MTP Daily, Transcript 7/6/2017
Show: MTP DAILY
Date: July 6, 2017
Guest: Ken Blackwell, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Cornell Belcher, Robert
Traynham, Anne Gearan
KATY TUR, MTP DAILY HOST: Tonight, President Trump is overseas as G20
protests turn violent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
As you can see, there are now clashes between the protesters and police
here in Hamburg, Germany.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Plus, just hours before his first face-to-face meeting with Putin,
President Trump again downplays Russia`s interference in the U.S. election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think it was Russia,
and I think it could have been other people, and other countries. Nobody
really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: While at home, Republicans and Democrats are rebelling against the
President`s push to investigate a different kind of election meddling that
does not exist. This is MTP Daily, and it starts right now.
Good evening. I`m Katy Tur in New York in for Chuck Todd. Welcome to MTP
Daily. You`re looking live at the scene in Hamburg, Germany, where
President Trump will be attending tomorrow`s G20 summit. He met with
German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier today in Hamburg. Upwards of
12,000 demonstrators, including anarchists, anti-capitalist and anti-Trump
groups have flooded the streets as part of a protest called G20 Welcome to
Protesters and police clashed earlier today. At times the clashes turned
violent. German police, many in riot gear, have used water cannons and
tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds. We turn now to the
political drama out of Europe involving the President. Tomorrow Mr. Trump
meets with Vladimir Putin.
Take a guess at which one of them today was calling American press outlets
fake news, while throwing doubts about the American intelligence on Russian
hacking. And questioning President Obama`s motives. It may sound surreal,
after all, this is an American President we`re talking about, on the world
stage, not Putin, but here is the President second-guessing America`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people
and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody
really knows. Nobody really knows for sure. Weapons of mass destruction.
How everybody was 100% sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Guess what. That led to one big mess. They were wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Here`s the President undercutting the American press, starting with
an attack on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They have been fake news for a long time. They have been covering
me in a very dishonest way and others. I mean, I know. NBC is equally as
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Here`s his one-two punch against both the intelligence and the press`
reporting on Russian hacking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I heard it was 17 agencies. I said, boy, that`s a lot. Do we even
have that many intelligence agencies, right? Let`s check it. And we did
some very heavy research. It turned out to be three or four. It wasn`t
17. And many of your compatriots had to change their reporting and they
had to apologize and they had to correct it.
TUR: To be clear, the intelligence community`s assessment on Russian
interference was based on information gathered by the FBI, the CIA and the
NSA, which was then published by the office of the director of national
intelligence. They represent all U.S. intelligence agencies. President
Trump today also tried to sow confusion by repeatedly questioning President
Obama`s handling of that intelligence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Barack Obama, when he was president, found out about this in terms
of if it were Russia, found out about it in August. Now, the election was
in November. That`s a lot of time. He did nothing about it. Why did he
do nothing about it? He did nothing about it. He did nothing about it.
Why did he do nothing? Why did he do nothing? Why did Obama do nothing
about it? He did nothing about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: While it is fair to debate whether or not President Obama did enough,
it is false to say he did nothing. A month before the election, the
intelligence community and the Department of Homeland Security told the
public that the Russian government, quote, directed the hacks targeting
U.S. persons, and institutions. After the election, President Obama
sanctioned Russia, seized compounds, and expelled diplomats.
But to be fair, President Trump today also chided Russia for its
destabilization in the Ukraine. He reaffirmed the United States`
commitment to NATO, and he touted the value of free expression. But which
version of the American President do you believe? If you can fully believe
either in the first place.
We`re going to get to politics in just a moment. But first, let`s go live
to Hamburg, Germany, that`s where we find NBC`s Keir Simmons who has been
covering the protests all day for us. Keir, what can you tell us at this
KEIR SIMMONS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks to you. It`s a lot
calmer than it was when I spoke to you some hours ago. Behind me, you can
see some of those police water cannon still ready, but just safely parked
at the side of the street there. And if I walk us around a little bit
where you can see, there are kind of disparate groups of protesters just
kind of standing around. Some flags over in this direction.
So, I don`t think that the protesters have completely gone. However, they
have been cleared very substantially just to – if I show you in this
direction, there are still riot police on standby. Looking a lot more
relaxed than they have been. And just this way, Katy, still a convoy of
police coming by. We don`t know where to. But it gives a sense that there
are still events taking place across the city.
