For the Record with Greta, Transcript 1/24/2017
Show: FOR THE RECORD
Date: January 24, 2017
Guest: Peter Alexander, John Cornyn, Jim Vandehei, Matt Viser, Debbie
Stabenow, Kasie Hunt, Matea Gold, Sabrina Siddiqui, Kevin Cirilli, Ed
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Thank you, Chuck. And, For The
Record, tonight a rupture in the GOP, the Trump White House squaring-off
against top Republicans in congress sparring over Trump`s claim about
millions of illegal votes supposedly cast in 2016. The party split and the
facts are in the spotlight. Also, inside the oval office, new reports
about the wild start for the Trump administration, what`s been happening
behind the scenes, you want to hear this. Plus, big news tonight about the
Supreme Court and when to expect President Trump decision, and it is sure
to lead to a massive showdown in Washington. And I`ll tell you why I`m
hitting the road tomorrow. I`ve got a big date in Philadelphia and we`re
looking to make some news.
The growing controversy in the Trump White House over President Trump
telling congressional leaders that 3 to 5 million undocumented immigrants,
we`ve called them legal, voted in the election and not for him, thus
causing him to lose the popular vote. While today White House press
secretary, Sean Spicer, doubling down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the president believe that millions voted
illegally in this election and what evidence do you have of wide-spread
voter fraud in this election if that`s the case?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president does believe that.
He has stated that before. I think he states his concern of voter fraud
and people voting illegally during the campaign. And he continues to
maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have
presented to him.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speaker Ryan today said there`s no evidence of the
national association or secretary of state say they don`t read the
presidents assessments. What evidence do you have?
SPICER: As I said, I think the president has believed that for a while
based on studies and information he has.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: If 3 to 5 million people voted illegally that is a
scandal of astronomical proportions. Does he want to restore America`s
faith in their ballot system? Does he want an investigation of this?
SPICER: First of all, as I noted several times now, he believes this for a
long time, and I think he won fairly and overwhelmingly, so he`s not –
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m asking you, why not investigate something.
SPICER: Maybe we will.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: The biggest scandal in American electoral history, 3
to 5 million people voting illegally?
SPICER: And I think – we`ll see where we go from here.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe there is wide-spread voter fraud?
SPICER: Is it my job, is not – look.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: How can he be comfortable with his win if he believes.
SPICER: He`s very comfortable with his win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: The White House citing studies but offering no specifics on
that claim. NBC`s Peter Alexander is live at the White House. Peter?
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS: Hey, Greta. Good evening to you. So tonight
you`ve got outrage from both sides of the aisle after President Trump
repeated these false claims of a wide-spread voter fraud. You saw press
secretary, Sean Spicer, basically backing up his boss, insisting in his
words that he believes what he believes based on those studies and that
evidence that people have presented to him. But as we noted, he didn`t
give any proof today which was so striking. We should say independent fact
checkers. House Speaker Paul Ryan, among others, had all said there is no
evidence that millions, as he describe 3 to 5 million people voted
illegally last November. Of course, if this were true if would prove to be
a massive scandal, could have swayed the election either way, frankly. The
bottomline is this is no longer candidate Trump, this is President Trump,
and you now have the White House effectively, officially endorsing a debunk
conspiracy theory. Just to walk you through this a bit more, you have the
national association of secretaries of state that posted a statement late
today standing by their confidence in the systemic integrity of our
election process. The California secretary of state went so far to call
these claims corrosive lies without any evidence. And it all started with
President Trump comments to congressional leaders during the sort of happy
hour bipartisan reception here at the White House last night. But the
faith claims follows a series of other questionable, perhaps better said
false comments in the administration first few days. On Saturday, Mr.
Trump insisted that the media made up the feud with the intelligence
community even though he compared them to Nazi Germany earlier this month.
The same day, Sean Spicer said the inauguration was the biggest in history.
And, Greta, at the end of the day it all sort of undermines the Trump teams
credibility in a way, barely 100 hours into this new administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: Peter, thank you. Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas,
has been majority whip, and he was in that meeting last night at the White
House with the president, nice to see you, senator.
JOHN CORNYN, U.S. SENATOR: Congratulations on your new gig, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir. I`m very happy to be here. All right, I`ve
got to ask you, do you believe there is widespread number of illegals or
undocumented people voting in this election?
CORNYN: Well, I have no doubt that voter fraud exist. But I can`t really
help you very much on what the president says he believes. I don`t know –
I don`t have any evidence of that. But as Mr. Spicer said, apparently the
president does believe it. But I think this is a huge distraction from
really what we ought to be focusing on which is giving the president his
cabinet, so he could get the work to the American people. This really
seems like a rabbit trail to me.
