MTP Daily, Transcript 6/9/2017
Show: MTP DAILY
Date: June 9, 2017
Guest: Al Franken, Danielle Pletka, Eugene Robinson, Neera Tanden, Marsha
NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC: That does it for this hour. I`m Nicole Wallace.
“MTP DAILY” starts right now. Hi, Chuck.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: Hi, Nicole. Do you have your broom?
WALLACE: Broom? Where am I going on a broom? My team keeps winning. I
think you need to go on –
TODD: That`s what I mean. It`s a sweep.
WALLACE: Oh, a sweep. I thought it was a witch. See, women go to witch.
TODD: Oh, gosh, great. All right, you know what? All the Twitter hate
goes to you, Nicole, on that one, not me.
WALLACE: I`ll take it. I don`t look.
TODD: All right, happy weekend.
If it`s Friday, the president is ready to testify.
(voice-over): Tonight, no obstruction. No collusion. President Trump
denies James Comey`s allegations and say, he`ll swear to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he said those things under oath. Would you be
willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Plus, are there White House tapes? Wait and see, says the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do tapes exist of your conversations with him?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I`ll tell you about
that maybe sometime in the very near future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And what T.V. show, “The Wire,” tells us about those Comey-Trump
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, man, I`ll do what I can do to help you all. But
the game is out there. And it`s either play or get played.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
(on camera): Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington. Happy
Friday. Welcome to MTP DAILY.
After ousted FBI Director James Comey`s bombshell testimony yesterday,
President Trump dropped his own bombshell this afternoon. While taking
questions from reporters at the White House, following a bilateral event
with the Romania president, Mr. Trump denied Comey`s allegations and said
he`d be willing to put his presidency on the line over it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did say under oath that you told him to let the
Flynn – you said you hoped the Flynn investigation you could let – he
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn`t say that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he lied about that.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I didn`t say that. I
mean, I will tell you I didn`t say that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did he ask you to pledge his loyalty –
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And there`s be nothing wrong
if I did say it, according to everybody that I`ve read today. But I did
not say that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did he ask for a pledge of loyalty from you?
That`s another thing he said.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, he did not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he said those things under oath. Would you be
willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 100 percent. And I didn`t
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under oath?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hardly know the man. I`m
not going to say, I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who
would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath?
I mean, think of it. I hardly know the man. It doesn`t make sense. No, I
didn`t say that and I didn`t say the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: The president also said he`d be willing to tell special counsel
exactly what he just said and that wasn`t all. The president defiantly
insisted there was no collusion and no obstruction.
He also seemed to toy with the press on the question of whether or not he
has any recorded conversations with Comey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem to be hinting that there are recordings of
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m not hinting anything.
I`ll tell you about it over a short period of time.
OK. Do you have a question here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will you tell us about the recordings?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over a fairly short period
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tomorrow, now? Are there tapes, sir?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, you`re going to be very
disappointed when you hear the answer, don`t worry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: I guess we got the answer and there`s a reason why, apparently, he
said, you`ll know in a very short time.
The House Intelligence Committee has given the White House a June 23rd
deadline to either hand over the tapes or admit that they do not exist.
Folks, the president`s defiance today, you might call it a big cavalier, is
an indication that he is reverting back to campaign Trump. The blustery,
aggressive and sometime reckless instinct that his most loyal campaign
staff often fed.
It`s also worth remembering the campaign Trump helped to make him President
Trump. This was President Trump today signaling that he wants a war with
special counsel, the Senate or anyone who wants to get in his way on
Going into this afternoon, things were not good for the president but they
could have been worse. His allies can take comfort in the fact that
Republicans are sticking by him for now.
I say for now because GOP leadership, they`re not exactly defending Trump.
Instead, it seems they`re trying to find ways to rationalize and explain
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president`s new
at this. He`s new to government. And so, he probably wasn`t steeped in
the long-running protocols that established the relationships between DOJ,
FBI and White Houses. He`s just new to this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Although not all Republicans seem to be buying that excuse. You`re
also not seeing many top Republicans willing to resort to calling Comey a
liar while also alleging a deep-stake conspiracy. Even though the
president`s old guard, his lawyer and his closest campaign advisors are
doing just that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC KASOWITZ, ATTORNEY, PRESIDENT TRUMP: It is overwhelmingly clear that
there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively
attempting to undermine this administration.
COREY LEWANDOWSKY, FORM CAMPAIGN MANAGER, DONALD TRUMP: What we saw about
Jim Comey last night, he`s a leaker. He`s a Washington leaker. He`s the
deep state. He`s everything that`s wrong with Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This president is under siege by the deep state, by
this bureaucracy that is permanent here in Washington, by the intelligence
communities, including the FBI, that are undermining his presidency and try
to de-legitimatize him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: But, folks, the big news this afternoon is President Trump insisting
that he would, 100 percent, testify under oath about his meetings with
James Comey. We`ll see when or if that happens.
I`m joined now by Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.
