MTP Daily, Transcript 6/26/2017

Guests:
Jeremy Bash, Glenn Thrush, Amy Holmes, Bob Shrum
Transcript:

Show: MTP DAILY
Date: June 26, 2017
Guest: Jeremy Bash, Glenn Thrush, Amy Holmes, Bob Shrum

LANHEE CHEN, AMERICAN POLICY EXPERT: The more this can be a Senate-driven
process, the more likelihood it is that this bill gets across the finish
line.

NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Policy. You guys always take it back to
policy.

CHEN: Right.

WALLACE: Thank you to my panel. Lanhee Chen, Jess McIntosh, Joel
Benenson, and Alex (INAUDIBLE.)

That does it for this hour. I’m Nicole Wallace. “MTP DAILY” starts right
now with Katy Tur, in for Chuck. Hi, Katy.

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Hi there, Nicole.

And if it is Monday, the score is out on the Senate health care bill.

Good evening and welcome to MTP DAILY. I’m Katy Tur in for Chuck Todd,
live from Los Angeles.

We’re preparing to hear from President Trump live in the rose garden with
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We’ll take their joint remarks as
they happen.

But for now, it’s make or break for Republicans on health care. The entire
political world, including the Trump White House, is watching the Senate
try to pass a bill this week before the July 4th recess.

We’re told the first procedural vote could come as soon as tomorrow
afternoon. Just in the last hour, we got the nonpartisan analysis from the
Congressional Budget Office. A crucial test that could determine which
Republicans go from a yes to a no vote or to a no from a no to a yes.

The CBO says the bill would reduce the federal deficit over the next 10
years by $321 billion, more than $200 billion more than what they estimated
for the House bill.

The bill would increase the number of uninsured people by 22 million by the
year 2026, slightly fewer than the increase in the House bill. The total
number of insured then would be an estimated 49 million.

But, right now, we don’t though if this bill is going to get GOP support to
pass regardless of the score. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin told Chuck
yesterday on “MEET THE PRESS” that he was concerned about the speed with
which his party leadership is trying to ram this bill through the Senate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: We don’t have enough information. I
don’t have the feedback from constituencies who will not have had enough
time to review the Senate bill. We should not be voting on this next week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: There are still five Senate Republicans who oppose the health care
bill, and we’re expecting that number to shift as members digest the CBO’s
analysis. And just remember, for this thing to pass, Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell can only afford to lose two of his GOP colleagues.

And the White House is getting involved in whipping the votes. Press
Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, in an off-camera briefing today, that
the president has made multiple calls to senators about the bill, including
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Plus Republicans made a small change to
the bill trying to compel people not to go without insurance coverage which
could cause the most conservative members of the conference to cry foul.

So, we’re keeping an eye on the politics, the policy and the process and
seeing if Republicans can make their self-imposed and rapidly approaching
dead line.

Joining me now from Capitol Hill is NBC’s Garrett Haake. Garrett, thanks
for joining us.

Break down the CBO score and what it could possibly mean for the Senate
conference.

GARRETT HAAKE, CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Well, Katy, there’s a
couple things in here that I think Republicans are going to like, starting
with the deficit reduction number on this. They say that after 10 years,
they can cut $321 billion from the deficit. That’s not necessarily where
all that money is going to go. That $321 billion is now money that they
can throw at this problem.

If Rob Portman wants more money for opioids, they can find a couple of
billion dollars. If Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins wants more money for
their rural parts of their states, they can find money that addresses that
problem.

But they’ve got a big problem with the top line number, the 22 million
people who will be uninsured compared to current law with this bill. That
means they’re going to have to face the same argument with Donald Trump’s
words at the forefront that this bill is mean. That it doesn’t do enough
to make sure people get covered.

And the biggest chunk of that comes from Medicaid. 15 million fewer people
will be insured by Medicaid in 10 years than compared to current law under
this bill.

And so, in the CBO breakdown, there’s actually a chart that shows the, sort
of, cut off, the flattening out of the line on Medicaid spending. This is
something Republicans have wanted to get done for a long time, sort of slow
the growth of Medicaid spending.

But that gap, that space between those two lines on current Medicaid
spending and what this bill would project is going to affect a lot of real
people. And I expect to hear Democrats hammer that point. A lot of
vulnerable people who would otherwise potentially be on Medicaid and not
getting that care – Katy.

TUR: And, Garrett, the president campaigned on not touching Medicaid. Is
there concern, within the Republican Senate right now, to go against
something that the president, himself, campaigned on?

HAAKE: Well, the president campaigned on that, but that’s not something
he’s been talking about since then.

[17:05:00] And, frankly, it’s not something that these Republican senators
campaigned on. So, there’s a difference between the president’s rhetoric
and the senator’s rhetoric.

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: And, frankly, the president’s rhetoric from day-to-day.

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: He has said that he doesn’t want this bill to be –

TUR: Or from hour to hour.

HAAKE: Or from hour to hour.

So, we know the president has been reaching out to some of these senators
trying to get them on board on this.

But I can tell you, Katy, I talked to Rand Paul, just in the hallway a
little while ago, and he said that while he has spoken to the president, he
hasn’t spoken to Senate leadership about this bill. So, they’re not having
those negotiations yet.

TUR: What about this – the way they’re trying to compel people to not go
without coverage. The six-month period in which you can’t get coverage if
you stop having coverage for any reason.