VAN SUSTEREN: I agree with you the cabinet – but, I mean, look, it`s a
little bit bizarre because – you know – is that – the president seems to
brought this up with you and other members of the leadership last night and
won`t let it go. We can`t find any studies. And if true, it would be
incredible – not – people call a massive scandal, be a massive crime if
it happened. And you`ve got this – Senator Lindsey Graham saying that
he`s begging the president if he`s got any information, so, you know, we
sort to have to bring this to the end. So we need either to the happen or
not happen and the president says it does – it did happen.
CORNYN: Well, the president is entitled to his opinion. But, you know,
frankly, I think this isn`t the most important issue that we`ve got to deal
with in the congress and the country. So, I mean, I hope we can get by
this, and get on to some of the more important business.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let me turn to some of the business today, the
pipeline. The president signed executive order. I know you`re from the
pipeline state of Texas. So I assume that you support this executive
CORNYN: I do. There is no good reason why the keystone excel pipeline or
the Dakota pipeline weren`t being built, and our country needs access to
low cost energy, so our consumers – people of fixed incomes, senior
citizens. The President Obama was just in an ideological frame of mind
when he blocked both of these commonsense pipelines. If you look at a
Google map of the pipelines underlying the surface of the United States of
America, you`ll see it looks like a spaghetti bowl. And virtually all of
them operate safely transporting natural gas, or crude, or jet fuel, to
places all around the country and do so safely. So this is really an
ideological battle. I`m glad President Trump put an end to it and signed
the executive order today.
VAN SUSTEREN: One of the things he said in executing that order is that
he`s going to expedite environmental approvals or environmental reviews.
Is he going to shortcut these reviews because that`s going to set the
environmentalist on fire if he`s going to cut corners and take short cuts?
CORNYN: You know I support environmental reviews of these projects. But
this becomes – to some people mind, activists, people who opposed to the
pipeline, just another way to block it, delay it, delay it, delay it, until
it no longer becomes economically viable. So I believe we should get to
the business of doing those environmental reviews, and then get on with the
construction of the pipeline if they pass those reviews without further
VAN SUSTEREN: And I do agree, the president said that he wants all the
pipeline – everything made in America, is that – do you agree with them
and can that be done?
CORNYN: Well, I`m for making things in America, and he certainly has made
a point of that. We are connected to the rest of the world though as well.
And while I`m a big believer in free trade, the president had said he
doesn`t want us to be part of this multinational trade deals, and once
more, bilateral trade agreements, wants to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement
between Canada, Mexico and the United States. I`m eager to learn a little-
bit more about what he hoped to achieve by that. But certainly I agree
that if we can have things built in America that`s always the first choice.
VAN SUSTEREN: And what about the Native Americans who are opposed to the
pipeline, the Dakota pipeline going over there land?
CORNYN: Well, they`re entitled to their point of view, but they present
their case to the court of law. To my knowledge, the court cited with the
court engineers and those who wanted to build the pipeline. So, everybody
got – have to comply with lawful court orders and the law of the land.
They are entitled to their day in court, but once they lost then they need
to go ahead and go along with the court`s order.
VAN SUSTEREN: The president said that next week he`ll make announcement to
nominees for the United States Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by
the death of Justice Scalia. Look, it`s going to be a showdown because –
that he`s got promises to his base and he`s got Democrats who don`t want
someone that he might want for that position. Would you support extending
the nuclear option to include Supreme Court nominations or not?
CORNYN: Well, I hope it didn`t come to that. As you know.
VAN SUSTEREN: What`s going to? It`s going to come to that because the
names he put out, the Democrats are not going to agree with that.
Democrats can block this nomination.
CORNYN: Well, that may be true because they`re kind of angry still over
the results of the elections of November 8th. They haven`t yet accepted
the outcome of the election. But we`re going to try to go through the
regular process to confirm the nominee. If the Democrats vote against
them, then we`re going to confirm President Trump`s nominee one way or
another. So let me just leave it at that.
VAN SUSTEREN: So that`s – I take that to mean that you would support
extending the nuclear option if need be.
CORNYN: You live by the sword and you die by the sword here in Washington.
And, unfortunately, Harry Reid and the Democrats went down this road by
breaking the senate rules under the nuclear option to change it for cabinet
nomination, and all of their federal judges. And it does seem to me this
should to be an obstacle to the confirmation President Trump`s Supreme
VAN SUSTEREN: Reuters is just reporting that President Trump is expected
to sign executive actions on immigration, Thursday. He`s going to focus on
refugees, immigrants from certain Muslim countries. Can you give us any
information on this?
