For the Record with Greta, Transcript 1/25/2017

Paul Ryan, Mike Allen, Mark Halperin, John Yarmuth, Annie Linskey, Yamiche Alcindor

Show: For the Record with Greta
Date: January 25, 2017
Guests: Paul Ryan, Mike Allen, Mark Halperin, John Yarmuth, Annie Linskey,
Yamiche Alcindor 

tonight, my exclusive one-on-one with Speaker Paul Ryan on a rapid fire
news day from President Trump, what does Speaker Ryan say about President
Trump`s call for major investigation into voter fraud despite a lack of
widespread evidence? Also, Trump`s controversial border wall promise,
Speaker Ryan speaks out, does he support it? And who does Speaker Ryan
think will pay for it? And they had some tough words for each other before
the election, hear what Speaker Ryan says about working together and how
often they talk.

Good evening, live from Independence Mall in the great city of
Philadelphia, where the Republican retreat is under way just blocks from
here and they have a lot to talk about, and so does Speaker Paul Ryan. I
sat down with him today and asked him about all the news and some of the
controversies inside the Trump White House.


VAN SUSTEREN: Mr. Speaker, nice to see you.

PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Great to have you back, Greta. I`m glad
you`re back on the air.

VAN SUSTEREN: It`s fun. I`m glad. This is an adventure. Always fun to
start a new job.

RYAN: Absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so I want to ask you a few questions about news of the
day, and then your day at your retreat here in Philadelphia, I want to find
out about your plan for the next 200 days, legislative plan. So we start
with the news of the day, President Trump says he wants an investigation
into voter fraud, for or against it?

RYAN: I think it`s fine. I think if – first of all, I`m sure there is
some fraud. We passed a photo ID in Wisconsin because of our concerns
about this a few years ago. But if he believes there`s a problem to be
looked at, the right thing to do is get an investigation, get the facts. I
haven`t seen evidence of this kind of widespread numbers that we`ve been
hearing about. So the thing to do is to get an investigation to get the
facts and make a judgment based on the facts.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, he has made it sound like that`s why he lost the
popular vote. Do you believe that?

RYAN: He`s president of the United States, I think that speaks for itself.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Are you going have an investigation on Capitol Hill?
Do you want us to have one of your…

RYAN: We haven`t been discussing that. And I`m not sure what nature of an
investigation he wants. But, look, like I said if there`s a concern here
and the right thing to do is to investigate and find the facts and act

VAN SUSTEREN: Today he announced that he wants to begin building that
wall. Who`s going to pay for it?

RYAN: Well, first off, we`re going to pay for it and fund the money up.
But, I do think there are various ways of – as you knows, I know your
follow-up question is Mexico going to pay for the wall? There are a lot of
different ways of getting Mexico to contribute to doing this. And there
are different ways of defining how exactly they pay for it. Point is, he
has a promise that he made to the American people which is to secure our
border. A wall is a big part of that. We agree with that goal and will be
working with him to finance on construction of the physical barrier,
including the wall on the southern border. The law is already on the
books. It`s been sitting there for years. I voted for it, like, ten years
ago, but nothing has gotten done and now we have a president who actually
wants to secure the border and we are all in favor of doing that.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think a lot of people are in favor of securing the border,
both sides of the aisle, but the estimates are $8 billion to $14 million.

RYAN: That`s about right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the question is whether or not that`s an effective way
to really seal the border?

RYAN: Absolutely, I think you do have to – there`re more things than just
a border security on the border. I think you have to have interior
enforcement. There`s a long conversation we`re going to have about how to
enforce immigration laws. But physically securing the border is essential.
Look, we have a massive heroin opioid epidemic problem in America, part of
that is because of drugs coming from the cartels from the south. We have
national security concerns. There are lots of concerns which must be
addressed by actually securing our border. And so, a physical security
barrier on the border is something we`ve all – I voted for it, like I
said, in 2006 or 2007. Chuck Schumer, my friend, voted for that as well,
back in those days. So now we have to get on with actually doing it.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is the message send to our allies that we`re building a
wall, separate us from them, and Mexico is not too happy. Mexico`s
president says they`re not going to play for it.

RYAN: Well, sovereign countries have the right, and I would argue the
responsibility of securing their borders and controlling who comes and goes
in their country. All sovereign countries have that right. We have not
exercised that right. We`re going to now.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the dreamers? The president I don`t think has
touched on that. He has seemed to indicate that he wants to go after
people who are likely…

RYAN: Correct.

VAN SUSTEREN: … to cause, you know, crime in this country, terrorism, but
we got this whole category of dreamers. What about the dreamers?

RYAN: Yeah, I mean, that`s something that I think he wants to make sure is
handled compassionately, that we don`t pull the rug out from under people
because of the situation that they`re in. So this is really an executive
order and the ones I think that are coming are focused on national
security, on the border, on whether terrorists are trying to infiltrate the
refugee population, and that issue is something that we`re going to be
dealing with later, and we believe legislation is the way to fix this

VAN SUSTEREN: So, dreamers today, can they count on you? And those would
be the people who are brought…

RYAN: That`s what we`ve been saying all along…

VAN SUSTEREN: They don`t have to worry?

