>>NARRATOR: On their first day in the White House, press aide Cliff Sims saw Trump’s frustration up close.>>Within the first, you know, five minutes that I’m in the building, there’s this kind of crisis moment. There was a lot of reporting that the inaugural crowds for him were not as big as the inaugural crowds for Obama. That is the equivalent for Donald Trump of a schoolyard fight, so they were really coming after him, hitting him where it hurts.>>And he starts insisting, “That’s not true. We have the biggest crowd ever.” He tells Sean Spicer, his press secretary, “You go out there and tell them that.” And it sets the tone. It sets the tone from the beginning. You know, this is not about healing, this is not about bringing people together.>>Sean, first day on the job, is thinking to himself, “Here’s my chance to kind of show I’m tough. I’m going to punch back ten times harder than they hit us. Let’s figure out how to do that.” I grab a computer, start, you know, pecking out a statement.>>NARRATOR: This was the statement they drafted. Almost every fact about the crowd size was wrong.>>We were so caught up in the moment, and Sean’s trying to impress the president. And I’m being told facts that end up not being true, which we didn’t vet properly. Sean was basically like marching out to his own death there.>>Good evening. Thank you guys for coming.>>At least, his credibility’s death.>>Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall.>>And only a fool would have gone out there kind of half-cocked the way that we did. And we were those fools.>>This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in- person and around the globe. Even “The New York Times”…>>When he goes out and says, “This is the biggest crowd size ever”…>>A misrepresentation of the crowd…>>What he’s saying, in essence, is, “What’s true is what the leader says is true.” The obliteration of the line between truth and the lie is fundamental to grasp because it’s so elemental to a functioning democracy. And the degradation of those institutions is a weakening of our system.>>Did you lie on his behalf?>>No.>>Never?>>No. There were plenty of times when… Look, your, your job… You may not go, go full-on, but I don’t think that that’s… You’re… I think I… The job of the press secretary is to articulate what the principal wants articulated. Not what you want– you’re not there to call balls and strikes and interpret. That’s what you guys should be writing and covering, instead of sowing division about tweets and false narratives. I will see you on Monday. (reporters clamoring)>>Sean?>>Women’s March.>>How about the Obamacare changes? >>What we learned in those first days of the Trump presidency was the degree to which Donald Trump was going to insist on trying to write the history of his presidency the way he wanted to. That if you spoke for Donald Trump, you had a constituency of one, and that was Donald Trump.>>What it… you’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving– Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains…>>Wait a minute– alternative facts? Alternative facts– four of the five facts he uttered…>>Hey, Chuck, why… Hey, Chuck…>>The one thing he got right was Zeke Miller. Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, “alternative facts” are not facts– they’re falsehoods.>>I mean, the obvious impact is that it’s created a tremendously dangerous, unstable force in American life, where people don’t know what to believe. People have been told they’re right not to believe the things they are told by credible sources. The president of the United States has contributed mightily to an environment where people believe what they want to believe, and that is going to have long-term repercussions.