HAAKE: So, this is really important and also potentially problematic. So,
in the Affordable Health Care Act, you had a monetary mandate to make
people get coverage or else they had to pay this penalty. That’s afama
(ph) to the Senate Republicans. They don’t want to have a monetary
mandate.

But to keep premiums down for everybody, they need to find a way to get
young, healthy people to buy health insurance that they might not otherwise
want. Their solution to this was the, sort of, penalty box approach.
Wherein if you lose your health insurance or you’re not – or you choose,
rather I should say, to not be covered for more than 60 days under this
plan, you would then, essentially, be locked out of buying insurance on the
individual market for their six months.

So, the idea is you can’t bet on your own health here. You’ve got to buy a
plan now so you don’t risk getting locked out. That’s also a CBO problem.
It makes this look a little bit better on paper. But if you get somebody
who gets pregnant unexpectedly or diagnosed with cancer unexpectedly –

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: – and they’re locked out in this penalty box and can’t buy
insurance for six months, that’s a huge problem for those individuals and
for Republicans politically.

So, with every problem they try to solve, with every tweak they try to make
in this bill, they potentially introduce another problem along the way.

TUR: Yes, what happens to that person who gets diagnosed with cancer who
told, you can’t get treatment right now? You’re going to have to wait six
months. What happens to that person then, and how well will they be doing
six months from that period?

Garrett Haake, thank you so much for joining us.

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Senator, thank you very much.

Is there anything that the Democrats can do to stop this from passing?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: We’re going to do everything we
can because the Republicans have gone from total secrecy now to increasing
chaos. And these CBO numbers I think give us a real opportunity to rally
the groups, all of the medical groups, the citizen advocates, because there
are real people who are affected.

I’ve seen many of them in the emergency field hearings that I held Monday
and Friday of last week. People with stories that are really heartbreaking
and gut-wrenching behind those numbers, 22 million. And even more
alarming, the 49 million Americans who will be uninsured in 2026.

And the effect on the private markets. The private insurance markets of
diluting the standards for essential health benefits, eliminating the caps
and the annual limits, as well as the other kinds of consumer protections
here.

TUR: No doubt Mitch McConnell is going to be trying to strong arm the
members – strong arm his GOP colleagues who may not support this.

Are the Democrats trying to influence anyone, in particular, behind the
scenes? Any moderates to say no to this bill? Potentially any
conservatives to say no to this bill?

BLUMENTHAL: They can do a lot of deal making. But as Ronald Reagan said,
facts are stubborn things. And the facts here on the ground are what are
powerfully persuasive.

We’re talking to our Republican colleagues but they are as aware as we are
because they’re hearing from the folks in their states whose lives will be
transformed.

You mentioned earlier, the person who learns of cancer and is unable to get
insurance because of that penalty box, six-month waiting period, before the
application to insure – for insurance can be made.

These real-life stories about the elderly, two-thirds of them depending on
Medicaid for nursing homes, children with preexisting conditions because
they have muscular dystrophy at birth, the young people who have other
kinds of stories that are really just powerfully heart wrenching, I think,
are the most important facts.

TUR: Senator, in the House, there was a lot of hand wringing among
Republicans about their bill. Ultimately, though, they did vote to pass
it. There’s a lot of hand wringing right now among a number of Senate
Republicans.

But there is something of a feeling that, ultimately, they will be able to
pass it. If they’re able to do so before the July 4th recess, before they
go home and potentially hear from their constituents, is there anything the
Democrats can do then, other than just cry foul?

BLUMENTHAL: Isn’t that a pretty powerful observation, that hearing from
their constituents may actually persuade them to vote against this bill?
What does it presume about the merits of the bill to say that?

[17:10:05] And I think it is right. What we can do is offer the
amendments, make the arguments and bring home the realities here. And the
CBO score is pretty powerful evidence that Republicans are going to regret,
they’re truly going to regret voting for this bill and it will weigh on
their conscious.

They’re going to have to look at themselves in the mirror. They’re going
to have to look at their constituents in the eye, not just this July 4th
week but for years to come.

TUR: Sir, Senator Ron Johnson was on the “MEET THE PRESS” yesterday. And
he said he would welcome bipartisan support on a bill. Given that and say
that this bill does not get passed, would you be willing to work with him
on a bill that does change Obamacare, repeal Obamacare and put forth a
different plan that may be more palatable to Democrats?

BLUMENTHAL: Profoundly important question, Katy. And the answer is,
unequivocally, yes. We have been ready, willing and we hope to be able to
sit down with our Republican colleagues after they abandon this effort to
completely repeal and decimate and destroy the Affordable Care Act. Mend
it, not end it, for example, to (INAUDIBLE) some of the regulatory barriers
to more competition and choice for consumers. Lower medical care costs.

Where has the conversation been about lowering pharmaceutical drug prices
which can be done and must be done. And other measures that will build on
the Affordable Care Act without taking insurance away from 22 million
Americans and eliminating the protections against preexisting conditions
and arbitrary caps on coverage. And all kinds of other abuses that I saw
all too well, as a state official, a state attorney general in Connecticut.

TUR: The strategy right now among Democrats is to – seems to be what the
Republicans did when President Obama was in office which was just not
necessarily obstruct, but stop the Republicans from getting anything done.
That’s what they are doing.

