For the Record with Greta, Transcript 2/28/2017
Show: For The Record
Date: February 28, 2017
Guest: David Catanese, Jonathan Swan, Yamiche Alcindor, Hallie Jackson, Steny Hoyer, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Mark Warner
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: President Trump in prime time, in
less than three hours President Trump walks out of the door of the White
House, jumps in the presidential limousine, and heads a mile to that
building right behind me, the United States Capitol. And that is where
he`s going to deliver his first speech to congress. Now we hear there
maybe a major announcement by illegal immigrants. Will he open the door
for legal status, and will that enrage his political base, and will they
caught an act of betrayal? We`ll talk to leaders from both parties. And
what will he say about Obamacare, double down or not?
And in just a little more than two hours, President Trump will make that
one mile drive up to Pennsylvania from the White House to the Capitol to
deliver his first speech to a joint session of congress and there could be
some major news. The president telling reporters today, the time is right
for an immigration bill if both sides are willing to compromise. Now,
senior White House officials also saying the president may issue a call for
an immigration bill tonight, one that is open to legal status for
undocumented immigrants who have not committed serious crimes. Tonight`s
speech is expected also to focus on jobs, economy, trade, security and it`s
expected to strike am optimistic tone calling for unity in the nation.
Sitting with the first lady Melania Trump will be families of people killed
by undocumented immigrants and also, Maureen Scalia, the widow of Supreme
Court justice Antonin Scalia. The president says he will be speaking from
the heart. And the big questions, what will he say on healthcare, taxes,
the budget, and will he take on Russia? NBC`s White House correspondent,
Hallie Jackson is in the briefing room. Hallie, what`s going on there?
It`s very exciting here on Capitol Hill.
HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS: Hey, Greta, yeah. The action is from where you
are, less so where we are, where the president is finishing up those
tweaks, those final tweaks to his speech tonight. We know that he was
working on that even today, late into the night last night with some of his
advisory team. The big headline, of course, as you mentioned is the
president now telling members of the media that he in fact is potentially
open to this reform bill on immigration if both sides were to compromise on
that. Weighing – it`s an issue call to congress for that in this speech
tonight. As he is often done in his reality show days, kind of building
the suspense to see if, in fact, he going to follow through at that speech
over on the hill. We`re already getting reactions in from lawmakers on
Capitol Hill, notably from Senator Marco Rubio. Remember, just to give
some context and some framing here, this is something that the president
had railed against the idea of the gang of eight, comprehensive bipartisan
reform almost four years ago that Senator Rubio was a part of at the time,
calling the senator weak on immigration. Now, the president looking the
White House had said, he has always make clear that he wants to fix a
broken system. Senator Rubio – and I am paraphrasing, Greta, said that he
wants to see basically more specifics, right, because as the senator put
it, a lot of folks agrees that their needs to be immigration reform. It`s
the detail that often caused the most controversy. We will look to see
what other reactions we get from lawmakers who will be in the audience
tonight. Also in the audience, by the way, immigration advocates. The
Democrats bringing advocate guests, some of whom say they want to be
essentially there, looking at the president, making sure he sees the face
of his immigration policy. So, I`m thinking for example some of the
dreamers who will be in the audience tonight. Some of these people whose
parents brought them to this country illegally when they were young kids,
Greta. So, a lot to watch for and that`s just on immigration. We haven`t
even touched on the budget, healthcare, job, the economy, national
security, and foreign policy too. All of which we expect to see the
president address in just a few hours from now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, it`s a (INAUDIBLE) on Capitol Hill with all this
going on. Thank you. And Congressman Steny Hoyer, Democrat from the great
state of Maryland, it`s a Democratic whip, the second highest ranking
member in house Democratic leadership. Good evening, sir.
STENY HOYER, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Good evening, Greta. Glad to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Glad to have you here. Well, this is big news, if the
president is saying time is right for an immigration bill if both sides are
willing to compromise, what are your thoughts about that?