She served as vice chair to President Trump`s transition. She joins me now
from Tennessee. Good to see you.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Good to see you. Go Preds (ph).
TODD: OK. Let me ask you this. Former FBI Director James Comey, in his
testimony yesterday, was emotional two times. One in defending his tenure
at the FBI and in members of the FBI. And then, at the end, when he said,
a foreign power essentially invaded our country. You know, it came after
America`s democracy. Not the Republican Party. Not the Democratic Party.
What do you – do you believe that Congress – do you believe this
president has done enough to punish Russia for this – call it what you
will, but this act of aggression against the United States of America?
BLACKBURN: Well, a couple of things there, Chuck. First of all, I think
it is so interesting that so many in Washington are just now figuring out
that, for decades, the Russians have not wished us well. And that they
have been trying to diminish us, to do away with our economy our form of
government. They have been after us for a very long time, for decades. Go
in, look at some of the things that Reagan had to say and I think you can
get a very clear picture of how long this has run.
So, we all know that. We know that Putin is a bad actor. And we know
this, they do not wish us well.
So, I think that the interesting thing to me that some people are just now
beginning to figure that out. I would have thought they knew this long
ago. The punishment for Russia, that is something that the House and the
Senate probably should look at, once again. Look at sanctions, look at
ways to deal with them.
And then, it – we need to beware. We need to (INAUDIBLE) –
TODD: I`m sorry. OK. Where is the sense of urgency?
BLACKBURN: No, let me finish on this.
TODD: Where is the sense of urgency on this? If a foreign power – and,
look, you just gave a history of the United States` relationship back –
TODD: – and that`s fine. And you`re try – I think you`re trying to make
the point, hey, you know, Democrats or others didn`t care about Russia
before. They do now. OK. Then, where are you – why aren`t you saying,
better late than never? And you`re right. There is urgent – there`s no
urgency here. That`s what I`m confused about.
BLACKBURN: Oh, but for, some of us, there is urgency and has been urgency.
When look at the virtual space, there are some of us who have been trying
to put data security protections in place. Next week, I`m going to have a
cyber security hearing with the subcommittee that I chair.
TODD: It`s not – what are you doing to Russia? What are we doing to
their – this is not about whether we have the right software.
BLACKBURN: We bolster – we bolster ourselves.
BLACKBURN: And then, yes, indeed, we punish Russia. And you will see the
House Intel Committee, the House Senate Committee, the Oversight Government
Reform and Oversight Committee, yes, indeed, there will be things that are
going to – going to be done.
Now, on the matter of Jim Comey and his being emotional. I think it is
fair to say that Mr. Comey had, what we in Tennessee would call a good old
fashioned come apart in front of the Senate Intel Committee yesterday. It
seemed as if he wanted to throw lots of people under the bus. It seemed as
if he did get a little bit emotional. I think that he has a very
interesting relationship with the truth. And much of that came out
yesterday during that hearing.
TODD: So, you believe that Director Comey committed perjury?
BLACKBURN: I don`t know. That`s actually not for me to say. I think you
have a committee that`s –
TODD: You just said it.
BLACKBURN: – in charge yesterday.
TODD: You just said that he has a problem with the truth.
BLACKBURN: I had – I said he has an interesting relationship with the
TODD: Well, then, what does that mean?
BLACKBURN: And I think that it will be for others –
TODD: Is he truthful or not?
BLACKBURN: – to decide what his – what – how truthful they think that
his testimony was, his comments about Loretta Lynch, his comments about the
president, his comments about others that he works with. His diminishment
of himself and stating his lack of strengths, I think that that was
something that caused me concern.
I would hope that the FBI director feels they have the ability to challenge
the attorney general if they think something is –
TODD: Do you think –
BLACKBURN: – that they`re being given an action to take and they feel
TODD: Do you think it is inappropriate for the president of the United
States to ask an FBI director to let an investigation go?
BLACKBURN: I will reserve a comment until we hear from the president as to
what he said.
Right now, we have Mr. Comey`s recollection of what he heard and said the
word that was used was that he hoped that there is never a directive – he
admitted in the testimony. There was never a directive or a command to do
something different with letting the investigation go, if you will, or
terminating some type of investigation.
There, again, I think the Intel Committee will probably come back and will
look at what transpired with the interaction with A.G. Lynch and Mr. Comey,
as it related to the Clinton investigation.
But, you know, the good thing, Chuck, we`ve got a –
TODD: Let me – OK.
BLACKBURN: – special counsel on Russia.
BLACKBURN: I think that`s a very good thing because we all want answers
and we –
TODD: And you –
BLACKBURN: – want to get past this.
TODD: You heard the president say –
BLACKBURN: The House has aggressive agenda.
TODD: I know. It`s hard on satellite here.
BLACKBURN: We want to find out what happened with uranium one and we want
to know what happened with the Clinton Foundation.
TODD: OK. Let me ask you about – I understand you want to get some of
those – some of those talking points in on other Clinton-related matters.
But let me ask you to the question that pertains today and this
administration. The president, today, said he would testify under oath to
the special counsel. Do you look forward to that?
