MTP Daily, Transcript 7/10/2017
Show: MTP DAILY
Date: July 10, 2017
Guest: Molly Ball, Lanhee Chen, Richard Painter, Sam Nunberg, Molly Ball,
Jennifer Jacobs, Lanhee Chen
HALLIE JACKSON, MSNBC HOST: – see you again back in D.C. where I am
headed tomorrow. I`ll see you in New York tomorrow morning at 10:00 for my
I`m Hallie Jackson in for Nicole Wallace. “MTP DAILY” starts now. Katy
Tur in for Chuck. Hey, Katy.
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Hey there, Hallie. Good to see you in person for
And if it is Monday, Trump Junior lawyer`s up.
(voice-over): Tonight, defining collusion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, U.S. WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I would
certainly say done Don Junior did not collude with anybody to influence the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: The Trump campaign met with a Russia lawyer to get dirt on Hillary
Clinton. Are there any consequences?
Plus, what happens if the Republican health care bill isn`t revived soon?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s very, very difficult when you can only lose two
votes, and there may only be two that are retrievable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: And victory in Mosul. What it means for the international fight to
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
(on camera): Good evening, I`m Katy Tur in New York in for Chuck Todd.
Welcome to MTP DAILY.
It`s been called everything from a nothing burger to bordering on treason.
Last June, three of Mr. Trump`s closest advisers, his son Don Jr., his
campaign chief, Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with
a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower seemingly hoping for a bombshell, maybe
about Hillary Clinton.
Trump Jr. says the lawyer, whose client include Russian state-owned
businesses, claim to have information about Russians aiding the DNC and
Hillary Clinton. He says her statements on the matter didn`t make sense
and the matter was dropped.
But the mere confirmation that a meeting like that happened at all has
reignited a firestorm of accusations and allegations surrounding President
Trump and his inner circle as investigators try to determine whether or not
they colluded with Russia during the campaign.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is now interested in speaking with Don
Jr. about the meeting and he is now lawyering up. He says he`s happy to
cooperate. Today, the White House was pressed on how his latest revelation
under cuts its previous denials involving contact with Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are we to take all of these blanket denials that
occurred through the transition and now when it has been proven and
recognized by the president`s attorney and Don Jr. that those blanket
denials were not factual?
SANDERS: Look, I think the point is that we`ve tried to make every single
time today and then and will continue to make in those statements is that
there was simply no collusion that they keep trying to create that there
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Collusion is hard to prove. It is even harder to prosecute. Lawyers
tell NBC News that absent an exchange of money, collusion with a foreign
power is not a crime, legally speaking. But, politically, it`s not quite
The news comes just days after President Trump`s one-on-one meeting with
Vladimir Putin which, itself, has prompted an intense backlash. Rather
than punishing Russia for meddling in the election. The president says he
told Putin is he might partner with him on cyber-security and election
integrity. Mr. Trump today ditched the idea after Republicans pulled the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I am sure that Vladimir Putin could be of
enormous assistance in that effort since he`s doing the hacking.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It`s not the dumbest idea I`ve
ever heard but it`s pretty close.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: What the what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That it`s a good idea for the fox to guard the hen
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. So, I take it you agree with John McCain and
everybody else. Lindsey Graham thought it was a terrible idea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought Lindsey put it well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Chuck on “MEET THE PRESS”
yesterday that president – that the president has a blind spot on Russian
matters. The million-dollar question, both politically and perhaps
legally, is why?
Donald Trump Jr. says he didn`t even know the Russian lawyer`s name when he
agreed to meet with her. Heck, we`re not even sure he knew she was Russian
or a lawyer.
And let`s be real here. If Putin had damaging intel on Hillary Clinton,
would he really deliver it to Trump by having a Russian popstar reach out
to a publicist to contact Don Jr. to arrange a meeting with Paul Manafort?
Because that, ultimately, is exactly the chain that was apparently involved
in setting up this meeting.
But the episode illustrates how easy it might have been to gain access or
even curry favor with the campaign in its quest for victory.