That`s one, two, three police water cannons coming by here, and more police
who appear to be on their way somewhere in a hurry. I`m just going to let
them pass. Which is going to take a little while, because that is a fairly
sizeable contingent of German police heading – we don`t know where, just
at the end there, some paramedics. So – hey, duke – I kind of visual
demonstration that this is not a city where the tension is over. But as
far as we can tell right now, is not as tense as it was earlier in the day.
TUR: No, certainly not as tense. And what you`re seeing on the other side
of the screen right now is images from earlier in the day of protesters and
riot police clashing, at times violently. And we saw a number of this,
water cannons, fired off by police to disperse the crowds. Keir, did you
ever get a good answer from anyone on what exactly they are protesting?
SIMMONS: Well, desperate (ph) things, many things. I mean, this, as we
know from previous summits, these protesters have gathered. You know, this
tends to be kind of, you know, fly paper for all kinds of different groups
with many, many different agendas. Having said that, they were shouting as
they marched through the streets of Hamburg with us later in the day. They
were shouting anti-capitalists, anti-capitalists. That appears to be a
kind of uniting theme.
We have seen some signs directed at President Trump in a very negative way.
But that wasn`t the key message of this protest. It was more about being
opposed just to the idea of leaders of the world gathering. If you like to
see protesters here to carve up the world.
TUR: The image is certainly dramatic. But we should also know that there
are protests usually at every G20 summit. Keir Simmons in Hamburg,
Germany. Keir, thank you very much.
I`m joined now by Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council of Foreign
Relations. He`s been a foreign policy adviser to John McCain and Mitt
Romney`s presidential campaign. He was also an adviser to the Rubio
campaign. Max, thanks for joining us. We`re going to turn back to
politics, and the President overseas today. He criticized American
institutions while standing on foreign soil, while standing in Eastern
Germany, both the intelligence community and the free press. As a
conservative, what is your reaction to that?
MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL OF FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think it`s deeply
inappropriate. And you can just imagine what kind of outcry you would see
from Fox News and the like, if this were President Obama doing this.
Remember when they correlate (ph) him for the so called apology tour which
you can argue about. But in this present case, I mean, this is just
outright denigrating some of the basic institutions of our society,
including the press, the intelligence community, and of course denigrating
as predecessor which is something that American presidents don`t normally
do when they travel abroad.
I mean, I thought that the best part, Katy, of the speech in Poland was the
fact that mercifully, finally, he affirmed NATO Article 5, which is
something that he should have done the last time. He went to Europe in
May. So mercifully he did that. And I think it`s to his credit that he
did that, but then he took away a lot of the good feelings that might have
been engendered by his speech with his completely inappropriate comments
afterwards at the press conference.
TUR: You know, what he did not do was say definitively that Russia
interfered in this election. He was given the opportunity to do so by our
own Hallie Jackson. And he equivocated on it. That being said, only 26 of
Republicans agree that Russia interfered in our election. Two-thirds say
they did not. This is the Republican Party we`re talking about. So as a
conservative, is it no longer a conservative position to take that Russia
BOOT: This is bewildering to me, Katy. I mean, this is why I am no longer
a Republican because ever since the 1940s, the Republican Party has stood
as the party opposing Russian expansionism. That has been the hallmark of
the Republican Party going back to the days of Eisenhower and Nixon and
then Reagan, and then now in the present day to have President Trump trying
to apologize and explain away this unprecedented Russian aggression.
This interference in our election last year, is very disheartening to me.
And what`s even more disheartening is what you just mentioned is that so
many Republicans are willing to go along with Trump in excusing or
explaining away this Russian attempt to undermine our democracy. You know,
what Trump is doing is shameful. What he should be doing is saying, I had
nothing to do with the Russian interference, and I will make the Russians
pay a price. Instead, what he`s saying is incomprehensible because what
he`s saying is on the one hand.
There was – I`m not sure that the Russians really interfered, but – oh by
the way, I`m attacking Obama for not doing more to stop this nonexistent
interference. It doesn`t make any sense.
BOOT: It doesn`t logically track.
TUR: It is double speak on the one hand to say that he`s know that Russia
interfere, but then Obama should have done more with the Russian
BOOT: Right. Yes – I mean, just like saying that the Russians – right,
Obama should have acted on false intelligence. That`s what he seems to be
TUR: Senate Democrats are urging President Trump to confront Vladimir
Putin on this tomorrow in their first face-to-face meeting. Do you agree
with them that he should do that?
