For the Record with Greta, Transcript 2/24/2017

Guests:
Kevin Cirilli, Annie Linskey, Susan Ferrechio, Marcel Groen, Gavin Newsom, Martha Laning
Transcript:

Show: FOR THE RECORD

Date: February 24, 2017

Guest: Kevin Cirilli, Annie Linskey, Susan Ferrechio, Marcel Groen, Gavin Newsom, Martha Laning

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MSNBC HOST:  President Trump at war with the press and

it just got worst, much worst.  Today, the president ramping up his fight

against what he calls, fake news, with a scorching attack and a move to

freeze out select news outlet.  We`ll talk to the head of the White House

correspondent association.  And former secretary of state Hillary Clinton

speaking out just hours before key vote on the party`s new leadership, what

she says would be the less formula for beating President Trump.  Plus,

Hollywood celebrities canceling an Oscar party to hold a rally against the

president, it`s happening in this hour.  We`re going to take you to the

main stage.

 

President Trump the first sitting president to address the CPAC convention

since Ronald Reagan, the president today kicking off his speech with harsh

word for the media.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I want you all to know that

we are fighting the fake news.  It`s fake.  Phony, fake.  A few days ago, I

called the fake news the enemy of the people and they are.  They are the

enemy of the people.  Because they have no sources, they just make them up

when there are none.  I saw one story recently where they said nine people

have confirmed.  There are not nine people.  I don`t believe there was one

or two people.  Nine people, and I said give me a break, because I know the

people.  I know who they talked to.  There were no nine people, but they

say nine people.  And somebody reads it and they think, oh, nine people,

they have nine sources.  They make up sources.  They`re very dishonest

people.  In fact, in covering my comments the dishonest media did not

explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people.  The fake

news.  They dropped off the word, fake, and all of a sudden the story

became the media is the enemy.  They take the word make, fake, out and now

I`m saying, oh, no, this is no good.  But that`s the way they are.  So I`m

not against the media, I`m not against the press, I don`t mind bad stories

if I deserve them, and I`ll tell you I love good stories, but we won`t – I

don`t get too many of them.  But I am only against the fake news media or

press.  Fake, fake, they have to lead that word.  I`m against the people

that make up stories and make up sources.  They shouldn`t be allowed to use

sources unless they use somebody`s name.  Let their name be put out there. 

Let their name be put out.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Just a few hours after that speech, the White House excluded

reporters from several news organizations from a briefing.  Now, those

organization did find out what happened because the network pool was

allowed in, they listened to audio of the briefing on a colleague cell

phone.  On occasion in the past, previous administration have excluded

journalist.  In a statement, the White House correspondent association says

this is, quote, protesting strongly against how today`s gaggle is being

handled by the White House.  We encouraged associations that were allowed

in to share the material with others in the press corp. who are not.  The

board will be discussing this further with White House staff.  With me, the

author of that statement, the president of the White House correspondents

association and Reuters White House reporter, Jeff Mason.  Jeff, just

before I started talking, I do want to correct the president, he said that

it was fake news is the enemy of the people.  The February 17th tweet that

was take – fake news and then he named all the people, all the

organizations as fake news as the enemy of the people.  So he`s dropping

out a lot of what he just said.  He identified a lot of news organizations

as being the enemy of the people.

 

JEFF MASON, PRESIDENT WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT ASSOCIATION:  He was very

specific about that.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Very specific.  All right.  So we have now fact corrected

him.  I appreciate when he facts corrects us.  But he`s wrong on that one. 

All right, now let me ask you about today, how did you hear about the fact

that some news organizations were excluded?

 

MASON:  Well, we have a nine person board, the White House correspondents

association and a couple of board members who are at the White House at the

time let me know, gave me a call, and we started working on it.  We got in

touch with Sean Spicer and others on his team and said – and made some

suggestions about how they could do that instead of having it in his office

for example, he could have this gaggle in the press room, it didn`t have to

be on camera, but in could been in the press room where a lot more

journalist would been able to ask.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  What was the reason for excluding it?  Was it the size of

the room or was it something else?

 

MASON:  I can`t really answer that.  I don`t know what the reason is.  We

don`t see it as a justifiable reason.  There are times when gaggles are

appropriate, for example on Air Force One there are only 13 reporters who

can fit on Air force One, so that`s when…

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Didn`t you say to Sean Spicer why weren`t these other news

organizations allowed in?

 

MASON:  We said they should be more inclusive.  They should do in a way…

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  What did he say?