HOYER: Well, I agree with them, the time is right. As a matter of fact,
it`s always the time to do the right thing. We have a bipartisan bill that
passed the senate with an overwhelming vote. We were unable to get it on
the house floor over the last three years. But if the president is saying
he wants to talk and he wants to talk in a positive way with respect to
this, I`m sure we will open to that discussion. But I agree with Marco
Rubio. Marco Rubio said that the devil is on the details, and he wants to
know the details. I think all of us would want to do that as well, to see
whether or not we`re talking about real reform or not. But if we`re
talking about real reform and I`m sure we`ll be able to listen to him in a
positive way and see if we could come to an agreement.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you surprised by this? I mean, this does run counter to
what he has sort of suggested to his base all along. He was critical of
Senator Marco Rubio in the election with the gang of eight, and is very
critical of that, critical of comprehensive immigration reform. Tonight
we`re at least hearing something very different.
HOYER: I`m not surprised. Other than it`s always surprising to hear
Donald Trump say what he is for and against because it changes on a
relatively regular basis. It`s sometimes based on fact and sometimes not.
So, we`ll see what he says tomorrow. We`ll see what he says tonight. But
I was pleasantly surprise that at least he was talking about moving
forward. And talking about making sure that those who are working hard in
this country may not have papers to be here but have been here for some
time, working hard, paying taxes. That they do not live under the fear of
somebody knocking on their door in the middle of the night and taking them
away from their families, so that`s a positive step. But, again, we need
to see the details to see whether it`s real.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The leadership as we all know, of course, and
Congresswoman Maxine Waters is not going attend tonight. At least she is
quoted in saying that she cannot contain her enthusiasm against Donald
Trump. What do you think about a member of congress essentially boycotting
HOYER: Well, I think Maxine feels very strongly. I think all of us feel
very strongly. She made determination not to go to make a statement. I`m
not pleased what the president has done. He said he was going to be a
job`s president. There`s no jobs bill that come from the administration.
He said he was going to give everybody healthcare at a better cost than the
ACA. We`ve not seen any such piece of legislation. And he said he was
going to work on national security. In fact, what he did was issue a ban
on Muslim coming into from seven countries who have not – refugees from
those countries have not committed any terrorist acts in this country. In
fact, what he`s done is undermine the confidence – now of those countries
have that we`re going to need in the fight against ISIS, some of them, not
all of them, but we`re going to certainly need the alliance with some of
them. So, he has not made us more secure or more safe. And many, many
experts say that he had a negative effect not a positive effect. So,
Maxine Water I think reflects the deep disappointment that Democrats and
literally millions and millions of people around this country have,
including those who voted for him that he has not done to date, the three
major issues that he said he wanted to move on.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think tonight he made a little glimpse of what he
intends to do on those. Let me turn – it`s such a somber night and this
is in, you know, Washington, such an important night in history, always
every year we have these big speeches. Do you think this would be a good
time to talk about the name calling? President Trump has insulted the
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, calling her incompetent. Most recently,
leader Pelosi has called Steve Bannon a white supremacist. I mean, both
sides have been slinging of the insults back and forth. Is this a good
night to maybe wave the white flag and to stop this?
HOYER: Well, it`s a good night. But if he replicates his inaugural
address, which, of course, essentially said everybody in Washington was
incompetent, had done a terrible job, and the country was carnage, which is
absolutely wrong, it depends on what he does. If you engender disrespect
and anger, don`t be surprised that you receive disrespect and anger. And
that I think what Donald Trump did in the campaign. And he did it not just
with Democrats, he savaged so many of his opponents and so many in the
press. Calling the press the enemy of the people is absurd. In fact, the
press which I sometimes disagree, but they are absolutely essential to
democracy`s acting in a positive and productive way. And the citizens
having information on which they can base decisions. So that we`ll see
what this – what the president does. But I`ve never seen a candidate, and
certainly never seen a president talk to people. Treat people in a
disrespectful horrific way that we`ve seen Donald Trump do throughout the
course of this campaign.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you for joining us.
HOYER: You`re welcome. Good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Hope you`ll come back. Now, President Trump is expected to
layout his vision for the future. And we are learning that the speech will
try to unify a very divided country. But will the president talk about the
divided Republican congress. It`s deeply divided on issues such as
healthcare, taxes, and the budget. Speaker of the house Paul Ryan talked
about his expectations this morning on the Today Show
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: What I`m hoping and I believe what we are
going to hear from the president is inspiration. It`s let go fix problems.
We ran on solutions. We need to deliver for the American people. And I
think it`s going to be a speech that speaks to all Americans, inclusive.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen it?