CORNYN: Well, you know, as President Trump has made a point about his
concern on illegal immigration and refugees from countries without all the
necessary vetting to make sure that they`re not a threat to public safety
here in the United States. Right now, Europe is got so many refugee from
war-torn Syria in the Middle East that their law enforcement and
intelligent agencies can`t keep up with all of the people coming into their
country, flooding their country, creating public safety concerns. So, I
haven`t seen what President Trump is signed, but certainly when it comes to
thing like sanctuary cities where communities refuse to enforce the law or
even cooperate with federal authorities when it comes to illegal
immigration. I look forward to seeing what`s in the order, but it is a big
problem. It was a big part of his campaign.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, one thing he spoke about whenever defined as he talked
about extreme vetting of certain people. And, of course, it didn`t escape
many of us that his first comments about Muslim – we have Muslim-American
serving overseas that want to come home. So, you know, he never really
defined – you know, I guess we`ll learn about it tomorrow what he wants.
CORNYN: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think this ought to be on case by
case basis driven by the fact. I`m not for blanket exclusion of anybody
according to the religious. That`s not what I think America is all about.
So – but a people have a credible – present a credible threat to public
safety here in the United States, I think we owe them and the country a
duty to vet them appropriately.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we`ll see what he`ll do tomorrow. Senator, thank you
very much for joining us.
CORNYN: Thanks, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump`s comments of voter fraud created a deep
split on Capitol Hill, as I mentioned GOP leaders like Lindsey Graham
shooting it down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: I`ve already commented on that. I`ve seen
no evidence to that affect. I made that very, very clear.
LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENTOR: I`m begging the president, share with us the
information you have about this or please stop saying it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Others seeming to defend the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCH MCONNELL, U.S. SENTOR: It does occur there`s always argument on both
sides about how much, how frequent, and all the rest, but the notion that
election fraud is a fiction, is not true.
TED CRUZ, U.S. SENATOR: I don`t know how wide-spread it was. But I do
know it is a real problem, a persistent problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: With me, Matt Viser, deputy Washington bureau chief for the
Boston Globe, and Jim Vandehei, co-founder of Axios. Jim, for the life of
me, I can`t figure out why Donald Trump, the president, won`t let this one
JIM VANDEHEI, CO-FOUNDER OF AXIOS: I mean nobody can. I mean, none of
these politicians are snickering when you ask the questions about it.
They`re dumbfounded about it. This is not about crowd sizes. Crowd sizes
had no bearing whatsoever on how someone is going to govern. But when
you`re talking about an allegation that goes to the heart of our democracy,
the heart of our elections without any evidence from anybody reputable, on
anything that proximate the charge that he`s making, and then have his
press secretary go out there and amplify that same allegation. That`s what
drives Republicans nuts. They`re in the middle – undoing all these
regulations they always wanted to undo. They`re about to do a court pick.
He`s doing things that they want him to do. And yet, every day he ends up
creating a side show because he gets consumed by these petty grievances.
And that`s the things Republicans wish he will not do, but that`s Donald
Trump. And everyone keeps thinking, oh, he`s going to, he`s in office,
he`s going to change. He`s Donald Trump, he`s not going to change. He is
now president, and that`s how he`s going to govern. And people are going
to have to work around that, and it creates so, so much frustration on
Capitol Hill because there is a lot you can do when you have all Republican
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we have just learned that we have a new ambassador to
U.N. The senate has just confirmed Nikki Haley, the governor of South
Carolina to be President Trump`s U.N. ambassador. She only needed a simple
majority to support her nomination. She`s confirmed by a vote 96 to 4, so
we have new ambassador to the U.N. All right. Let me ask you Matt.
VAN SUSTEREN: . can you – I cannot figure out. The president keeps
bringing up these spats. I mean, people are left alone, but he keeps
bringing it up and we are just supposed to sit there and accept his
allegations. And there is no study claiming that massive voter fraud that
we can find.
MATT VISER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Well, and this is, you know, day after day
there`s falsehoods from the White House, from the podium of the White
House. You know, so they need to sort of get on a different page. You saw
Senator Cornyn, Paul Ryan, they are very eager to move past this and move
on to some legislation. But the attention right now is on all Donald Trump
and his claims. He`s president of the United States, and what he says
matters. And he`s making a claim – like Jim had said that cuts to the
core of our democracy.
VANDEHEI: And for the media haters out there.
VAN SUSTEREN: There are many.
VANDEHEI: I get some of it. But just step back and understand the
allegation that he`s making. If it is true he has a responsibility to the
country to bring forth that evidence. That is massive amount of – there`s
always some voter fraud, Mitch McConnell is right. On a margin there`s
never been any allegation or any proof that it could affect the outcome, 3
to 5 million votes that could be the difference between someone who is
president and not.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t think it could be understated what happened last
Friday, when Time Magazine, their pool report, accused him of moving Martin
Luther King bus out of the oval office. That was false. But that sent out
sort of a code that he was a racist, which he talks about that was such a
painful thing for the media to do. And I know there`s been an apology.
But we too walked into some of these problems.
VISER: I think that`s true. And the difference is that there`s an owning
up. Very quickly, to the.
VAN SUSTEREN: But they`re so quick to do it. I mean, he goes there
looking for the Martin Luther King bus, I mean why is he looking for that.