So, if it comes to a point where they are asking for some bipartisan
support for a bill, do you believe anybody else among the Democrats will be
willing to work with them? Do you believe it’s politically problematic for
the Democrats to be seen working with Republicans right now?

BLUMENTHAL: Far from politically problematic, Katy. I think it is what
the country wants. When I go home to Connecticut, as I do every weekend,
what people say to me is, why can’t you guys work together?

The country is hungry for bipartisanship, not for destroying the Affordable
Care Act and adopting a measure that is approved by 10 percent or 20
percent of the population. They want us to do what has been done with
other major social reforms, like Social Security. Change it, to improve
it, not destroy it.

And the kinds of reforms that are practically possible and deemed
necessary, I think are achievable through bipartisan compromise. And, yes,
many, many of my Democratic colleagues and most of the country want us to
work together.

TUR: Senator Blumenthal, I appreciate your time, sir.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

TUR: Let’s bring in tonight’s panel. Glenn Thrush, “The New York Times”
White House Correspondent and an MSNBC Political Analyst. Amy Holmes was a
speech writer for former Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, who’s now a
political analyst at Rasmussen. And Bob Shrum, he’s a Democratic
Strategist and a professor of politics at USC.

Bob, so good to see you in person. Nice to have you here in Los Angeles.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Nice to have you on the west coast.

TUR: Absolutely. Can’t complain about it.

Let’s talk about this CBO score. It’s a pretty dramatic number. 2026 22
million more people uninsured. That would bring the total number of people
to 49 million uninsured. Are the Republicans going to have a problem with
this if they pass this?

SHRUM: Well, let me not talk about the morality of it, because I think
it’s a pretty immoral step to take.

Let me talk about the politics of it. There’ll be – under this plan, 15
million people will lose their health insurance in 2018. So, the
Republicans will go into the mid-term election having done that.

Premiums will also be going up in those first several years. They come
down later because fewer people are covered, more costs are transferred to
people at the upper in – at the upper income scale who are older.

But the truth of the matter is, you don’t want to go into a mid-term
election like this. If I were – you know, Bill Cassidy, the Senator from
Louisiana said today, these numbers give me more pause.

I can’t see Dean Heller, the Senator from Nevada, committing political
seppuku (ph) by voting for this and then going into an election he’s
starting to lose.

I’m not sure Susan Collins will vote for it. You’re probably right. In
the end, they probably somehow hold a hammer to 50 people’s heads they get
to vote for this.

But I’ve talked to a number of Republican strategists who is say the best
thing that could happen to us would be for this bill to go away. For us to
move on to tax reform, move on to infrastructure and emphasize the economy.

[17:15:05] TUR: Amy, why would you not wait for this bill – for members
of the Senate to go back and talk about their constituents before passing a
bill like this? Why would you rush it?

AMY HOLMES, POLITICAL ANALYST, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: Well, I don’t know that
I would do that, but I think that the reason why Mitch McConnell is doing
that is because they don’t want to go into those town halls and have all of
those angry constituents yelling at them, as what happened to Democrats, if
you remember, before the passage of Obamacare.

And the Democratic Party lost, you know, their majority in the House in
2010, in large part because of that. So, I don’t think the Republicans
want to run into that buzz saw.

And we know that there are five senators who have already expressed their
opposition to this bill. And with the CBO, it’s going to make it even
harder for other Republicans.

Susan Collins, she said that she was seriously concerned. That’s a
Republican from Maine. I’m not sure that these CBO numbers are going to
give her, you know, a lot of political room for this.

So, I think an answer to your question is to avoid some of the bad politics
that could be coming down the pike.

TUR: Well, what does that say about the bill that they don’t want to hear
from their constituents, Amy?

HOLMES: Well, what it says about the health care reform is that it’s a
difficult effort that, you know, there are winners and losers whenever
there is this reform effort.

Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, he said that this was largely a
Medicaid reform bill. And at Rasmussen Reports, we found that the appetite
for some big overhaul of health care law was actually going down since the
election.

And I think that if senators, Republicans had focused on Medicaid reform,
you might not have quite as much, how shall we say, strong opposition to
this.

TUR: And, Glenn, the president, himself, ran – as you know, ran on not
touching entitlements, ran on not touching Medicaid, ran on making sure no
people were dying on the streets.

How does he square this argument or how does he square his new argument
that they need to do something, period, even if it doesn’t benefit
everyone?

GLENN THRUSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, he doesn’t. There’s no way to
square anything. I mean, –

TUR: I guess the question is, does it have – does anything he says –
does anything he says matter?

THRUSH: As Colin –

TUR: And I think the answer is no – I mean, I guess.

THRUSH: – well, as Colin Powell said about Iraq, you break it, you buy
it. Right?

TUR: Yes.

THRUSH: And what the Republicans are doing right now is they’re about to
own this thing in the way that Obama and the Democrats have owned this
thing.

They’re about to discover that the problems that the Affordable Care Act
was attempting to attack, imperfectly, were fairly intractable societal
problems that governors, Republicans and Democrats alike have to deal with
every single day.

So, they are now going to inherit – and Bob was totally right. The big
number on this are not the out year (ph) deficit numbers. It’s not the 22
million by 2026. It’s next year, 15 million people are getting whacked off
the roles. It’s going to give the Democrats the wind behind their back.

