For the Record with Greta, Transcript 1/23/2017
Show: For the Record with Greta
Date: January 23, 2017
Guests: Kasie Hunt, Kristen Welker, John McLaughlin, Nick Kristof, Kevin Brady, Micahel McFaul, Susan Ferrechio, Ken Vogel
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Hello, Ari. Thank you very much.
And For The Record tonight, right now in the U.S. senate late votes on two
critical Trump cabinet picks, secretary of state and director of the CIA,
we are monitoring these two votes and we`ll take you right to the senate
floor. But first, President Trump busy with his pen today signing
executive actions, the target, the Obama legacy on trade and abortion, will
Democrats respond and how? And press secretary, Sean Spicer, taking
question for the first time since Saturday when he blasted the media.
You are looking at live pictures of the senate floor as we await critical
confirmation vote for Congressman Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA. This vote
comes on President Trump first full work day, beginning with a round table
with business leaders, then the president signed three executive orders
including withdrawal from TPP trade agreement, which he talked about in
meeting with union leaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We just
officially terminated TPP.
We`re going to stop the ridiculous trade deals that are taking everybody
out of our company and taking companies out of the country, and it`s going
to be reversed. I think there`s going to be lot of companies coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Plus a sit down with congressional leaders. And then,
President Trump is behind closed doors with speaker of the house Paul Ryan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is the meeting going, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Very good. We have fantastic relationship with everybody at the
table. It`s a totally just a beautiful, beautiful relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: All that, plus the first official briefing from press
secretary, Sean Spicer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I believe that we have to be
honest to the American people. I think sometimes we can disagree with the
facts. There are certain things that we may miss – may not fully
understand, we cannot, but our intention is never to lie to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: NBC`s Kasie Hunt is on Capitol Hill covering the Pompeo vote
for director of CIA. Kasie?
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS: Hi, Greta. We are actually in the senate foreign
relation committee hearing room where the vote on Tillerson in this
committee just wrapped up. He was favorably reported out of committee, 11
to 10 a straight party line vote after Marco Rubio decided that he was
going to go along and vote yes here. That was a lot of back and forth
about Russia. He said he still has concerns, but other things outweighed
that including lobbying from the Trump administration to try to convince
him not to turn this into a protracted battle. Meanwhile on the senate
floor, CIA director – incoming CIA director, Mike Pompeo, set to be
confirmed. This was delayed from last week over concerns from Democratic
senator Ron Wyden. Republicans talking quite a bit about that delay and
the fact that that meant there was no CIA director when Donald Trump
visited the CIA over the weekend. The senate is trying to move quickly to
put his national security team in place. The Tillerson nomination expected
potentially next week. Buy you know there`s still a lot of concern about
TPP here among Republicans, this is really the first example I have to say
of Donald Trump – President Trump taking action to put him at odds with a
lot of members here in his own party. I asked Senator Corker about that,
he said, well, it`s just a fact, didn`t have any positive words though to
say about Trump`s move on that today front today, so potential brewing
confrontation between President Trump and his own party here on Capitol
VAN SUSTEREN: Kasie, thank you. NBC`s Kristen Welker is at the White
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Hi, Greta. Well, I was just in the meeting with
President Trump and those congressional leaders, and you`ve heard him
talked about the fact they`ve beautiful relationships. As we were leaving
the room, he said we`re going to get a big deal done, so we`ll have to see
what the specifics are on that. But, look, this is an administration that
is trying to turn the page on a rocky weekend, the President starting off
with a meeting with CEO`s. He then met with union leaders, and in between
he signed a whole host of executive actions, including announcing his
intention to pull out of the TPP. That multi-national trade deal that
President Obama was trying to get through congress. It was never approved,
so President Trump technically does have the authority to pull out. The
broader goal here though, Greta, I am told according to White House
officials, is to use this as leverage to show that he is serious about
renegotiating trade deals, particularly NAFTA, and we know that he has
meetings with the leaders of Mexico and Canada in the coming weeks. And
that`s when he`s going to try to start to negotiate what he believes a
better terms of those deal. There was also, of course, that first press
briefing with White House press secretary Sean Spicer today, after he came
out with fireworks over the weekend accusing the press of trying to,
essentially, misrepresent President Trump. Today, he was much more
consolatory talked about the fact that he is dedicated and very determined
to make sure that he is truthful when he steps in front of that podium. Of
course, there have been some questions about what he said over the weekend.
He also touched on a whole list of other issue, including trade and
Obamacare. I asked if the president was close to reaching a plan to repeal
and replace Obamacare, he said he`s going to talk to House Speaker Paul
Ryan about that this evening when the two have dinner. Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kristen, he has a busy day, just couple of days, and I know
no one has mentioned it so far, but any word – coming out of the White
House as to when he`s going to name someone to the Supreme Court? There`s
still that vacancy.