I mean, they look for the vase, I mean, is he went looking for the bus.
VISER: Well, and you noticed something was not there and you glass it out.
I think there`s some legitimate media criticism on how that`s handled. I
just think that the White House – you know, Sean Spicer talked about
holding the media up to that standard – the White House should help up to
that standard too, of correcting a record and they misstated the record
multiple times so far, so they should be held.
VANDEHEI: What you said is true. But you and I grew up on 20 minutes from
each other. I`ve lot of friends.
VANDEHEI: We have lot of people who voted for Donald Trump. And I was
just home, and you`re at the bar and you`re arguing with people – just
because you don`t like the media, and the media does screw something up.
It doesn`t mean that every single thing that`s reported is false. Most
things, the overwhelmingly majority of things are accurate, and there are
some things don`t pay attention to. Who cares about crowd sizes? Pay
attention to this. This is serious allegation, and this is one worth
digging into. And you can`t just assume everything is fake news,
everything is made up. Once you go down that road there is no reality, and
that`s dangerous as hell. And that`s the stuff has to worry all us. And
so, yes, when someone in Time Magazine screws up a pool report, sure, it`s
VAN SUSTEREN: That was a small to me. And I was like, you know, I felt
like – and I`m sure the reporter feels horrible about it, but it does
show, you know, it does show that we are far from perfect.
VANDEHEI: No doubt. Most reporters you know do they like Donald Trump,
most of them say they don`t like him at all and don`t think he should be
VAN SUSTEREN: But they should be fair to him.
VANDEHEI: There`s no doubt that they should be fair to him. Just because
people don`t like something that a reporter write it doesn`t mean that you
shouldn`t trust any of us or anything. Lots of people, I`ve work at the
Journal, the Post, POLITICO here, like most reporters are trying to get it
right, and this is a tough environment to get it right, and people have to
take a deep breath and understand that sometimes facts are facts and issues
VAN SUSTEREN: And I`ll add that Jim did mention the bars because that`s
where we all hung out in Wisconsin. Anyway, thank you both. A programing
note, I`ll be interviewing speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, as he begins
the Republican winter retreat in Philadelphia. I`ll ask Speaker Ryan about
his goal, and whether he can work with the new president, and how he plans
to get things done. Don`t miss that interview, tomorrow night, 6 PM. And
still ahead, President Trump meeting with auto executive, do they see to
see on jobs. A senator from Michigan joins me live. Also, the future of
the Supreme Court, President Trump will announce his pick next week. You
will hear what he said about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We`re reducing
unnecessary regulations. We want a regulation but we want real regulations
that mean something, and we`re going to make the process much more simple
for the auto companies and for everybody else that wants to do business in
the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Just a short time ago, President Trump at the White House
meeting with the big three auto companies, telling the heads of General
Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, and Ford, that he plans to cut regulation and
corporate taxes and pushing the three big auto companies to increase U.S.
production. Now, after the White House meeting, Ford`s CEO, Mark Fields,
saying auto makers want to work with the new president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK FIELDS, FORD CEO: We`re very encouraged by the president and the
economic policy that he`s forwarding. I would just call out, yesterday the
president`s decision to withdraw from the TPP. We appreciate the
president`s courage to walk away from a bad trade deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Debbie Stabenow is a Democrat from the great state
of Michigan where the auto industry hails from. Senator, thank you for
DEBBIE STABENOW, U.S. SENATOR: Absolutely, Greta. First of all, welcome
to MSNBC, it`s great to be talking with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: It`s wonderful to be here. It`s a great environment for me.
Thank you for saying that.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of the meeting today with the auto
executives and the president?
STABENOW: Well, first of all, let me say that last year, the last year of
President Obama was the best year on record for auto sales in our country,
and so that`s terrific. I`m glad that President Trump is focusing on the
basic manufacturing entity of our country. You know, he`s one of the folks
who said let them go bankrupt. And so, I`m glad that didn`t happen. But
I`m glad that he`s focusing on this. I`m glad he – I`ve said what we all
knew is TPP was dead. And Mark Fields, for example, with Ford Motor
Company, is deeply concern about currency manipulation, not just with China
but with Japan. And I lead that effort in trying to get that into TPP
which did not happen. And I`m hoping that President Trump will say that he
is in fact will call China and Japan currency manipulators. Because he
said that he`ll do that early on, and I`m hoping that he`s going to do that
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, he said he was going to cancel TPP, which
he did. He`s taken – that was his campaign promise. He has done that.
He said he intend to cut the corporate tax rates, we`ll see if that
happens, and I presume that it will be because he certainly seems to be
doing everything that he said he would be doing. But you were opposed to
TPP. Do you see these business regulations he speaks about, is that
getting in the way of business in your state, business regulations?