RYAN: I`ve seen parts of it. And what I saw I liked a lot. Because we
have big problems to fix in this country, and if we don`t tackle our
problems in America soon they will tackle us, and we have to do this
together as all Americans. And that`s the kind of tone and temperament
that I`m expecting from tonight`s speech.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican from the
great state of Washington. Is chair of the house Republican Conference,
it`s the fourth ranking Republican in the house. Nice to see you,
CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS, U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Great to be with you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we`ve just heard a soundbite from Speaker Paul Ryan,
in which he says he hopes he`s going to hear inspiration tonight. And that
he has seen parts of the speech, and the parts that he has seen that he has
like a lot. Your thought about tonight`s speech from the president.
RODGERS: I do believe we`re going to hear a very positive – a unifying
message from our president, which is really important. We`re ready to go
to work. We recognize that we have big challenges to tackle. We have a
plan. We`ve been working very closely between the house and the senate,
the administration to tackle the big issues. Whether it is lifting the
regulatory burden that has been stifling job creation, whether it`s repeal
and replace of Obamacare, whether it is tax reform, one of the best things
that we could do to get our economy growing. So I`m very hopeful. You
know, Donald Trump was elected as a president because I believe people felt
like they were falling behind. That we didn`t have the job, we didn`t have
the growth in our economy that we needed to see, and that`s going to be his
focus as president.
VAN SUSTEREN: One of the political bombs that was dropped about an hour
ago, it has been leaking around Washington, and going all over the twitter-
sphere was the news that there might be some immigration proposal by the
president. And in fact, the president is quoted in saying the time is
right for an immigration bill if both sides are willing to compromise. Is
the Republican based which is so passionate on issues of immigration and
securing to borders, is there any room for compromise with them do you
RODGERS: You know, I think for the Republican base they want to see the
border secure, and that is one of the planks of Donald Trump`s presidency.
That`s going to be priority. He`s delivering on those promises. He`s
following through. I think people like me – I`ve long said that if we
want to fix what is a broken immigration system is that we`re going to have
to secure the border. That has to be the first step. But there`re many
aspects to immigration reform, but it starts with getting our border
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there an appetite for compromise with both Republican and
Democratic Party, when you walk down the halls of congress and you see your
Democratic colleagues across the aisle, does it seem like there`s an
appetite to try to reach out, both sides to compromise?
RODGERS: We`re working on it. I`ve certainly heard some of that with the
women, bipartisan women that are very interested in some of the proposal
related to the cost of child care. You know our priorities also are to
repeal and replace of Obamacare care, which this is a – despite the
promises a system that has failed, resulted in higher co-pay, and higher
deductibles, and less choice. So, you know, on issue like that, I think
we`re anxious for the Democrats to come to the table and talk to us about
how we can better deliver the promises that we all want for healthcare,
which are – that they would be affordable, we have more choices, more
access, but we believe those priorities – those are our priority and we`re
going to move forward. And we would love to have the Democrats join us.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Speaking of Democrats, Democratic women tonight
are expected to all dress in white. You`re obviously not one of the
Democrats. Your thoughts on the women dressed in white, the Democratic
women, any thoughts about that?
RODGERS: You know they can do whatever they want to do. I think it`s very
important that this is a time where we come together as a country. You
know, when a new president is elected we typically come together as a
country. We get behind that new president and we give him a chance. And I
hope that this could be a restart in a sense that President Donald Trump
delivers a unifying positive speech to America, in a way that will result
in us as members, both houses, senate Republican and Democrat stepping up
to do our job, the hard job of legislating, and looking to find that common
VAN SUSTEREN: Why can you find that common ground with Congressman Maxine
Waters? She`s not going tonight. She`s not going because she said she
cannot contain her enthusiasm against the president.
RODGERS: Well, it starts by opening up lines of communication. Having
those conversations and looking to find the common ground. So I don`t
believe that`s a step in the right direction.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, let me give you a question that I also
gave to Congressman Steny Hoyer just a moment ago, when I said there`s an
awful lot of name calling on Capitol Hill. You`ve got the president
calling Leader Pelosi incompetent. And she just recently called Steve
Bannon, who was one of the president`s top aides as a white supremacist. I
mean, the exchange of insults will be anything you`ve ever seen on a
playground. Would tonight be a night where maybe we could stop some of
RODGERS: I would certainly like to see that stopped. I think that in
order for us to do the work, the important work that the people have
elected us to do. They expect action. They`re hopeful. They`re
optimistic. We need to deliver on that. And calling names is not the way
to accomplish that. We need to be coming together recognizing that we may
not always agree, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. That`s -
- and I think that`s a more effective approach.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Who is your guess together?