BLACKBURN: I think that if the president feels that it is appropriate for
him and he would like to testify under oath, I think that that would be
something that he would do. And we should all look forward to setting this
TODD: So, you would like him –
BLACKBURN: My constituents in Tennessee –
TODD: – I don`t – you only want him to do it if he wants to do it. You
don`t think he should be compelled to do it?
BLACKBURN: I think that if the president would like to do that –
TODD: All right.
BLACKBURN: – and he feels that it is appropriate. He is willing to do
that. The special counsel wants him –
TODD: All right.
BLACKBURN: – to do it. Then, you know, those are decisions that they are
going to make if they think –
TODD: Fair enough.
BLACKBURN: – that that is appropriate. It`s the special counsel
TODD: Congresswoman Blackburn, I am jammed up today and I`m going to let
it go there.
BLACKBURN: I bet you are. Thanks for having me on.
TODD: Thanks for – I appreciate you coming on and sharing your views.
Always a pleasure.
BLACKBURN: Always a pleasure.
TODD: I`m joined now by our super-charged Friday panel. Charlie Sykes,
MSNBC Contributor and host of WNYC`s “Indivisible.” Danielle Pletka is
Senior Vice President at the American Enterprise Institute and a long-time
advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Eugene Robinson is an
NBC and MSNBC Political Analyst and a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for
“The Washington Post.” And Neera Tanden is President and CEO for the
American – Center for American Progress and was a policy director for the
Obama White House and Clinton`s first presidential campaign.
Did I get everybody`s resumes in there?
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
TODD: This is why I am out of time with the Congresswomen, OK? I got to
get everybody`s title in here.
ROBINSON: You bet.
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: We`re done
for the day.
TODD: Charlie Sykes, –
CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: The president seems to have a different
demeanor today, the I want to fight –
TODD: – demeanor, not the I want to compartmentalize demeanor.
SYKES: No. And when you think about who he`s taking on. You know,
there`s a category shift, when you`re talking about a special prosecutor.
There`s a category shift, when you`re talking about raising the possibility
of testifying under oath.
You know, his legal jeopardy will rise exponentially if and when this ever
happens. By the way, mark me down as how he`s skeptical that this will
ever take place.
But there cannot be a criminal defense lawyer in America that would have
recommended that their client make that kind of a pledge right there.
ROBINSON: What could go wrong? Donald Trump under oath in front of a
special counsel. That could be – you know, he could get the death penalty
if you add to that session, you know, because of the way he talks, because
of who he is.
But you`re right, he definitely was leaning forward today. He was, like,
you know, bring it on. And so, I assume Robert Mueller will.
TANDEN: I think the one thing that`s odd is you have Republicans, for 24
hours, say things like he is a novice. You know, trying to explain away
ideas like obstruction of justice because he doesn`t really know what he`s
And then, he goes in the Rose Garden and throws all of that away, shreds it
all by saying, I never said it. I`m telling the truth. I`m absolutely
telling the truth.
And I think the challenge for him is that a strong – you know, it`s not
just a majority. A strong majority of the country doubts his voracity
across the board so he has no leeway on this because a lot of people don`t
TODD: Danny, it`s interesting to me, Republicans on Capitol Hill, it feels
as if – like I said before. They`re not ready to defend his actions or
try and explain them. (INAUDIBLE.)
Let me show you what Susan Collins said this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The first interaction that the president
had with Mr. Comey in early January at Trump Tower, it was the FBI director
who cleared the room so that he could have a one-on-one discussion with the
president about that salacious dossier.
And I wonder if perhaps that made the president think that whenever there`s
some sensitive conversation to be had with the FBI director that it should
be one on one.
Ironically, perhaps the FBI`s actions in that first meeting sends a signal
to the president that that is how their interactions should take place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Danny, do you buy it?
DANIELLE PLETKA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Oh,
my god, I feel so sorry for whoever is out there having to think up of all
these excuses for all these people. It`s been a nice week in Washington.
They could`ve (INAUDIBE.)
You know, look, I mean, the problem is that I think that all of these
Republican members of Congress think of the president as a head of the
party. But the president does not think of himself as the head of the
party. He thinks of himself as Donald Trump. I`m the president. And he`s
And I think that the reason for his demeanor today was that he now knows
what the cards are on the table. He knows what Comey has to say and he
feels good about it. He`s not – he`s not going to be able to be
contradicted because we all figured out, there are no tapes, even though he
said there might be tapes.
So, you know, I think he`s feeling good. This is a fight and he`s good
SYKES: There have got to be more cards. We know these cards but there are
going to be more – there will be more cards.
You know, and Robert Mueller is – you know, I mean, he`s staffing up with
some pretty heavy weights here.
And also, keep in mind that the whole issue of – and I`m not a lawyer so I
don`t know where there`s obstruction of justice. But, you know, this has
TODD: It doesn`t stop anybody on Twitter from being a lawyer.