 

MASON: … more people could come.  He said that they wanted to do a gaggle

and that`s what they did.  And they proceeded to do that and we`re going to

keep talking to him.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Did you get that he felt – the fact there was a gaggle that

he had some privilege or right or ability to limit the number of news

organization?  Is that sort of the appropriate word?

 

MASON:  I think that that`s how he viewed it.  As I said, there some times

where it works like that, but on a regular day at the White House when the

full press corps is there and you`ve got the space in the briefing room,

and you end up using the gaggle just to talk about news of the day, that

should be done in open way with a lot of journalist.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Did he say this organization, this organization, this

organization can`t come in, or did he say like, OK, the first ten who show

up could come in?  I mean, how was it delineated who could come in and who

couldn`t?

 

MASON:  My understanding is that they included the pool, which includes

organizations like Reuters, and Bloomberg, and also networks.  And then

they pick some other news organization that they added to that and excluded

the rest.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Anyone from the excluded group – CNN was excluded?

 

MASON:  CNN was excluded.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  POLITICO was excluded?

 

MASON:  Yes.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Did they say can we come in?

 

MASON:  As far as I know, yes.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  And did you know what was their response was?  I`m trying to

figure out if they`re trying to be cute and clever by having a gaggle so

that they could exclude some, or whether it`s a legitimate reason for the

size of the room, or they think, well, there`s a pool there that good

enough for everybody.

 

MASON:  Yeah.  I think honestly those questions have to be directed to the

White House.  Our view is that when you`re using that type of situation to

brief the press about news of the day it should be for a big group and it

should be done in the press room.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  There`s no construction being done in the press

room.  There`s no reason they weren`t doing anything in the press room that

was unavailable, right?

 

MASON:  Absolutely not.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  And how far away is the press room from where the gaggle is

done?

 

MASON:  The gaggle is done today at Sean Spicer`s office.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  So from people who don`t know the White House, I mean how

far is it?

 

MASON:  It takes about one minute to walk up there.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  So, it`s a door or two maybe?

 

MASON:  It`s a couple of doors and a hallway or two.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  Did any of the White House correspondents, who

went in the room in gaggle, did they say, hey, what about CNN, or what

about anybody else?

 

MASON:  I wasn`t in there, so I can`t answer that.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  What has been the working relationship at the White House

with the press corp.?

 

MASON:  We have work hard to have a constructive relationship with this

White House.  The White House correspondent association, in particular, has

worked to be able to say to Sean Spicer, look, this is not something we

find acceptable.  This is how we suggest doing it.  And honestly, the

access broad way at the White House since President Trump came into office

has been good.  That, of course, is separate from the rhetoric that you

hear from the president.  And as you were playing earlier from CPAC that`s

a totally different story.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Did Sean Spicer, anything at all to indicate that he was

upset or angry with the press today?

 

MASON:  I think Sean was upset with the story that happened on another

network.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  So do you get that that was sort of what have provoke him to

have a gaggle during the press room or not?

 

MASON:  No, because in fact they said in the daily guidance that was

released last night that today there will be a gaggle.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  So, it was no surprise.

 

MASON:  It was not a surprise that that`s how they intended to go forward.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  So, if they gave notice the last night that there`s going to

be a gaggle, it wasn`t a full press briefing, everybody knew that today. 

Why would the media be upset as to discovery there was a gaggle which has a

limited number?

 

MASON:  Because what they said on the guidance was that it was an expanded

pool and they didn`t explain how that was going to happen.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  What is an expanded pool?

 

MASON:  Well, the pool is a group of 13 journalists who cover the White

House and cover the president where ever he goes, expanded in this case was

not defined.  And what they decide expanded meant was adding some news

organizations that they wanted to be there and excluding others, and that`s

something that we objected.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  I`m trying to understand whether the exclusion was some sort

of deliberate attempt to sort of to punish or to teach some news

organizations a lesson for something they`d written.

 

MASON:  And it`s hard for me to answer that.  Broadly, we object to it.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  What`s the next step?

 

MASON:  The next step is just to keep talking to them and to make sure that

we don`t have something like this happen again.  I think it`s worth noting

that since Sean became press secretary, he`s been having regular briefings

in the White House press room on television.  I would – reluctant to draw

conclusions from what happened today.  We don`t like what happened today,

but I want to look at the full record and also say we have pretty good

access so far.  We hope that that is the trend that continues and not a

trend of excluding news organizations.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Jeff, thank you.

 

MASON:  My pleasure.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  What a jab you have.

 

MASON:  Indeed.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, this dispute about the media is coming on a little of

a controversy involving the White House and the FBI.  Today, the president

was moved to call off leaks from FBI on twitter, saying, quote, the FBI is

totally unable to stop the national security leakers that have permeated

our government.  They can even find the leakers within the FBI itself. 