And now, Trump, who has said everything under the sun you could potentially
say about health care reform, and is clearly not a details guy on this
stuff, is going to have to deal with real Human fallout from his – from
his actions.

And apart from the original travel ban, where people were bogged (ph) up in
airports, American citizens green card holders, you are now going to see a
very large pool of Americans of all demographic categories suffering from
this. And Trump is going to have to own that problem.

TUR: Unsurprisingly, I’ve got a statement right here from Budget Committee
Chair Mike Enzi, and Majority Whip John Conran, that only talks about the
deficit reduction. It doesn’t mention anywhere the number of – and it’s
right here, the number of people who would go uninsured. Not surprising
whatsoever.

Glenn Thrush, Amy, Bob, stay with us. We’re going to come back to you a
little bit later in the hour.

Coming up, part of President Trump’s travel ban is back on the books, as
the Supreme Court says it will weigh the issue this fall. We’ll look at
the political and national security implications of today’s decision.

[17:19:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUR: You are taking a live look at the White House rose garden, where
President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to
make joint statements, following their meeting to discuss U.S.-India
relations. We’re going to bring you those comments live just ahead.

And we’re back in 60 seconds with more MTP DAILY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUR: Welcome back.

It was a blockbuster day at the Supreme Court with huge news on issues
pertaining to gay rights, the separation of church and state, the Second
Amendment, and more.

But the biggest bombshell came when the court partially reinstated the
president’s travel ban. Lower courts had basically blocked the entire
order, but the Supreme Court today said that the administration can enforce
the ban on visas from six Middle Eastern countries, but it can only apply
to foreigners who don’t have a, quote, “credible” connection to the United
States.

The president says the decision means that the travel ban can now largely
be enforced as we wait for the Supreme Court to hear the case this fall.
The court’s final ruling on the travel ban will come after that.

The president hailed today’s news saying, in part, today’s unanimous
Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security.

Today’s action by the court also gave the administration a potential
roadmap to argue its case. But still, a lot of questions remain about what
this decision means, legally, politically, and perhaps most importantly,
what it means for our national security.

I’m joined now by NBC justice correspondent, Pet Williams. Pets, in
practical terms, what does today’s ruling mean?

PETE WILLIAMS, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: The court unanimously
gives President Trump a victory on one thing he wanted. He wanted the
court to take the appeal of these lower court rulings against him. The
court unanimously said, yes. So, that is a clear victory and a – and a
pathway for him, possibly, to prevail.

Secondly, the court said, we’re going to lift partially the lower court
stays that have blocked enforcement of this so far. So, it’ll still be in
effect, this 90-day pause on issuing visas. It can now go into effect that
the president’s executive order, this 90-day pause on issuing visas from
six Muslim countries. Unless the people who apply for visas have a close
relative here in the U.S. that they’re coming to visit or stay with are a
student or a teacher or are coming here to accept a job.

Anyone who has a connection to the U.S., in other words, the travel ban is
still in place. The ban on enforcement is still this place. So, it’s a
partial victory for the president. But it was a six to three vote to allow
people still to come here if it they have a connection to the U.S.

TUR: So, part of their justification from the Supreme Court was the
interest in preserving national security what they say is an urgent
objective of the highest order to prevent the government pursuing that –
from pursuing that objective would appreciably injure its interests.

Pete, is that essentially a roadmap for Trump’s lawyers to argue this case?

WILLIAMS: No, that’s basically what Trump lawyers said in asking the
Supreme Court to take the case. That’s been their argument all along.
That was their argument in the Fourth Circuit, in the Ninth Circuit and
every trial court that has heard this case.

[17:25:12] We need to put a pause on issuing visas because we need to check
the reliability of the background information on visa applicants that we
get from these countries that are either too connected with terrorism or,
in essence, falling apart. And they don’t have the kind of infrastructure
that can give you reliable background information on people.

So, that’s basically the Supreme Court picking up on a line that the Trump
administration has long argued and which they will argue again in the fall.

TUR: So, this ban was only supposed to last 90 to 120 days, Pete. By the
time the Supreme Court does start hearing it, essentially, I mean, it could
be mute. Is that a good thing or a bad thing for this administration?

WILLIAMS: Well, look, if – it could be a very good thing for the
administration. Ninety days, they can start enforcing it now, for the most
part. If – and if they say by October, you know what? We got enough of
what we wanted. We’re out of here. I mean, that could be one possible
outcome.

But because the administration doesn’t get everything, it can’t entirely
enforce the executive order, then there’ll still be something to chew over
again in the fall.

But you’re right, it does raise the prospect of that by the time we get to
October, things may have changed –

TUR: yes.

WILLIAMS: – enough that everybody says, you know what? No point in going
on with this.

TUR: Pete Williams, appreciate it.

I’m joined now by NBC national security analyst, Jeremy Bash, who is chief
of staff at the CIA and at the Pentagon. Jeremy, just a warning. We’re
waiting for the president to come out to the rose garden with Prime
Minister Modi, so we might have to cut you off mid-thought.

JEREMY BASH, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, NBC NEWS: Yes, no problem.

TUR: But to get started, the rationale for the ban was that they needed to
do this for national security immediately. But it was only supposed to, at
least in the beginning, happen for 90 days. It’s been 150 days. The
rational, does it still make any sense?