RYAN: They don`t have to worry. We`re focused on physically securing the
border. We`re focus on those who are coming to do us harm from terrorist
states and things like that. That is our focus, and it`s on criminal
aliens, people who are violent criminals who have not been deported. Those
are the things the president said he`s going to focus on, that`s the
legislation he`s asked us to focus on for the moment, and that`s what we`re
dealing with.

VAN SUSTEREN: He says he`s going to do away with the sort of catch and the
release, he wants to build more detention centers, are you in favor of

RYAN: We`re always been in favor of that. That`s been long part of our
immigration policy. That is a part of our national security strategy that
we as Republicans ran on all through 2016.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are we going to get a comprehensive immigration plan out of
the congress? Because addition to issues like the border, we have also
people overstay their visas, I mean that`s a huge problem.

RYAN: Yeah. I never believed that one big bill is the way to go. These
things collapse under their own weight, and massive legislation you always
get ugly provisions get tucked into it. So we really believe that the
smartest way to do this is do it in a piecemeal step-by-step right way to
get it right, and the first focus has got to be security. So the first
goal here is security, internal security, interior enforcement, external
security, border enforcement, get those right, make sure that violent
criminals aren`t roaming our streets. Those are the things we`re focused
on right now. And then, when we have confidence that we`ve actually
figured that problem out, then I believe we should fix this broken illegal
immigration system which isn`t working for anybody. Image and visa
tracking that`s something that we think is very important as far as our
security. About 40 percent of people who are undocumented are people who
came and overstayed. They came legally, but they overstayed their visas.
So this is a complicated problem that we want to fix on a step-by-step
basis, prioritizing national security and border security first.

VAN SUSTEREN: Today, there was a report that the White House has a
memorandum floating around there that says that there will be a black

RYAN: It`s a bogus deal.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me say, Sean Spicer had said that it is not a White
House document…

RYAN: Right, right.

VAN SUSTEREN: … but other news organizations, I think even NBC has
confirmed that the document exists, that perhaps it`s the Trump

RYAN: No, it`s not the Trump administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it doesn`t exist – you`re saying it doesn`t exist at

RYAN: No, I`m not saying it doesn`t exist, but this was not written by the
Trump administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Who was it written by?

RYAN: I don`t even know the person`s name.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does it exist?

RYAN: Look, you have to ask the administration. But my understanding is
this was written by somebody who worked on the transition before who`s not
in the Trump administration. This is not a product of the administration.
That`s the point that I think is noteworthy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where is this?

RYAN: I don`t know. I`m in the congress. I`m not in the administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: But I`ve seen all these reports, everyone seems so –
talking about it today.

RYAN: This is not something the Trump administration is planning on,
working on, or we`re talking about. That`s point that I think matters

VAN SUSTEREN: So, and what about this sort of the companion issue,
enhanced interrogation, that`s currently against the law, is that going to
be brought back into the discussion?

RYAN: That`s not something we`ve been discussing. I think this came up
probably in Mike Pompeo`s confirmation hearings. We want to – we`re a
humane country. We got to make sure that we find the intelligence. We
have do it in a humane way following the law.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you work with president Trump?

RYAN: Of course, I can – no, I do work with President Trump. Not can I.
I do work with President Trump. I work with him quite closely, actually.

VAN SUSTEREN: How often…

RYAN: I spent more time talking with this president in the last few days,
I think, than I – on a limb here, than I probably talked with this last
president in the last six months. So this is something that he is working
very closely hand in glove with congress.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the executive actions? Is that going to be a
problem at some time? Does he understand sort of the division between
executive actions and the job of the congress to legislate?

RYAN: I think he does understand that. We talked a great deal about the
separation on power and the constitution. And we`re very excited about
what he`s doing because what he`s doing is pulling back what we see as
unconstitutional executive actions from the past presidents. So what he is
doing is taking away the executive overreach that President Obama did which
we thought exceeded his powers. So we see President Trump actually
reclaiming the proper role of the executive, and undoing a lot of damage
that was done to the economy through excessive executive action by
President Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: You raise the economy, is free trade over in the GOP?

RYAN: No, we want free trade but we want free trade that is good. We want
free trade that levels the playing field. What I keep telling people is,
getting trade agreements that are good for America is good for everybody.
That means we get other countries to play by our rules. You add up all the
countries that we have trade agreements with, we have a surplus with them.
You add up the countries we do not have a trade agreement with, that`s
where a massive trade deficit comes from. So our goal is to get free trade
agreements, and that means we get other countries to play and live by our
rules so we can level the playing field. What Donald Trump has been
concerned about, what he`s talked about, is when we get deals that don`t
level the playing field, when we get deals that aren`t the kinds of best
deals we can get, we want good deals, and those are free trade deals to
lower the barriers between trade between two countries. But more
importantly, we`re the generous country, we`re the ones that open our doors
to other countries, and in many cases we get taken advantage of because of
that. And we want to have trade agreements that give us a level playing
field, get other countries to respect the rule of law, intellectual
property rights, lower their taxes to our barriers, that`s good for us, and
that is something that I do believe that President Trump agrees with.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, were you in favor of TPP or not?

RYAN: No, I didn`t like this – I favored the idea of TPP, but I did not
support the administration – the Obama administration TPP. There are
three or four things they did in that, that I though were terrible
agreements that were not worth supporting.

