For the Record with Greta, transcript 2/3/2017
Show: FOR THE RECORD
Date: February 3, 2017
Guest: Joel Rubin, David Catanese, Annie Linskey
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: There you go. That`s all for tonight. I promise you
to get a lot more than 18 minutes from “For the Record with Greta” which
starts right now.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MSNBC HOST: We have breaking news. Tonight, Sean
Spicer, “For the Record,” our one-on-one interview at the White House. The
public face of the Trump administration making news on Iran, Russia,
Israel, and the Uber boycott. The White House press secretary like you
won`t see anywhere else.
Also, President Trump`s powerfully on the economy. (inaudible) to Wall
Street or a shot in the arm for business. The answer could shape your
Then new pressure on the White House over the immigration travel ban. Will
the president stand his ground against some of the richest and most
powerful business leaders in America?
A strong rebuke today from President Trump to Iran. On Trump`s order, the
Treasury Department announcing new sanctions against 25 individuals and
companies all involved in the Iran`s ballistic missile program. That, after
the president tweeted, Iran is playing with fire. They don`t appreciate how
kind President Obama was to them. Not me.
White House (inaudible) all options are still on the table. The Iranians
have responded with a promise to continue their missile test. The Iranian
foreign minister firing back at the Trump White House saying, Iran is
unmoved by threats. NBC`s Kristen Welker joins us from the White House.
KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Greta, good evening. We
learn a couple of new details about the sanction late this afternoon. One,
they were in the pipeline during President Obama. However, according to a
senior official, they were triggered by recent provocation by Iran
including that ballistic missile test which the Trump administration argues
is in defiance of a U.N. resolution, important to underscore that the U.N.
has not yet determined that itself.
Sean Spicer, the press secretary, who I know you interviewed today, was
pressed on whether the president is keeping all of his options on the table
the answer to that, yes, including military option. Here is what House
Speaker Paul Ryan told Chuck Todd during an interview on “Meet the Press.”
Take a look.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So, I think the key is to
vigorously enforce this deal. But also, remember, they are testing
ballistic missiles. They`re still the largest state sponsor of terrorism in
the world. Human rights abuse galore.
And so those are where, I think, we also need to racket up sanctions. I
think what this administration is doing which I agree with is saying we
have have new administration and we`re going to hold you Iran to account.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WELKER: Important to also point out this is separate than the Iran nuclear
deal. Of course, that`s a deal that was brokered under former President
Obama. It was aimed at preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. I am
told according to senior administration officials there are no current
plans to pull out of that deal.
However, you may recall that out on the campaign trail then candidate Trump
said he was going to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, but no immediate plan
for that to happen. Still, this is an escalation between the United States
and Iran, just two weeks into this new administration. Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kristen, thank you. And earlier today, as you noted, I was at
the White House for a wide range interview with Press Secretary Sean
Spicer. I started by asking if President Trump was going to keep the Iran
nuclear deal or not.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has been very
outspoken about his disdain for Iran, he thought it was a bad deal. When we
signed it, we thought it was not in the interest of the United States, so
we gave away too much to Iran. He continues to have major issues with it.
Today was the first step in showing our displeasure, 25 sanctions were
issued against individuals and entities that support their ballistic
But Iran got basically a sweetheart deal. They should be pleased with what
the United States did. Instead they have been provocative and
irresponsible. And the president`s actions today showed that he is going to
not leave those actions unchecked. They are the first step in our – and a
sign that there`s a new administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think you said they are playing with fire.
SPICER: They are. Iran should not be provoking us. They got a sweetheart
deal. They`re getting a lot from the United States. And I think the United
States needs to make sure that they understand that if they act out of the
provisions of the agreement, that we are going to act.
VAN SUSTEREN: The ballistic missile test doesn`t seem to violated the
missile deal with the U.S., right?
SPICER: No, but I think that – right – no, it`s not a direct violation.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about the U.N. resolution 2231?
SPICER: I think there is no question that it violates the spirit of that. I
think our actions today are in direct response to the…
VAN SUSTEREN: They are trying to provoke us.
SPICER: They are. No question. There`s no question about that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have you heard from Israel on that?
SPICER: I – the president – Prime Minister Netanyahu is coming here on
February 15th. We`ve been in contact with Ambassador Dermer, but I`m not
going to get into those discussions.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think Iran is doing this? I know historically…
SPICER: I think for eight years, they got away with it. And I think there
is some degree to which they want to know how much is changed. I think the
president spoke and acted very, very forcefully by letting them understand
that this is not the administration that they have been dealing for the
last eight years. The United States can reassert this place.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Sanctions have been imposed today.
VAN SUSTEREN: Military action off the table or on the table.
SPICER: If you heard Donald Trump talk throughout the campaign, the reason
that he is so successful as a negotiator is he doesn`t take things off the
table. He doesn`t talk about what he is going to do. He doesn`t telegraph
it. Worst thing someone can do and try to negotiate. He leaves everything
on the table.