WELKER: There`s still that vacancy and there`s no exact date yet. But we
are getting indication that he is nearing a pick for the Supreme Court.
And, of course, that`s when the question we are tracking quite closely,
VAN SUSTEREN: Kristen, thank you. At his briefing today, Sean Spicer also
specifically addressed the present relationship with the CIA and his visit
with the CIA this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: He walked into the CIA, people were hooting and hollering to give
a five minute standing ovation. That doesn`t looked like a relationship
that`s – I mean, that`s a – they were excited. There`s a difference
between having differences with intelligence leaders and leaders of that
community, who we have strong differences with, then the people and the men
and women who toil every single day in our intelligence community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: For the record, listen to the reception that Trump received
at the CIA, at least from some.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is my high
honor and distinct privilege to introduce all of you to the president of
the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: That former CIA director, John Brennan, said some of Trump`s
comments were inappropriate given the venue right in front of the CIA`s
memorial wall of agencies heroes. Here some of what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The wall behind me is very, very special. I want to say that
there`s nobody that feel stronger about the intelligence community and the
CIA than Donald Trump, there`s nobody. I have a running war with the
media, there are among the most dishonest human being on earth. I turn on
one of the networks and they show an empty field. I said, wait a minute, I
made a speech, I looked out the field it was – it looked like a million,
million and a half people. And then they say is Donald Trump an
intellectual. Trust me, I`m like a smart person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: John McLaughlin is former acting director of the CIA, now at
John Hopkins. Nice to see you, sir.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE CIA: Good to see you,
VAN SUSTEREN: More than everything, we are all spectators when it comes to
the CIA being on the outside. So fill me in – your thoughts about this
relationship the president has for the CIA.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, on the way over here I was thinking about
something, when you go into the CIA on the first floor there are
photographs of all the presidents and each of them has written something on
the bottom of that photograph. And the one that I always like the most
because he wrote it himself in brown ink was from Harry Truman. And he
said to the CIA, a necessity to the president of the United States from one
who knows. I think sooner or later that sentiment is going to become
apparent in this administration too. And so this relationship is off to a
rocky start. But there has to be at some point here a reset, the sort of
back to square one, a start over. I think that will come with Mike Pompeo
being confirmed hopefully today. And that relationship can get back on
track. It`s been rocky so far.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is he a good choice, Pompeo?
MCLAUGHLIN: I think he is. I know him. He`s thoughtful. He understands
that he is not a politician when he goes to CIA. He`s got to call it as it
is. There`s no spin there. So he`s in a world that`s a very different
from the one he`s comes from. Now this rocky relationship, I have to say
has not been CIA`s doing. After all the president-elect did say some
pretty nasty thinks about the CIA, unprovoked, on the way of becoming
inaugurated. And at the wall there he said some nice things, and let`s
give him credit for going out to CIA and reaching out. Let`s give him
credit for that. But I think what some of the negative reaction has been
that it`s not appropriate to engage in kind of self-obsession that he
engaged in at a memorial for people who did exactly the opposite, that is
who were making the ultimate sacrifice for something larger than
themselves. So that`s really emotional ground zero for the CIA. You have
to be careful what you say there.
VAN SUSTEREN: When he went over there and was introduced he got clapping
from the CIA there, which I suppose could be good manners, good manners.
And, of course, when he poked a stick at the media they all laugh and I get
that joke. Was that just them being polite or does it run deep?
MCLAUGHLIN: I think that`s a hard thing to analyze. I`ll tell you what I
think. First, any time a president goes to CIA, the president is going to
be welcome politely and with applause. It`s in the DNA out there because
if you`re at CIA, the president is customer number one, period. So we
don`t know who was applauding. If you look at the comments from poll
reporters who were there they the applause came mostly from the entourage
that went out there with the president, his staff and other people who were
there with him. The CIA leadership was in the first couple of rows and I
understood they stood politely but kind of impassively through that. So.
VAN SUSTEREN: We have one – just a clarification, when NBC reports that
said that a lot of CIA employees who weren`t working came out to see him,
and may have been in part of that too, but – you know, but the.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it was a voluntary day. It was Saturday.
VAN SUSTEREN: Voluntary day.
MCLAUGHLIN: So I would not try to analyze the reaction, frankly. We
didn`t see it, we heard it, but I`m told this was not the CIA every day
employee standing up and clearing wildly.