BASH: It does not. And that’s exactly right. The president’s prediction
was that unless we banned all Muslims from the six countries, the
terrorists would be streaming over our borders over the next 90 days. As
you noted that was 150 days ago.

So, the original rational for the ban has gone out the window. That’s why,
I think, this was a narrow victory for the president today. But it was
ultimately a hallow victory because this, as a counterterrorism measure,
was never put in place. It never, quote, unquote, “protected the country.”

And now, what the Supreme Court has done is they’ve lifted the lower court
injunction. I mean, not only can the ban go into place, to some extent,
but also – and I’m just watching the screen here to see if the president
comes out, Katy. Not only will the ban go into place, but also the vetting
can go forward. And the vetting will happen over the course of several
weeks.

And as you said with Pete, you know, by the time the Supreme Court touches
this again in October, this whole issue may be over and the president will
not have gotten any safety or security for the American people.

TUR: And we can see the president’s wife, Melania, and a number of his top
cabinet officials are already taking to their seats. They are standing, at
the moment. We are still awaiting the president and Prime Minister Modi.

Jeremy, what’s the hard evidence that foreigners or refugees who have a
connection to the U.S. are less of a terror risk than those who do not have
a connection?

BASH: There’s no evidence at all. In fact, all somebody needs to do, in
order to get into the country under this paradigm as set forth by the
Supreme Court, is go up to the visa office at the embassy and say, I’ve got
a familial tie. And they just have to provide some basic evidence.

I think it’s going to be very easy for anybody who wants to get into the
country to get into the country under this program. And I think it’s going
to be hard to keep people out.

TUR: Well, they have to provide documentation. Are you saying that the
vetting process for these visas is not strong as it is?

BASH: Well, there is a strong vetting program already. But what the
Supreme Court has said is if you – all you have to do, in addition, is
provide some credible claim that you’ve a familial tie. And oi think
that’s going to be fairly easy, for most people, to show who are determined
to get into the country.

Of course, if someone is truly a terrorist, do we think they are somehow
above lying to the visa officer? That, kind of, makes no sense.

TUR: And we see the president’s son in law and senior advisor, Jared
Kushner. Also, his daughter, Ivanka, and Gary Cohen as well in that frame
right now. Jared Kushner right there.

Jeremy, I was under the impression that it was actually the second-
generation immigrants that end up posing more of a risk. The attackers in
Orlando, San Bernardino, Garland, Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon were
all children of immigrants, those who did have a connection to family
members, obviously, in the U.S.

BASH: It’s a fair point. Many had of those domestic attackers have been
bored – born inside the United States. In the U.K., they have faced some
of the same challenges where a lot of those terrorists there have been
U.K.-born. It’s the domestic radicalization issue that, I think, confronts
our societies most acutely.

But, again, but back to the overall structure of counterterrorism policy.
Counterterrorism requires focus, Katy. You need to actually have specific
information that leads you to specific plots that can be disrupted.

If you put entire populations of individuals because of their nationality,
because of their national origin, because of their religion, because of the
way they look or they operate, if it’s broad suspicion, that is going to
take away resources, that is going to take away focus from those
individuals who need to be focusing on specific plots. Every counter-
terrorism official I have spoken to believes that focus is the number one
key to counter-terrorism.

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We’re seeing members of the Indian
delegation go to their seats as well. Again, we are awaiting President
Trump and Prime Minister Modi to come out and take the podiums. No doubt
we’re going to get Donald Trump’s reaction on camera to the travel ban.
We’re going to see if they take any questions as well. Jeremy, does lifting
part of this injunction, maybe it’s a little bit too early to ask this, but
does lifting part of this injunction set a precedent that the president’s
decisions when it comes to national security, will it set a precedent
cannot be impeded? That they go through no matter what?

BASH: I thought it was interesting the way the court wrote this this in
this interesting opinion. It was an unsigned opinion, so-called per curiam
opinion. Presidents that win per curiam opinions like to call them 9-0
unanimous decisions. But they are a little bit different. They are an
unsigned opinion from the court. What they said was in balancing the
president’s national security powers versus other equities here. We have to
defer to the president in his national security powers. But this was not a
constitutional claim. Let’s see the president and the Indian leader come to
the podiums.

TUR: Yeah, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi going to the podium
right now. Let’s take a listen.

(START VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. Prime
Minister Modi, thank you for being here with us today. It’s a great honor
to welcome the leader of world’s largest democracy to the White House. I
have always had a deep admiration for your country and for its people. And
a profound appreciation for your rich culture, heritage, and traditions.

This summer, India will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its independence
and on behalf of the United States, I want to congratulate the Indian
people on this magnificent milestone in the life of your very, very
incredible nation. During my campaign, I pledged that if elected, India
would have a true friend in the White House. And that is now exactly what
you have, a true friend.

A friendship between the United States and India is built on shared values
including our shared commitment to democracy. Not many people know it, but
both American and the Indian constitutions begin with the same three very
beautiful words, we the people. The prime minister and I both understand
the crucial importance of those words, which helps to form the foundation
of cooperation between our two countries.

Relations between countries are strongest when they are devoted to the
interests of the people we serve. After our meetings today, I will say that
the relationship between India and the United States has never been
stronger, has never been better. I’m proud to announce to the media, to the
American people, and to the Indian people that Prime Minister Modi and I
are world leaders in social media. We’re believers.

Giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from
their elected officials and for us to hear directly from them. I guess it’s
worked very well in both cases. I am thrilled to salute you, Prime Minister
Modi and the Indian people for all that you are accomplishing together.
Your accomplishments have been vast. India has the fastest growing economy
in the world.

We hope we’re going to be catching you very soon in terms of percentage
increase. I have to tell you that. We’re working on it. In just two weeks,
you will begin to implement the largest tax overhaul in your country’s
history. We’re doing that also, by the way, creating great new
opportunities for your citizens. You have a big vision for improving
infrastructure and you are fighting government corruption, which is always
a grave threat to democracy.

Together our countries can help chart an optimistic path into the future,
one that unleashes the power of new technology, new infrastructure, and the
enthusiasm and the excitement of very hardworking and very dynamic people.
I look forward to working with you, Mr. Prime Minister, to create jobs in
our countries, to grow our economies, and to create a trading relationship
that is fair and reciprocal.

It is important that barriers be removed to the export of U.S. goods into
your markets and we reduce our trade deficit with your country. I was
pleased to learn about an Indian airline’s recent order of 100 new American
planes, one of the largest orders of its kind, which will support thousands
and thousands of American jobs.

We’re also looking forward to exporting more American energy to India as
your economy grows including major long-term contracts to purchase American
natural gas, which you’re right now being negotiated and we will sign them,
trying to get the price up a little bit. To further our economic
partnership, I’m excited to report that the prime minister has invited my
daughter, Ivanka, to lead the U.S. delegation to the global
entrepreneurship summit in India this fall, and I believe she has accepted.

Finally, the security partnership between the United States and India is
incredibly important. Both our nations have been struck by the evils of
terrorism and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and
the radical ideology that drives them. We will destroy radical Islamic
terrorism. Our militaries are working every day to enhance cooperation
between our military forces and next month, they will join together with
the Japanese navy to take part in the largest maritime exercise ever
conducted in the vast Indian ocean.

I also thank the Indian people for their contributions to the effort in
Afghanistan and for joining us in applying new sanctions against the North
Korean regime. The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and
is something that has to be dealt with and probably dealt with rapidly.
Working together, I truly believe our two countries can set an example for
many other nations make great strides in defeating common threats and make
great progress in unleashing amazing prosperity and growth.

Prime Minister Modi, thank you again for joining me today and for visiting
our country and our wonderful White House and oval office. I enjoyed our
very productive conversation this afternoon and look forward to its
continuation tonight at dinner. The future of our partnership has never
looked brighter. India and the United States will always be tied together
in friendship and respect. Prime Minister Modi, thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

NARENDA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): President
Donald Trump and first lady, vice president, ladies and gentlemen of the
media, right from the opening tweet to the end of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: That was President Trump and India’s Prime Minister Modi, who is still
speaking right now, the two men giving each other a hug. Donald Trump
saying that India will have a true friend in America. We’re going to have
more “MTP Daily” right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUR: Welcome back. The opioid crisis is a big flash point in Ohio,
potentially affecting Republican Rob Portman’s vote on the health care
bill, which critics say slashes the money for treatment. Republicans can
only afford two no votes in the senate. They may not be able to spare
Portman. Joining me now on set is MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff. Jacob, so good to
see you in person. Tell us more.

JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, good to see you, Katy. Now,
opioids are central to this health care debate with Medicaid on the
chopping block and the health care bill so is addiction treatment. This as
overdoses are now killing more Americans than ever before. Ohio is the
epicenter of this crisis on track for a staggering 10,000 deaths this year
alone according to local officials as politicians back in Washington debate
the health care bill on the ground. The death toll continues to skyrocket
daily because of the drug so powerful it could kill you simply by touching
it.

(START VIDEO CLIP)

SOBOROFF: In what local officials say is the overdose capital of America,
Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer finds an unprecedented crisis on his
hands brought on by the synthetic opioid fentanyl up to thousand of times
stronger than heroin. It’s used legally in chronic pain management but now
manufactured, trafficked, and sold illegally as a street drug.

PHIL PLUMMER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY SHERIFF: We’re on a pace to have 800 people
die this year due to overdose in our county. Per capita, we’re number one
on the nation in overdose deaths. Our job market (inaudible) people. You
know, I think they are depressed, they are self-medicating.

SOBOROFF: In May, the county almost passed last year’s total number of
deaths. Officials estimate this year’s total will be double that.

The deputy said that there was a car accident here and they took one person
out of vehicle who they say had a thousand yards there and was out of it.
And so now, he’s in the back of the ambulance here.

He literally just walked in to cash a check and by the time he came back,
your brother had gone and come back, and got an accident, and told the
paramedic that he was on fentanyl?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: What did he look like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His eyes were glossy. He could barely open them.

SOBOROFF: What did he say to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He loves me.

SOBOROFF: He said I love you. What did you say to him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love him too.

SOBOROFF: What’s it like to go through this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hell. Hell. Every day is just hell.

SOBOROFF: So, this is what you call the cooler.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our cooler, our main cooler.

SOBOROFF: When did the bodies that are all around us come in here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the last 24 to 48 hours.

SOBOROFF: And every day bodies are cycling through here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. These are mostly be full by tonight.