Classified information is being given to media that could have devastating

effect on the U.S.  Find now.  NBC`s intelligence and national security –

Ken Dilanian is reporting on this story.  Ken, can you give me sort of the

time line on this whole dispute that has arisen?

 

KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS:  Sure, Greta, great to be with you.  And this is a

story that may end up being more consequential to the Trump administration

and its war with the press because this is about the FBI.  So, on February

14, there were a pair of stories from The New York Times and CNN asserting

that the FBI had obtained evidence that members of the Trump campaign

during the election were in contact with Russian intelligence officials,

Russian officials, while Russia was engaged in that covert campaign to

interfere with the election, in part to benefit Donald Trump.  That`s an

explosive story, right?  And so, the next morning, deputy FBI director,

Andrew McCabe, according to the White House now, according to anonymous

administration officials, and also Sean Spicer today, pulls aside White

House chief of staff, Reince Priebus and said, hey, we think that story was

garbage, it wasn`t true.  Priebus then said, how can we correct this?  Can

you push back on it?  Again, this is the White House account.  They`re not

disputed by law enforcement officials.  The FBI ultimately decides, no, we

can`t push back on it.  We`re not in the business on the record correcting

media accounts.  There`re two things that are really important about this,

Greta.  One is these conversation appear to have violated long-standing

guidelines about how the justice department is supposed to talked about

pending criminal investigation with the White House.  It`s supposed to be

the attorney general talking to the White House council, not the FBI

talking to White House chief of staffs.  So Democrats all day today have

been issuing angry statements saying, look, this is political interference

in a pending criminal investigation.  And after all, could implicate

members of the Trump White House.  The second issue here though is these

denials from the White House make it seems like these stories were

completely baseless.  But, in fact, NBC News had confirmed that the FBI did

obtain evidence of contacts between Trump campaign officials and the

Russians.  That maybe it`s the Time stories and CNN stories overstated some

aspects of it.  Maybe it wasn`t Russian intelligent officials, our

information is just Russians.  U.S. government can say if its intelligence

officials, but it`s still a really important story.  Unexplained contact

between Trump campaign officials and Russians, while Russia is engage in a

state sponsored hacking and leaking campaign designed to undermine the

election, Greta.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  Two issues, one is the issue of political

interference.  It wasn`t Reince Priebus who first went to the FBI.  The FBI

originate – Reince Priebus that there was a story that was garbage,

overstated, maybe hype by the New York Times or CNN.  And Reince Priebus

said can you fix it?  Is there some way to fix it?  Saying, can we get the

truth out there?  I assume would be how I read.  Is that how you read that?

 

DILANIAN:  Yeah, except based on what I know, the way I read it is that the

FBI is saying that parts of it were garage, and Reince is saying, well, can

you correct the parts that are wrong?  And the FBI, ultimately concluded,

we can`t end up correcting part that are wrong and part of it is true.  And

so, we end confirming a story about classified information in a criminal

investigation.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  I would actually want something false about me corrected

too.  So I don`t blame Reince on it.  All right, here`s the other too, it`s

a big difference, is it not?  If the New York Times says that the contact

was with Russian intelligence rather than Russians, I mean, that`s not a

small mistake.  That would be a glaring one if that`s wrong, right?

 

DILANIAN:  I agree with you.  It`s an important distinction.  But, you

know, it could be – we`re in this netherworld of national security

intelligence, all we know is that the U.S. government hasn`t confirm that

these people are Russian intelligence officials.  But I agree with you. 

It`s an important question to ask.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  And at no time, at least in your reporting, was

the White House asking the FBI to do something wrong.  The only thing we

have – that we have so far is that – is it that Reince Priebus was asking

to correct the story – that the FBI corrects the story after the FBI told

them that they were mistakes?

 

DILANIAN:  Well, that`s correct.  But, of course, I mean, what the

Democrats would say is just the mere fact that talking about this stuff and

talking about how you are going to deal with stories in the press about

pending investigation is improper.  Because, you know, the FBI is supposed

to be independent.  These investigations are supposed to be walled off from

any political influence.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  I guess for me – but on the other hand, so do we want

incorrect stories, or exaggerated, or mistaken, or what sitting out there

either.  I don`t know what`s worse?  White House officials saying let`s get

the correct thing out there, I think is a good idea, or letting a false

story sit.  But I realized that the FBI does not want to jeopardize their

investigation.  So I see the whole problem.