VAN SUSTEREN: When he gave his inaugural address he said that he`s going
to unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we
will eradicate completely from the face of the earth. Do you think that`s
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, certainly not overnight. And I think we will never
eradicate terrorism completely. You know, I think the objection here is to
get it to the point where it is no longer a threat. There will always be
terrorists of some ilk at some magnitude somewhere. Certainly it`s a lot
of the goal, it is one of the CIA would share.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything we are not given the CIA, you know, that
the American people aren`t giving, or times isn`t giving, is there
something we can do to help the CIA?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think what the CIA needs most is constancy of policy,
and constancy of leadership, and of course resources. Frankly, they`ve
been given I think since 9/11 resources that are well in abundance of what
we had prior to 9/11. So I don`t think it`s a resource issue. I think
it`s more of a question of public understanding what this intelligence do.
For example, Brent Scrowcroft once said the role of intelligence is to
narrow the range of uncertainty when difficult decisions have to be made.
So I think the public and the administration needs to develop a more
sophisticated understand of what this is all about. This is an agency
that`s – they are working against a world that tries to deny it
information and tries to deceive it, and they have the task of foreseeing
the future. This is tough.
VAN SUSTEREN: It`s impossible.
MCLAUGHLIN: This is tough. So it`s mathematically certain. Don`t expect
perfection from intelligence, but expect them to be very good. And try to
understand the struggle they have. And it`s going to be a tough struggle
in the coming years because there`s never been in my lifetime a list of
issues as long and complicated as today.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, thank you very much for joining us. Hope you`ll come
MCLAUGHLIN: It`s a pleasure.
VAN SUSTEREN: Todays, press briefing was the first and combatant and fiery
statements like Saturday afternoon. Many critics attacking Sean Spicer
comments about inaugural crowd size, it was followed by this exchange on
Meet The Press with Trump counsellor Kellyanne Conway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS HOST: Why did he do that? It undermine the
creditability of the entire White House press office on day one.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP COUNSELLOR: Don`t be so overly dramatic about it,
Chuck. You`re saying it was a falsehood, and they`re giving Sean Spicer,
our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point.
TODD: Wait a minute, alternative facts – alternative facts for the five
facts he utter?
TODD: Why did he seek Miller for the five facts which he uttered which is
not true? Look, alternative facts are not facts, they`re falsehoods.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Spicer today much lighter tone, but still a charge
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: Started with a recap of the inauguration, but I think we covered
that pretty well.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Will you pledge never to knowingly say something that
is not factual.
SPICER: I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. Our intention
is never to lie to you.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Do you stand by your statement that was the most
SPICER: Sure. It was the most watched inaugural. It`s unquestionable.
And I don`t see any numbers that dispute that.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don`t want to get into numbers.
SPICER: I do. You`re talking about integrity. Telling the truth. Facts,
there`s a point which we have a right to go out there and correct the
record. Thank you, guys. It`s been a pleasure. God Bless. See you
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Nick Kristof, is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist from the
New York Times. Nice to see you, Nick.
NICK KRISTOF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Nick, today, did the reporters get information and did
the press secretary supply it?
KRISTOF: Well, I mean, boy, the tone today was certainly awful lot better.
And Sean Spicer tried I think very hard to come across as genial and shed
that combatant personality that he showed over the weekend when – you
know, I think some of us are ready to call 911 and try to free him from
being held hostage. But while the tone was an awful lot better and he was
certainly more forthcoming, in some ways he slightly walks back some of the
inauguration numbers. Still, at end of the day he said it was
unquestionable that the audience for the inauguration was greater than it
ever been before. And, you know, that is wrong. I mean, you can add the
TV numbers, and the Washington Post counts that he comes in fifth. And
it`s really is problematic, I think, when you get somebody speaking from
the White House podium and says things are unquestionable and they`re just
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I was thinking, Nick, as I was thinking about you
watching this and, you know, you have covered drops, and refugee camps, had
been all over the world, and people are starving, you seen people eat bugs
and leaves and so have I. We`ve both seen war, and somehow we`re all back
here bickering about crowd sizes, I mean, what do you think about this?
KRISTOF: Well, I mean, boy, I think there`s a general recognition I say,
even within the Trump administration. This was not a sensible fight to
have. And I don`t think it was one that Spicer picked. I think, today,
they certainly tried to move in a new direction. But I thought it was
troubling that – you know, that Sean was again trying to litigate this.
And I think that was because, you know, the boss was sort of holding a gun
to his head, so to speak. But there are so many more important issues.
And indeed the debate – you know, I thought that the two most important
things, you know, today were Sean, again, talking about blocking China from
access to some islands in the South China Sea, which could well put us in a
shooting war with China. And, also, the administration`s move to readopt
the Mexico City policy, which cuts off family planning funding all around
the world with – through organizations that counsel on abortions, and the
upside of that is likely more abortions, more maternal deaths, and so on.