SOBOROFF: What’s the percentage of the bodies in here right now that are
overdose deaths from heroin or fentanyl?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are averaging 60 to 70 percent of our cases now are
overdoses.

SOBOROFF: Fentanyl is made in China and smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican
cartels who pass it to local gangs to sell. If law enforcement can’t get to
them first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the door! Open the door!

SOBOROFF: You see any narcotics yet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is narcotics.

SOBOROFF: You guys mind explaining to me why we put these masks on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you breathe it in, you could die.

SOBOROFF: It was a big load. Nearly a pound of fentanyl. Enough for
thousands of deadly doses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s a good day. Basically, you’re seeing a lot of lives
saved right there.

SOBOROFF: Another way of saving addicts lives temporarily is to lock them
up. In the county jail, there’s an entire wing of women in withdrawal.

What were you using?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fentanyl.

SOBOROFF: Fentanyl. Are you going through withdrawal right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SOBOROFF: Can you describe for me how you feel right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like crap.

(LAUGHTER)

SOBOROFF: Like crap.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SOBOROFF: Do you know anybody that’s died?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. My boyfriend and my mom just died in January.

SOBOROFF: I’m sorry. If any of your family or your friends catch this on
TV, what do you want them to know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That I love them. And I’m sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SOBOROFF: Local officials there in Ohio say they need more help from the
federal government, not less. In Ohio, the Medicaid expansion has provided
coverage for thousands of addicts who didn’t have it previously. The bottom
line is while politicians debate slashing the way many get their treatment,
this crisis, Katy, is getting worse every single day.

TUR: When you look at a woman like that who was going through withdrawal in
jail, I find it hard to believe that anybody can make the argument that she
wants to be there, that she’s willingly doing this. I mean, an addiction is
something that is overpowering.

SOBOROFF: And that’s part of this crisis. That it’s touching more people
than ever before. I think oftentimes you hear people point a finger at
sufferers of addiction particularly.

TUR: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: . opioid addiction, heroin, and now fentanyl. Those are the worst
of the worst. Those are people that are down on skid row. If you go to
Ohio, like you have, like I did.

TUR: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: I spend so much time there during the campaign. If you go across
Rustbelt, frankly if you across this county and ask people, do you know
somebody that’s suffered from opioid addiction, even heroin, the majority
of people that you meet especially in place like Ohio will say yes.

TUR: So, what is the senator from Ohio going to be doing about this? How
could this affect his vote on health care?

SOBOROFF: So when you look at the CBOs where they came out today, one of
the things that was highlighted there is that there’s 2 billion in 2018 for
opioid addiction treatment. Senator Portman from Ohio, Republican.

TUR: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: . which I remind everybody, asked for $45 billion for substance
abuse addiction treatment over 10 years. That is far less than he asked for
than West Virginia Senator Capito asked for. And ultimately, at the end of
the day, this is about Medicaid. Medicaid expansion provided treatment for
so many people that are on opioids and are addicted. If the Medicaid
expansion goes away, it’s going to affect the people that we talked about
today.

TUR: What’s the biggest thing that you have learned covering this? All the
stories last week, they were all compelling, each one of them tear-jerking
in a lot of ways. What is your take away been?

SOBOROFF: That it’s bigger than any one person and any one solution can
provide. I mean, this is a multinational problem that stretches from
laboratories in China to cartels in Mexico. But at the end of the day, it’s
a supply and demand problem. There are people across America who cannot get
off this stuff. They say that it feels like an indescribable feeling. Some
people say it’s like seeking the heat, chasing the heat. These drugs are
getting more and more powerful than ever before. Unless it’s a multipronged
approach to tackle them, this problem is not going to go away any time
soon.

TUR: Are the families of these addicts struggling with this? Are they
generally supportive of one politician or political party over another?

SOBOROFF: No, certainly not. I think this is a bipartisan problem. Again,
you saw in New Hampshire during the campaign.

TUR: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: It affects everybody in every state from whatever political party
might be. No socioeconomic barriers, no racial barriers. This is a problem
that is in epidemic proportion right now in our country.

TUR: Is building a wall going to stop it from happening?

SOBOROFF: You know, I’ve been down to the borders and port of entry. It is
the busiest land border crossing in the world and the border patrol will
tell you there in customs and border protection that the number one way
that cartels try to get drugs through is through legal ports of entry, not
through some hole in the border wall.

TUR: Jacob Soboroff, wonderful work, great to see you in person.

SOBOROFF: Thanks, Katy.

TUR: Thanks for coming on and sharing that with us. Just ahead, dissecting
President Trump’s latest comment on Russia’s election interference and the
Obama administration’s handling of the issue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUR: Welcome back. If Twitter feed is any measure, the Russia investigation
is on President Trump’s mind today. He sent several tweets this morning on
what he says was the Obama administration’s failure to deal with
interference in the 2016 election. With that, it is time for “The Lid.” Our
nationwide panel is back. Glenn Thrush in Washington, Amy Holmes in New
York, Bob Shrum here with me in Los Angeles.

Glenn, let me start with you this time. In one of those tweets that Donald
Trump sent out this morning, he said that Obama colluded or obstructed.
What does that mean? Is he saying that Obama colluded with Putin in order
to help Trump win the election and then covered it up?