He understands the consequences of various actions would be. He is going to
make sure that Iran understands it. He is going to not sit back and let the
United States be treated this way for a deal in which they should be very
VAN SUSTEREN: Has he spoken with our allies like with France or Germany or
the U.K. on this because the sanctions sort of, you know, if we have help
from these other nations?
SPICER: He spoken to President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel last weekend.
I`m not going to…
VAN SUSTEREN: Since the missile launch?
SPICER: Not since the missile launch. Again, I don`t want to – but he`s in
constant contact in our national security team. He`s constantly in touch
with our allies throughout Europe especially to discuss these actions.
VAN SUSTEREN: So in response to what Iran said, I think Iran said that I
think they took a slap at the president`s inexperience.
SPICER: Yeah, I think Iran is going to feel the might of the sanctions and
if they continue to act, so I think the president has been very clear that
there is more to come and they are playing with fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: We`re gonna have much more of my interview ahead. But, with
me, Joel Rubin, former deputy assistant secretary of state who worked on
Iran nuclear deal. David Catanese from U.S. News and World Report. And
Annie Linskey from The Boston Globe.
Joel, first to you, the Iranians have done this missile testing but it
doesn`t apparently violate the Iran agreement that we have with them, and
also doesn`t violate the U.N. resolution, yet we can`t look the other way.
So your thoughts on this. They are sort of threading the needle.
JOEL RUBIN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: They really are,
Greta. It`s true they did not violate the letter of agreement. They didn`t
violate the U.N. resolution. So this test is sort of a provocation to see
where they can go and what kind of response they can get from the United
It`s also very strategic because one can look at it and see the response
from the United States put us out ahead of our allies, puts us out ahead of
the partners that we had in this Iran nuclear negotiation, and put us in a
bit of a vulnerable position.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I think it`s rather cagey. I mean, I wouldn`t provoke
Donald Trump, Donald Trump so far. Annie, I know how you feel about this.
But he says they`re playing with fire. And he has not been afraid to do
rather bold things. And he`s unpredictable. So I don`t get what the Iranian
are getting out of the cagey and being provocative.
ANNIE LINSKEY, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER FROM THE BOSTON GLOBE: Yeah, I
mean, I would not want to…
VAN SUSTEREN: Provoke.
LINSKEY: I would not provoke him either, thank you. That`s exactly what he
wants. That`s what he said his foreign policy is going to be. He is going
to have this kind of wild card streak. For the Iranians, they have internal
politics to deal with too. I mean, people cannot just roll over with this
kind of language.
VAN SUSTEREN: They didn`t have to test.
VAN SUSTEREN: They didn`t have to test. And of course, that`s only going to
get Israel angry. We have Prime Minister Netanyahu coming here on February
15th. Look at the relationship of Iran to Israel. Iran`s former president
said he wants to wipe Israel off the map.
DAVID CATANESE, SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AT U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Sure,
but I actually thinks his policy reflects on how restrain we are on our
options on what we can do. I mean, this is basically adopting the Obama
policy. Last year it was about nuclear Iran deal.
Trump went on the campaign trail and said he was going to rip it up. This
is now a different issue. I think they are trying to apply more pressure.
The republican reporting out there is that the Obama administration put
this in place to put pressure on…
VAN SUSTEREN: And Donald Trump has pulled the trigger.
CATANESE: And Donald Trump is moving forward with the same policy. But, you
know, to have the national security advisor go out there and said, you have
been warned. Everyone wanted to know, what would that mean, you have been
warned. Well this is what we mean.
Because, you know, when you don`t want to go to war, and I don`t think
Donald Trump does, I don`t think the country does, you have a lot fewer
options. When they say all options are on the table, what does that really
VAN SUSTEREN: So what do you think – what do you assume that some of our
allies are thinking who are at least part of this agreement with Iran?
RUBIN: I think they are looking at this as wow, we`ve seen this movie
before. Rhetoric matters in the international relation. Putting one
unnoticed – the statement today from the national security advisor…
VAN SUSTEREN: You have red line with President Obama in Syria. Rhetoric
doesn`t really sort of matter.
RUBIN: The rhetoric can be very troubling because it is dare. Okay, so what
happens if Iran reacts?
VAN SUSTEREN: We have deal with Assad or with the red line. We thought
using chemical weapons on civilians. I don`t understand this. All I know is
that Iran, you know, Iran is very dangerous. A short distance from Israel,
and you don`t want to get Israel mad either.
LINSKEY: Yeah. I just feel like this is also a case where President Trump
is running up against candidate Trump and he is beginning to realize that
to govern, you cannot be quite as bold as he has been on the campaign
trail. You saw it in a number of different areas in foreign policy. All of
a sudden, he is – believe it or not, he suddenly – his administration at
least is modulating a little bit.