VAN SUSTEREN: With us pulling out, does that create a void that China is
going to move in?

RYAN: Well, I do have a concern that if we just say no TPP, we`re done,
we`re ignoring the region, and then, yes, I think we`re creating a void for
China, but that is not what the president is saying. I think he`s now
talking about engaging in countries on a bilateral basis. We`ve just had
Boris Johnson in the other day, a foreign minister of Great Britain. We
have Theresa May coming here tomorrow. We`re talking about starting trade
talks with Great Britain. We`re talking about bilateral agreements with
other countries in Asia, so that we can expand our influence and get
countries to play by our set of rules. That`s to me is something that`s
really important. I`ve said this when I pass the trade promotion authority
law, which allows us to get trade agreements. If we write the rules of the
global economy, we will succeed in the 21st century. But we have to write
those rules, we have to engage, and I think the president said TPP is not
the way to do it. Going on and getting good bilateral agreement is a
better way, and I`m fine with that strategy. I think that strategy can
work as well.


VAN SUSTEREN: Much more of my interview ahead. But let`s bring in Mike
Allen, co-founder of Axios, and Mark Halperin, political analyst and co-
author of Game Change. Mike, to you – let me talk about these documents
that are floating around – everyone in the media was talking about it
today. The White House says that it`s not a White House document. Speaker
Ryan says that it was done by someone on the transition team. Do you know
anything about – can you help me at all with this?

MIKE ALLEN, CO-FOUNDER AXIOS: Well, Greta, first congratulations on a very
meaty, chatty interview with your fellow cheese head there. And Greta, the
speaker was very clear there that it was not – he was very legalistic in
the fact that it`s not an administration product, but this is clearly
something that had been considered. And both you and Mark and I have all
been getting a lot of documents out of the transition that give a very good
sense of where they`re headed. And it`s not necessarily a formal document.
There`s a lot of people involved in the transition who were not a formal
part of the structure going to the west wing, but we`re getting a very
clear picture of where they`re headed, and what we`ve seen from the
president in the last five days is very much a reflection of all those
administration and transition plans. We`re really seeing Trump in full,
including this spate of announcements today.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mark, we saw during the campaign he oftentimes talked about
how ISIS would chop people`s heads off and, you know, he was very
concerned, this is Donald Trump, about how we responded and enhanced
interrogation which is code for torture is against the law. Senator John
McCain has been opposed to it – very, very vocal about it. Is this – is
something that – is this really about to be debated, do you think, or is
this – we just followed – we`re just following a document that`s going to
go nowhere?

MARK HALPERIN, CO AUTHOR OF GAME CHANGE: Well, no one should be surprised
that in the balance between national security and civil liberties,
President Trump, like candidate Trump wants to be more aggressive. A lot
of people were surprised at how Barack Obama made that balance as
president. On some areas he went for national security, including the
joint program, including targeting American citizens overseas in ways that
put the balance on national security more than civil liberties. This
president made it clear that he wants to put the balance back more toward a
Dick Cheney view of the world. And while Speaker Ryan in your interview
with him wanted to disown the document. The reality is most of the ideas
raised in there are things that I`m certain have been debated not just in
the transition, but as they go forward making policy. John McCain and some
others Republicans are pretty outspoken against these kinds of things. But
the base of the Republican Party, my guess is most of Donald Trump`s
followers, would find these things to be, if not acceptable, at least
things worthy of discussion.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I think our new secretary of defense had said that he is
going to follow the law, Mike, so I think that – you know, that pretty
much ends the discussion unless the law changes.

ALLEN: That`s right. And there`s no way that this debate can be avoided.
And they can put aside the specific paper, but I think that this – Mark is
right, that this is congruent with what we`re hearing out of this White
House and it`s an unavoidable conversation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mark, what about Mexico tonight? What do you think that
president of Mexico is thinking? He`s supposed to be here soon.

HALPERIN: Well, there`s at least one report that he`s reconsidering
whether he should come and certainly public opinion in Mexico, there`s a
lot of people there who would like him to cancel the visit. Donald Trump
is going to put a focus on this relationship. And I think the Mexican
government is going to be forced to at least be more aware of what goes on
in the Trump administration than they were in the Obama administration.
You saw in your interview with Speaker Ryan, though, an echo of what the
White House and the president have started to say, which is, well, we`re
not going to get a check from Mexico to pay for the wall on the front end.
We`re going to find some way to get the money back, but initially will be
paid for by the U.S. And I think, look, Donald Trump is a master of moving
on from losses when he suffered them, and if he can`t find a way in the
short term to get the wall paid for by Mexico, I think he`ll Trumpet the
fact that the wall is being built. Speaker Ryan made clear that the
Republican congress agrees with him, and that`s something that should be

VAN SUSTEREN: Mike, he made a lot of promises in the run-up to the
election. And he`s really sort of – he`s moving lickety-split through
with these executive orders. I imagine that the people who voted for him
for these reasons are quite pleased with him.