We know Russia hacked up dirt so Clinton. We also know that the campaign
was eager to find dirt and use it against her. In the end, they got it,
thanks to WikiLeaks, and they did use it. How and why is a matter of
But now, there seems to be a very real concern within the GOP that Trump`s
blind spot could put American interests and future elections at risk.
Joining me now is New York Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin. He`s a
member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
[17:05:00] Congressman, it is wonderful to see you in person for once and
not over that satellite we usually have.
Let`s talk about Trump and Russia. This meeting that will Donald Jr. had
with Manafort and Kushner and this lawyer. There is – people are calling
it a nothing burger. The ethics tsar at the Bush White House, Richard
Painter, says it is nearly treason, borders on treason. Where do you stand
REP. LEE ZELDIN (R), NEW YORK, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: I would fall in
the nothing burger category on this one. I`m someone who does believe
Russia meddled in our elections last year. I do believe Russia is an
adversary to the United States. I`m concerned with Russia`s activities in
North Korea and Syria.
And we should – I`m a Republican, but I`m upset to see the DNC, DCCC, John
Podesta`s e-mail accounts get hacked because in 2016 the Democrats may be
the victim and who knows in 2017, 2018, 2019, it could flip. And we need
to come together as Americans.
As far as, you know, this one particular meeting, it`s not evidenced that
the Russian government was colluding with the Trump campaign and providing
info – damaging information.
You know, we know that the Russians, you know, they did – they were
involved in these hacks. So, if this was Russian government colluding with
the Trump campaign, they would have been providing information and the
Russian government would know who – you know, this meeting was taking
ZELDIN: And there`s just so many facts missing.
TUR: Well, what about Don Jr. saying that, well, she had information about
Hillary Clinton and we wanted to hear it. This is a Russian coming to
Trump Tower, meeting with Don Jr. And you have two of the senior advisers,
in addition to him, in that room. And it`s ultimately a Russian lawyer
saying, I`ve got information about Hillary Clinton. Should that not have
raised a red flag?
ZELDIN: Well, that`s exactly what it was. It seems like someone had told
Don Jr. that if you have this meeting, that you would be getting some
information about Hillary Clinton that can be useful for the campaign.
We don`t know, as you mentioned just now, whether or not they knew that he
was – that she – that the – that she was an attorney and she was Russian
and had connection to the Russian government. This was before all of these
stories started breaking about the hacks, who is responsible for some of
these hacks. So, they`re – at that particular moment in time, this
particular fact pattern is so different than –
TUR: Doesn`t it, at the very least, though, express a willingness to
ZELDIN: I think it`s a willingness for anyone who wants to sit down to
provide information to the campaign that might be helpful with them winning
the presidency of the United States if they`re willing to sit down. I
don`t – I don`t believe that this is evidence of collusion. It`s – I
take it for what it is. It was someone contacted Don Jr. and said, hey,
you should take this meeting.
TUR: But the willingness to take that information about – shouldn`t he
have called the FBI, at the very least, if she`s coming in and saying, hey,
I have evidence that the – that the Clintons or the DNC is being aided by
Russia? Isn`t that a phone call that should – isn`t that I meeting that
should lead to a phone call to the FBI?
ZELDIN: Well, I mean, as far as the meeting, itself, from the information
that we`ve come in contact –
ZELDIN: – with so far, we don`t know of – all we`ve come in contact with
was that there was no information that the woman that used this to be able
to discuss what her real agenda was, which were – you know, is other
topics unrelated to actually the information.
So, certainly after the meeting, there is no reason to contact the FBI
about this – what this woman is saying about Hillary Clinton. Because at
the meeting supposedly, this woman didn`t even have any of that to talk
TUR: What about larger context here? You have – and you just said that
you`re concerned about Russian hacking into the election. You believe they
did it. The president, himself, has been not so clear about that. His
advisers say that he brought it up with Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump,
though, and his advisers all say that they should move on.
You know where I stand, he said, in a tweet. And where he stood only 24
hours before that meeting was that he wasn`t quite sure if it was Russia.
Yes, probably but it maybe could have been some others which is what he
told our own Hallie Jackson.