STABENOW: Well, I hope have to say we`re coming off of the best year, last
year ever for selling automobiles. And I`m not sure what he means by
regulation. I mean, we have seen fuel economy standard going up, and we`ve
seen the Chevy Volt, which is a new wonderful auto-electric vehicle for
G.M. getting 230 miles to a charge, won North American car of the year.
We`ve seen Ford taking 700 pounds out of their F-150 truck by using
aluminum rather than steel. We`re seeing them do all kind of innovative
things. So, I`m not sure what the president means by that. But I can tell
you we have a very robust industry. And there`s more automation and
computer power in your car than anything else you own. So, I think they`re
doing pretty well.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you support his decision today or not to authorize the
two pipelines provided they use U.S. pipeline, and I guess he wants to
renegotiate some of it.
STABENOW: I don`t support that. We, in Michigan had the largest spill in
the history of the country, in the Kalamazoo River, over 1.3 billion I
believe it was in cost. So very concern about that, I think there are
other ways that we can create jobs, including today, we as Democrats rolled
out a very large robust infrastructure plan, a trillion dollar.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you about that. I remember in the 2009 stimulus,
which is about $840 billion, give or take some, a lot of it was
infrastructure, and they`re an awful lot of Republicans who voted against
the infrastructure, now some are supporting the Trump idea of
infrastructure. You know, can you tell me what`s going on because
sometimes it seems like depending on which party you are, what year it is,
whether you vote for infrastructure payment.
STABENOW: Well, I voted for infrastructure whether it comes forward, and
we see responsible, and what`s good for workers, including buy American
provisions and created jobs. And that`s what we did with President Obama,
and that`s what we`re proposing now with President Trump. And the reality
is not only road and bridges, water infrastructure system. And let me talk
to you about Flint, Michigan, and water systems all across the country. I
can tell you that every small town in Michigan wants to have broadband for
their small businesses, and their hospitals, and to be able to do
telecommunication, telemedicine, to hook up with larger hospitals so that
they can get the care that they need. So what we have is something very
broad, it works for small towns, it works for big cities, and everything in
between. And if President Trump want to focus on this we`re ready to do
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he says that he does. He`s big on investing in
infrastructure. One last question, are you going to be able to work with
STABENOW: I will work with him when he`s doing things that are good for
Michigan. When he creates jobs, when he supports families, supports
workers, and if he goes against our values and who we are, and does not
propose something good for Michigan, I`ll be a no.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you.
STABENOW: You too.
VAN SUSTEREN: So much news from inside the White House, but what about all
that action on Capitol Hill, intense exchange in Tom Price`s hearings. And
inside the Trump White House, what made the president visibly enraged.
Stay with us.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Take a look at this. Nine
different hearings and votes in the senate today on president Trump cabinet
picks and staff including two for his budget nominee Mick Mulvaney. One
headline coming out of the high profile hearing for his HHS secretary
nominee Congressman Tom Price. Watch this rather unusual exchange with
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: President Trump said he`s working with you
on a replacement plan for the ACA which is nearly finished and will be
revealed after your confirmation. Is that true?
REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: It`s true that he said that, yes.
BROWN: So did – not that he`s ever done this before but did president
lie? Did the president lie about this that he`s not working with you? He
said he`s working with you. I know we don`t use the word lie here because
we`re polite when presidents say statements that aren`t true, but did he
lie to the public about working with you?
PRICE: I`ve had conversations with the president about health care, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: NBC`s Kasie Hunt is live on Capitol Hill. Kasie, good
KASIE HUNT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Greta, good evening. Yes, and then at times
difficult day for Congressman Tom Price in his second round of hearings
here on Capitol Hill they`ve been in, and part of what you`re seeing in
that line of questioning was their attempts to steer away from talking
about the details of replacing the president`s health care law.
Tom price is expected to be lynch pen in that overall plan both in working
on regulations and also on legislation here on Capitol Hill, but they
haven`t wanted to litigate that in this hearing so, that`s a little bit of
what you saw there.
He also facing questions about those stock trades that we talked about.
Some ethics issues uncovered as this confirmation process proceeded.
Democrats saying that he violated insider trading rules when bought and
sold medical stocks that was potentially impacted by legislation he was
sponsoring here in Congress.
Also getting a little bit of a tough time on ethical issues, Mick Mulvaney,
Trump`s pick to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget that
handles the administration`s budget priorities. Mulvaney had hired a
babysitter for his triplets and he didn`t pay taxes on that babysitter`s
wages. He was on the defense on that today. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICK MULVANEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: She was a babysitter. She did not
live with us. She did not spend the night there. She did not cook. She did
not clean. She did not educate the children. She helped my wife with the
kids. I did not consider her a household employee for purposes withholding
and did not withhold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: At this point, of course, it`s still very likely that almost all of
Trump`s nominees get confirmed, if not, all of them because at the end of
day, Democrats just don`t have the votes to hold them up. Greta
VAN SUSTEREN: Kasie, thank you. Still do come, what led to that combative
White House statement about crowd size. New information and it is raw from
behind the scenes of the Trump White House.