 

DILANIAN:  Yes, it`s a difficult dilemma.  Especially part of the story was

true, and part of it was wrong.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Ken, thank you very much.

 

DILANIAN:  Great to be you with.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Great to have you.  House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi

calling for an investigation in to the White House saying, quote, the

department of justice`s inspector general must open a new investigation

into any at all conversations, Priebus and other White House officials held

with the FBI on ongoing investigation.  That is a new NBC-Wall Street

Journal poll shows that majority of Americans believe congress should

investigate whether or not there was improper contact between the Russian

government and the Trump campaign.  With me Democratic congressman Brad

Sherman of California.  Nice to talk to you, sir.

 

REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA:  Good to be with you, Greta.  And I`m

thrilled that you moved from Fox to MSNBC.  And I know that the country

would not be far behind.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Thank you very much.  I appreciate it.  And I`m very happy

to be here.  All right.  This whole – I assume you`ve just heard my

conversation with Ken, right, in this whole issue.  Do you have any

problems with Reince Priebus if an FBI agent comes up and says that there

was a story in the New York Times that was rather quite explosive, saying

that there was – the campaign was having conversations – communications

with Russian intelligence, do you have any problems with Reince Priebus

wanting to sort of correct that?

 

SHERMAN:  Well, I have a problem with the FBI talking to the White House

about this.  I have a problem with the White House talking to the FBI about

this.  We shouldn`t have leaks, we shouldn`t have pressure.  We should just

let the FBI do its job and do it quietly.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  So, but – and I`m not trying to protect Reince Priebus, but

I`m trying to think – so the FBI should not have done that.  They

shouldn`t made that statements originally.  And I agree with you on that. 

Of course, New York Times should have gotten straight in the beginning as

well, or CNN.  I mean, they should have gotten it right too, assuming that

all these stories are now incorrect or exaggerated, do you agree with that?

 

SHERMAN:  Yeah.  I think the real issue here is whether the Trump campaign

was in touch with Russians and co-conspiring in the cyber burglary of the

DNC.  That`s why I asked attorney general Loretta Lynch last month to setup

a special prosecutor before the change of administrations.  Unfortunately

that didn`t happen, and we`re going to have to see what investigation can

take place at the present time.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  And that`s a different issue than the one we`re talking

about today, but it`s an important one.  That predates the inauguration. 

That`s something different.  The whole investigation to what happened last

fall and in late last summer in terms of any hacking with the DNC or any

communications between any campaigns and Russian officials, intelligence,

or whatever.  That`s a separate important investigation.

 

SHERMAN:  I think it`s the same in the sense what the FBI was talking with

Priebus about.  Was there investigation of pre-election contacts between

the Trump campaign and Russian officials, Russian intelligence, or

whatever?  If that contact was there, and they were co-conspiring to use

the fruits of the cyber burglary of the DNC, that could be a high crime or

misdemeanor.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  What if there is no contact at all, and this is

an investigation and one that we need to have so that the people are

satisfied that we have integrity in the system.  But the FBI – and the FBI

see this sort of going a little bit – going astray in the New York Times

with this exaggerated thing saying Russian intelligence, which is a lot

different than just the Russians – Russian intelligence, would you not

think that if that were sort of dumped in the lap of Reince Priebus that he

would want to correct that immediately and not let it spend years drifting

its way through Washington?

 

SHERMAN:  There are a lot of things that I want to do, but I have to live

by the rules and the rules aren`t should be.  The White House doesn`t push

the FBI.  The FBI doesn`t reveal things or talk to the White House.  And

we`ve just let the investigation go forward.  And what we have to do is

take a look at what contacts there may have been.  I`m particularly

concerned with the 35-page dossier, now was put out by former British spy

that was being paid by Trump`s enemies, so you take it with a grain of

salt, but part of it has been validated, and to see whether or not Trump

send his lawyer to confer with the Russians in Prague.  His lawyers had

publish only the front of his passport, as if that would prove that he

hasn`t been in Prague at the relevant time.  So we`ve got a lot of

investigating to do, but if Trump and his campaign were conspiring with the

Russians to make use of the theft of DNC files, you know Watergate was the

theft of DNC files too.  Back then, files were in folders, now there on

computers.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  I`m totally with you that we need an aggressive thorough

investigation about what did and did not happened last fall.  I wish that

we could do this a lot faster, very thorough, very complete, and not with

any sort of funny business at all.  I think that would be good for

everybody.

 

SHERMAN:  Absolutely.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Congressman, thank you.  I hope you`ll come back.

 

SHERMAN:  Good to be with you, Greta.