RODGERS: Well, my husband is going to be joining me tonight.
VAN SUSTEREN: That`s a good choice. That`s a safe choice, too.
RODGERS: He`s always a winner.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, good. Well, anyway, you better get inside. It`s
a big night. You`ve better get your seat or you won`t get one. Anyway,
thank you, congresswoman.
RODGERS: Thank you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: And it`s a big night here in Washington. And also, it`s a
big night on social media. Here again is that photo from Democratic leader
Nancy Pelosi showing the house Democratic women wearing all white giving
the nod for the women`s suffrage movement. Ivanka Trump also on social
media, she`s posted a video to her Facebook page on her father signing two
bills focus on education and business programs for women and girls, and
senate majority leader Mitch McConnell sharing this time lapse video of
just how busy the Capitol building is ahead of tonight`s joint session.
And a programming note, now this is something big. Get your pen out, mark
this one down, tomorrow night here On the Record at 6:00 PM Eastern, I will
interview Vice President Mike Pence, right here in our studio. And it`s
right across the street from the U.S. Capital. Remember, 6:00 PM Eastern,
right here at MSNBC. DVR if you can`t watch live. And still ahead, will
President Trump mention Russia tonight? I`ll tell you who`s making a
surprise call for an independent investigator, and I`ll talk to the ranking
Democrat on the intelligence committee. But what do Americans want to hear
from the president tonight? New polling on his performance, have some
clues, I`ll fill you in.
VAN SUSTEREN: All eyes on the Capitol, that beautiful building right
behind me. It`s raining, by the way, cats and dogs here. But just in a
few hours, President Trump arrives at that building. He will deliver his
first speech to a joint session of congress. And this speech comes as
questions are mounting over allege contact between Trump`s team and Russian
officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. Now this morning Matt
Lauer asked Speaker Paul Ryan if a special prosecutor is needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER: You think we need to do an investigation here
with our intelligence committee. The point is we need to get answers. We
need to make sure that nothing happened that shouldn`t have happened as we
go forward. That`s exactly what we do in our jobs as congressman. We
think the intelligence committee is the right place to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: But former speaker of the house, Newt Gingrich, broke from
his Republican Party leaders on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: They ought to take a lesson from the
past. (INAUDIBLE) find a very smart independent person. The earlier they
have a central person directing their efforts, the less problem it will be,
the faster it will go away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Mark Warner, Democrat from the great state of
Virginia, the vice chairman and ranking member of the senate intelligence
committee joins us. Nice to see you, senator.
MARK WARNER, U.S. SENATOR: Nice to see you, Greta. Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Senator, where do you lie in the spectrum? Do you
agree with Speaker Ryan that the intelligence committee is going to handle
the investigation of the allege contacts between the Trump campaign and
Russia, or do you lean more with former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich?
WARNER: I believe the intelligence committee ought to be the place that
continues to do it. We`ve already started on our investigations until we
see that there`s undo-influence being – restricting our access to any kind
of information. So far we`re getting that information. We`re moving ahead
to put a special prosecutor in place would actually cost a lot of time.
And I think what most American want is to get this resolved. We know the
Russians hacked into DNC and other accounts. We know the Russians spent
enormous amounts in terms of miss and disinformation. We don`t know what
kind of contact they had with individuals connected with the Trump
campaign. We`ve got to find this out the sooner the better. And frankly,
I would think the administration if they are telling to truth, they want us
to finish this process as quickly as possible and not intervene.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. A special prosecutor I could see would take a
lot of time. And usually don`t do that unless there`s a crime. And nobody
is actually pinpointed a crime, so it seems a little premature. Alan
Dershowitz, Harvard professor was on last night, he suggested a commission
like 9/11. I`ve sort of drafted him to run it, but I don`t know if he`s
going to take the bait. The problem with the intel committee is doing –
you`re doing pretty much in secret. So you do your reports. You all are
satisfied. And you turn to the rest of America and say trust us. And that
may not be enough for most Americans.