VAN SUSTEREN: Israel has President Trump opposed a new sanction in Iran.
The New York Times is reporting his administration is embracing pillars of
Obama`s foreign policy including Israel to curve settlement construction. I
asked Press Secretary Spicer about his statement today that future is
really settlements might be an impediment to peace talks.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: We are going to have a long discussion with Prime Minister
Netanyahu when he`s here. The settlement should not be an obstacle to
peace. I don`t think further settlements refer to that goal. We`ll have
that conversation with the prime minister when he is here.
President Trump`s goal anyway is to have peace in the region and in the
Middle East. So this is something that he is going to continue to push
really hard for to figure out how we can achieve that goal of peace between
these two neighbors.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you still expect the U.S. embassy to move from Tel Aviv to
SPICER: I think that we are at the beginning phases of that discussion with
the new administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any doubt that is going to happen?
SPICER: I think the president may discuss that during the campaign. And I
think right now, he has tasked the senior team to begin those deliberations
internally to figure out what that look like and mean.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: We`re back with the panel. David, you know, the settlement
thing, is a horrible problem for the Trump administration.
CATANESE: Much more softer rhetoric there though from Spicer than we saw. I
mean, to your point, than we saw Donald Trump on the campaign even before
he took the presidency on what he was talking about Israel. Now, suddenly
he is president, and he is signaling to Israel hey, back off the
Is he going to be able to say that to Prime Minister Netanyahu when he gets
here to his face? You know, Netanyahu has sort of ignored our direction
before on this from another president, the previous president. Will Trump
have a better relationship with him? That is going to be the question. Will
he be able to as tough as Spicer was there?
VAN SUSTEREN: Joel.
RUBIN: Well, I think we are seeing seeing, him speaking on both sides of
his mouth, frankly. And I think that Israeli has read into it as oh, the
settlements are okay in certain places and then one can argue oh, maybe
this is a settlement freeze call, so we don`t really know.
VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible) sort of over the borderlines and the other ones
sort of extensions or modifications or…
RUBIN: In the Bush administration, there was letter exchanged between the
president and the prime minister at the time saying, Israel, you can build
settlements within certain blocks, because those will be yours in the event
of a deal eventually, and don`t build outside of them. What Israeli has
proposed? Now it is outside of them.
Again, it goes to the effect of settlement construction and the big picture
here, King Abdullah is probably getting this as well, some construction
inflames the situation. It doesn`t move towards negotiation.
VAN SUSTEREN: It`s inflamed. What they don`t need. Anyway, thank you all.
Still ahead, more from my one-on-one interview with Sean Spicer at the
White House. What he told me about President Trump`s views on Russia. Does
the administration`s tough new tone come directly to the top? Also today`s
awkward meeting from White House. What business leaders really want from
the president on the controversial travel ban?
VAN SUSTEREN: We covered a lot of ground in my interview with White House
Press Secretary Sean Spicer from North Korea`s nuclear threat to what it`s
like to walk into the White House every day. We made news of what he said
about Ambassador Nikki Haley. She`s the ambassador to the United Nations.
She had extreme strong words towards Russia.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador Haley, U.N. ambassador, was very hard what she
said about Russia basically, you know, you don`t get out of Crimea – get
out of Crimea or else.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was that the ambassador speaking or was that she is speaking
for the president.
SPICER: She is speaking on behalf of the president. I think Russia – there
were sanctions reported in 2015 to deal with Russia`s occupation in Crimea.
We have been very clear that we`re not going to lift those sanctions until
they exit Crimea.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you expect additional sanctions? Because apparently they
didn`t have much effect, it`s still there.
SPICER: I think the president began conversations with President Putin. He
is going to make very clear what his position is, not just with respect to
Ukraine, but with respect to our entire geopolitical landscape and our
That`s going to be part of conversation that continues to happen. But I
think with respect to the sanctions that we`re impose specifically because
of the Russia`s occupation at Crimea, those sanctions are going to stay in
place until they withdraw.
VAN SUSTEREN: Secretary of defense is in Japan today, having been in South
Korea and North Korea is forever rattling with nuclear weapons, and the
during the campaign, Donald Trump said that he sort of off the cuff about
Japan getting nuclear weapons. Said that maybe better off about or some of
that. Where does the president stand with that area in Southeast Asia?
SPICER: He understands how vital it is for national interest. That`s why
Secretary Mattis went over there right away after he sworn in to reaffirm
our commitment to that area of the globe and to making sure they understand
we support them, whether it`s South Korea, making sure they understand that
Pyongyang and North Korean don`t pose a threat to them or anyone in the
region, but also to reaffirm our commitment to the Japanese. So we
understand its place. It`s a very important strategic place for us around
VAN SUSTEREN: I have been there a number of times. I have to tell you, it`s
a very unpredictable place, North Korea. It seems like – very little
information coming out of it. And very dangerous. Never one says, we`re
never gonna let North Korea go nuclear.