So, you know, you`re absolutely right, Greta, that there are more important
issues out there.
VAN SUSTEREN: I thought one of the forced blunders, in adverted was the
one on Friday, when the Time Magazine poll reporter said that the Martin
Luther King bus had been removed from the oval office. It had not. And it
would have sort of the code report that maybe Trump is a racist, I thought.
And I thought that was the most painful, horrible blunder by the media,
just a terrible thing to do to anybody.
KRISTOF: I mean, look, we in the media make mistakes all the time. And I
think one of our biggest challenges is that we tend to come up with
narratives, so we came up with the narrative about Jimmy Carter as this
helpless guy who screwed everything up, and then everything comes in and
kind of fits into that narrative. And I think that one of the dangers for
Donald Trump and, you know, I would sure worry about it if I run the staff
that the way he has started in the last few days is going to create
narrative in which nothing that comes from the White House or from the
White House podium can be distrusted, that it is all these alternative
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, go ahead.
KRISTOF: I mean, you know, there is – the White House is always going to
feel that it`s being bullied by the press. It`s being treated unfairly by
the press. The press is always going to be dissatisfied by whoever is in
the White House. That kind of adversarial relationship is healthy. I
think, frankly, from our point of view, I think there`s a lot of discussion
within the media about maybe the upside is that there should be less access
journalism without trying to get close to people in more, you know, real
digging and trying to uncover truths, and I think that would be –
fundamentally journalism it`s not stenography, it`s digging things that
people don`t necessarily want to report it. I hope that the upside it`s
going to be more of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed. Nick, nice to see you.
KRISTOF: Good to be with you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Still to come, President Trump meeting with congressional
leaders, including a closed door talk with Speaker Paul Ryan. I`ll speak
to the head of the very powerful house ways and means committee. Also, the
Trump team responds to a new report about the national security adviser and
Russia. And a lawsuit drops on President Trump over alleged conflict of
interest, ethics and accusation of foreign money.
VAN SUSTEREN: We are back with live pictures of the White House where
right now President Trump will soon meet with Speaker Paul Ryan. Earlier,
he did meet with leaders on both business and labor. Trump repeating his
campaign pledge to cut taxes and to cut regulation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are going to be cutting taxes massively for both the middle
class and for companies. And that`s massively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: And, of course, Trump`s first executive order signed on
Friday targeted the implementation of Obamacare. Kevin Brady is chairman
of the very powerful house ways and means committee. Nice to see you, sir.
KEVIN BRADY, CHAIRMAN HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: Greta, thanks for
having me, and congratulation on your new show.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you very much. Now, I`m going to make you come back
all the time since you said congratulation. All right.
BRADY: It`s a deal.
VAN SUSTEREN: . President Trump said he going to cut the taxes massively.
What kind of reception he is going to get in your committee?
BRADY: Definitely very positive, it is because he`s going after massive
jobs growth, that`s what`s been missing in this Obama recovery, the worst
in half the century. And there`s just so much investment in businesses
large and small sitting on the sideline, anxious to get back in the economy
and grow jobs. But, boy, with higher regulations, higher Obamacare taxes,
healthcare costs, and regulation, all of that adding up. This president
had figured out the way you get this economy going is less government not
VAN SUSTEREN: So you expect that this year they`ll be those tax cuts.
BRADY: I do. We expect tax reforms, in fact the most pro-growth tax
reform that we can develop passing 2017, we`re having very productive talks
with the Trump administration, and what we`re look for are lowest tax rates
on jobs creators, large and small in modern history. You`re going for
businesses to immediately write off all their business investment, key to
mainstream job growth, and then we build from there.
VAN SUSTEREN: I was looking sort of from a global standpoint, and I look
back to see where President Trump thought of the stimulus program back
February, 2009, when we were attempting to do the building of
infrastructure and things like that, and we had to borrow a lot of money to
do that. Now, it appears that he is doing the same sort – he`s doing a
stimulus program by cutting taxes thinking that company will reinvest, but
there`s a cost there because now we don`t have the tax revenue. So how are
we going to pay for that?
BRADY: Yeah, the good news is he`s approaching it and so house Republicans
just the opposite of the stimulus. That was government spending
temporarily had no real economic effect. This are permanent tax cuts that
spurred job creations in business investment. And, by the way, leapfrog
America is the lead pack, the most pro-growth place on the planet to create
that new job or make that new investment – business investment. And I
know the house Republican blueprint we do all of this balance within the
budget counting on economic growth. And so, we`re keeping an eye both on
growth and making sure we`re fiscally responsible.
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess you have to fold it into, we`ll have less tax
revenue come in, so we worry about whether we have to borrow, increase the
debt. But we have to sort of also just oppose it against the TPP, and what
economic impact that would have had have it been acted, but that`s not
going to happen.