BOOT: Well, of course he should do that. But I think there`s very little
chance that he will do that because you saw in Poland, he is not attacking
Russia. And if he`s not attacking Russia in a speech in Poland, where he
would incredibly popular, he is certainly not going to attack Putin one-on-
one in this very small meeting. That`s very unfortunate.
TUR: Well, he did criticize him for the destabilization in Ukraine. He
did do that.
BOOT: Yes, but he did not criticize them for their attack on U.S.
democracy. That`s what I`m talking about. And, yes, you`re right, he did
talked about their destabilizing activities in Ukraine. And I guess that`s
better than nothing. But even that is a pretty mealy mouthed way to
describe an invasion of a sovereign territory on neighboring state, which
is not something that we should be just going by along to live with in the
TUR: Max, what does Vladimir Putin take from it if he doesn`t bring take
the meddling in the election up?
BOOT: It`s basically a green light to Putin to say that you can continue
doing this. That the 2018 election is fair game, the 2020 election and of
course all the elections that are going on in Europe. I mean, remember,
this is not something that started last year and it`s not going to end last
We have to draw a line in the sand and say, you will pay a price for
interfering in our democracy. And it`s amazing to me that Donald Trump is
attacking Obama for not drawing that line in the sand, but he`s not doing
it either. At least Obama did a little bit. Trump is doing nothing.
That`s a message of weakness and IRA (ph) resolution that will only
encourage Putin to more aggression.
TUR: Max Boot, appreciate your time, sir.
BOOT: Thanks for having me.
TUR: Joining me now is Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, she sit
(ph) from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator, thank you very much for
joining us. You heard the President today saying that President Obama did
not do enough. In fact, he said he didn`t do anything to stop the Russian
interference. He did do something. But there is criticism out there that
he did not do enough. Do you agree with that?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Look, in hind sight, we could always
try to do more, and President Obama could have done more. But I think it
was well explained that one of the things he was trying to do was to push
Putin and to continue the sanctions, and you have the fact that while Obama
put in place tougher sanctions before he left, President Trump, we still
don`t have the sanctions bill that passed the Senate signed into law. I
think it would have been much more powerful to have that sanctions bill in
his hand and have that signed into law. And then to not pussyfoot around
the fact that it was Russia that attempted to interfere in our elections.
As the President did in his answers to the questions.
And Vladimir Putin was listening to every word he said. And he knows now
it`s like, hey, it`s OK, we`re not really blaming you for this, maybe it`s
other countries. That`s just not the way in the position of strength that
you want to have when you go into a meeting like that.
TUR: What he also did today, though, was do what many people wanted him to
do on his first European trip. And he reconfirmed America`s commitment to
NATO and to Article 5. Was that enough in your estimation?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I was pleased he did that. Having spent New Year`s Eve
with Senator McCain and Graham on the front line with the Ukrainian troops
and President Poroshenko and seeing they`re sacrifice losing 10,000 people
in their country, and then knowing the importance for all of the eastern
European countries of NATO. I`m glad the President did that. That was
very important. But that doesn`t take away from the fact that tomorrow
he`s going to be meeting with Vladimir Putin, the man that tried to
influence an American election.
And I think the President is the one that could powerfully take this on by
saying, look, right now, we know you`re trying to influence one side. Next
time you may be influencing and helping the other side. This is not what
we can have in our democracy, or in any other democracy in the world. And
please get out of the Ukraine. Do something here about helping us to work
with Syria and not keep this Assad, who`s been perpetrating atrocities on
his own people in power in Syria. And work with us and your allies at this
time of great unrest. And I just don`t think you can do that with Vladimir
Putin unless you come from a position of strength. And that`s why I would
have liked to get the sanction bills signed into law before he went over
TUR: Senator, at the top of the show we talked about two different
versions of the president that we saw today. On the one hand, he is
recommitting to NATO Article 5, on the one hand, he`s also criticizing
Russia for destabilizing Ukraine, but on the other hand he is in Eastern
Europe and he`s criticizing the American free press. He is criticizing the
intelligence community. He`s refusing to say definitively that Russia
interfered in our election. Which version of this President should the
American public believe? Can they be compatible?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I don`t think they can be compatible. Of course, we want
to believe the words that were in that written speech. And we all have to
believe in our country, that we`re going to stand up for the values of
freedom and democracy against the foreign power. But what matters is what
he`s saying behind those closed doors. Because clearly Vladimir Putin
hasn`t seen any limits coming in place from America. And I appreciate that
President Obama in those last hours of his presidency put in even the
stronger sanctions. But we just haven`t seen that kind of strength from
this administration when it comes to Russia. And I believe Putin is
someone that listens to power.