Well, they are nuclear. They have tested five times successfully. How
concerned is the president about North Korea? There`s one report they maybe
starting up some of their weapon program.
SPICER: Obviously, it`s a scenario that we are going to have to monitor
here at the end of the second week. The president is concerned about their
influence and their capability. That` why again, I mean the first trip that
Secretary Mattis took was to reaffirm our commitment to South Korea. Have
our presence there. But also Japan. Understands the importance of both of
those nations in that area of the globe.
VAN SUSTEREN: When something like a nuclear weapon it could be too late.
SPICER: I think their capability of launching and reaching the United
States it is still not there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes. South Korea certainly.
SPICER: Absolutely. I think that`s why again, but I think making sure we
are over there having those conversations with the blue house to talk about
our commitment to South Korea and making sure that there is a check on
North Korea`s capabilities.
VAN SUSTEREN: Big world, isn`t it? Lot of dangers. We`ve gone all across
the globe. We`ve gone from Iran to Russia. Very dangerous world.
SPICER: On Monday, the president is going to travel down to Tampa, the home
of central command and special operations command to get briefing from the
commanders and thanks the troops down there. They are so bravely supporting
the work that goes on around the globe. You realize how important the work
that goes to commands do to ensuring our safety.
And you realize as we go around the globe, how many hot spots there are,
how many threats we face as a nation. And I think part of the reason the
president want to make sure that he get down (inaudible) right away was
because they play such an important role in keeping our country safe and
making sure that those threats don`t come into our homeland.
VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible). All right. Let me talk about here at home.
VAN SUSTEREN: Today, the president met with some business leaders, but the
CEO of Uber did not show up. He got pressure over the immigration.
SPICER: He make some kind of joke. He got a car ride or something.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Go ahead.
SPICER: We had a lot of folks that wanted to attend that meeting. There are
a lot of additional companies who wanted to be here. They understand that
the president`s agenda is one that`s trying to lower the regulatory climate
to grow jobs and grow our economy. That`s why I think he saw so many
massively successful companies gather today here because they want to be
part of this agenda.
They understand that the president has got an agenda that`s looking to easy
the regulatory climate to allow them to produce more, to manufacture more,
to get more jobs in the country. And so we welcome additional companies who
want to be part of that process.
Every single day, whether it`s pharmaceutical companies or car companies or
manufacturing companies were having meetings with president saying that
they understand his agenda. They want to be part of it. They want to grow
jobs. They want to bring jobs back. They want to institute new
manufacturing here in America.
But it`s a very infectious and positive spirit that is going throughout
America small businesses, large businesses. People who understand that if
we change the business climate in this country and become more competitive
that we can grow the economy, we can grow jobs, we can lift up the wages
that can benefit every American.
VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible) pressure and not coming.
SPICER: He has got to answer to his employees and his shareholders. That`s
his decision to make. Obviously, it`s a great company. They really helped
transform how we travel. That`s a good thing. That innovation, that
entrepreneurial spirit is still alive in America. That`s a great thing. He
has got to do what he has got to do.
But the president was so proud to welcome other amazing companies and the
list of companies that want to be part of this continues to grow because I
think they understand what his mind-set is and what he wants to do. I think
more companies continue to want to be part of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: All of the things that he wants to do during the campaign,
there`s no surprise what he has done so far. This is what he said he was
going to do and he done it.
SPICER: I think it`s interesting, Greta, because so many times you hear
excuses on why I can`t do it, I know I campaign that. This president came
and he followed through on domestic policy.
VAN SUSTEREN: Without any doubt.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sometimes he has to go to Capitol Hill, he has to deal not
only with promises with his own party, but also he has got to deal with
democrats. Leader Pelosi made a comment the other day. She said that Steve
Bannon, one of your colleagues, is a white supremacist. How are you going
to turn down the heat? How do you get the temperature down? That`s what…
SPICER: First of all, can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot who
started throwing this – I mean, to make that kind of outrageous charge is
ridiculous. It`s not something that you would expect from her. But at the
end of the day, I think what this president, what this team that he
assembled is going to do is through action, not words, get things done. And
you saw that whether it is…
VAN SUSTEREN: Does he invite her up here and stop the name calling?
SPICER: I think he has already brought republican and democrat unions and
businesses to the White House. The individuals that came to this business -
- some supported him, some of them who didn`t. All of them have been very
vocally against him during the campaign. He wants to get things done. He
wants to put America back to work.
And I think as the American people start seeing how his policies are geared
toward keeping this country safe, our people safe, putting people back to
work, it`s through actions and deeds that he is going to show that this
country is moving in the right direction.
VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible) How many steps you do a day?
SPICER: About ten thousand.
VAN SUSTEREN: About ten thousand a day?
VAN SUSTEREN: And doing more now in this job (inaudible).
VAN SUSTEREN: A lot more?