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Still ahead, former secretary of state and former candidate

for president, Hillary Clinton, resurfaces.  She has a new message to those

Democrats gathering at Atlanta for tomorrow`s big vote, the new chair of

the DNC.  She says something about resistance.  That`s coming up.  Now look

who we spotted today at New York City, former president Barack Obama.  And

the spotlight is on Hollywood, days ahead of the Oscars, the Hollywood

stars already out.  They`re not partying, they`re protesting, who and why,

that`s coming up.  We`re live in Beverly Hills.  

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Victory lap of sorts where President Trump speaking today at

CPAC before a fired-up and very friendly crowd.  This after skipping the

conference last year with the crowd was not very happy with him.  Now we`ve

played you some of his criticism today of the media, but he had a lot more

to say on that topic, as well as his campaign promises like his plans to

build the wall and repeal Obamacare.  It was an important moment in the

Trump presidency.  So we`re going to play an extended portion of his

remarks, and then talk about it on the other side.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

TRUMP:  You know, the dishonest media they`ll say, he didn`t get a standing

ovation, you know why?  You know why?  Because everybody stood and nobody

sat, so they will say he never got a standing ovation, right?

 

It`s a very sensitive topic and they get upset when we expose their false

stories.  They say that we can`t criticize their dishonest coverage because

of the first amendment.  You know, they`ll always bring up the first

amendment.  And I love the first amendment.  Nobody loves it better than

me.

 

I would have come last year but I was worried that I would be at that time

too controversial.  We wanted border security.  We wanted very, very strong

military.  We wanted all of the things that we`re going to get.  Take a

look, at some of these balls.  There`s so bad, so inaccurate.  And what

that does is it creates a false narrative.  It creates like this narrative

that`s just like we`re not going to win.

 

We`re going to build a wall.  Don`t worry about it.  We`re building the

wall.  We`re building the wall.  We`re getting bad people out of this

country, people that shouldn`t be.  Whether its drugs, or murder or other

things, we`re getting bad ones out.  Those are the ones.  They go first. 

And I said it from day one.  Basically, all I`ve done is keep my promise.

 

This is the situation that I inherited.  I inherited a mess believe me. 

We`ve also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical

systems with absolute and total catastrophe.  Now, I`ve been watching and

nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn`t work, folks.  I mean, I can say, I

can talk.  It doesn`t work.  And now, people are starting to develop little

warmup.  But the people that you`re watching, they`re not you.  They`re

largely – many of them are the side that lost.  You know, they lost the

election.  So, like, how many elections do we have to have? 

 

They lost the election.  I think I did more than any other pre-president. 

They said president-elect.  President-elect is meeting with Ford, he`s

meeting with Chrysler.  He`s meeting with General Motors.

 

The forgotten men and women of America will be forgotten no longer.  That

is the heart of this new movement and the future of the Republican Party. 

The GOP will be from now on the party also of the American worker.  This is

the United States of America that I`m representing.  I`m not representing

the globe.  I`m representing your country.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Next, reaction to that from our political panel.  And later,

a GOP lawmakers said all those town halls could make Republicans think

twice about one of their top priorities.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  We`re back with more with President Trump at CPAC, where he

spoken a few times over the years always returning to his key themes, among

them the need for America to get tougher on the world stage.  Kevin is a

political reporter from Bloomberg news, And Linskey is National Political

Reporter for the Boston Globe and Susan Ferrechio is Chief Congressional

Correspondent for the Washington Examiner.  Kevin, quite a friendly crowd

today at CPAC so – I`m sure the president was quite happy with what he had

done. 

 

KEVIN CIRILLI, BLOOMBERG NEWS:  Well there was a well received message at

CPAC however it comes just a couple of days before he will head over to

Capitol Hill and deliver a joint address to Congress and there are a lot of

Republicans, Greta, who are still waiting to see where exactly he lands on

the host of the policy issues on how to repeal parts of the affordable care

act or Obamacare.  He didn`t get into specifics today, but the Republicans

are hoping he will on Tuesday night. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  And he barbequed the meeting today, but he was wrong about

that thing about he said today that he said fake news is the enemy to the

American people.  He said fake news and parenthesis he named all the

organization are fake news including this one and said that we are the

enemy, so he was slippery with that today. 