ALLEN: Yeah, Greta, this was a very Trumpian announcement today about the
wall. I talked to a bunch of Republicans on the hill after the president`s
announcement, and what he announced is long and it`s tall. He`s talking
about a thousand miles which is very much the way President Trump likes to
frame things, 35 to 60 feet high. He says it will cost $8 to $12 billion.
Axios has a report up saying that estimates go as much as three times that.
So it`s going to cost more than he thinks, but he has the down payment from
this congress, and they`ll go on to pay for – this congress certainly
will, as we get to the fall, pay for more if they need to, I`m told. And
the Mexico part of it is an IOU, and who knows.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mark, we have 30 seconds left. The speaker made very plain
that the people who are so-called dreamers need not to be worried tonight,
but I don`t know – I mean, he seemed quite convinced of that.

HALPERIN: Donald Trump has appointed people from Goldman Sachs to his
government. He said all sort of things that you would think would really
annoy his core supporters. This is one of the big issues he ran on. And
yet, I believe that he can buy some time. And again, as your interview
with speaker Ryan suggested, I think they`re trying to go back to the
Republican dodge and saying we`re going to focus on border security first,
focus on criminals in this country first, and try to punt down the road
issues like the 12 million people who are here illegally. Maybe the issues
of what employers do. And if they can do that and secure the border, they
think they got the ability then to get a comprehensive reform. I thought
for a while, Barack Obama, although he wanted comprehensive reform had less
a good chance of getting it than Donald Trump because of the Nixon goes to
China factor here, where Trump can secure the border and get people on
board, I think he could see comprehensive reform. Not this year, but maybe
next year.

VAN SUSTEREN: Gentlemen, thank you, both. Ahead, much more with Speaker
Ryan, including news he made on repealing Obamacare.


VAN SUSTEREN: Can you make the pledge to the American people, if they like
the current doctor they have now they can keep it, and the prices aren`t
going up over the new GOP…

RYAN: That promise was already violated.


RYAN: That promise was already broken.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right.


VAN SUSTEREN: You want to hear what he said next. And as we mentioned,
President Trump calls for the immediate construction of a border wall.
We`re live at the border. Hear what locals are saying about who will pay
for it. You`re watching MSNBC, live from Philadelphia.


VAN SUSTEREN: We`re back in Philadelphia where the Republican retreat is
under way. And we now have more with my interview with House Speaker Paul
Ryan on how Republicans plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.


VAN SUSTEREN: Obamacare in the next 200 day, I hear from the Democrats who
want to repeal Obamacare. And when I think of repeal, I think of just all
of a sudden one day we wake up and it`s gone. Is it repeal Obamacare or
are you making adjustments, refinements, amendments, change, what are you

RYAN: It`s repealing and replacing with a better law.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it`s going to completely go away one day, and it`s going
to be replaced by something the next day?

RYAN: That`s right. But what I think the Democrats are trying to say is
like in February it goes away and you won`t have your health care plan
tomorrow. That`s not what we`re talking about.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it a phase out, all of a sudden – one day it`s over and
something else is there?

RYAN: Yeah. We`re talking of passing the legislation that repeals and
replaces Obamacare with a patient-centered system that brings down prices
and expands choices, so people have more – better access to more
affordable healthcare choices and options, but that takes time to put into
place. So we will – once the administration gets up and running, they
don`t even – they haven`t even processed Tom Price, who`s going to be a
phenomenal HHS secretary, or Seema Verma, a woman who is – a Medicaid
expert, they haven`t put them in place yet. We have to wait for the
administration to put in place. And then, we will work in conjunction with
the administration, passing legislation, repealing and replacing Obamacare.
When that actually takes place, will take some time, and the administration
will help determine how we phase one out and replace and phase in its
replacement. The whole point of this, though, is to make sure that we
don`t pull the rug out from underneath anybody in the meantime, but the
reason we`re acting now is because Obamacare is collapsing under its own

VAN SUSTEREN: When Obamacare was passed in 2009, the Republicans were very
upset because it gave so much authority to the secretary of HHS, which was
Sebelius at the time. And something like, 2,500 references in a 2,300


VAN SUSTEREN: It`s a huge number. It`s almost as though – now you got
the situation where your guy, Price is going to be HHS. Could you achieve
that what you`re trying to do almost with the power that`s vested in the
secretary of HHS in the Obamacare.

RYAN: Well, I think it`s a combination of things. This will take a lot of
legislating because there are a lot of things that Obamacare legislated
which we think contributed to the massive premium spike that`s occurring.
We got five states with only one insurer left. One out of three counties
in America only had one insurer left. And I really think that`s because of
the legislation. That legislation we`re going to replace, and replace it
with something better. But we also believe in conjunction with this
legislation, HHS, as you just mentioned, has an enormous amount of
discretion that they have so far used to make it harder to get affordable
health care. To make you buy what the government insists you must buy.
That doesn`t work.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you make…

RYAN: And so we think – we think the administration can give us a lot of
regulatory flexibility which will bring more insurers in the marketplace,
which means more competition, more choice which drives down costs, so that
discretion can work in a good way or it could work in a bad way. He`s
worked heretofore in a very bad way in my opinion. And I think we can do a
lot to make a difference, but legislation is going to be critical.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you make the pledge to the American people, if they like
the current doctor they have now they can keep it, and the prices aren`t
going up over the new GOP…

RYAN: That promise was already violated.


RYAN: That promise was already broken.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. OK, in light of that…

RYAN: Obamacare broke that promise.