BRADY: Well, It`s not. But a couple of key points here. One, I think
spending cuts gets you halfway back to balancing the budget, but you need a
much stronger economy than what we`ve have to finish the job and start
paying down the national debt. That`s why, you know, pro-grow tax reform
are the leapfrog that`s just back into the league. And is fiscally
responsible, bounces over time counting on the economic growth. That I
think that`s where you hit the sweet spots in a couple of different ways.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Obamacare, what`s going to happen there this year
do you expect because it probably going to your committee?
BRADY: Yes, so we started this step by step process first of repealing
those horrible taxes, the mandates, the drivers that drive up the cost of
healthcare. We`ve begun that process for the repeal of it. And we`ll
begin the step by step replacement of it. What you won`t see is a big 2000
page where no one knows what`s in, like the Democrat did course through the
middle of the night, we`re doing just the opposite from that. We want the
American public to understand the changes we`re making, where we`re really
return control in affordability to them, making sure that healthcare is
personalize to their needs and not Washington. It`s designed and control
by the states and not Washington. It really gives you choices to choose
what`s right for you, not what`s right for a bunch of bureaucrats up here.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So are you saying it`s going to be simple, it`s
going to be cheaper, and people are still going to have the same service?
You`re not going to lose your healthcare or if you`re a preexisting problem
you`re not going to be denied?
BRADY: So, couple of things. One, there`ll be a very smooth, very stable
transition. So people aren`t losing their Affordable Care Act plans, but
they`re going to have plenty of time to set new options that are much more
affordable to them. We`re also keeping just some common sense patient
protection like keeping your young people on the parent`s plan until 26,
lifting the lifetime cap, making sure those with pre-existing are covered.
We want to make sure that as we do that, that we lower those costs in a
major way, give people control of their healthcare again.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Mr. Chairman, I might bring you back and probably
sometime after you have a chance to do this, and we`ll see if you`ll be
able to achieve that. Thank you, sir.
BRADY: That was good. Thank you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ahead, calls between Trump national security adviser and a
Russian ambassador now under investigation. Hear what the press secretary
said today about it. Plus, President Trump sued over ethics, business and
foreign money. Big night of news, so stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So there`ve been a total of two
calls with the ambassador and General Flynn to talk about after the
inauguration setting up a call between President Putin and President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any other conversations between General Flynn and
Russian members of the government?
SPICER: Not that I`m aware of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Press Secretary Sean Spicer and a
new report from the “Wall Street Journal” about President Trump`s National
Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Anonymous sources telling the paper that
U.S. counterintelligence agents are looking into communication Flynn has
said to have had with Russian officials including a series of phone calls
Flynn had with a Russian ambassador in December.
Now the White House has said those calls dealt with arranging conversation
between President Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin. NBC News has
not verified these claims and it`s not known whether any incriminating
evidence has been found or whether the inquiry is still continuing. Michael
McFaul is the former U.S. ambassador to Russia. Nice to see you sir.
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Good to see you Greta.
Thanks for having me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, I hate anonymous sources but that`s the lawyer
in me and I realized that`s sort of the food for journalism in many
instances. Should we be alarmed, interested, intrigued. How would you
describe this report?
MCFAUL: Well, I`m glad you raised anonymous sources, Greta, because
there`s been a lot of anonymous sources` coming out of the FBI and other
places at a time and place that are not logical to me, and I agree with
you. In general, if there`s a counterintelligence investigation, why is it
being leaked to the press? Number two, in defense of General Flynn, I have
to say, it is the job of Ambassador Kislyak to engage with American
officials and American in society.
I hosted him here at Stanford a couple of months ago so, just the event in
and of itself should not be suspicious. Of course, what we need to know is
the content of that call. And if the content of that call was not just
logistics but had something do with American foreign policy then that of
course is a different matter.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Probably no one knows the issues involving Russia
better than you do. So tell me, set me back and look into where we are vis-
avis Russia and Putin today and you`re thoughts.
MCFAUL: Well, I think, Greta, beginning of a big, hard debate within the
Trump administration. As many people know, Mr. Trump as a campaign
candidate was very laudatory towards Vladimir Putin. During the transition,
he continued to say some very nice things about Putin and couldn`t we all
just get along with the Russians.
But senior members of his administration during testimony have said things
very differently including first and foremost his Secretary of Defense now
General Mattis, my former colleague here at Stanford. And so I think we`re
just in the beginning of a real debate about Russia policy and the key
question is what are we going to get concretely that will be an America`s
national security interest from some kind of new reset with Russia.
We have to define what those objectives are because just getting along,
that`s not a goal, that`s not a smart foreign policy. The engagement has to
be for something concrete and so far President Trump and his administration
has given us few details about that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can we ever trust Putin and what`s his goal?