VAN SUSTEREN: What time do you get here in the morning?
SPICER: I try to get here between 6:30 and 7:00.
VAN SUSTEREN: And what time do you walk out of here?
SPICER: Between 9:00 and 10:00.
VAN SUSTEREN: Weekends usually?
SPICER: (inaudible) weekend.
VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible). Job exciting?
SPICER: It`s unbelievably. It`s very exciting.
VAN SUSTEREN: What`s it`s like to walk in the White House every morning?
SPICER: It`s pretty – I never get old. It`s really humbling and it`s an
honor. Every time you walk in that door and realize that you are among a
very, very privileged number of Americans who get to work here. It is truly
the people`s house. And the time that you are here. You realize that you
got so much time to enact change for the American people and you try to
make sure that you use every minute of every hour of every day.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you favor but you lose half the country. Who is going to
win this weekend?
SPICER: Patriots. The American team. I`m lifelong Patriots.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t blame you for being the Patriots.
SPICER: I want you to say – look, you used to say go Pack go.
VAN SUSTEREN: I still say go, Pack, go.
SPICER: I know. I keep hearing you say go, Packs, go.
VAN SUSTEREN: No, go, Pack, go. But Atlanta, they deserve – I have to give
Atlanta credit, anyway.
SPICER: They did a good job. They beat the Packers. But now, it`s on to
Super Bowl trophy to Tom Brady.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, Sean.
SPICER: Thanks a lot. Take care.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you. Thank you very much.
SPICER: Thanks for coming.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, President Trump`s new move for Wall Street. Is he
giving a boost to the economy? Or another giveaway to the big banks? The
answer could affect your retirement savings. But first, we`ll hear from a
man who has been in the White House. Former Chief of Staff Andy Card on the
wild first two weeks of the Trump administration.
VAN SUSTEREN: Two weeks into the Trump administration we`ve seen a lot of
action. But we`ve also heard perhaps more than we should have. The
“Washington Post” calling leaks from the White House totally bananas. And
we learned about President Trump`s alleged abrupt call with Australia`s
prime minister. Details about a conversation of the president have with
Mexico`s president. “Politico” reporting, “Distrust is spurring leaks.”
Kellyanne Conway says, “It`s not being leaked from the White House.
Andy Card served as chief of staff to President George W. Bush. He also
advised the first president Bush and President Reagan. Andy, nice to see
ANDY CARD, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Great to you
see you Greta. Thanks for having me on.
VAN SUSTEREN: Andy, I hear so much about all the leaks coming out but I`ve
been the around the block long enough here in Washington. It seems like
every administration has leaks and I must admit I`m quite impressed with
the Trump White House kept secret who the nominee was for the Supreme
Court. But your thought, are leaks comings out more than usual?
CARD: Well first of all, I think President Obama left with grace and
President Trump came in with excitement and a commitment to do what he said
he was going to do. So, people should not be surprised by the aspirations
that President Trump brought to the office and he`s been following through.
I do think there is a learning curve for the White House staff and I was
impressed with your interview with Sean because it demonstrated the kind of
understanding that there needs to be a process to consider lots of options,
not options that would change the aspirations of the president for policy
but discussion through a process to allows people to anticipate the
consequence of decision and especially narrow the number of unintended
consequences to decision that are made.
So, I give them high marks for aspirations, a kind of learning curve
grades, you know, they move from probably a C minus to a C plus. And I
think what Sean said today tells me they`re moving into the B, B plus
category where they`re getting a process in place to understand and debate
policy, issues and consequences sometimes before those policies are
announced in great detail.
But I do say certainly they`ve had a pretty aggressive first few weeks in
office and they`re now starting to find a more credible stride and to the
president`s credit, he was doing this without cabinet in place. It`s now
he`s getting some cabinet members in place and I want the senate to confirm
the rest of his cabinet so that he can have the wise counsel of cabinet
members who will have the courage to speak truth the power and participate
in the process of implementing policy because, you know, the White House
doesn`t get to implement hardly any policy.
It`s implemented by the agencies and the departments around the federal
government and it`s wise to have people from those implementing agencies
sitting at the table to discuss the consequence of policy as its being
implemented. So, they`re getting there. I think they made a lot of progress
in the last few days, but they certainly had some stumbles coming right out
of the block.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, two-part question. One is how is your counterpart, Chief
of Staff Reince Priebus doing? That`s the first question, and the second –
you can answer them whichever way do you want or not answer them at all if
you don`t want to, is what is the job of chief of staff?
CARD: Well, first of all, Reince Priebus did reach out to me. We`ve had a
couple of phone conversation and I had the privilege in meeting with him
when Dennis McDonough, who was chief of staff to President Obama graciously
invited most of the chiefs of staff to come to the White House and talk to
Reince Priebus. And it was a very candid open conversation with people who
are Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives.