And President Trump saying next week is the big announcement. Trump will
name the Supreme Court nominee, and get ready because that announcement is
sure to launch a huge political war here in Washington. This is MSNBC, the
place for politics.
VAN SUSTEREN: Deep behind closed doors and Trump`s White House, the
“Washington Post” reporting the first day is filled with furry, tumult and
a reboot. The “Washington Post” reporting President Trump as resentful and
furious at times with his staff and with the media.
According to the “Post,” President Trump watched the Women` March on TV and
then he grew increasingly and visibly enraged. And against the advisement
of his aides, Trump ordering a fiery public response that he wanted and he
wanted that fiery response to come from his press secretary.
And the “Post” also reporting a possible power struggle between Jared
Kushner and Kellyanne Conway. Nice to see you because joining me is Matea
Gold, political reporter for the “Washington Post” and she`s one of the
first on the story. All right, first of all, any push back on you story?
MATEA GOLD, POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: We have not heard
anything from the president or the president`s aide –
VAN SUSTEREN: No tweets.
GOLD: No tweets. Nothing. No.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what is going now behind closed doors and I get
from reading your article that it`s a power struggle, but this is the city
where the “Game of Thrones.” I mean, everyone is always trying to gain
power in this city.
GOLD: Sure. I think what`s really unique about this White House is that
President Trump is actually setup to sort of competing power centers by
design in this administration. This is one way he actually ran his campaign
as well but that contributes I think to a sense of tumult and chaos. And
you know, at the center of it is really a president who still cannot sort
of shake off what he feels are critiques or criticism of his performance or
the reception he is getting.
So, what happened Saturday what should have been this incredible
celebratory moment for him instead became moment of real fury and anger in
part because of a re-tweet by the National Park Service of photos comparing
the size of his inaugural crowd to that of President Obama`s in 2009. And
as you mentioned, even though his advisers really urged him to sort of
leave this to Tom Barrack, the inaugural committee chairman to deal with,
he wanted a personal response from the White House.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he certainly has and a lot of people are not happy
with this but he certainly has done exactly what he said he was going to do
in terms of things as he begun to sign – a lot of unhappy people, a lot of
very happy people. Did he seem to like the job, and by design, did he
create this sort of competition within his environment?
GOLD: Definitely I think by design and I think he likes having people who
have different points of view and lots of presidential historians will tell
you that`s actually a real strength for a president. But there`s also a
sense which I think he`s carried his sense of grievance into this White
House and that`s something that I think advisers are even concerned about,
that they really want him to stay focused on these big things that he`s
doing right now.
These huge changes in policy which should be the headlines of the early
days of the administration, instead a lot of the focus because of his
comments and because of the attention he`s putting on them are
controversies that he`s generating.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kellyanne Fitzpatrick or Jared Kushner, who is the more
power (INAUDIBLE) I mean one is relative but the other one ran the
GOLD: Yes, so I think that there is going to be different times in which
different advisers have the president`s ear. There`s no question there are
sort of four key people in the White House. Kellyanne Conway, senior
adviser, Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, Reince Priebus, his chief of staff
and then Steve Bannon, who is the chief strategist.
They all are allied at times, have different points of views that other
times but we have seen evidence already of sort of a divide between Kushner
and Conway and have heard from people that Kushner did not want Conway to
get a job in the administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I suppose, I mean, this is Washington and a lot of this
is sometimes we have administrations that have this turf wars quietly and
sometimes not so quietly.
GOLD: Right. I think the real difference obviously with this
administration we saw it play out in the campaign that things are very much
out in the open. That is the M.O. that we`re seeing in this White House
already as well and I think what`s really telling is you know, we heard
from a lot of voters during the campaign who said they were confident that
candidate Trump would change his behavior once he became president.
I think what`s really clear in his early days is that Trump is who he is.
He`s not going to change who is. He going to come in and do big things that
really shake up the establishment and he`s also going to be sort of caught
up and distractions and controversies of his own making, the same pattern
we saw in the campaign.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what I often say is, buckle up, it`s going to be quite
a ride in the next couple of years, even in the next couple of days.
Anyway, nice to see you.
GOLD: Great to see you.
VAN SUSTEREN: FBI Director Comey took heat from both sides during the
election run up. Will he keep his job? We have news on that today. And did
you know this, Belgium`s parliament serves free alcohol. We`ll tell you
VAN SUSTEREN: And now three stories you may not know off in Europe. Number
three, this hotel in the Alps is changing the definition of minimalist.
This hotel provides business with a bed, a night stand and a few lamps but
no roof, no walls. But what visitors do get for $250 a night is incredible
view of the Swiss mountainside. Let`s hope it doesn`t rain or snow.