SYKES: In plain sight, keep in mind how often this president has tried to
impede this investigation, quash this investigation, the things he said
publicly about General Kelly – I mean, about General Flynn, you know, what
he has done.
You know, his lack urgency, going back to your interview – your
unfortunate interview with Marsha Blackburn who decided to go with the
spin, as opposed to answer the question.
You know, look, I`m old enough to remember when Republicans really would
have cared of about being invaded by a hostile power.
SYKES: The lack of urgency on the part of the president, his lack of
interest in it, the lack of urgency on the part of Republicans. This is a
big deal. And if the president is leaning in, he`s leaning in on an
investigation that we, as Americans, all care about.
TANDEN: If he`s comfortable, there is no reason for that. Because he had
the FBI director basically say – you know, I mean, there`s a lot of
argument there for an obstruction of justice charge and he has a special
prosecutor on him.
So, you know, I think he does think it`s like the campaign. But, you know,
the central difference with the campaign and a special prosecutor is that
there is a judge and jury at the end of the process about –
TODD: Not voters.
TANDEN: – whether you`re telling the truth. Not voters. You can`t just
spin that stuff.
PLETKA: Let`s talk about reality, for a second. Because we`ve gotten in
the habit of talking about what Donald Trump talks about, when Donald Trump
talks about, how Donald Trump sees everything. And this has become the
topic of conversation.
If anyone wants to assert – and I know much less about politics than I do
about foreign policy. If anyone wants to assert that the Russians actually
had an effect on the election, they will find themselves on very shaky
The problem here – the problem here – I know you don`t want it that way.
TANDEN: No, that`s not the allegation.
PLETKA: But the problem here is the way he has handled it. It`s not that
the Russians or the Chinese or anybody else seeked (ph) to interfere. They
did it in Russia. They – I`m sorry, they did it in France.
TODD: But he doesn`t seem upset about it.
PLETKA: He doesn`t seem upset about it because he`s just – because he
cannot stop being distracted by himself.
TANDEN: Well, let`s just be clear what the intelligence community said
TODD: No, no, I hear you.
TANDEN: The intelligence community did say that they sought to help Trump
win. They didn`t have an effect on the voting machines of the election,
ROBINSON: Right, exactly.
TANDEN: That they didn`t (INAUDIBLE.)
ROBINSON: It`s still not a good thing.
TODD: All right, I`m going to pause here. You guys got a lot of time
here, I promise. I promise. So, you guys are sticking around.
Coming up, though, I`m going to talk with Senator Al Franken about Comey`s
testimony and his advice for his colleagues on what he`s telling them to do
on resisting the Trump agenda.
TODD: If it`s Friday, in the summertime, and this is June, President Trump
– I know it`s still spring, President Trump is heading to the summer White
House. Air Force One just landed at Newark Liberty International in New
Jersey about 40 minutes from Trump`s golf club in Bedminster.
It`s the president`s second visit to his New Jersey estate since his
inauguration. He`s expected to be a special guest at a fundraiser for New
Jersey Congressman Tom McArthur, a major supporter of the House GOP`s
health care bill. The McArthur Amendment, you may know that.
We`ll be back in 60 seconds with more MTP DAILY.
TODD: Welcome back to MTP DAILY.
Democrats can seemingly have an embarrassment of riches with the Russia
cloud hanging over President Trump and casting a shadow on the rest of his
But yesterday wasn`t a great day for the Democrats either with series
questions raised about Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch`s oversight of
the Clinton e-mail investigation.
Folks, a lack of faith in institutions is clearly damaging our democracy
right now as a while, whether you hail from a red or a blue state. And
that could impact on Democrats use of the Russia investigation if they want
to for their political advantage.
Joining me now is Minnesota Senator Al Franken. He`s also out with a new
book. You may have seen him on a T.V. station near you. It`s “Al Franken,
Giant of the Senate.” And he is – you just gigantified (ph) yourself.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Well, that cover is meant to do that.
TODD: There you go.
Welcome. Let me start with this. You saw the Comey testimony. I probably
have an idea of who you would believe a truth contest between President
Trump and the former FBI director.
TODD: But what should be the next step now? What should the United States
Senate be doing right now? What should Congress be doing right now in
reaction to what you heard yesterday?
FRANKEN: Well, we have a process in order. We have both intelligence
committees moving forward. I think that`s – they should continue their
And we have a special counsel. The right guy is there. I think Rob
Mueller, everyone trusts him.
And we should take this one step at a time and find out where the facts
lead us. I think the Comey testimony does suggest the president was trying
to undermine the investigation.
TODD: Is there a – I know that Lindsey Graham`s got more Russian
sanctions that he want so do and he wants to put them in. I know you guys
are debating an Iranian – a new Iranian sanction.
FRANKEN: Yes, we want to actually tie them.
TODD: To tie the two of them together.
TODD: Is – how strong will these be and what more do you think should be
done to punish Russia?
FRANKEN: What they did is very, very serious. And this isn`t something
that – well, they`ve done this all along. This was an incredibly serious
interference in our – the basics, fundamentals of our democracy.