So, it was very empathetic and sympathetic gathering of people who have
been in the position of chief of staff, and I was impressed with how Reince
Priebus took the opportunity seriously and he took copious notes and he
asked great questions and everyone was pretty candid in their responses.
He`s got to make sure there is a process in place to protect the president,
not protect him in a literal sense but protect him from having his time
abused and space in his mind taken up with irrelevant things.
The president makes brutally tough decisions. You want those decisions to
be made with wise counsel so you need a process to allow the president to
get wise counsel and then you want to be able to take the decision so that
it can be implemented to live up to the president`s expectation. And that`s
a difficult thing.
But in terms of Reince, he`s prepared for the job. He`s got a good team
around him. I`m particularly impressed with Joe Hagen, one of his deputy
chiefs of staff who is handling the operations of the White House, the
trains, planes, automobiles, scheduling, that`s very important. But there
are some troubling areas where Reince is going to have to understand the
personalities of people who have direct access to the president and make
sure they don`t abuse time nor take-ups facing the president`s head with
things that the president shouldn`t be worrying about.
VAN SUSTEREN: And we have a minute left but you mentioned the Obama chief
of staff. I mean it is true with the – you know, we make it look like
there`s so many wars in the city, but the Obama staff was gracious as to
the incoming staff to the Trump just like, you know, the Bush staff was
gracious to the Obama staff, trying to make this a good transition.
CARD: Well that`s very important and I think people who have worked in the
White House realize how important it is to for the whole world to see how
America can have a transition that is peaceful even when there are
presidents coming in of a different party or a different philosophy.
And people who work at the White House regardless of the party or
philosophy usually are rooting to the baton to be passed in a grateful
gracious way that will make a difference so that, you know, President Trump
is the president of everyone in this country and he`s the leader of the
free world and we all want him to succeed and I think Dennis McDonough did
a good job of demonstrating that on behalf of President Obama and his team.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well I`ve heard nothing but you know – nothing but a lot of
respect shown from this new administration towards the prior one in terms
of transitions so, you know, they were incredibly helpful to the new
administration. Andy, thank you for joining us.
CARD: Greta, great to be with you and congratulations on your new
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you Andy.
Up next, the White House showdown over the travel ban. Could business
leaders prompt a change from the president? Also inside the White House,
power struggles, how Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump just made big impact on
(BEG(IN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Today, the president met with some business leaders but the
CEO of Uber didn`t show up. He got pressure from – over the immigration.
SPICER: He made some kind of joke why he missed the – he didn`t get a car
ride or something. That`s his decision to make. Obviously it`s a great
company. You know, they`ve really helped transform how we travel. He`s got
to do what he`s got to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Uber CEO abruptly quitting
the president`s business advisory council about the president`s
controversial immigration order. Today, the president meeting with that
council, business leaders from across the nation including Tesla CEO Elon
Musk. Musk defended his decision to attend the meeting vowing to use his
seat at the table to voice objections to immigration policy.
And news from other big companies, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft
recently drafting a joint letter opposing President Trump`s travel ban.
President Trump just tweeting on the travel ban, “Must keep evil out.”
Laurence Tribe is a professor at Harvard Law School. He`s a big critic of
the administration and the travel ban as well as ethics issues. Good
LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Good evening Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Professor, on the issue of this executive order I`m curious
whether you think that it`s unconstitutional or you don`t like it because
those are two different things. You have something that is unconstitutional
TRIBE: Very different.
VAN SUSTEREN: – or you can have something that`s constitutional or you
just don`t like it. Where are you on this?
TRIBE: I think it`s unconstitutional. It`s also something I don`t like
because it`s not going to keep evil out. It`s going to encourage evil. It`s
obviously going to be an inspiration to ISIS and it seems to me that my
being objection is that it`s not justifiable. That it`s a religious
That it`s a discrimination probably against people from countries where
Donald Trump isn`t doing a business and it is a violation of due process.
It`s unconstitutional from the top down and I think courts will hold that,
but I think it`s also ridiculous.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let`s talk for a second on constitutional issue. Many people
I think believe that it says it`s a Muslim ban. It does not say Muslim. It
bans people coming from seven nations who happen to have a majority of
Muslims citizens as they say (ph), but it`s not – it doesn`t say no
Muslims. It`s seven nations –
TRIBE: No, of course not but –
VAN SUSTEREN: And seven nations that have been otherwise been identified
in other parts of our government as nations that we have our eye on.
TRIBE: Right. We had our eye on them and in fact we have what I suppose
you could call extreme vetting. They were the nations that the Obama
administration said you couldn`t come here from without a visa. The fact is
that many Muslim nations are not included in the ban.
There are something like 36 that aren`t included but the fact is that every
nation that is included in the ban, is a Muslim majority nation and
preferences are given to the Christian minorities in those nations. So you
have to be completely blind not to see that this is a Muslim ban beneath a
very narrow fig leaf.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are Christians within those countries included in this ban -
- in this Muslims majority nations, are Christians who are also from those
nations, are they also covered by this ban?