TUR: Senator, let`s talk about the voter integrity commission that the
White House has established. Minnesota is not going to hand over any
publicly available voter information. If it is publicly available, though,
why not just say, here, here is what we have, and do what you will with it,
if they can find it in public records?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, there is a reason that 44 states now, red states, blue
states and everywhere in between has come out and says we are not giving
you this data. Why? Because –
TUR: No, some of the states are giving the publicly available data. Not
all 44 OK and (INAUDIBLE) anything.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, a lot of them don`t want to give social security numbers.
A lot of them don`t want to give voter histories. And the reason is right
now that information is disaggregated. It`s kept on a state by state
basis. To give it to one commission that is now taking the position in a
lawsuit in federal court where private groups sue them, they`re taking the
position that they don`t even have to do a privacy impact statement, to try
to balance. Is this worthy to bring in all these data and subject it to
potential major cybersecurity hack for what our gain is. And they`re
refusing to do that.
Former Secretary Chertoff, is Homeland Security Secretary during the Bush
administration, put an op-ed in the Washington Post today basically saying,
I don`t think you should do this. You can`t trust the security system when
millions of citizens have already had their data breached.
TUR: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you very much. It was great to be on.
TUR: Wonderful. We`ve got more on that bipartisan pushback over the
President`s push to investigate alleged voter fraud coming up. Plus,
previewing the President and Putin. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They have been fake news for a long time. They`ve been covering me
in a very dishonest way. Do you have that also, by the way, Mr. President?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Welcome back to MTP Daily. That was President Trump earlier today in
Warsaw, answering a reporter`s question about CNN. Let`s go to tonight`s
panel. Anne Gearan is the diplomatic correspondent for the Washington
Post. Cornell Belcher is Democratic Pollster and an MSNBC contributor, and
Robert Traynham is an MSNBC political analyst and a former senior adviser
for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Guys, let`s start with that. The American President criticizing the
American press in Eastern Europe. It sounds a lot like something that
Vladimir Putin would be pretty happy with. Cornell?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: You know it is startling and I`m
going to – I want to be partisan about this because – I mean, you can`t
imagine George Bush doing this. You can`t imagine Bill Clinton doing this.
You certainly couldn`t imagine Ronald Reagan doing this.
What we`re seeing is kind of extraordinary. And I do think in a long term
it undermines America`s position in the world. It undermines our
democracy, it undermines our institutions. In the long run this is not
healthy or good for our country in the long term. And it should be taken
out of sort of a Partisan left versus right perspective here. This is not
something that American presidents have done nor should they ever do.
TUR: And what about those who might say the media over blows this, it`s
not that big of a deal, let Donald Trump say whatever he wants, wherever he
wants to say it.
ANNE GEARAN, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I
mean, there`s definitely – that is a point. I think sometimes the media
itself can focus on itself too much. And in some ways, you know, draw
attention to the wrong parts of this issue. What`s extraordinary to me is
that he took time out of the press conference and out of a diplomatic visit
focused on a million other issues to spend time on what amounts to, you
know, his personal sense of grievance, and then to open it to the polish
leader to ask whether he shares that grievance. I don`t know how much
preparation Trump had in looking at what`s actually happening in Poland,
but it is one among a small number of countries in Europe that where
authoritarianism is not entirely out of the realm of possibility. These
are Democratic –
TUR: And isn`t there an issue there –
GEARAN: – governments that are leaning that way.
TUR: Isn`t there an issue in Poland right now in terms of the reporters
being able to cover parliament there?
GEARAN: Yes, exactly. There are press grievance issues there, and there
are human rights issues there. That I – you know, I`m sure he knows of.
But to sort of open it to the polish leader to say, hey, you know, do you
have problems with the press, too? It was just sort of eye opening to me.
TUR: Robert, the prepared speech that he gave today, had a lot of people
thinking it was basically the inaugural speech 2.0. A lot of western
values are under attack. Dark days, we need to be vigilant. Do you think
that that was the appropriate tone to strike when he is going and speaking
in front of the Polish people?