There is a kremlin playbook. They`ve done this in the Eastern Europe
before. But this was something they need to be punished for. They need to
be – need to be sanctioned.
TODD: And when is that – what else? I mean, we have all these sanctions
but, you now, sanctions can only go so far. Is there anything else? Is it
– is it trying to do a diplomatic hit in the U.N. Is it something else or
do you see how they respond?
FRANKEN: I think we should just hurt them in their pocketbook and target
those who seem to be involved in this. If it`s oligarchs and if it`s
people who were tied to the thousand trolls that they had sending
disinformation to the United States, fake news if you will.
That was – evidently, people preferred to real news on Facebook. And I
think that did have, in my opinion, an effect of the outcome of the
TODD: It was your questioning of Jeff Sessions –
TODD: – that, essentially, put him in this position that he would pledge
to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, if necessary.
TODD: And that, clearly, may have weighed on his mind or – and the advice
that he got on that. Do you think he`s fit to run the Justice Department
under this? What – forget the politics of him. Just as Jeff Sessions,
FRANKEN: I think that he did not answer truthfully under oath to the –
TODD: Do you think he lied to Congress?
FRANKEN: Yes, I think he did. I – you know, I asked him one question –
TODD: So, should he be removed from office?
FRANKEN: Well, you know, that`s – we – the chairman of the committee,
Chairman Grassley doesn`t feel that we need to bring him back on that. He
– we were very unsatisfied, Democrats on the committee, with his response
about why he withheld or why he gave us misinformation.
On his letter respond – in response was an insult. Then Senator Leahy and
I wrote to – a private letter to then Director Comey to investigate
whether there are other meetings, and specifically a third meeting at the
May Flower Hotel, and we`ll get to the – hopefully get to the bottom of
TODD: If – let`s say all of this does force him from office. He feels
the need to resign or in some form or another. Is there – can you imagine
supporting another attorney general appointee by President Trump?
FRANKEN: Sometimes he replaces people who are not right for the job.
General Flynn is national security advisor was somebody who was very
qualified for the job.
TODD: So, you have an open mind on it?
FRANKEN: Yes. It depends who he puts forward.
TODD: What – where – what`s – I guess, I ask what other leeway do you
have in the Senate to compel him to come before if Senator Grassley won`t
FRANKEN: Well, he`s going to be testifying next week to the Appropriations
Committee. And Senator Lee is ranking on that. And I`m sure he`ll get
TODD: All right. So, your book here, you`ve been going around the
country. The people reading this book, you`ve – I`ve seen mostly
everybody asking about why you hate Ted Cruz so much. But I don`t want to
make it about Ted Cruz.
FRANKEN: Well, it`s not that I hate him so much. In fact, I say – in the
book, I say the thing you should know about Ted Cruz is that I probably
like Ted Cruz more than most of my colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate
But he is the exception in the Senate that kind of proves the rule which is
to get anything done in the Senate, you`ve got to – your word has to be
good. You have to be somewhat collegial at least. And he`s – Ted`s got
nothing done in the Senate other than one time closing the government down.
That`s his (INAUDIBLE.)
TODD: But is his word good?
FRANKEN: Is it worth it.
TODD: Is his word good? What you`re saying.
FRANKEN: No, no, no, no. Is his word good? No. And I tell a story in
there. I –
TODD: Why do you choose to focus on him so much?
FRANKEN: Well, I think he`s the –
TODD: Is he symbolic to (INAUDIBLE)?
FRANKEN: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) rule. We have – we live in a town of a
hundred people. And if you live in a town of a hundred people and want to
get something done, it`s good to have your word mean something.
And it is good to be a good – it`s like in a workplace, to not to be a
toxic co-worker. Not to be the guy that microwaves fish, you know, in the
lunchroom which you`ve used that line quite a bit.
TODD: I know, I`m not trying. Come on.
FRANKEN: I like that. I like that.
TODD: What, you like it a lot that –
FRANKEN: No, I like that you`ve been reviewing –
TODD: I try to. Well, you know, this is MEET THE PRESS and it`s, like,
you know, Senator Franken, you say fish. Now, only here, you said tuna
fish. No, I`m going to make sure you`re consistent with how many fishes
FRANKEN: Yes. Well, some fish are smellier than others. And I use the
generic fish. OK?
TODD: Let me as you –
FRANKEN: OK? Are you happy?
TODD: A lot of people are putting you on a 2020 presidential list.
TODD: Obviously, it probably is flattering. But let me asked you this.
Have you – has it crossed your mind at all, in all seriousness?
FRANKEN: First of all, it`s definitely flattering.
FRANKEN: And it`s crossed my mind just to the extent of it`s crossed it,
and then I`d say, no, I don`t want to do that.
TODD: Anything about Donald Trump`s election say that – you know, that
the voters aren`t going to, like, judge you because you used to be on
“Saturday Night Live.” They`re going to take you – look at you in a
FRANKEN: One thing that`s annoying is, well, you know you were both in
entertainment. He was in a reality show. I mean, a cannon ball is an
entertainment. I mean, and by the way, I`ve only used that, I haven`t used
TODD: All right.
