -- I THINK THEY GOT A TOTAL IN THREE ELECTIONS OF LIKE NINE VOTES.

SO MY FINAL QUESTION TO YOU, SIR, ON THIS IMPORTANT DAY -- IS IT IN THE CITY CHARTER THAT YOU MUST RUN FOR PRESIDENT?

AND ARE YOU COMPETITIVE ENOUGH THAT YOU WANT TO GET, LIKE, 11 VOTES?

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU WITH RESPECT TO NATIONAL POLITICS AND THE PRESIDENCY?

AND I KNOW YOU WILL DODGE IT, BUT I HAD TO ASK THAT QUESTION.

NO DODGING.

YOU CAN RUN AN AMERICA FROM NEW YORK.

[ APPLAUSE ] [ LAUGHTER ]

YOU WERE PREPARED FOR THAT.

YOU WERE PREPARED FOR THAT.

IS THAT ALL YOU WANT TO SAY?

YES.

THAT'S IT?

NEW YORK -- LISTEN, THIS PLACE, I DON'T THINK NEW YORKERS REALLY APPRECIATE WHAT WE MEAN TO THE ENTIRE GLOBE.

THE WAY GOES NEW YORK GOES AMERICA.

THE WAY GOES AMERICA GOES THE GLOBE.

AND WHAT WE DO HERE IMPACTS OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY.

YOU CAN RUN AMERICA FROM NEW YORK.

THANK YOU.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHERE TO LISTEN TO PREET BHARARA'S FULL INTERVIEW AND MAYOR ADAMS AND THE STAY TUNED PREET BROADCAST, VISIT US AT METRO FOCUS.ORG.

AND BE SURE TO STAY TUNED FOR MORE OF OUR LISTENING IN SERIES AND POWERFUL CONVERSATIONS FEATURING NEW YORK'S NEWSMAKERS.

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