ROBERT TRAYNHAM, POLITICAL ANALYST, MSNBC: Absolutely not. Totally
unpresidential. Totally un-American if I dare say. You know when
presidents travel abroad, they often will say to their counterparts on the
world stage, see, look at the way we do things. We are very open here.
The press is the only profession that is guaranteed for protections under
the constitution. These people you see here, Mr. President, these are the
people that hold me and people like you accountable.
So for the President, and by the way, we fought in World War II, and –
World War I and World War II in Europe to be able to look for a better day,
to say that tomorrow`s chapter is going to be better than today. And so
for an American President to see what he said, I just cannot even believe
it. It`s so sad for America to be able to look itself in the mirror as
they see this has our president.
TUR: A sense of speech, Anne, is so much like the inauguration. A lot of
people are saying it looks like Steven Miller and Steven Bannon are back
having a lot of influence in the west wing, a lot of influence what the
President actually says and does. And there are also dog whistles that
people noticed in this Warsaw speech today. Take a listen to one section
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The defense of the west ultimately rests not only on means, by also
on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you
have to have. The fundamental question of our time is whether the west has
the will to survive.
I declare today for the world to hear that the west will never, ever be
broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our
civilization will triumph.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: And you`re the expert in this. What do our allies hear when they
hear Donald Trump use that type forceful rhetoric?
GEARAN: Well it certainly an odd note to strike going into the G20. I
mean, he was framing a lot of that in terms of the global fight against
terrorism. But he is saying it right ahead of the G20 summit. And the
whole premise of the G20 group is that the west isn`t the only game in
GEARAN: It was formed specifically to include countries like China, like
India, rising economic powers, as well as that the old heavyweights and the
European financial power centers.
So I really wonder what that sounds like to in Narendra Modi or to a Xi
Jinping, both of whom he will – Trump will see within the next couple of
days. But the President`s use there of – sort of, you know, that slightly
dark, but also kind of stirring rhetoric about western civilization, it is
does sound a bit like the inaugural speech. But I think it sounds also a
little bit new and confrontational in a European perspective. I certainly
don`t think it`s what Angela Merkel wanted to hear before she sees him.
TUR: But you know what? They got a handshake today, so that is a step
above where we had with –
GEARAN: More than he got from the Polish first lady.
TUR: Yes, who dodged his handshake. Check out YouTube for that. Anne,
Cornell, and Robert, stay with us, we`re going to comeback to you a little
bit later in the hour
Still ahead, the Trump administration`s investigation into alleged voter
fraud is generating lots of pushback. I`ll talk with the former state
secretary of state who is part of the President`s commission and a current
secretary of state who`s fighting back.
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: If it`s Sunday, it`s a power-packed
edition of “Meet the Press.” Chuck Todd will have an exclusive interview
with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, plus he`ll talk with the chairs
of the Democratic and Republican national committees. That`s this Sunday on
your local NBC station. And next, what is the goal of the White House`s
voting commission? I`ll talk with one of its members, and with one of its
critics. Keep it right here.
TUR: Welcome back. There`s extensive bipartisan push back today to the
commission set up by the White House following the president`s bogus claims
of widespread voter fraud. Remember, Mr. Trump tweeted in November, “in
addition to winning the electoral college in a landslide, I won the popular
vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
We`ll remind you that recorded instances of voter fraud are extremely rare.
A study by the Brennan Center for Justice says the rate of voter fraud
incidence occurring is less than 3,000ths of 1 percent. But that did not
stop President Trump from launching what`s called a Voter Integrity
Commission led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State
Last week, the commission requested safe handover public available voter
data which differs state by state and can include date of birth, voter
history, and the last four digits of social security numbers. Nineteen red
and blue states plus D.C. are flat out refusing to comply with the request.
Twenty-seven more states say they plan to only handover what is deemed
public information by their respected state laws. This morning, Vice
President Pence`s press secretary suggested those noncompliant states have
something to hide.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
MARC LOTTER, PRESS SECRETARY TO VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: What are they
covering up, or is this just pure partisanship that they may be ignoring
their own state laws and their own public records laws in terms of what
they can release and should release to the commission?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Joining me now is former Ohio Secretary of State Republican Ken
Blackwell. He is a member of what is officially called the presidential
advisory commission on election integrity. Thank you very much for joining
us. When you were in charge.
KEN BLACKWELL, MEMBER OF PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMISSION ON ELECTION
INTEGRITY, FORMER OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: Great to be with you.