Number two, for that special gift to that person who has everything, a
French businesswoman is selling pieces of Paris – cobblestone streets to
tourist who want to take a piece of the city home with them. A piece range
in price from $60 to $150.
And number one, Belgian`s parliament rejected a measure that would ban free
alcohol from being served on the parliament floor. The ethics committee
wants to end that practice because they say it causes poor behavior. The
tradition of serving free alcohol started in 1990s to prevent members of
parliament from leaving chambers during votes.
So, there it is. Now you know.
And the Trump administration making lots and lots of news today. President
Trump speaking out on that Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Scalia`s
death almost a year ago. President Trump is saying today a decision and
announcement coming soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESISDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ll be making my decision
this week. We`ll be announcing next week. We have outstanding candidates
and we will pick a truly great Supreme Court justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Also today, reports that FBI Director James Comey has been
asked to stay on the job. Comey of course drew massive criticism from both
sides during the election run up. First from the right when he decide not
to charge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over a private server.
Then he swatted from the left when just 11 days before election day, he
said new e-mails had been discovered.
And the FBI is currently investigating Trump`s team possible ties with
Russia. And the story (INAUDIBLE) conversation President Trump still
believing millions voted illegally despite no evidence.
Sabrina Siddiqui, political reporters for the “The Guardian,” Kevin
Cirilli, political reporter for Bloomberg News, and Ed O`Keefe, political
reporter of the “Washington Post.” Ed, first to you because I really
(INAUDIBLE) on Capitol Hill when we have this battle over the Supreme Court
ED O`KEEFE, POLITICAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, you know, right now
they are obsessed up there about getting Trump`s cabinet picked. You add
all that political energy up and then multiply it by about 1,000 and that
is what the political level of ranker and you know, partisanship will be
once the announcement is made.
This is a lifetime appointment. This is a very big deal. This guy or woman
will outlast this president and both parties have been gearing for this for
years. Of course they thought it would happen last year. Republicans stood
in the way. And now the president will get his choice and Republicans are
ready to go.
VAN SUSTEREN: And Sabrina, the Democrats really haven`t had a win so far
because – so we need 50 votes for – because a nuclear option for all the
cabinets. In fact we just heard that Nikki Haley has been confirmed as the
U.S. Ambassador to U.N. But the Supreme Court nominee takes 60 votes. So
this could be the big sort of win for the Democrats. Unless the nuclear
option is extended or expanded.
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: It could be and Chuck
Schumer, the Senate Democratic Leader has vowed to “fight Donald Trump`s
administration tooth and nail” on the Supreme Court nominee. It is not an
individual that they believe could appease both sides. It`s slightly more
mainstream and the same vein that Democrats have viewed President Obama`s
choice of Merrick Garland.
And the question facing Mitch McConnell is if Democrats do filibuster the
Supreme Court nominee under Donald Trump, does he invoke the nuclear
option, which of course would have profound consequences in the future.
Democrats suddenly are facing the repercussions of their own decisions
three years ago to have invoked the nuclear option now and not being able
to do anything about Donald Trump`s other cabinet nominees.
And Mitch McConnell hasn`t really tipped his hand. He just said he believes
– that he`s confident that Donald Trump`s Supreme Court nominee will be
confirmed after that wishful thinking if you ask them Democrats.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kevin, I say fat chance that they`re not going to the
nuclear option of – I mean the idea that the Democrats could think that a
Trump nominee for the court will be moderate enough for them.
KEVIN CIRILLI, POLITICAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Greta, this is a dare
coming from the Trump administration essentially saying look, you want to
try to block this, boom, we`re going to have – we`re going to invoke the
nuclear options, and by the way, that`s going to have repercussion for the
entire agenda of this Trump administration.
So either way, if they do invoke the nuclear option, Republicans are
thinking, hey, you know, how does that backfire on them in terms of a
policy agenda for the years ahead.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ed, Trump told auto makers today, “I am to a large extent an
environmentalist.” Now, the pipeline people when they see that are going to
go ballistic when they read that because they are already very upset about
the decision today.
O`KEEFE: Well, you mean that people opposed to building the pipeline.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the people who are opposed to building the pipeline.
O`KEEFE: You know, this jives with the comments of folks like the former
Vice President Al Gore who was quoted in a Hollywood reporter and he
realized we`re (ph) saying, I`m actually kind of encouraged by what I heard
from him. I don`t want to get into the details but, you know, he may
actually come around on this. Others have been saying this as well, how you
VAN SUSTEREN: But this is what you said – but the thing is Trump has said
since – when he`s running that this is what he was going to do.
O`KEEFE: Right. And he`s also said in the past that climate change is a
hoax and his cabinet nominee is just saying, otherwise, who knows? I think
he`s still eager to be everything to everyone and it`s going to take a
little while on just about everything, to really figure out what the
president is going to do or belief or doesn`t believe.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it`s a pretty – he has gotten so far, everything that
he has said, he hasn`t dialed back on. I mean tomorrow we`re supposed to
hear what is hs executive order is. It could be on immigration, with some
expecting they`ll be consistent with what he has said.