TRIIBE: They`re not covered by the ban because they are religious
minorities and the ban makes an explicit exception for potentially
persecuted minorities. And the president made clear that what he means by
that is the Christian minority.
He`s been very explicit. In fact he goes on television and says that
Christians are beheaded with particular savagery and frequency in these
countries. The fact is that our constitution forbids drawing a line, a
religious gerrymander and that`s very well settled. And I think the
president`s lawyers ought to know that.
VAN SUSTEREN: One of your former colleagues, Professors Alan Dershowitz,
who you duked it out with the (INAUDIBLE) policy and things, he believes
that it is constitutional though he says it`s very badly executed which I
think is probably universal agreement how this was rolled out.
TRIBE: I think Alen is wrong. I think Alen is wrong. He`s a smart guy, but
I think I know my constitutional law and I think Alen is wrong on this one.
VAN SUSTEREN: I`d love to have you and Alan both back, the battle of the
titans. Anyway, thank you sir.
TRIBE: Thanks Greta and congratulations on your new gig.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. And when we come back, the fight on the economy.
Did President Trump just give sweetheart deal to Wall Street or a lifeline
to small business?
Also behind the scenes with how Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump may be
helping to stir policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDNT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re bringing back jobs.
We`re bringing down your taxes. We`re getting rid of the regulations. I
think it`s going to be some really, really exciting times ahead. We expect
to be cutting a lot of the Dodd-Frank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump speaking today at his meeting about his
executive order targeting the Dodd-Frank financial regulation setting up
next huge fight. Democrats say it`s a massive give away to the big banks.
The White House says it will free up business to make jobs, either way, it
could have huge impact on the economy and your retirement savings.
Sabrina Siddiqui is a political reporter with “The Guardian” and Jeff Mason
is White House correspondent for Reuters and president of the White House
Correspondents Association. First to you Sabrina, Dodd-Frank fight, what`s
going to happen with this?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: Well, I think that you
certainly will see Democrats try and push the message that Donald Trump ran
on economic populist and then he said he was going to stand up for the
little guy. They`re already pointing to the fact that Steven Mnuchin, the
treasury secretary or who will soon be confirmed as treasury secretary is a
former Goldman Sachs executive so is the director of the Donald Trump`s
National Economic Council.
So they believe you see the imprint of Wall Street already on the Trump
administration and I think that they certainly will try and make the case
that this is a give away to Wall Street, that this certainly unravels a lot
of the progress that was made to try and protect consumers from predatory
lending and abuses by mortgage and credit card companies in the financial
VAN SUSTEREN: Jeff, I was happy to see the president meet with people from
all walks of life and business is important and obviously I`m happy to see
him – he met with some union leaders. But in all of these business
meetings I never see the guy that owns the grocery store, the two or three
You know, we`re seeing this huge CEO`s and they should be at the table, but
I would like to see someone who actually has to run a business and make
payroll everyday of about seven people.
JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Well, and people like that
were a big part of his constituency that helped him get into the White
House, but I think – and he has said this a lot, that his supporters
understand that it`s business leaders, it`s these billionaires that he`s
putting his cabinet are the ones that he believes are right for getting the
economy moving again. I don`t think he sees a disconnect.
VAN SUSTEREN: But where I grew up, someone who has seven employees and now
moves it to nine employees because of business is going well because of
some good ideas, I mean, that makes a big difference in my community.
MASON: For sure.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, it`s not these (INAUDIBLE) and they have very
different issues and problems, you know, with the smaller business than
these massive corporations.
MASON: Yes, and regulations affect small business especially hard as well.
SIDDIQUI: And Republican has certainly campaigned on repealing Dodd-Frank.
Donald Trump himself said he would do that so the question is can they
overcome a Democratic filibuster and get enough (INAUDIBLE) Democrats to
cross the line and support them in undoing some of the Obama regulations.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think you`d get some. But anyway NBC News confirming
President Trump`s daughter and son-in-law led the charge to sideline a
direct executive order overturning the Obama era protections of LGBT rights
in the workplace. NBC News learns Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner pushed the
White House to put out a statement from the president promising to uphold
the 2014 action. Now Jeff, this is interesting.
MASON: It is interesting. It`s interesting because that last thing that
you read, that happened earlier this week. And then a few days later, 24
hours even later, this other draft order, executive order on religious
freedom started floating around, and floating around especially amongst gay
rights advocacy groups who are concerned about many of the issues that they
addressed there. It was sort of the opposite of the signal of saying I`m
going to uphold the rights that President Obama stood for.
VAN SUSTEREN: But I guess it`s no surprise because remember during the
election when he was asked about gay marriage, he said that`s one already
decided by the Supreme Court. He`s never – he`s been more of a business
type guy and less of a social issue type guy.