MCFAUL: No, we should never trust Putin. I don`t think you should trust
any leader. I think we should also just think about their interest. For me,
his goals are clear than Mr. Trump`s right now. Putin wants to have the
sanctions lifted that we put in place, the Obama administration put in
place in response to their annexation of territory in Ukraine and then
supporting separatists in Eastern Ukraine.
Second, he would like us to endorse his war in Syria and get on his side to
say we`re all going to fight terrorism together. Third, he would love us to
recognize a Russian sphere of influence (ph). In Russia they call it Yalta
2 where we agree to their sphere, he agrees to our sphere and we agree not
to get in the way of each other.
And finally, in his dream of dreams, he would love for President Trump to
recognize Crimea as being part of Russia. Those are his goals and in return
for those goals, he`ll say nice things about President Trump and have a
nice summit with him. As I said before, what I don`t understand, I know
what Putin wants, I don`t yet know what the new administration wants.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, thank you. Hope you come back.
MCFAUL: Thank you for having me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ethics lawyers dropping a lawsuit against President Trump
over continuing business interest. Will the case move forward?
And those record-breaking rallies across the world, what happens now?
And a live look at the White House where President Trump will meet Speaker
Ryan. You are watching MSNBC, the place for politics.
VAN SUSTEREN: We`re back with live pictures of the Senate floor where
senators are debating right now president Trump`s pick to lead the CIA,
Mike Pompeo. That vote is expected around 7:00 p.m. eastern. We`re going to
keep you posted on any developments.
Also today, a brand new poll on President Trump`s job approval after three
days on the job. Gallup has his approval rate at 45 percent. And it comes
after a weekend of record breaking crowds rallying from Chicago`s Grand
Park to the streets of New York City, across the country in Los Angeles and
even across the pond in London – all record-breaking numbers.
And speaking of crowds, it was the size of the inauguration crowd that the
White House furiously defended and debated. Today, White House press
secretary Sean Spicer holds his first press briefing and vowed to tell the
truth. Here`s more of that appearance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Before I get to a
policy question, just a question about the nature of your job.
KARL: Is it your intention to always tell the truth from that podium and
will you pledge never to knowingly say something that is not factual.
SPICER: Yes. It`s an honor to do this and yes, I believe that we have to be
honest with the American people. I think sometimes we can disagree with the
facts. There are certain things that we may not fully understand when we
come out but our intention is never to lie to you, Jonathan.
Our job is to make sure that sometimes – I mean, you`re in the same boat.
I mean there are times when you guys tweet something out or write a story
and you publish a correction. That doesn`t mean that you were intentionally
trying to deceive readers and the American people, does it? And I think we
should be afforded the same opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Susan Ferrechio is the chief congressional correspondent for
the “Washington Examiner” and Ken Vogle, chief investigative reporter for
“Politico.” Susan, Donald Trump, the president`s approval rates on January
16th, 40 percent. They are now at 45 percent. He has moved up still low but
see here, he has moved up five points in just a few days.
SUSAN FERRECHIO, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMONER:
Well, I think he gave a speech that resonated with a lot of people on
inauguration day. I know that some people termed it as dark but it
definitely probably resonated with the people who voted for him because it
sounded like, you know, he said he was going to keep his campaign promises
and turn Washington back over to the people. And they probably interpreted
that as a positive message.
In fact, polling show people like what he had to say on inauguration day.
And then he gets right to work doing what he said he was going to do, going
into the Oval Office, signing executive orders about Obamacare and trade
and things that, you know, have really resonated on the campaign trail. But
that doesn`t surprise me. Five points isn`t a lot though and he is still
pretty low on his approval rating.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ken, we keep saying today is his first day, but in all
fairness, presidents work seven days a week. He`s been working – it`s
probably day number three, but we officially call it the first. What do you
make of the five points jumping up?
KEN VOGEL, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, people are
starting see him as president. He is president. He`s sworn in and he is, as
Susan suggested, diving right into some of the things that he said that he
was going to do.
Now with that said, he made a lot of huge promises that he hasn`t quite
addressed and you heard Sean Spicer doing his press conference to talk
about how they`re sequencing the roll out to some of these things. But he
talked about diving right in to building the wall on day one, that hasn`t
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, the sort of the irony with the TPP announcement
today that he said, you know, this not going to happen. Well the fact is it
wasn`t going to happen anyway. There`s nobody – it had to go through –
the Senate actually would`ve done that. It was supposed to be – it was
signed last February. McConnell never put it up to a vote. So I mean, it
sort of – a lot of this sort of is a little show but it wasn`t going to
VOGEL: Well, it also checked a lot of boxes for the constituencies that
really elect him. I mean trade was a major theme. It was one that appealed
to working class right voters who came out of huge numbers for him.