WARNER: Absolutely fair point. And that`s one of the things why I`m
committed in making sure we`ve got public hearings during this process,
that we have a public report. The question will be though, even if there
was a independent commission or some other special group, some of this goes
to the very sources and methods of our intel community and all the
organizations that are involved. That would not be made public no matter
what organization is running this kind of effort. So, I`m all in on this
bipartisan effort, as long as it stays bipartisan, as long as we get access
to the facts, if that stops or somebody like the White House tries to
intervening too much, then yes, we`ve got to go to a different venue.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I know that you at least said, I don`t want to
misquote you, but the chairman, Burr, that you didn`t approve of how he
spoke to the media about whether or not that the report in the New York
Times, I think February 17th, was correct or not. How do you propose to
handle this problem where the White House not going out and looking for
something, but where an FBI agent and a deputy director comes up and says
there`s false information in the New York Times. And there`s.
WARNER: Hold on here, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
Mar: I have not seen anywhere a quote from the FBI dismissing any
particular story. What we`ve seen is a White House that represents what
supposedly what somebody said. And what I`m saying is let`s not prejudge
the results until we get the information. And one of the things that gives
me confidence is not only do we have all the Democrats on the intel
committee, but we`ve seen strong statements from Republicans like Senator
Susan Collins and from Marco Rubio saying, hey, this ought to be non-
political, let us do our job, get the information, and not have the kind of
interference that it appears the White House is trying to bring to it.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. As you have said to me a moment ago, fair point. I`ll
give you fair point back on that. I agree with you on that as well. But
assume it to be true that FBI agent said that it was B.S. that the New York
Times said that there was connection with Russian intelligence, assume that
to be true. I mean, are you denying.
WARNER: Greta, I mean, we can also assume that the sun is going to rise in
the west or that Donald Trump is going to be a very humble – give a very
humble speech tonight. Making those kinds of assumptions doesn`t make it
true. One of the things that I think has been indicated as well is that
there are ongoing investigation when information is discovered, it`s turned
over to the FBI if it involves every Americans. Those investigations take
some time. I can`t judge the truth or the non-truth of the New York Times
story. What I do know is that we`ve got to get access to all these raw
intelligence. We`ve got to do a thoroughly review. We`ve got to make it
as public as possible. Because at end of the day, if we don`t there`s
going to be this cloud hanging over this administration in the perceivable
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you sort of politely trying to wave me off that so I
don`t make a mistake and go down that rabbit whole? Do you think that
didn`t happen? I mean, do you have any information or not?
WARNER: Greta, I would never try to tell an experienced journalist like
you what to assume or not I assume. But I would say this, that in my whole
time in politics, I`ve never been involved in anything that I think is more
important and more critical to get right. This was an attack on our very
Democratic process. We know the facts in terms of false information. We
know the facts in terms of hacking into DNC and other individual accounts
like John Podesta. We`ve got to find out whether this third item is true
or not. I can`t think of anything more important than getting this right.
And, frankly, if we can do it in a bipartisan way that would be all the
better. If we can`t, and we have to go a special prosecutor or some other
avenue then we`ll look at that. But at this moment in time, we`ve got
people working today looking at information.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if you can`t do it bipartisan, do take a look at Alan
Dershowitz. He`s got this spare time in his hands. He`s a pretty fair
WARNER: I went to law school. Alan was one of my teacher. I`ve always
trust him. He`ll be a vigorous prosecutor on any issue he takes on
VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah, I know. I think I`m just trying to get him a job. I
think he needs a new job. Anyway, senator, thank you. I hope you`ll come
WARNER: Thank you so much, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, digging into the twist on immigration, expected from
President Trump tonight, is this something both Republican and Democrats
can buy into. And, pass or fail, hours before his speech to congress, the
president grade his performance in office. He`s also making headlines
today for those comments about President Obama leaks and town hall
protests. Our panel is ahead.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, NBC NEWS HOST FOR THE RECORD: Breaking tonight, a
major policy announcement from President Trump. The time is right for
immigration bill if both sides are willing to compromise. The president is
saying he is open to legal status for undocumented immigrants who have not
committed crimes. Those individuals would not need to leave the country
first. David Catanese Senior Politics writer for U.S. News World Report,
Jonathan Swan National Political Reporter for Axios and Yamiche Alcindor
National Reporter for The New York Times, we go first to you David, this is
going to be a shock to the Republican base, don`t you?
DAVID CATANESE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: It would be a betrayal of what
candidate Trump said on campaign trail. He never talked about
comprehensive path to immigration reform.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: I say Marco Rubio.