VAN SUSTEREN: What people have today – so it`s not going to get worse?
For those who are really feeling hurt by it.

RYAN: Here`s the problem, Greta, it`s already going away. Obamacare is

VAN SUSTEREN: But I mean – people are terrified. It`s confusing. I mean
it`s the most confusing law – I`ve tried – I`ve struggled through that
law. It`s very difficult.

RYAN: Millions of people have already lost the plan that they liked.
Millions of people…

VAN SUSTEREN: But to the ones who like the new on one, whatever they got.

RYAN: You have 11.5 million people in what we call exchange subsidy plans.
It was supposed to be 28 million this year, 11.5 million people in plans.
And, by the way, those plans are going up double digits every year. Their
deductibles in those plans are three times as high as they are in what we
call the large group market. People get healthcare from their jobs. So
these plans aren`t working, either. Our point isn`t to give them the same
thing. The same thing`s bad, and it`s getting worse.

VAN SUSTEREN: So they`re going to get better under your plan.

RYAN: Our point is we don`t want to sit in the government and tell you
what you have to buy. We want to make this work so that you have choices,
so that we have more competition. Our goal is to make sure that everyone
in this country has access to affordable healthcare, including people with
pre-existing conditions. So they can access affordable coverage. That is
not what you have with Obamacare.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. What about the people on Medicaid who can`t
afford any medical care?

RYAN: You know the reason why? Because doctors don`t even take Medicaid
by in large.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what happens to them?

RYAN: So we need to reform Medicaid as well. Our plan will be to reform
Medicaid. We`re not going to end the Medicaid. We`re going to give the
governors more control and leeway to bring innovative reforms to make
Medicaid work. My state, Scott Walker, our governors, reformed Medicaid so
it actually works, so that the doctors will take the program. Mike Pence
and Mitch Daniels in Indiana, the woman who`s coming in to run the Medicaid
program at the federal level, her name is Seema Verma, a brilliant young
woman, she made Indiana – healthy Indiana work so that actually low-income
people in Indiana, actually have real healthcare coverage that they get
access to a doctor. Those kinds of reforms on the state level we want see
happen in all 50 states. That`s not been happening under Obamacare. So we
believe we can dramatically improve the way Medicaid works by giving
governors more control and flexibility to innovate to make it work for
people with low income because it`s not working in so many states right


VAN SUSTEREN: With me, Congressman John Yarmuth, Democrat of Kentucky.
Good evening, sir. And I`ve seen so many estimates on this…


VAN SUSTEREN: I`ve seen so many estimates on this wall from $8 billion to
$14 billion. Any time you put a billion on something, that`s a whole lot
of money. Is this money going to be – is this money going to come out of
congress? Are you going to authorize this?

YARMUTH: Well, I suspect the Republicans are in control and they`ll be
able to authorize it. I think it`s a bad idea. I was part of the gang of
eight in the house in 2013 that was working on comprehensive immigration
reform. We talked a lot about border security and what was effective and
what was not. Walls are not effective when you`re out in the desert and
you don`t need them. Walls are very important when you`re separating two
urban areas where if you`re actually able to get over the border you can
probably get into the underground network in about 30 seconds. But when
you`re out in the middle of the desert, it makes no sense because you have
border security people have up to a day to apprehend people who are
crossing illegally. So, you know, the only thing I heard Speaker Ryan say
that made sense was, we actually really need to look at this and see what
makes sense and what doesn`t, because electronic detection in those kind of
– and drones and other types of border protecting devices seem to be much
more effective in certain places.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there a way – if this wall is built, President Trump
seems to – he said he`s going to do it. He`s got the power as the
president. Is there a way to sort of spread this cost so that, you know,
if the taxpayers have to pay it upfront, is there a way to make it so as
President Trump says is that the Mexican – Mexicans will end up paying for
it? Can we somehow make that happen or is that unrealistic?

YARMUTH: I think it`s unrealistic and, you know, countries make policies
for themselves. And Donald Trump wants to make – that`s his policy. He
wants to build the wall. It would be silly to say we`re going to – we`re
going to create an army and we`re going to have Mexico pay for our border
patrol, our border police. Clearly, that`s not going to happen. And I
don`t think this wall, having the – there`s no way to force them to, but
expecting the Mexicans to pay for it doesn`t make any sense either.

VAN SUSTEREN: We have a minute left. I`m going to be speaking in a second
with Speaker Ryan about tax reform. Do you anticipate that as ranking
member in the budget committee, do you anticipate that in this year, there
will be tax reform?

YARMUTH: Well, I know we`re going to be asked to pass a budget resolution
which will have instructions in there that will allow the senate to pass
tax reform with a mere majority and not 60 votes. So they`ll probably have
the power to do it. You know, what I always say with these things, when
you`re trying to do comprehensive things like tax reform, there will be
20,000 lobbyists in Washington trying to work their will on that piece of
legislation so, you know, people think it`s going to be a lot easier than
it will end up being.

VAN SUSTEREN: Then you need to stick around, see what Speaker Ryan says
about those lobbyists because he said something about those. Anyway, thank
you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Ahead, Speaker Ryan – Speaker Ryan, President Trump, and
the issue of tax reform, are they on the same page? And Donald Trump
calling for a, quote, major investigation into voter fraud, where is this
going? Stay with us live from Philadelphia.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: – the issue of tax reform. Are
they on the same page?