The bill or rather the executive order that started to rollback Obamacare,
another huge promise, one that appealed to conservatives across the
spectrum. Then additionally the executive that would bar funding of
overseas programs that did abortion overseas, that really appeals to social
conservatives. So you see, he`s trying to check the boxes to show the folks
who helped elect him, hey, I`m going to stand up and do the things that I
said I was going to do.
VAN SUSTEREN: How about reaching out to the Democrats?
FERRECHIO: Well, they`re over there today so –
VAN SUSTEREN: And by invitation I take it. They didn`t storm the place,
FERRECHI: That`s right. He also met with some union workers who typically
backed Democrats, although maybe not in this election, but –
VAN SUSTEREN: Well they hit TPP.
FERRECHIO: That`s right. But I mean, he did have Nancy Pelosi and Steny
Hoyer over, the two top leaders in the House, and Chuck Schumer from the
Senate, and he`s meeting with them. He talks to Chuck Schumer on the phone.
You know what, we have to remember he`s not your true Republican.
He once supported Democrats. He ran as a Republican but he`s really kind of
an independent populous guy. Today on the floor on the Senate, Mitch
McConnell pointed out to the Democrats – he`s the Republican Majority
Leader by the way – He is saying, you know, it`s not as though Trump is
rigid conservative that Democrats can`t work with, that there may be a way
for the two sides to work together. If ever there was a president to come
along, it`s possible for there to be an overlap with Democrats, clearly
it`s Donald Trump.
VAN SUSTEREN: The TPP is probably the best example because McCain says
that`s a terrible decision that the president made today. And Senator
Bernie Sanders is team Trump on it. He agrees with Trump.
VOGEL: I mean on one of the very few issues, I think it`s going to be very
hard. We already see the Democrats digging and I think they were emboldened
by the huge turnout of the Women`s March day after the inauguration. And
frankly, we already see some potential fissures and risks within the
Republican coalition all on things like TPP, also immigration, also the
So, he`s got to the short window, I think that`s why it was so concerning
when he came out and was just as aggressive and confrontational right after
the inauguration. People were like hey, you got to work to like use what
little mandate you have right now to bring coalition together. Some are
concerned about whether he`s done that.
VAN SUSTEREN: I thought we saw a different Sean Spicer today than we did
on Saturday. Saturday, he was blistering mad at the press and today was a
different Sean Spicer.
FERRECHIO: Right, today he was more of your traditional press conference
where he answered questions on all the issues. He said I will stand here
until you`re done with questions and he did. And he took questions from
everybody on every single issue.
VAN SUSTEREN: He seemed very informed on the policies of the president.
FERRECHIO: He was. And also, I thought he really was not defensive at all,
which was great. He was able to talk about the crowd size and when Jonathan
Karl asked him, “Are you going to promise not to lie to us.” I don`t know,
you know, what kind of question is that. And still he answered it, you
know, in a sincere way.
He didn`t say what kind of question is that. He said well, yes, I value
this job and I plan to always try to do my best. I thought that was his
best answer because that was a really tough question. We rarely see those
kinds of questions asked when President Obama was in the White House I will
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, day one at least for a press briefings from Sean
Spicer, although it was not day one for the president (INAUDIBLE) to Sean
Spicer working for that matter. We have an interesting four years. Thank
Straight ahead, what does former President Obama have to do with Katy
Perry, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. As you look at live pictures of the
White House where President Trump is meeting tonight with Speaker Paul
VAN SUSTEREN: And now three stories you may not know. Number three, new
NASA video shows what it`s like to land on Pluto. It based on more than 100
different images taken in 2015 by the New Horizons spacecraft. For the
record, Pluto is 3 billion – with a B – miles away from Earth.
Number two, President Obama has returned to his old twitter handle. His
first tweet on inauguration day asking, “Is this thing still on?” Obama`s
new account has built up over 80 million followers, behind only Katy Perry,
Justine Bieber and Taylor Swift. The president has 20 million followers at
his personal @realDonaldTrump account.
And number one, there`s a new app for pregnant women who take public
transportation. The app is called Babee on Board and uses Bluetooth
technology to alert smartphone users on a train or a bus that a pregnant
rider might need a seat. The app will hopefully help pregnant commuters
gain the attention of people who are only paying attention to their phones.
So there it is. Now you know.
Also happening today, a lawsuit targeting President Trump. A liberal
watchdog group filing a new lawsuit claiming Trump is violating the
constitution by allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign
governments. The president`s reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, reaction to the lawsuit today.