CATANESE: Right. This is going back to George W. Bush. This is what he
campaigned against in essence during the Republican primary. I think – if
this is true, he going to have bash lash from base on the right.
VAN SUSTEREN: He hasn`t described what comprehensive means to him. You
don`t have to go home at least that is what sticking out.
JONATHAN SWAN, AXIOS: People that we seen – people are missing the point
here I think. This is not just me speculating, this is reported. Donald
Trump and Jeff Sessions, the way they view the world, has always been the
people who are in this country illegally, who haven`t committed crimes
appoints of leverage for future negotiations. You can call them bargaining
chips. When Donald Trump talks about comprehensive immigration reform,
it`s on his terms. People have gotten completed excited when Donald Trump
says something by immigration. Remember, he went to Mexico, he was
suddenly Mr. Amnesty. Then guess goes to Phoenix, I think everyone needs
to calm down. He may use words that the left will get very excited about,
but I am very, very skeptical that Donald Trump has suddenly over not
become Marco Rubio.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yamiche?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think that he is in some way spot
on this idea that Donald Trump will sit back and say, you know what I am
going to say I`m going to think about giving these people a path to
citizenship. When really immigration in some ways the center of his
campaign. He started the campaign by calling Mexicans criminal and rapist
and I don`t think he is budged from that. He might be able to tweak health
care a little bit and then call it Trump care. I think that is why this is
premature to think he is going to be –
VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible)?
SWAN: He said it in an interview.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why?
CATANESE: To misinterpret it, maybe he doing some intentional misdirection
to get away from deportation. If we can`t trust President Trump on what he
is telling reporters on the record, then that is pretty troubling.
ALCINDOR: He is a deal maker. He is always said something on the record
is gone back on it and changed his mind.
VAN SUSTEREN: He hasn`t –
CATANESE: There`s no substance to this.
ALCINDOR: He never – it`s not a policy change. He hasn`t said what the
policy change would be.
CATANESE: We don`t know the substance yet. We are going to see a speech
in a couple of hours and he is painting strongly hinting that he looking
for a comprehensive path to allow some people to stay here. He said he is
going to get rid of DACCA, did he not during the campaign? Get rid of it.
That is a change and if we don`t take it seriously, then what are we?
SWAN: Stephen Miller lost that fight. You`re absolutely right. He has
flipped on some things. I`m just very skeptical that when people hear
comprehensive immigration reform, they think Marco Rubio –
VAN SUSTEREN: He may budge a little. He has done a little bit. There`s
this idea that he also understands how to negotiate.
ALCINDOR: If you look at that is one of the passionate issues amongst his
CATANESE: But if he is misdirecting, I mean he going to be called into
account if he sort of signaling one way and then goes the next day.
SWAN: We should remember the stories that were written when he went to
Mexico. It was like this wonderful moment of conversion. Legal path to
citizenship is what he indicating.
VAN SUSTEREN: He talks about compromise. How do you define compromise?
SWAN: On Trump`s terms.
ALCINDOR: He has been Teflon to this idea that, he think that he has
enough political capital to do this. The base is yet to leave him alone.
CATANESE: He is not Teflon any more. This is different than the campaign.
He has to be president. He has to get legislative.
ALCINDOR: Majority still think he is doing a great job.
CATANESE: He sticking to his campaign promises.
ALCINDOR: This may be the departure.
CATANESE: This would be a big departure. They don`t think it`s actually
real, I guess.
ALCINDOR: But we have to figure out what he means when he says that and to
figure out what the actual policies changes. I am not saying that it is
not real, what I think is one thing that he say that he is going to turn to
CATANESE: Why would he float this?
So he goes out and not follows through. Is that what you are saying, he
will go out tonight and then pull back. He talked about the border wall,
SWAN: He may use the words comprehensive immigration tonight but what that
CATANESE: Fill in the blanks is what that means. I think most voters
think of comprehensive reform. So he better be careful with the language
he use or it could be come back to haunt him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Today, President Trump reviewing the job he has done so far
and giving himself these marks. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In terms of
achievement I would give myself an A. I think I have done great things but
I don`t think - I and my people, I don`t think we have explained it well
enough to the American public. I think I get an A in terms of what I have
actually done, but in terms of messaging I would give myself a c or c plus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Yamiche, that was to my former colleague, c or c plus for
messaging? Is that fair grade?