TUR: . of Ohio, how much election fraud, voter fraud did you experience?
BLACKWELL: Well, let me tell you. What we don`t know is what we don`t know.
And we have a very, very complicated system where we can`t get a certain
information, and the federal government definitely can`t get at it. So what
we need to do is to have a system that basically says our mission is to
look at the integrity of our election process, look at the vulnerabilities,
look at the threats, and a new information age to the principle of one
person, one vote.
Our voting laws are set up to do two things. One, to make it relatively
easy to register and to cast a vote. But on the other hand, it is balanced
by – that is balanced by the need to protect legal ballots from illegal
ballots. And as a consequence, what we`re looking for is information that
will give us a greater sense right now of what our exposure is as a
We don`t have one system. We in fact have 50 systems, plus the district of
Columbia, and that makes either driven by cooperation and mutual interests,
because we`re not driven by government force.
TUR: Secretary, there have been investigations, there have been studies on
this, a number of them, and nobody has found any widespread instances of
voter fraud. In fact, there was a.
BLACKWELL: Well, let me stop you right there.
TUR: No, no, no. This is not your show, sir.
BLACKWELL: Let me stop you right there.
TUR: Please stop talking. Please stop just for one second so I can just.
BLACKWELL: Let me stop you right there.
TUR: Let me ask my question and then you can answer it. Stop for a second.
BLACKWELL: All right. I will your question and the implication.
TUR: A study done – this is not a partisan study, a study done by Loyola
law professor, found in 14 years, in 14 years from 2000 on, that there were
31 cases of maybe voter fraud in 1 billion ballots. That is a 14-year
study. If this is not a widespread thing, if nobody`s ever found widespread
instances of voter fraud, what is the purpose of this commission?
BLACKWELL: Let me say that the pew foundation found that we have corrupted
voter registration files, which means that we have folks who have either
registered to vote in two states or we have folks who are still registered
to vote who happen to be dead and you create vulnerabilities for the
integrity of the system. Let`s be clear, this is about not millions of
votes. If you go back to 1976, Ohio was decided by less than 12,000 votes.
That was less than one vote per precinct. You don`t need a million, you
don`t need 100,000 corrupted votes, you only needed 6,000 corrupted votes
in the state of Ohio. If in fact you go to Florida, 2000, that decision,
and it was the pivotal decision in that state, was less than 600 votes. If
you have vulnerabilities in the system that allow illegal ballots to be
cast, you destroy the integrity and the confidence in the system. I`ll tell
you right now.
TUR: Secretary, we`re running out of time, and I want to ask you one more
BLACKWELL: Okay. Let me finish this talk.
TUR: Can I ask you another question? Otherwise, this is going to be your
BLACKWELL: Okay. You don`t have to have my bank robbed before I want my
bank to get out in front of the vulnerabilities of safety of my money. The
same is for ballots and votes. The integrity of our system is by protecting
the persons, the individuals` vote. That is their vote is their voice. If
you negate their voice, you negate their participation in the system.
TUR: I don`t think anybody is going to argue with protecting the integrity
of the voting system. I don`t think anyone will argue with that. Here`s my
question to you.
BLACKWELL: I know and that`s why we need to be together. That`s why we need
to be together.
TUR: Hold on. You cited a pew study. I think we need to point out that the
pew study, I`m assuming you cited it because it was the one that was sent
out by the White House. It`s a 2012 pew study. They said that they couldn`t
find instances of voter fraud. Actually, ballots cast, but rather bad
record keeping about who was on the voter rolls. That`s one point we should
point out, number one.
And number two, if you`re talking about election integrity, sir. Hold on.
Let me finish. You`re talking about election integrity, is this commission
looking into interference in our elections by a foreign entity? Maybe
Russia hacking into our election system. Is that part of this commission?
That seems like a pretty serious thing.
BLACKWELL: On that, we could agree. Any bad actor, whether foreign or
domestic, any action that corrupts the integrity of our system should be
fair game for our expiration. Let`s be clear about something. We have the
best system on the face of the earth. But it is only when we are acting in
a bipartisan way, as we have over the years, to protect the integrity of
the system. Do we in fact protect the voices of the voter?
TUR: Why are all the – why are the – why is there bipartisan push back
against this? Why are republican states and democratic states pushing back
against this if this is all kosher?