 

ANNIE LINSKEY, BOSTON GLOBE:  He was.  Barbeque is the right word, I mean

the trump white house clearly wants there to be a war with the media, that

is clearly the narrative they –

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Steve Bannon yesterday said it`s not only going to get

better, it`s going to get worst everyday in the media and it goes on and

trash talk –

 

LINSKEY:  And in fact today, it did get even worse together that

relationship.  Trump is talking with the media gets attacked, we defend

ourselves, and then we all end up talking about the media for a day, Trump

sees that playing right into the playbook.  He wants this war.  He doesn`t

want people who are questioning him to have creditability. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  But Susan, if indeed it`s true that what the “New York

Times” wrote was false that they said Russian intelligence, Russians that

is a big difference and if the media going to get it wrong, they are just

handing ammunition to the president. 

 

SUSAN FERRECHIO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER:  I just think the media – I

cannot say they are getting it wrong so much that they just made something

big out of perhaps something that is non-existence.  And they turn it to

this big headlines, big dark specter of the Russian connection with the

Trump administration.   They have the Democrats calling for an

investigation. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  It is an important issue.  When you write about it you have

to get it right or the person you`re writing about is going to get you. 

 

FERRECHIO:  I don`t think the media has been precise enough on the

reporting.  You see that in the headlines in the reporting, twitter feed,

and that is what Trump is pushing back against.  For example, if you dig

through all the reporting, somebody out there find were the FBI or anyone

is saying dependently that the Russians did something specifically to help

Trump win, all you can see in the reporting is that unnamed sources are

saying it ultimately benefitted Trump in this.  The standard line by the

mainstream media is that Russians did this to help Trump.  There`s all kind

of, I think misrepresentation in the media. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right, we got another topic.  The Sunday News Times

today that all this town hall protests may be having an effect and maybe

not the effect that everyone wants.  Listen to a GOP congressman on the

radio. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

 

MO BROOKS, GOP CONGRESSMAN:  There are a significant number of congressmen

who are being impacted by this kind of protests.  I don`t know if we are

going to be able to repeal Obamacare, now because these folks who support

Obamacare very active, you may not see a vote to repeal Obamacare. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Kevin, we have GOP congressman saying that.  You have former

speaker of the house Boehner saying yesterday that the idea of repealing

and replacing Obamacare is happy talk. 

 

CIRILLI:  Well President Trump has said on CPAC today that they are going

to repeal and replace parts of the affordable care act.  But look, there

are parts of Obamacare that are popular. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Could be that in the replacement. 

 

CIRILLI:  Right. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Yes, it could be. 

 

CIRILLI:  Now I think the choice for the president is whether he is going

to stick with people like Senator Rand Paul, take a more conservative

people like senator – that could present challenges for him later on. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Although this members of congress has been yelling at town

halls they are gun shy. 

 

LINSKEY:  Yes.  They are.  Repeal and replace, repeal and repair, we`re

look for another “r” word.  Clearly they are realizing when they are

governing people do – are benefitting. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Sometimes it is fun to be in the minority.  Anyway we are

taking for another quick break.  Still to come, former Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton recording a message to Democrats and some celebrities

trading their Oscars party for a political rally it is happening right now,

we are going to go right there to the main stage. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

 

HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Hello Democrats.  Thank you all

for coming together to represent our party at its best.  Let resistance

plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country.  Keep

fighting and keep the faith.  And I`ll be right there with you every step

of the way. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Resistance plus persistence former Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton today speaking to Democrats gathering in Atlanta for

tomorrow`s big vote.  One person who has not said much about the raise is

former President Obama although was spotted in New York City today.  Seven

candidates are hoping to be the chair of DNC, the lead contenders,

Congressman Keith Ellison endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders and former

labor Secretary Tome Perez, back by former Vice President Biden.  This

could be a pivotal moment for the Democratic Party.  With me two DNC

members of two different states, both won by President Trump, each

supporting different candidates for the chair of the DNC.  Martha Laning,

and Marcel Groen Democratic party chair from the great state of

Pennsylvania.  Martha, you are supporting Congressman Keith Ellison, what`s

wrong with secretary labor Tom Perez, why don`t you want him? 

 

MARTHA LANING, CHAIR DEMOCRATIC PARTY:  It`s wonderful to have phenomenon

candidates running for this position.  But for me, Keith Ellison edges out

everybody else, because he is the man of unity.  He has strong support from

both Hillary and Bernie camps.  He is bringing back our party together.  It

is all about grass roots organizing he actually done it.  He is also out

there working with the people.  He is walked the talk and been all over our

nation working on electing Democrats. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right Marcel, same question but in reverse.  You`re

supporting former secretary of labor Tom Perez.  What`s wrong with

Congressman Keith Ellison, why don`t you him – why choose Perez? 