And Donald Trump calling for a “major investigation to voter fraud.”
Where`s this going? Stay with us live from Philadelphia.


VAN SUSTEREN: We`re back with much more from my exclusive interview with
House Speaker Paul Ryan, longtime champion of a conservative vision. But is
he on the same page as President Trump?


VAN SUSTEREN: Taxes. President Trump says he wants to reduce the taxes.
Where do you see – in your conversations with him, where do you see the
tax code?

PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER: We spend a great deal of time talking about
this. This is again, one of our pieces of our 200-pay plan, part of our
very ambitious agenda. We really don`t think we can get the kind of
economic growth we could – we had the potential to get without tax reform.

So we`re working with the administration on working on tax reform. Our
plan, our blueprint, we call it. You can go to and see our
blueprint, that`s what we`re working off of. We got to get our tax rates
down. So we got to –

VAN SUSTEREN: Where do you see this going down to?

RYAN: Well he said he`d love to get 15 percent of businesses. We`d love

VAN SUSTEREN: S corporations, too?


RYAN: S corporations – I won`t get into – our plan says 20 percent for
corporations, 25 for s corporations. You got to remember, S corporations
pay one layer of tax, corporations pay two layers of tax. So we basically
see equivalent, but here`s the point. The rest of the world, they tax their
businesses at an average rate in the industrialized world of 23 percent.
Our corporate is 35. Our top S corporate, small business rate is 44.6
effectively. This is killing us.

Oh, and by the way, here`s what the rest of the world does that we don`t
do. They take the tax off of their exports and place a tax on their
imports. We do the opposite. We tax our exports and don`t tax our imports.
So we`re putting ourselves – we`re basically double taxing made in America
products. And so what we`re saying is let`s equalize this so that we`re on
a level playing field, so that American-made goods and services are on a
level playing field with the rest of the world.

And let`s lower our tax rates on our businesses so that we`re on par with
the rest of the world so that we don`t keep losing our businesses. More
American companies are getting bought by foreign firms or they`re becoming
foreign firms or they`re outsourcing. Right now the tax code says if you
want to make something in another country and re-import it back into
America, go ahead and do that. We don`t want to incentivize that. We want
manufacturing to return to America. We want jobs. Economic growth.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, how fast are you going to get them because
business people plan? How fast do you expect to –

RYAN: Our goal is to get this done by the end of summer which is for
congress quite fast.

VAN SUSTEREN: And your tax is a little bit higher than the president`s
plan at this point.

RYAN: A little bit higher because that`s the way our numbers work. So, we
agreed – if you look at the president`s plan that he ran on, it`s
virtually identical to the plan that the house ran on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where are we going to get the money?

RYAN: So we`re very close.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, because there`s a biggest one – when people pay les
taxes there is less money into the treasury and then we got to think about
paying things like whether it`s Medicaid –

RYAN: You know where we get the money from?

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess you`re expecting a robust economy and people are
paying more taxes.

RYAN: No, and you get it from – you get it from closing special interest
loopholes and carve outs (ph).

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, then you voted against the – you were one of the
voters against the – what was the tax code a number of years ago, the
program, where the 3,30, the loopholes are going to be –

RYAN: I am not sure what you`re talking about.

VAN SUSTEREN: The bipartisan tax commission, you were on it.

RYAN: Simpson Bowles.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, Simpson Bowles. You voted against that.

RYAN: It was a (INAUDIBLE) our tax increase. I don`t want to raise taxes.

VAN SUSTEREN: But that got rid of the 3,300 loopholes.

RYAN: Yes, and it raised taxes of trillion dollars. Oh, and by the way, it
hollowed out our military, and by the way, it did nothing to repeal
Obamacare do entitlement reforms –

VAN SUSTEREN: So yours is an improvement –over that?

RYAN: – which is necessary to our budget (ph) policies.

VAN SUSTEREN: So yours is an improvement over that?

RYAN: Absolutely it`s an improvement over that. But the point you`re
saying, where do you get the money from, close loopholes, close the special
interest Washington carve outs and that means more incomes subject to
taxation so we`re going to lower the rates on our businesses and be fair.

Here`s the problem with the tax code right now. You send your money to
Washington and then a few have a special carve out for your business, for
your industry, if you do something Washington approves of, then they`ll let
you keep some of your money back.

We don`t like that. Keep your money in the first place. Let`s make our
companies competitive and let`s make good business decisions dominate their
decision making, not what`s good for Washington carve outs.

VAN SUSTEREN: I find it fundamentally – I find it bizarre but I bet not
one member of congress can do his or her own taxes because it`s so
complicated. I mean it`s very –

RYAN: It`s a testament. It`s a testament to just how awful this thing is.
By the way –

VAN SUSTEREN: That`s what I mean. I mean no one understands the tax code.
Former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld tells me he sends his in and says he
did he best or something. He pays accountants to do it.

RYAN: Our tax plan by the way shows the vast, vast majority of Americans,
upwards of 96 percent can fill out their taxes on a postcard. When we`re
done simplifying the tax code, getting the lobbyist carve outs our of the
tax code, lowering our rates and letting people have a simple system, most
Americans will be able to fill out their taxes on a postcard.