BLACKWELL: Can I talk? There are a lot of secretaries of state like myself
who are basically adhering to the 10th Amendment. We know that the genius
of our system is in its decentralization. There`s not one central
government that controls the process. While that is a blessing, it can also
be a curse when we`re at odds. In Ohio, we have 88 county boards of
elections, two Democrats, two Republicans, and they get the job done.
Nationally, we have to have that sort of bipartisan cooperation. I`ve been
on boards and commissions with Steny Hoyer. I`ve been on boards and
commissions with Bill Gardner. They are of the Democratic Party and we`ve
gotten things done because we knew that working cooperatively together is
the way that we get things done.
We can fuss and fight about voter I.D. or how many – how early voting
should be structured, but at the end of the day, we always should be
concerned about the vulnerabilities in the system. And as I was saying, we
don`t wait until our banks are robbed before we expect the banks to protect
the integrity of the system. That`s all that we`re talking about.
TUR: Secretary Blackwell, thank you very much for joining us.
BLACKWELL: Good to be with you.
TUR: Joining me now is Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Her state is not complying with the data requested from the presidential
commission. Secretary, thank you for joining us. You just heard Secretary
Blackwell talking just a moment ago. Do you think that he is right to say,
I don`t need my bank to get robbed or my savings account to get robbed in
order to want to protect my money?
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES, SECRETARY OF STATE OF KENTUCKY: We already know
that there are folks that are interfering in our elections, meddling was
the headline. And what the secretary admitted, the best asset that we have
is the decentralization of our elections. We don`t want to eliminate that
asset by literally putting all of the cash in just one repository, the
repository being the White House.
Here in Kentucky, Katy, the 10th Amendment still means something. From
Pikeville to Paducah, people all across Kentucky, and indeed, this nation,
are stepping up and saying, no to the Trump White House. They don`t want
their sensitive personal information residing in the White House. They
don`t want to make it easier for bad actors such as Russia or even hackers
to meddle, to interfere in our elections.
That`s exactly what eliminating one of the best assets of our election
system would do. Elections are left to the states for a reason. I`m glad
that Kentucky has led the way in making sure that we`re going to continue
to stand up for our elections process, states` rights and especially
TUR: We can hear a lot of this information is publicly available. Why not
just hand over what the White House would be able to find by doing a public
LUNDERGAN GRIMES: Well, again, this is different and not similarly situated
to the press or even an individual requesting information about another
individual. This is a coordinated attempt to create a national voter
registration file. A centralized system that would remove the data out of
the hands of what is controlled now by the states, making it easier for
actors like Russia to actually interfere in our elections.
Americans are watching. Instead of the president wanting their private
information, their social security number, they want to know, on Friday, is
the president actually going to stand up to Putin and tell him to quit
messing with our elections? That`s what this commission should be looking
And importantly, the conversation that secretary of states across the
nation want to have is how we can move our election administration process
forward. Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsburg did not need to collect data in order
to make those improvements and suggestions in 2014, and this commission
TUR: The president says that state like yours has something to hide.
LUNDERGAN GRIMES: I don`t think the voters of Kentucky. This is a deep red
state, Katy. Whether you`re in a deep red state of Kentucky or California,
or today South Carolina, standing up for an interference by the federal
government in what is something left to states` rights, that`s not hiding
something, that`s protecting what is valued and cherished in the
constitution and our 10th Amendment.
I`m proud to have led the way for Kentucky, 3.3 million registered voters,
and to see each of my peers, whether they`re Democrats or Republicans, that
are blending in the same spot that we are. You don`t have to be sitting in
Pennsylvania Avenue to see that the reception that this commission has
received nationally has been anything but welcoming, kind of like a breeze
off an outhouse.
TUR: (inaudible) say that this will enable there to be a check of voter
rolls, to make sure the voter rolls are up to date, number one, and make
sure that voters are not registered in multiple states. Is there a problem
with finding that information out?
LUNDERGAN GRIMES: You don`t need federal control and overreach in order for
states to be able to audit their voter registration rolls. It`s one of the
recommendations that came forward in the 2014 report. The presidential
commission recommended online voter registration. Eliminating the duplicate
entry, manual entry by clerks.
Instead individuals putting in their entry and information. States do work
collectively amongst themselves without federal government and overreach,
especially a president of the United States wanting to collect everyone`s
voter history to try to make sure that our voter rolls are as clean and as
accurate as possible.