 

MARCEL GROEN, CHAIR DEMOCRATIC PARTY:  You don`t necessarily pick somebody

because somebody else is wrong.  In this particular case I like both of

them, but it clearly Tom Perez has got the edge.  He has the experience, he

is run a large bureaucracies.  He has support across the political spectrum

in terms of Democratic Party from the Clintons, to the Obama`s to Sanders

supporters.  He is progressive, he is moderate, and he is where we need him

to be, frankly for me, I`m sorry – 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Let me go back to you Martha.  Martha, it seems to me the

choices between Tom Perez, his experiences versus the far left, which is

Keith Ellison, I think it was Bernie Sanders and I wonder if the Democratic

Party should move farther to the left than to the modern position? 

 

LANING:  I think Keith Ellison is about grass roots organizing, he about

getting neighbor to neighbor to talk to each other.  In the state of

Minnesota when they were threaten voter id laws and prevent people from

voting, he got people on the ground to talk to each other.  If we had that

in November we would have won. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Marcel, Vice President Biden says there`s a big clung that

did not show up.  Do you think Perez would be able to bring them back into

the fold so they have more success at the polls? 

 

GROEN:  I think Donald Trump will bring them back.  Regardless of who is

the leader of the Party, yes I feel like Tom has the capacity and ability,

base upon your last question, I agree with that.  We need to be moderate. 

We need to reach out across the spectrum.  We have a lot of Republican –

Democrats who voted for Donald Trump because they are socially conservative

but fiscally moderate.  We need to be able to reach across those lines.  We

need somebody to be broad as possible.  We need the energy, enthusiasm, for

the Ellison supporters. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right we will be watching tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the big

vote.  Thank you both.  Good luck with your candidates. 

 

Next, winners and losers from this wild week in the Trump presidency, also

Meryl Streep spark a controversy at the Golden Globes attacking President

Trump and today celebrities are ditching their Oscar parties to rally

against the president.  We`ll take you there. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  A rare public appearance from White House chief strategist

Steve Bannon.  A new National Security adviser and Town Hall protests

erupting coast to coast, it is all part of the wild week five in the Trump

presidency, President Trump naming Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as his

new National Security Adviser. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  People on both sides say this is a strong choice. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Homecoming angry crowds erupt. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`m on Obamacare.  If it wasn`t for Obamacare we would

not be able to afford insurance. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They are being bused around to disrupt them. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We`re getting bad dudes out of this country.  It`s a

military operation. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, no use of military force in immigration operation. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This service, gathered in the annual CPAC conference. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s going to get worst every day. 

 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you think they are going to give you countries back

without a fight, you`re sadly mistaken. 

 

TRUMP:  The media didn`t think we would win.  Never underestimate the

people. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Back with me, Kevin Cirilli, Annie Linskey and Susan

Ferrechio.  Susan, how was the week for the president, for the GOP? 

 

FERRECHIO:  I don`t think it is that bad for the president.  What he is

doing, which I think has been successful is fulfilling his campaign

promises is what they said would be number one priority when we came into

office.  He is signing executive order to reduce govern regulations.  He is

talking about building a wall.  He appointed a new national security

adviser that everybody admires, he moving along with the agenda that he

promised he would be moving along with.  And essentially being, himself and

communicating with people via Twitter and going around the media.  So I

don`t think it is all that bad a week for President Trump.  The media will

continue to rip him apart.  I don`t expect that to change. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Kevin, Sue talks about he was doing everybody he said he was

doing.  He has been consistent.  Nothing new there is what Donald Trump

said years going back. 

 

CIRILLI:  Two issues I think that I`m eagerly anticipating are tax reform

and how he going to repeal parts of the affordable care act.  That to me I

think is really when things are going to get interesting, because that is

where he is going to have to reach across the aisle or and work to

(inaudible) concerns from different –

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Think on the policy stuff, Annie the things that I think is

connected to tax reform, which means less revenue to the treasury and also,

he has to ask congress for some money.  He has to go up to the Capitol Hill

with the freedom caucus and his OMB director is the biggest –

 

LINSKEY:  You have daughter going to hill this week talking about $500

billion child care plan.  That is –

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  What`s going to happen then? 

 

LINSKEY:  Where is that going to come from?  That is a giant –

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  That is the biggest problem, right there, we guys are

talking about.  How does he reconcile.  There`s a side of Trump that want

to build, add and create.  And there`s a side of Trump that is working with

the Republicans to reduce the size of the government deficit.  They don`t

go together. 

 

FERRECHIO:  With unlimited cash, we could all be successful. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  I mean did he think about it?  If you want an airport you

can have airport.  If you want health care you have health care. 