SIDDIQUI: He`s not ideologically driven when it comes to some of these
social issues and it`s interesting to see they`re all in Jared Kushner and
Ivanka Trump, who of course running this more socially liberal circles in
New York as well so I think that you could see them having an influence.
He does feel as though he`s being pressured by the religious right to
pursue some of the legislation that critics say could open up the door to
discrimination against LGBT individuals. At the same time, you do have Mike
Pence as his Vice President. He of course signed a bill in Indiana as the
governor that was met with a lot of controversy for precisely that where
people felt that this enables businesses to deny service to people just
because they identify as LGBT, and I don`t think that the fight is
There are still signals coming from the White House that they might pursue
some kind of religious freedom legislation that could very much be caught
up in this sort debate.
MASON: Although they did not want to engage very much on that order this
week. I mean as soon as the controversy started coming up about what was
involved in that order, they were distancing themselves as much as they
VAN SUSTEREN: Jeff, as president of the White House Correspondents
Association, can you tell us what is the status of the White House
Correspondents Dinner his year? I mean, is it going forward or not?
VAN SUSTEREN: Is President Trump going to attend and accept the
MASON: I have no updates on that –
VAN SUSTEREN: Not at all?
MASON: But I can tell you that the dinner is going to happen and we look
forward to having it.
VAN SUSTEREN: And all the sort of parties who go on about it, are all the
news organizations –
SIDDIQUI: “Vanity Fair” pulled out and the Bloomberg party.
MASON: Yes, I`ve read that. You know, we have nothing do with that. The
White House Correspondents Association throws our dinner and it is about
preserving and celebrating the First Amendment. It`s about recognizing
scholarship awardees and giving awards to members of our association who
have done terrific work. And all those things are the things that we`ll do
again this year.
SIDDIQUI: I think you may have slightly less of celebrity presence there
if you`ve looked at these award ceremonies. They`ve been very vocal –
Hollywood has about how they feel about the new president, but as Jeff
said, this award is about a lot more than celebrities won (INAUDIBLE) that
that`s been not typically productive.
MASON: If there are fewer celebrities who will attend who have huge
parties around that dinner this year, we have no problem with that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, well the story continues. We`ll find out as time
march on. Thank you both. You know
SIDDIQUI: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: And now three stories you may not know. Number three,
Michael Jackson`s trust is estimated to be worth more than world $1
billion, but the IRS says that the estate owes over $700 million in
penalties and back taxes. So, if the IRS wins the argument, Jackson`s
estate will be value at somewhere at $434 million.
Number two, there`s an ancient lost continent lying at the bottom of the
Indian Ocean. Researchers believe the continent formed when the fragments
broke off in Africa and India as they split apart millions of years ago.
They have named the lost continent Mauritia.
Number one, you probably heard of wearable devices like fitness trackers
but a new wearable technology allows any surface to turn into a keyboard.
The device is called TAP and uses Bluetooth technology to sense your finger
movement so, now you know.
“For the Record,” something is happening in the shadows of the Capitol and
it needs to be addressed. That`s next.
VAN SUSTEREN: I want to say this “For the Record.” It`s happening right
here in the shadows of the beautiful U.S. Capitol, right under the noses of
both Democrats and Republicans and it`s disgraceful. The “Washington Post”
is first to put the spotlight on this disgrace and tonight I want to crank
up that spotlight. Meet Heavens Lester, she`s two. That`s her mother
Krystal Heavens. Heavens says the highest levels of lead in that little
body that Washington has seen in decades. And she has brain damage from
How could this happen? Well the answer is shameful. The “Washington Post”
reports Heavens` family is placed in a house under a Washington, D.C.
program for the homeless known as Targeted Affordable Housing. The D.C.
Housing office supposedly inspected the house, said it was safe. It was
not. It was lead toxic causing that poor child brain damage.
Also according to the “Post” there are weaknesses in the those federal
guidelines followed by D.C. and other cities. The guidelines are supposed
to provide safe housing for homeless families. Heavens` home, it wasn`t
safe by any stretch of the imagination. Authorities, they don`t even really
check for lead. Instead, they just eye ball the house looking for peeling
paint and a fresh coat of paint hides it – poisonous peeling lead paint –
and authorities look no further.
In the case of little Heavens, the city and the landlord are now pointing
fingers at one another but the federal government is part of this. How
disgraceful, that in Washington, D.C. with all the politicians put so much
powee to make things better that this could happen. And you can bet that
little Heavens is not the only child. I sure hope Housing and Urban
Development secretary Dr. Ben Carson is watching tonight. I know he cares.
I just hope he does something.
Thanks for watching. See you back here Monday night 6:00 p.m. eastern. Have
a great Super Bowl weekend. Follow me on twitter @Greta. Facebook is a
great place to follow me from behind the scenes video and more. I just put
up a great video. You`ll love it. Facebook. “Hardball” with Chris Matthews
starts right now.
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