SIDDQUI: Certainly except with respect to immigration. I think the White
House so far in these early days is showing a different tone when it comes
to what to do about undocumented immigrants especially people who are
brought here as children known as dreamers where Sean Spicer, the press
secretary, said that Donald Trump wants to focus first on those individuals
who have a criminal record, which actually jives with what the Obama
administration was doing in terms of how the enforce the immigration law.
But certain immigration advocates are very fearful that Donald Trump did in
fact vow to repeal both of Obama`s executive orders with respect to
children as well as parents. And so we don`t really know what that looks
like again because, you know, he said a lot on the campaign trail, he`ll
look at this early executive orders and they certainly fit with what he
campaigned on but he`s not ideologic (ph) – he`s shown himself to be
flexible so that when they questioned what does he plan to do with respect
to undocumented immigrants.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think is going to happen to this immigration
CIRILLI: I think we`re going to see a continuation of what we`ve seen
already which is he`s going to say what he said on the campaign trail but I
got to tell you, I was in a meeting – press conference earlier today with
House Speaker Paul Ryan, and the first question that he is asked is about
the rhetoric. But I also was speaking with some other Capitol Hill aides
who were saying the Trump administration has to realize that there`s a lot
of jam right now in Congress and the reality of the rhetoric with the
policy prescription and how congress and lawmakers can position themselves
to aid the administration, that`s still working out because of something
like Obamacare for example, we`re not going to actually see legislative
action until the end of February.
O`KEEFE: At the earliest.
CIRILLI: At the earliest. So regardless of what he says tomorrow, what
exactly is the budget committee going to do to fund all of this? What
exactly is going to happen when deportation forces and what not? That`s a
fight for Congress.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ed, at some point, (INAUDIBLE) executive orders and
presidents do this when they start, but we do have another branch of
government to deal with. I mean at some point, the GOP and the Democrats in
Capitol Hill are going to get mad that he`s doing everything with a pen.
O`KEEFE: Well, next week, at least two House committees are getting the
bottle rolling on the Obamacare changes. They`re going to be holding
hearings on legislation that would do that. So, that`s part of the regular
order that Republicans have been pushing for the last eight years and we`ll
see how long they get to report it regularly and do these things.
And that`s part of the reason why I think while he will do some things
regarding visas and border security through executive orders, he`s got to
leave things like DACA and DAPA to legislation, and right now there`s just
not enough time on the calendar. We`re in the schedule of lawmakers to get
together and start –
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, that`s right, you know what they could – we
multitask in our lives and I hate this that Congress can only do one thing
at a time.
O`KEEFE: – things he hasn`t been with healthcare. He hasn`t confirmed
with nominees. He has them working on –
VAN SUSTEREN: There are so many committees up there. You know, for some
reason, I maybe the only one – I have no sympathy over the legislative
calendar. My idea is get to work and if you can`t do the job step aside and
we`ll vote somebody else in. I mean I think they can move faster.
CIRILLI: And what Trump wants at the end of the day is there is images of
construction workers along the U.S./Mexico border building a wall. All the
other details at the end of the day, if those images come out, he will have
successfully won as well as Mexican leaders writing some sort of check to
pay for it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Good luck with that. Thank you very much for joining us.
“For The Record” tonight. The word police, are they getting to you.
VAN SUSTEREN: I want to say something for the record. What do you think
about political correctness? You might not like it. You like the first
amendment or how about the new phenomenon on some college campus,
millennials insisting that safe spaces where there are essentially rules
about what you can say. You may not like that either. Maybe you do. Me, I`m
Well, I love good manners and try to practice them. I happen to believe the
first amendment is very, very important and I defend it even if it`s rude
and something I don`t want to hear. It`s that important. That`s why I love
America. And I become suspicious though when people manipulate or even
order others what to think or say, which brings me to this.
I just read in the “New York Times” the Bangladesh Education Ministry made
changes to its 2017 text books after conservative Islamic religious
scholars complained that 17 poems in stories were atheistic and demanded
their removal. And that wasn`t the only change. They changed the textbooks
in Bangladesh, the new edition also teaches students that the letter O
stands for orna, a scarf worn by Muslim girls instead of O a type of yam.
I don`t know what you think. It`s beginning to look to me like a little bit
of a slippery slope in Bangladesh. Thanks 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 is place to follow me as well for behind the scene videos and
more. And tomorrow night, big show, right here 6:00 p.m. I`ll be
interviewing Speaker Paul Ryan from the great city of Philadelphia. We`ll
talk about Obamacare, taxes, spending, of course President Trump. It should
be a good one. “Hardball” with Chris Matthews starts right now.
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