 

CIRILLI:  That is the date on the calendar.  That is when all of this is

going to come.  The government has to pass a bill by April 20th. 

 

LINSKEY:  This is Reince Priebus and Bannon diversion that you see, you saw

that CPAC where you have Reince Priebus who have conservative view on these

types of issues and Bannon who is talking about completely new ideas to

their concerns. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Money.  We have to find the money some place.  That is going

to be most dynamic.  Anyway panel, thank you very much has a great weekend. 

 

CIRILLI:  Thank you. 

 

LINSKEY:  Thank you. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Will politics come up at Sunday`s academy award.  Well

George Clooney is already criticizing President Trump and out of Beverly

Hills, a Hollywood stars are getting ready to rally against President

Trump. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

 

TRUMP:  The academy awards last night were absolutely terrible, boring,

ugly sets everything.  I have perfect host for next year, me. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Donald Trump two years ago bashing the Oscars.  And despite

his wish he did not host last year.  Nor will he be hosting this year in

fact it looks like he won`t be even watching. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

 

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I think Hollywood is known for

being far to the left in its opinion and I have to be honest I think the

president will be hosting the governor`s ball that night. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  It is a good bet the president will be talked about.  George

Clooney criticizing the president for attacking the Hollywood elite,

Clooney saying Trump is a Hollywood elitist himself, all of that in

response to Meryl Streep`s anti-Trump speech at the Golden Globes.  And

right now live pictures from Beverly Hills, a star-studded rally to address

concerns of the anti-immigrants sentiments in United States.  The agency

holding this rally instead of its Annual pre-Oscar party and moments ago, a

comedian Keegan-Michael Key who is known for impressions of President

Obama, spoke to the crowd. 

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

 

KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY, HOLLYWOOD ACTOR:  We must speak for those who cannot

speak.  We must write, act, and sing for those who cannot express

themselves, for those who feel they are being left behind, for those who

feel they are not being represented.  That is our job as artists. 

 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  California lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, joins us from

the rally in Beverly Hills, nice to see you sir. 

 

GAVIN NEWSOM, CALIFORNIA:  Good to be here Greta. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Sir, tell me why are you there? 

 

NEWSOM:  We`re here because California not going to be intimidated and

bullied, I think the message today we`re not going to be distracted by

Trump`s antics and policy and Trumpism as we know it. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Is there one particular policy or antic that you`re there

for? 

 

NEWSOM:  There`s a lot of fear and anxiety in California because of the

nature and scope of the size of the states.  When you think about the

environment, it could be impacted more.  Immigration, 2.7 million

undocumented residents in this state, from agriculture perspective, from

tech perspective and of course on health care, 4.5 to 4.8 million people

were beneficiaries of Obamacare and that could be on the chopping mark. 

All of those issues create the kind of anxiety that brings people together

here today. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right the Oscars are coming up and of course a lot of

celebrities are expected to be part of this rally.  What`s your thought,

this is first amendment rights, but what`s your view.  Are Oscars for

Oscars or it is it opportunity to make political statements? 

 

NEWSOM:  We are there for the talents, they have the right of free

expression and they can use that forum to – I don`t begrudge people taking

advantage of that success using that to make principle statements. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Any idea what we`re going to hear from any particular actor

assuming that actor is up on stage and gets an Oscar? 

 

NEWSOM:  Anxiety and fear is palpable.  Particularly in a state like

California and community that thrives on free expressions.  It thrives on

not just tolerating its diversity but celebrating it.  It`s fulfilled and

regenerated because of this value.  I imagine you would hear those

expression and poignant retorts of act to the president.  He anticipating

it and we`ll watch his Twitter feed for the response. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Can you work for the president.  Are willing to sit down

with him? 

 

NEWSOM:  Absolutely.  When he does the right thing, we will celebrate that. 

I wish for his success, because his success is this country`s success. 

Issues that united us like rebuilding America and infrastructure let`s

focus on that.  So I`m not anti-Trump every day and every way.  If he

started attacking our people and values, if you no longer embrace the

principles of states` rights, we`re going to resist and provide a possible

alternative–

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Right I think he is going to give you some of the states`

rights.  Anyway Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, thank you, very much for joining us,

sir. 

 

NEWSOM:  Great to be with you. 

 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Thank you for watching.  Have a great weekend.  I will see

you right back here Monday nights 6:00 p.m. Eastern.  If you can`t watch

live, set your DVR, follow me in Twitter @greta.  Check out my Facebook

page, behind the scenes video and more.  I have put up some new videos

today, you will like them.  Hardball with Chris Matthews starts right now. 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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