It`s something we continue to do today. We don`t need to sacrifice the
privacy and the security, the sanctity of our elections by putting all of
this information in the hands of an administration, Katy, that you yourself
as news media has reported has a little bit of trouble keeping things
TUR: Secretary of State Alison Grimes, thank you very much.
LUNDERGAN GRIMES: Thank you, Katy.
TUR: We will be right back.
TUR: Coming up in “The Lid,” we`re going to talk about health care. Our
senators dodging their constituents and maybe we will get into a little bit
of that voter integrity commission as well. Stay with us.
TUR: The panel is back. Anne Gearan, Cornell Belcher, Robert Traynham.
We`re going to talk about “The Lid” right now, guys. Let`s do health care.
We have Republican senators out there trying in many cases to avoid their
constituents and avoid town halls. The ones that are going to town halls
are getting shout down. But there was one moment and unexpectedly on this
moment from Pat Toomey that I want to play. Take a listen.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
PAT TOOMEY, JUNIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA: You`ve seen how
difficult it is to get a Republican consensus until the election last fall
which surprised me. I didn`t expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my
colleagues didn`t. So we didn`t expect to be in this situation. Given how
difficult it is to get to a consensus, it was hard to force that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Cornell, the senator saying that Republicans did not expect to be in a
position to pass any sort of health care bill. That`s pretty remarkable.
CORNELL BELCHER, PRESIDENT OF BRILLIANT CORNERS RESEARCH AND STRATEGIES,
DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Bravo for Senator Toomey for being completely honest
about it. Look, this is what happens when you overpromise in politics and
campaigns. Campaigning is different from governing. All of the sudden, the
dog has caught the car that it has been chasing.
Now, what do you do with it? When you`re saying you are going to repeal
Obamacare, every line of it on the first day when you`re in office, you`re
faced with this problem that health care is incredibly difficult. Quite
frankly, a lot of what is in Obamacare was originally Republican ideals,
right? So (inaudible) them trying to repeal every word of Obamacare, even
President Obama himself said, look, Obamacare is not perfect. Let`s make it
Let`s make it work. We cannot have a sort of a one-sided Republican sort of
health care conversation and health care fix in this country because that`s
where the problem is. I really would like to see Republicans and Democrats
come together and universal, this idea of a mandate, everywhere around the
world we know we have to increase the pots a and the number of people
buying into health care in order to make it affordable. Let`s stop
pretending that we can get around that because we can`t.
TUR: Robert, you have Pat Toomey saying what he just said. He also have
Senator Mitch McConnell saying that he doesn`t think there is going to be a
vote this week, maybe a vote next week. In fact, pushing it down the line.
Maybe there won`t be a vote on this. Republicans, they control the house,
they control the senate, they control the White House. They may not have
expected to be here, but they are here. Why can`t they get things done?
ROBERT TRAYNHAM, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS:
Well, I take issue with the question. They`re getting things done, but to
your specific point about health care, look, President Trump said it`s
really, really hard, specifically with health care. As you know, Katy, the
problem with health care with the Republican side, there`s so many
different opinions from Rand Paul to Susan Collins.
There`s a lot going on there in terms of whether or not you go full repeal,
you go partial repeal, the exchanges (inaudible) Republican governors out
there that depend on this. So there is a lot of Republicans that have a lot
of voices and they`re not speaking from the same sheet of music here. I
think that`s the main issue here. Look, the reality is, I think Cornell is
right, the question becomes how can smart people get into a room and figure
Here`s what we know. We know that no entitlement program has ever been
repealed on the history of this republic. We also know that the Affordable
Health Care Act is relatively successful. You cannot deny that exchanges
and premiums are going up and exchanges are collapsing in the states.
That`s a fact. The question becomes how can you fix this so that all people
pretty much get something out of it. That`s the real question.
TUR: We only have seconds left. That`s going to be a really short answer
about this voter integrity commission. Most of the states, almost all 50
states, are saying, no, we`re not going to comply. Does the White House
need to abandon it?
ANNE GEARAN, NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: I
don`t think they will abandon it just in that lawsuit, those references
earlier. The White House today says that they intend to house this data on
computers that would be under the control of the vice president`s office.
They are pushing forward. They may have to retool it a little bit, but I
don`t think they will abandon it.
TUR: Anne, Cornell, Robert. Guys, thank you very much. We will be right
TUR: That is all for tonight for a wild edition of “Meet the Press Daily.”
More tomorrow. Come back. Thank you very much. Bye.
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