VAN SUSTEREN: You`ll blow up K Street then, the lobbyists?

RYAN: Yes we will.

VAN SUSTEREN: You`ll blow them up.

RYAN: I`ve been trying to do this for years. I`m just so excited we
finally get a chance to do this because we have the house and the senate
and the president who is with us on getting this stuff out of the tax code,
cleaning it up and getting this thing cleaned up.

If you can clean up the cesspool of the tax code and give us a pro-growth
tax code, that is how you grow the economy. That`s how you take power and
money out of Washington and give it back to the people and we are so
excited. We have a president that is here to work with us in doing that.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of the president`s programs is an infrastructure program
and in the 2009 federal stimulus, a big component of it was infrastructure
which a lot of Republicans fought against the 2009 stimulus. They probably
didn`t like other parts of it. If – where are we going to get the money
for his infrastructure bill?

RYAN: First of all, I`d say that stimulus was a lot of other spending that
wasn`t quite as much stimulus, but the thing –

VAN SUSTEREN: Did it work?

RYAN: No, it didn`t. It didn`t work at all actually. It just gave us a big
debt hangover. But the point I`d say is stimulus infrastructure spending is
not instant jobs and that`s the mistake they made back in those days I
think. These things aren`t so shovel ready. It does take time. I think the
real reason the president wants to do this is because we have a crumbling
infrastructure problem and you need a good modern infrastructure for
economic growth to occur.

Not just the jobs building the infrastructure, but you need to have a good
highway system. You need to have a good bridge system, a good pipeline
system, a good canal and waterway system for economic growth to occur, for
a modern economy to succeed. And so, he sees this and we agree with him,
and we`ve added this to our agenda at his request.

We need to upgrade and modernize America`s infrastructure. Our budget in
the spring is going to have to figure out how to balance those priorities
and pay for it and our big goal is to leverage the private sector dollars
as much as possible so that the public taxpayer isn`t paying for all of
this. But we do think there are innovative ways to get the private sector
to pony up money to fix and modernize a lot of our infrastructure.

And we think that`s necessary just as a foundation for economic growth.
It`s not the jobs in and of themselves, which you do make by building
bridges and things like this, but it`s the economic growth that comes from
having a modern infrastructure that is in dire need of repair.

VAN SUSTEREN: One thing you and I always talk about and I know you have to
go so I hope you`ll come back and talk about it later.

RYAN: You`re going to bring up the Packers, aren`t you?

VAN SUSTEREN: No, no. I won`t –

RYAN: So depressing right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: I`m not going to bring up the Packers. That was like too
awful. You and I both choose (ph) – that`s too awful. Come back and then
we`ll talk inner cities sometimes. You and I talked about that. You used to
work for Jack Kemp and the president talked about it at his inaugural
address so, we`ll have another discussion later on with inner cities.

RYAN: I`d love to do that. That would be great.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, thank you and Go, Pack, go next year.

RYAN: Go, Pack, go. Next year.

VAN SUSTEREN: What a rotten year. It was nice to see you Mr. Speaker.

RYAN: Yes, you too Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: It was nice to see you.

RYAN: Congratulations. Welcome back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Ahead, President Trump vowed to start building that border
wall. We`ll get a live report from the southern border.



Security working with myself and my staff will begin immediate construction
of a border wall.


Our order also does the following. Ends the policy of catch and release at
the border, requires other countries to take back their criminals. They
will take them back. Cracks down on sanctuary cities. Empowers ICE Officers
to target and remove those who pose a threat to public safety. Calls for
the hiring of another 5,000 border patrol officers. Calls for the tripling
the number of ICE officers.



VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump calls for the immediate construction of a
border wall but will Mexico pay for it? I asked speaker Ryan what he


VAN SUSTEREN: Today he announced he wants to begin building that wall.
Who`s going to pay for it?

RYAN: First off, we`re going to pay for it and front the money up, but I
do think that there are various ways of as you know and I know your follow-
up question is – is Mexico going to pay for the wall? There are a lot of
different ways of getting Mexico to contribute to doing this and there are
different ways of defining how exactly they pay for it.

Point is, he has a promise he made to the American people which is to
secure our border. A wall is a big part of that. We agree with that goal
and we will be working with him to finance construction of the physical
barrier including the wall on the southern border.


VAN SUSTEREN: NBC`s Gadi Schwartz is in the border town of Nogales,
Arizona. Gadi

GADI SCHWARTZ, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Hey, Greta, yes. We`re here in
Nogales, Arizona and that over there is Nogales, Mexico. Both of these
communities seem to be on the same page when it comes to their opposition
to this wall, in fact, to this fence, too. A lot of them were telling us
they don`t respect this fence. They see a border patrol and the border
patrol will apprehend them but they don`t really see this as a deterrent.
One man told us it takes about 15 seconds to climb over that fence.

Now, we were talking to a lot of the people down along the fence on both
sides of the border. A lot of them telling us that this was about family.
They`ve got family over here in the United States and family over here in
Mexico. And they were saying that the fence right now, as it is where you
can see through it, serves as somewhat of a meeting place for families.

They come here, they speak to each other. Some families come very
regularly. Other families – we saw one woman come here and she hadn`t seen
her sister in 11 years. Here`s a little bit about what they had to say.