GLENN THRUSH, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think he
is referring to collusion with the DNC or the Democrats, but who knows? You
know, the goal here is not to assert any new fact. We grilled Sean Spicer
in his – during the unknown comic press briefing today. The thing about it
is, what he’s attempting to do is very simple. We saw him do this during
the campaign.

Whenever the president is on the defensive and he sort of has an
indefensible position, he wants to drag someone else into the line of fire
with him, and President Obama seems to be as good a human shield as he can
come up with. So, I don’t think this is about sort of a rational argument
so much. If you actually track the logic of the tweets, you will get a
blinding headache. The issue here is, he just wants Obama in the same frame
with him on this.

TUR: So, Amy, speaking of which, the president himself has had a hard time
saying definitively that Russia interfered in our election despite the
conclusions of 17 intelligence agencies. Even today, Sean Spicer
equivocated a little bit on that. Does the fact that President Obama and
his administration, could have “choked” according to one former official,
does that mean that now it’s politically safe for him to come out and say
that Russia was involved, because he could essentially, as Glenn said, drag
President Obama into it and blame him?

AMY HOLMES, RASMUSSEN REPORTS POLITICAL ANALYST: I don’t know if it’s
because he can drag President Obama into it but I do take his point.

TUR: Then why would he decide.

HOLMES: Well, hold on. Former administration officials are saying that the
former administration choked, if Adam Schiff who has been ranking Democrat
on house intel committee said the president should have done more, just in
political terms, of course that gives President Trump cover to criticize
the actions of the previous administration for not being tougher on Russia.
Of course, the question moving forward is, what is this administration
going to do to try to strengthen our international community against
interference from Russia? You know, that’s the job of the commander in
chief.

TUR: Absolutely. Do you think they’re doing enough? What are they doing
right now?

HOLMES: Well, we do know that we’re at loggerheads with Russia when it
comes to Syria and Russia’s proxy is there, that President Trump hasn’t
necessarily gone easy on Russia. But, you know, to be honest, I’m not sure
and I think the American people want to know.

TUR: So today in that off-camera briefing, Glenn Thrush, you were there,
Sean Spicer said that the president himself was joking when he asked Russia
to release the e-mails that he couldn’t find from Hillary Clinton, the
missing or deleted e-mails. I was at that press conference back in July and
maybe you could argue that President Trump was joking initially. But I
pressed him on it quite a few times, and it didn’t sound to me like he was
joking. Take a listen.

(START VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: You said, I welcome them to find those 30,000 e-mails.

TRUMP: Well, they probably have them. I would like to have them released.

TUR: Does that not give you pause?

TRUMP: They have them. We might as well – hey, you know what gives me more
pause? That a person in our government, crooked Hillary Clinton – here’s
what gives me pause. Be quiet, I know you want to save her. That a person
in our government, Katy, would delete or get rid of 33,000 e-mails. That
gives me a big problem. After she gets a subpoena, she gets subpoenaed, and
she gets rid of 33,000 e-mails? That gives me a problem. Now, if Russia or
China or any other country has those e-mails, to be honest with you, I’d
love to see them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TUR: Bob, it doesn’t sound like he was joking. It certainly sounds like he
was welcoming anything that they could find. Is that the – I think I know
your answer – is that the posture of somebody who is the president of the
United States now should have been taking while he was running?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, but look, you had one of the
toughest, the most interesting jobs a reporter has ever had following
around the country. He ran a most unusual campaign.

TUR: Unbelievable.

SHRUM: If you were his lawyer right now, and I suspect they’ve said it, you
would say, please stop tweeting.

TUR: Yeah.

SHRUM: Please stop having Spicer comment on what went on during the
campaign. You’re only making things worse. It is true, by the way, that
President Obama did less than he might have done on the Russian
interference for two reasons. One, I think Trump complaining all the time
about the election being rigged, led people in the administration to fear
that it looked like they were interfering with the democracy and democratic
process.

Secondly, I think they thought Hillary was going to win. But they have to
wait for the special counsel. That’s what matters here. The outcome of the
special counsel. I think the only thing he may do in the end if he thinks
he is in trouble is fire him.

TUR: Bob, Glenn, Amy, appreciate your time. After the break, a big honor
for a colleague and a friend. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TUR: In case you missed it, our NBC News colleague, Andrea Mitchell, was
honored last night for her decade of reporting by the Los Angeles Press
Club, which is why I am here in Los Angeles today. Andrea was awarded the
Joseph M. Quinn Award for lifetime achievement. I had the honor of
introducing her. They gave me three minutes to do so, and I thought, oh,
great, I’ll go through her highlights.

And then I realize that going through Andrea Mitchell’s highlights in three
minutes would only get me to about the Reagan administration before they
cut me off. So instead I talked about some other things. Andrea Mitchell by
the way has super powers. I don’t know if you know this. She can literally
teleport whether it’s through a campaign (inaudible) top of the rope line
or in one occasion at the least the hedges of an international embassy.
That’s a good story. She also has the super power to shake the earth -
literally. She’s anchored twice during earthquakes.

But most importantly , what Andrea Mitchell has done, and her biggest super
power of all is that she is kind, she is caring, she is giving, and she has
always had our backs here at NBC/

Andrea, if you’re listening, and I hope you are, just know, we at NBC - me
especially - will always have your back as well.

That is all for tonight. FOR THE RECORD with Greta 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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