TRUMP: Without merit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Today, the Trump organization tweeting, “A new era has begun
with Trump`s children taking over the family business.” Back with us, Susan
and Ken. Ken, this lawsuit.
VOGEL: Yes, I mean, it`s definitely an avenue for Democrats and Liberals
and they`re going to continue to pursue it. And the fact is the Trump folks
are sensitive to this. We heard Trump dismiss the lawsuit itself. But they
are sensitive to the claim that accepting payments from foreign government
or foreign individuals will violate this emoluments clause, and to the
point where when Trump came out and gave that press conference where he
introduced his plan to sort of satisfy critics or attempt satisfy critics.
He talked about if there were profits that were gleaned from the
transactions with foreign government or foreign individuals, those will be
sent from the Trump organization to the federal treasury. Obviously that
didn`t satisfy the folks who filed this lawsuit. I don`t think it`s going
to satisfy the Democrats.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, to my colleagues, Kasie and Frank Thorp. Kasie
really asked about the media at the White House today with congressional
leadership. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said, “It was pretty
lighthearted.” He also said, “I enjoyed the press and Senator Schumer
talking about all the people they knew in New York.
So, there was not any real serious business done. It was basically like a
social event. Good, sort of bipartisan leadership meeting. It was really
kind of like a reception. That`s Frank Thorp, who is NBC News producer and
Kasie Hunt. Your thoughts about the social (INAUDIBLE) at the White House
FERRECHIO: That sounds about right when they have this sort of
introductory meetings A lot of the reception and meetings at the White
House when you have all the leaders of both parties, they`re not
substantive. They can be when we get really close to critical time with
spending like when the government is about to close, sometimes those can be
more serious. But these tend to be really just what it was described –
VAN SUSTEREN: I do think it`s a good idea. I like to see the Democrats and
Republicans being pretty lighthearted with each other. I mean it`s better
than taking a sledgehammer to each other.
FERRECHIO: Well, there`s an argument to be made here, that there`s so
little socialization between the parties anymore because everybody goes
home on a weekend, back to our districts, no one is getting together
anymore across party lines so that`s one of the reason we`re seeing such
incredible partisanship in Congress these days.
You know, if we can bridge the gap by inviting them over more and just
getting to know each other on a personal level. Certainly Obama did not do
that enough because there was just an enormous golf between the Congress
and the White House. So, Trump can`t go wrong by trying to do a little
better than that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ken, we are standing by for the big vote tonight on whether
we have a CIA director. This was supposed to happen on Friday.
VOGEL: Yes, I think Pompeo will ultimately be approved. You know, there
are some things that Democrats are using to sort of litigate issues that
they already have with intelligence gathering (INAUDIBLE) and issues across
party lines. Folks are concerned about privacy versus security.
Pompeo is being sort of called to task for something that he said in 2016
where he talked about the NSA`s metadata gathering program. He would like
to restart that and actually introduce more data from so-called lifestyle
data. That set off a lot of alarms for civil libertarians including
conservatives. Last time what Susan was suggesting about the socialization
is a good thing I think.
However, Democrats you`ve already seen. Democrats are calling to account
Chuck Schumer for instance for giving the speech before the inauguration,
introducing, setting up the introduction of Trump. So you see folks, right
now at this (INAUDIBLE) window socializing but they`re going to go back to
their course really quickly.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you both. For the Record, who always has my back? Find
VAN SUSTEREN: I want to say something for the record. We are now in week
three of our show here at MSNBC and it is exciting. The staff, great –
some new ones and some others who have come over with me from Fox, but all
are great. Meanwhile, some of you, and yes you, that maybe you, are still
slapping me around from having come from another network, and some viewers
over at that other network doing the same, slapping me around for coming
here. Oh, brother. It can get pretty raw.
It makes me miss my parents who even when I didn`t do such a great job,
always said I did a great job. Except for the time my mother said after
looking at the TV screen, that my hair that day looked like a weed patch,
which brings me to now. I can always count on my extended family, those
great kids, it`s Samaritans Purse – Greta Home and Academy, an orphanage
school in Haiti that my husband and I volunteered. They sent me this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: Congratulations, Momma Greta. Congratulations!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations momma Greta.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: Yeah! We love you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations momma Greta!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Momma Greta, we want to tell you congratulations on
your new show and we love you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Those kids always 100 percent of the time have my back. And
guess what, I have theirs 100 percent of the time. I love them.
Thank you for watching. See you tomorrow night right here at 6:00 p.m.
eastern. If you can`t watch live, set your DVR and follow me on Twitter
@Greta. Facebook follow me there for behind the scenes videos and so much
more. “Hardball” Chris Matthews starts right now. Of course, that big vote
is going to happen soon. You may have a new CIA director tonight. Here`s