SCHWARTZ: She says that every eight days that her kids come to the wall
and then she`s able to communicate with them.

Do you think that a lot of people on this side of the border would work on
the wall?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think so.

SCHWARTZ: No, you don`t think so? Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because nobody like Trump over here.

SCHWARTZ: Nobody likes Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody hates him.


SCHWARTZ: Greta, just a little while ago you were asking that $10 to $15
billion question – who is going to pay for that wall? That`s a big concern
for the people on the Mexican side of the border. They say that they have
heard Trump say he wants them to pay for it. Obviously, Enrique Pena Nieto,
the president of Mexico, has said that the United States is going to pay
for it. They are not going to pay for it so that is still yet to be seen.

VAN SUSTEREN: Gadi, thank you.

Speaker Ryan says he`s fine with Trump`s call for a major investigation
into voter fraud. That`s next.


VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump took to twitter today calling for a major
investigation into voter fraud despite any evidence. Speaker Ryan telling
me though that he is fine with it and open to an investigation. Annie
Linskey is the national political reporter for the “Boston Globe.” Yamiche
Alcindor, is a reporter for the “New York Times” and MSNBC contributor.
Yamiche, tell me where this investigation is going to go if any place?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, CONTRIBUTOR, MSNBC: It`s really hard to say where it`s
going to go because as of now there`s really no evidence that there is
widespread voter fraud. And I should add that President Trump`s lawyers in
defending him against a recount that Jill Stein asked for, they also said
that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. So it`s going to be
interesting to see what states and what he considers voter fraud.

VAN SUSTEREN: Annie, you know, we`re always going to find some fraud in
anything. I think the key here is whether, you know, there`s widespread,
and certainly enough to change the popular vote significantly. But I don`t
know who`s going to do this investigation. I know President Trump expects
it to be Capitol Hill, DOJ investigation, a task force. Do you have any

much of the story, very unclear. I mean the thing, Greta, that does seem
very clear is that Donald Trump seems to be able to see things and see
enemies where they don`t exist or see people where they don`t exist.

Whether it`s looking out on the field and at the mall and seeing supporters
who were not actually there and complaining about his crowd size, or
looking at the election results and seeing this massive amount of voter
fraud, according to him, that there is no evidence of.

And that seems to be the pattern with this president, is that he is
fighting these phantom enemies. Meanwhile, there are very real issues to
take on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yamiche, it would probably be smart at least if I were
advising the president, he hasn`t asked me, of course. I haven`t spoken to
him, but to figure out a way to sort of get away from this. I mean it`s
always good if the states can examine – the Secretary of State, the
individual states can make sure that they have votes that have some
integrity, but I think he needs to get out of this one.

ALCINDOR: I think there are a lot of people who feel that way. I would
imagine that a lot of Republicans are thinking, look, we`ve been waiting so
long to have all this control and now we have it. I was looking at your
interview with Paul Ryan. He really felt – he looked giddy when he was
talking about all the things that they could do with the tax reform.

So this idea that the president is still talking about crowd sizes on one
day and then launching an investigation into voter fraud on another day, it
just seems kind of whimsical and bizarre because there are a lot of things
they could be doing. They could really be implementing conservative ideals
and, of course, he is doing that. He is signing all these executive orders
but just have this still be on his plate and be talking about voter fraud
when there is no evidence is just bizarre.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, we have 20 seconds left, but the media
certainly takes the bait on all these stories.

LINSKEY: Yes. Well, that`s right. Although it does make you wonder, I
mean, why is he sort of undermining the legitimacy of his own win? I mean,
it really is head scratching as to why this is a topic that he was talking

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, both.

And “For The Record” tonight a secret service agent, a serious message and
what we should all agree on.


VAN SUSTEREN: Back here in Philadelphia, I have something to say “For The
Record.” Wow! Anyway, for the record, you`d have to have your head buried
in the sand not know the nation is deeply divided and some people are
saying all sorts of dopey and emotional and careless things, even


MADONNA, SINGER: I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White
House. But I know that this won`t change anything.


VAN SUSTEREN: Lots of the things said, the dopey, and yes, even the
incendiary like Madonna`s comment are protected by the first amendment. I
do think it was a stupid thing to say but I don`t think Madonna will blow
up the White House, although it is indeed true, there are others out there
who act on things they hear like the guy from North Carolina who showed up
at my neighborhood pizza joint because he read on the internet the
ridiculous conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton`s campaign was running a
child trafficking network in that pizza joint. I go there often. I only see
families and pizza.

And while the first amendment is vast, there`s a line which brings me to
this. Secret service agent Kerry O`Grady posted on her Facebook page that
she would rather do jail time than take a bullet for President Donald
Trump. That`s my line crossed.

Whether you`re for or against President Trump, that`s the job of the Secret
Service, at least for those on protective detail. So, that agent should be
fired. Yeah, I know. She backed down on it but she crossed that line. Not
only has she said she won`t do her job, but that is the kind of serious
message that could taint the Secret Service. That`s very dangerous.

P.S. I really hate it when women are bad role models. One step forward, two
steps back. Thanks for watching from Philly. 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 twittere @Greta. Look at Facebook for behind scenes videos and more from our interview with Speaker Ryan. “Hardball” with Chris Matthews is starting right now.