ALCINDOR: I think it`s fair because he giving it to himself. When he says
messaging, he is also saying how I am being perceived. He talking about
the fact he has not explained himself to reporters or that he backtracked a
lot, then yes. I think in most cases reporters have been very clear about
what he has done which is not a lot. But he has been signing executive
orders people have been writing about.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think achievements, if you measured achievement by what
you have promised. He gets an A so far. He is on target.
CATANESE: 40 days in.
VAN SUSTEREN: It`s a little premature for that.
CATANESE: Yes. We have to see tonight, tax reform big for him. And I
think Republicans how to approach that. Health care what is replacement
that he wants to go along with the repeal? Will there be infrastructure
bill. These are the things he has to put meat on bowl tonight. That is
what he promises.
VAN SUSTEREN: He going to be signing a – this is show prediction and rev
up everybody and united the country. He is not going to be signing tax
reform tonight or Obamacare –
CATANESE: Two audiences, one is the national audience, which I am sure he
will talk to and the other is congressional audience who he needs to pass
his legislative agenda which has not shown progress yet.
VAN SUSTEREN: Jonathan, you have been very quiet on this one.
SWAN: I think on the legislation from what I understand, he is going to
inch right up to the border, the biggest fight is border. He going to use
language to the right, you hear what you want to hear, I guarantee, support
– he will do victory laps tonight. But he won`t say the words I support
Paul Ryan`s border adjustments tax. He will say something to affect of,
when countries trying to send (inaudible).
VAN SUSTEREN: Did you just said border and adjustments tax. Why don`t we
say it`s a tax on imports while exports don`t get tax? All these new
jargon to the city every couple of years.
SWAN: But the point is that he will use broad principal language to which
makes people things he inclined towards it.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So why does President Trump think for President
Obama I behind the Town Hall protest and we are live inside the capitol
with the latest as we get ready for that big speech tonight. Keep it right
here on MSNBC, the place for politics.
VAN SUSTEREN: Look at that. That is U.S. Capitol. What a beautiful
building. Tonight is an exciting night here in Washington whether you are
a Republican or a Democrat. This is time when at least some effort is made
to get the country to join together. Let`s see what happens tonight.
President Donald Trump making headlines about whether he believes former
President Obama is playing role in the protest at town hall and some
Republicans have faced. Here is what the president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think le is behind it. I also think its politics that is the way
it is. I think President Obama is behind this. The people are behind it
some of the leaks possibly come from that group, some of the leaks which
are really very serious leaks, because they are bad in terms of national
VAN SUSTEREN: Back with me, David Catanese, Jonathan Swan and Yamiche
Alcindor. Yamiche there are two issues here, one is the leaks and the
other is the protest. The leaks – some people who say there`s so many
Obama hold over and leaks could be coming from that is an unfair chance, I
don`t know about that, but the others that he says that President Obama is
behind the protests at the town hall.
ALCINDOR: He is looking at President Obama to blame him for something. In
this regard, you can blame Obama in that he energized a generation of
people or organizers. He talked about this idea that protests are
politically organized. Really, when you talk to protests they say yes, I
am, I learned protests from Wall Street from we are using some of those
same networks but to suggest President Obama is somehow ordering these
protesters from vacation, it doesn`t make sense. When you come to leak,
that could be new one. We know Sean Spicer having people turn in their
phones. Some of the stuff they are finding out is so close to the
president that you have to also think that the people are in the
president`s own party are also contributing to the leaks.
VAN SUSTEREN: But Jonathan, They are so good at keeping quiet on which the
Supreme Court nominee was. When they named Judge Gorsuch, nobody got that
till practically walk out at the White House so they can keep some things
SWAN: Yes, I do think we need to separate the issues. It`s not
unreasonable to think the Obama hold over particularly on the huge national
security complex might be leaking. I think the idea that paid protesters
and that is all (inaudible) in empirically false. And that is what the
left did to the tea party.
VAN SUSTEREN: And it is actually Senator from Arkansas said, I don`t care
if you are paid protests are you still my constituents. So I will talk to
SWAN: And he had thousands that come out for him on a Tuesday night of
February. Those are not paid and the idea that the President Obama is
behind this, no. There`s some organization saying get out there and go.
That is politics, that is organizing and it`s totally legitimate.