FRANKEN: … on another show.
TODD: I appreciate that.
TODD: I want some original material.
FRANKEN: OK. I will just underscore everything that`s new. Look, I think
he`s devalued the presidency. I think that people go like gee, anyone now
could be president.
TODD: Is that a problem? And do you think that`s negative. I mean…
FRANKEN: Well, I think it is the sad state of affairs that we have a
president who – look, this whole idea of I am going to testify under oath
FRANKEN: Well, you can really take it to the bank, can you?
TODD: What does it say to our culture that there`s no account – that
people don`t care anymore if he doesn`t…
FRANKEN: Well, you know, I used to write books like lies and lying liars
who tell them a fair and balance look at the right. It`s almost adorable
that you can write a book pointing out to people lie a lot and the people,
you know, what interested in that. This guy it`s very, you know, right now
we have to take his words versus Comey`s words.
You know even his supporters said well, don`t take him literally, take him
FRANKEN: This guy can`t say anything with almost anything without lying.
And that is a very sad state of affairs whether it`s hundreds of my friends
died on 9/11, we saw thousands of Muslims cheering. You know, you know the
FRANKEN: And it`s sad. It`s just sad.
TODD: All right. Senator Al Franken, I have to go. Coming up, the producer
is mad at me.
FRANKEN: Yes, I understand. I understand.
TODD: I appreciate it. We`ll be following you when your first book stop in
Iowa, we`ll be keeping track of that as well. Thank you very much.
Still ahead, Theresa May will keep calm and carry on after losing her
majority in parliament. But will she keep her job and what does yesterday`s
election mean for Brexit.
We`ll be right back.
TODD: Up next, as Britain head snap voting yesterday another sign that the
anti-elite fever is breaking in Europe. And could it break here as well?
But first, Susan Lee has the CNBC market wrap.
SUSAN LEE, HOST, CNBC: Thanks, Chuck. Stocks ended mix. The Dow rising 89,
the S&P losing 2. The NASDAQ down 113 points. The worst weekly sell-off of
the year. Small business owners are optimistic about their prospects in the
next year according to a new CNBC survey, monkey survey.
However, only 27 percent say they plan to add full-time staffs in the
And Taylor Swift has shaken off her feud with streaming music services to
celebrate her sales of 10 million copies of her album 1989. The senior`s
entire catalog is now available on services like Spotify for the first time
That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have just been to see her Majesty
the Queen. And I will now form a government. A government that can provide
certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Well, Britain snapped election launch their parliament into
upheaval. And not even Lord Buckethead, God, I love that guy, could save
their nation from this turbulence.
Prime Minister Theresa May plans to boost her Conservative Party majority
backfired. And now the vote that didn`t need to happen until 2020 has now
caused the conservatives their majority and has left the U.K. with a hung
And whilst labour`s Jeremy Corbyn over performed. No one holds an actual
majority. The prime minister visited Queen Elizabeth earlier this morning
to seek permission to form a coalition government.
By the way, Brexit negotiations was supposed to start in less on the fourth
night, in this election, mind you may not be their last. There is a
possibility that another general election can be held in August.
Let`s get the hit runs in airs from Bill Neely, our chief global
correspondent joining us from London. Bill, run me through here. Number
one, how long has Theresa May have to get this government formed before the
Conservative Party decides to choose a new leader?
BILL NEELY, CORRESPONDENT, MSNBC: Well, not long, Chuck. You would have
loved this election, not quite Brexit, not quite Donald Trump. But what a
shock and tonight you can almost hear the sound of knives sharpening at
conservative headquarters. M.P.`s from her own party are absolutely
One said to me this evening, I would be surprised if she last until the
autumn when the party holds its party conference. Basically as she said,
she didn`t have to hold this election at all. She had a slim majority. She
did have a 20-point lead in the polls. She got tempted, she gambled and she
lost and her parties are furious.
TODD: Is there a change that they make that change sooner? I mean, there`s
been, you know, depending on who you talk to, you know, there`s a Boris
Johnson rumor here, another rumor there, is there a chance this happens
NEELY: Well, yes, even last night Boris Johnson was chased on the street
by someone, they said, we need to support Theresa May and he said, it`s
just too early, it`s just too early. Boris Johnson, he`s now a bookmaker.
Yes, he is now the bookmaker`s favorite to succeed her.
NEELY: It`s quite possible, Chuck that she won`t last until December. She
now relies on this minor party from Northern Ireland, the Democratic
NEELY: And someone said today, what is it about the anti-homosexuals,
anti-abortion, climate denying ultra-extremists that first attracted you to
the Democratic Unionist Party, Mrs. May.
NEELY: You know, she relies on a very, very hardline party.
NEELY: And she may struggle to keep them loyal.
TODD: Don`t take – I guess she`s now going to refer to them as the
freedom caucus. One last question. Jeremy Corbyn has he been strengthen as
the leader of labour going forward? Is he going to be, I mean, there were
all sorts of talks that this was a disaster for labour this was their way
of changing leaders.
NEELY: Extraordinary. The accidental leader he didn`t want to be leader.
You know, he makes Bernie Sanders looked good. There are comparisons
between the two. This was a guy who absolutely galvanized young people who
defied all the odds and all the pundits. And he`s not, you know, people
said he was unelectable and that he would be out as leader this week.
In fact, he will probably fight the next election on behalf of the labour
Party. He is the big winner. Yes, he didn`t win the election. An
extraordinary performance and for May, Theresa May, what an embarrassment.
TODD: Bill Neely, you didn`t pull any pull any punches there, sir. Always
a pleasure, always a fun to talk British politics with you. I appreciate
NEELY: Thanks a lot.
TODD: Up next, why I`m obsessed with the Comey/Trump observation that`s
straight out of a television drama.
TODD: Welcome back. Tonight I`m obsessed with a fascinating observation
about the Trump/Comey skirmish from the creator of The Wire, David Simon.
In a series of tweets, Simon says that an interrogation as he has witnessed
innocent people asked a lot of questions about what the detective know, but
guilty people, he says, forget to ask. Why? Because they already know what
And Simon makes this point, that in his meetings with James Comey,
President Trump apparently made no efforts to discern whether Russia did
interfere with our election or what the FBI has learned.
Simon then tells this story of a murder case in which a man charge for
killing his wife but the body has not yet been found.
Here`s how Simon tells it. Defense attorney tells the jury in final
argument, there`s been to crime. And the supposed victim will walk through
the courtroom door in 10 seconds. Thirty seconds later, the door remains
OK, she isn`t coming today. But the point is all of you on the jury looked
and that my friend is reasonable doubt, you must acquit. But the jury comes
back in 20 minutes, guilty. The attorney goed to the foreman, “I thought I
had you.” Foreman, “you had me and 10 others.”
But jury number eight didn`t look at the door. He looked at the client and
he didn`t eye the door. The client was examining his nails.
Even when he was completely alone with Comey Trump didn`t look at the door.
He eyed his nails. That would be an absolutely tell. Is that proof of a
misdeed? Absolutely not. This certainly is a fascinating observation from a
man who`s spend a lot of time reporting and writing about true crime
We`ll be right back.
TODD: Time for the lead. Let`s turn to the all pro panel on Friday.
Charlie Sykes, Danielle Pletka, Eugene Robinson, and Neera Tanden.
All right, let`s take a break from Trump/Comey. We just said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TODD: Bill Neely just gave us quite the run now. All right. Danny, to you
first, following your Twitter account. You were following this more than
Comey. Well, maybe the same.
DANIELLE PLETKA, VICE-PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: No more.
PLETKA: No, this was more enjoyable than Comey and this wasn`t at home so
it was more cheering. But my God, what an unbelievable miscalculations on
Theresa May party. You know, she came in as a novice. She came in as
somebody who ended up prime minister by virtue of Cameron`s stepping down
on the whole Brexit debacle. And boy, did she not know her business,
completely miscalculated her country and ran a terrible campaign.
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think we should
recognize that what has happened in Europe and happened in the U.K. as if
it was not a full year ago that you have the Brexit vote.
You have the Brexit vote, you have Donald Trump become president, you see a
counteraction in Europe with Macron`s victory and with this election, in
that you have, you know, you have people who are against political
institutions, but not the far-right moving up or the right conservative
moving up. You see labour moving up and people who were basically anti-
incumbent taking power.
CHARLIE SYKES, CONTRIBUTOR, MSNBC: Again, a kind of polarization in
Britain that we have here in this country. And I have to say from the
conservative point of view, you know, long term, the way that young voters
in this country and in Great Britain are voting against free markets and
capitalism, this is a long-term problem because you`re losing an entire
I`m not sure where this coalition government with some of the social issues
you`re going to get young people back any time. This is a big problem…
TANDEN: This Brexit (Ph) they are going to stay.
SYKES: They are.
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: I think there is something of
a realignment. You know, I don`t know if these votes go quite that far. One
thing we saw in Britain is that some people are really good at politics and
some are not. Jeremy Corbyn is a lot better at politics than people
TODD: I`m a …
ROBINSON: He was a very good campaigner.
SYKES: Now they`re stuck with him. Now the labour party is stuck with it.
I`m sure they were planning on picking up the pieces…
TANDEN: I think he`s better than anyone.
SYKES: … afterwards and now you have the Labour Party that is going to
be hard left and is going to stay hard left.
PLETKA: And they cannot win.
PLETKA: And they cannot win with him at the helm. But he`s, by the way, as
populist as a Brexit voter and supported Brexit, by the way.
TODD: Al right. Is this, though, you know, to borrow a phrase from
somebody that will be on the air in about three hours, is this the twilight
of the elite? Is that ended? Is the attack on elite ended, or are the
elites just anti-this nationalism?