VAN SUSTEREN: Rosie O`Donnell is going to be protesting outside the White
House tonight and it is pouring rain in the city. This is not Madison,
Wisconsin. This is – I don`t know if those protesters –
CATANESE: I think Rosie is not going to make it.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t know, I am just saying. The protesters are rude at
this town hall, but the way some of these senators handled it was good.
They have a first amendment right to speak, maybe not to be rude, that is
not so good, but I think the senators handled them well.
SWAN: Marco Rubio was complaining. He didn`t want to be heckled.
VAN SUSTEREN: He didn`t handle it pretty well. He didn`t show up.
SWAN: If you don`t hold a town hall.
VAN SUSTEREN: Cassidy was good.
CATANESE: Tim Scott.
ALCINDOR: In some ways if you`re on camera and you`re being heckled, the
last thing you want to be seen on camera screaming at someone back. They
handling well but they are handling it the only way they can. You are not
going to see senator or congressman completely lose it. But I think the
people who have holding their own town halls in lieu of elected officials
turning up, the idea that you can have video of the people gathering in
your own constituency but you`re not there, that is not send right signal.
VAN SUSTEREN: Rosie O`Donnell outside of the White House for an anti-Trump
rally. What she is saying about power and just over two hours for the big
speech with some big immigration news breaking tonight, a live report from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O`DONNELL, ACTRESS: Governments are instituted among men to deriving
their just power from the consent of the governed and whenever any form of
government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people
to altar and abolish it and to institute new government. That is why we
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: That is Rosie O`Donnell, leading a protest right outside of
the White House, in the middle of the pouring rain. In less than two hours
President Trump will leave the White House and make that trip to Capitol
Hill for a speech to congress. There`s a lot of what he will say and about
the reception he will get from skeptical Democrats and from Republicans
looking for the president to fill in some policy blanks. NBC Kasie Hunt is
live inside the capitol. Kasie you have spent so many hours of your career
in that capital, what`s the atmosphere like tonight there?
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Greta, I have to tell you in many ways
unlike any other of this types address, whether it is initial address to
congress or a State of the Union that I have covered, because President
Trump throws curve ball after curve ball and a lot of these lawmaker are
being asked what would be question you ask of the lawmaker. What are you
expecting to hear tonight? They feel like they fall flat, because everyone
is waiting to see what the show President Trump is going to put on tonight.
I think that from a substantive perspective what happens to immigration is
a prime example of this. We have been asking Democrats today across the
capital, what do you think of the fact President Trump is now saying he is
open to immigration bill that might include the path to legal status? A
lot of Democrats feel like their heads are spinning. They are initially
inclined to say yes, this is a policy that we will support, but they are
also trying to square with the rhetoric that has been coming out of the
White House. If you want a build a wall, ban people from certain country,
we don`t want to be having this conversation. This is the kind of big
sweeping policy idea and a much unexpected one considering what we have
seen. People are just kind of waiting, watching and feeling like this is
another milestone for this president in an unexpected way.
VAN SUSTEREN: Everyone says to me I have never seen anything like it.
Anyway we will see what happens tonight.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kasie Hunt probably the best job in all TV News, business
tonight in the U.S. Capital, thank you Kasie.
HUNT: Thanks Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: First speech to congress. A look back as we look ahead to
VAN SUSTEREN: For every new president the first speech to congress is a
huge test both politically and personally. Here is look back at some of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States.
RONALD REAGAN, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I don`t want it to be simply the
plan of my administration. I`m here to tonight to ask you to join me in
making it our plan, together we can embark on this road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask congress to come forward with your own proposals,
let`s know question, let`s negotiate, but let us solve the problem.
BILL CLINTON, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: This is tightening the reign on the
Democrats as well the Republicans let`s argue about the same set of numbers
so the American people will think –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people of America have been over charged and on
their behalf I`m asking for refund.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight I want every
American to know this we will rebuild, we will recover and the United
States of America will emerge stronger than before. May God Bless United
States of America.
VAN SUSTEREN: They all looks so young, don`t they. Thank you for
I`ll see you back here later tonight in our primetime coverage with Brian,
Rachel and Chris.
And then tomorrow I`ll have a big interview with Vice President Mike Pence
that you don`t want to miss it. It`ll be right here in our regular
timeslot, 6:00 pm Eastern. That`s thevice president of the United States is
going to be here.
HARDBALL with Chris Matthews starts right now.
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