ROBINSON: I think the elites…
TANDEN: I think that, you know, I do think throughout Europe you are
seeing a – the reaction to the nationalism. I mean, I do think Merkel is
likely to stay in power. The alt-right all throughout Europe is collapsing.
UKIP collapsed, that is another important thing…
TODD: The Nigel Farage.
TANDEN: Just fully collapsed i Britain a year after Brexit, think about
that. So, I do think – I do think people in Europe are seeing a little bit
what happened in the United States and it`s not that there are a lot of
domestic factors, but I think that the surge of nationalism has crested.
TODD: I guess what – what`s fascinating to me though….
TANDEN: In Europe and – and maybe here.
ROBINSON: But they lost.
TANDEN: Yes, they are.
TODD: But the real – but the story is, you know, we keep saying the
fragmentation, it`s the hollowing out of the center.
ROBINSON: There`s no right.
TODD: OK. There`s no center here. However, a center showed back up in
PLETKA: Yes. It ruined France.
TODD: But it was a center by – they didn`t go to the center, it was sort
of refuge. It wasn`t…
PLETKA: This has happened before in France as well when marine Le Pen`s
father was the candidate, they went overwhelmingly away. If Macron had been
not against Fillon not as a – not as an apparent criminal or alleged
criminal, then Fillon may well have won…
TODD: That`s in France allege is not.
PLETKA: I`ll say it with an accent, it will sound better. But you know, I
think you`re right. The center is the problem and that`s what`s missing.
TODD: We don`t have a center here. No. I mean, both parties are in some
ways fragmenting themselves too and moving…
TANDEN: That`s true. But if you look at Georgia 6, I mean, this is a big
question about whether more…
TODD: Should the democrats, how do the democrats campaign on this? Did
they hand him to the middle. Ossof is trying to be as quietly as centrist
without annihilating Bernie.
TANDEN: Yes. And he`s pretty eccentric. Fillon is pretty eccentric.
TODD: No, he isn`t. Bernie is endorsing that person because of that.
SYKES: There is a center in American politics. However, the loudest voices
in both political parties are pushing to the extreme. So, the question is,
you know, is there some future for center right, center left.
I sense there are people who would like to kind of message, they`ll do it.
I think if the democrats move hard left, if they go, you know, if they go
to the direction of labour, that I think is going to be very problematic
for them in 2020.
ROBINSON: There is going to be a center in American politics, but maybe
not for a while. I think frankly – I mean, I think because I think the
sort of polarization is still in the active phase. And then it will
inevitably come together. There will be a center.
TANDEN: And I say about this though. I mean, one of the challenges is that
Donald Trump, you know, in his attacks on the Democratic Party, his attacks
on different groups, is pushing people to be very – stronger and stronger
against him. So, he is polarizing politics, too.
SYKES: He could have been a centrist too. He could have been a centrist.
TANDEN: But he`s not just to be. He said the Affordable Care Act first
instead of infrastructure, he decided to go hard right.
SYKES: This was – by the way, happy infrastructure week. But I mean, you
think about that, that`s that would have been his biggest success.
TANDEN: He chose not to start on that.
SYKES: He chose not to start; he also chose not to reach out to the
TODD: Last question and you have to keep it really tight. Does Al Franken
participate in the Iowa caucus in 2020?
TANDEN: I hope so.
ROBINSON: I don`t think so.
TODD: Hope so? No?
TODD: You say yes? I know. I think…
TODD: Why not? He`s a next door neighbor.
TANDEN: Everyone run.
TODD: That`s what I think, there`s going to be thousands of candidates.
All right. Hopefully Lord Buckethead. Let`s bring Lord Buckethead.
It`s totally been a new different era. Thank you. After the break, has luck
run out for the comeback kids?
TODD: Well, in case you missed it, 2016 was the year of the dramatic
sports come back and actually the dramatic political come backs, too,
Brexit and Trump. But it looks like the empire may be striking back in
Tonight is game for the NBA finals. And the Golden State Warriors are on
the verge of sweeping the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers. The
Warriors won all 15 play-offs games. They played so far this year. The
first time that`s ever happened in the NBA, four-four, four-four, Warriors
dominating ride through the NBA finals could signal a distinct contrast to
2016 which of course we labeled the year of the comeback.
If you remember the same Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 hole against the
pre-Kevin Durant Warriors. The Chicago Cubs broke their curse and also came
back from a 3 to 1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians. And a bit of
spill over, in early 2017, Clemson came back from behind to shocked the
unbeatable Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship games.
And of course that blown 28-point – 23 to 3 lead in the Super Bowl that
gave Tom Brady his fifth Super Bowl ring, 2016 season, right, bleeding
So unless the Cavs can kick off the first four in a row comeback in NBA
history tonight it looks as if the sports world upset streak of stunning
victory is now over.
Don`t count out LeBron and the Cavs as president – Hillary Clinton will
attest to. Nothing is over until it`s really over.
That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back Monday with more MTP Daily. For the
record with Greta starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the