So, given all of that, can you trust this White House to be on the front
end of making sure that this doesn`t happen again? Do you want to just
ZELDIN: I would want to be able to move on knowing that a very clear
message was sent to Russia that there are consequences, that they will
never be able to do this again to us. That we take the breach seriously as
Americans. We come together regardless –
ZELDIN: – of party and stripes (ph). Sanctions, absolutely. And it`s
broader. The sanction component is one that I support. And part of that
has to do with what happened with regards to last year`s election. Part of
it has to do with what`s going on in Ukraine, North Korea.
We`re losing – North Korea, they cannot have the ability to put a nuclear
warhead on an ICBM. And we don`t want to have to use a military option so
the diplomat – the diplomacy and the economic piece, the economic pressure
on the North Koreans, that`s all related to the sanction debate.
[17:10:00] TUR: But, Congressman, this White House is trying to hold up
this sanctions bill. They don`t want this sanctions bill because they say
they want more ability to negotiate with Vladimir Putin. Can you trust
this White House, given how loose they`ve been with Russia to be able to
wield sanctions whenever they please? Why are they getting involved in
this bill in the – in the House which is – just got passed in the Senate?
ZELDIN: Well, the executive branch and the president of the United States
has a primary – the primary role, as it relates to the foreign policy.
And that the United States Congress is not –
TUR: Do you trust them?
ZELDIN: Yes. Yes, and Congress needs to maintain oversight. It`s – when
we enact congressional sanctions, it`s with a particular intent. We`re
enacting sanctions because of A, B and C that we just discussed.
Now, going forward, if the president of the United States, whoever that is,
and our State Department and at the United Nations, if those conversations
are taking place and we`re making progress, I absolutely understand the
need for flexibility. But congressional intent and oversight, that`s very
important as well.
TUR: This is the last question. Do you believe, though, that this White
House, given that this election turned out well for them, that ultimately
these hacks probably could have or maybe could have benefited them, that
they have an appetite to actually put sanctions on Russia?
ZELDIN: I believe that they could.
TUR: Punish them for hacking into our election?
ZELDIN: I don`t – I don`t – you know, obviously they`re not going to
feel like –
TUR: Believe that they should. Do you believe and trust that they will?
ZELDIN: Yes. I don`t believe that they feel –
TUR: Are they?
ZELDIN: – the victim, you know, like Hillary Clinton would or the
Democrats would. But the message is that, you know, the president, and
those in his administration who have been sounding off on this topic,
especially around the G20, that`s the right message and it should continue.
TUR: Yes, but they haven`t done anything. They`ve said, let`s move
forward. There`s been no consequences.
ZELDIN: Well, you do have a different administration, officials weighing
in on this topic –
TUR: But the president has not said there will be consequences for this.
ZELDIN: Yes, I don`t know the –
TUR: You would – I mean, if this was President Obama, I imagine you`d be
on a different side of this issue.
ZELDIN: Well, the key is –
TUR: Or Hillary Clinton.
ZELDIN: – the key is whether it`s a President Obama, a president Hillary
Clinton, a President Donald Trump, that they are successful.
And an important – most important message is having a long game. And I
think that our long game is one that`s thinking 10, 15, 20 steps ahead.
That`s why the sanction piece is important. That`s why the consistency is
Even if you don`t feel like you`re the victim. Because you won, it`s still
an important message to send as Americans.
TUR: Congressman Lee Zeldin, it is wonderful to see you in person. Sorry,
I could keep talking to you about this forever. Thank you very much for
ZELDIN: Good to see you.
TUR: And let`s bring in Richard Painter who I just mentioned. He was the
chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush. He now
serves as the vice chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Richard, thank you very much. You said earlier that this borders on
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, let`s cut the
bologna here. We know what the Russians have been doing. They`ve been
doing this ever since the 1917 Russian revolution when the communists
started to want to destabilize all the western democracies, including the
United States and Western Europe. And they`ve been conducting espionage
inside the United States and that is continued up through 2017. It`s going
on right now.
And when the Russians call or someone calls on behalf of the Russians and
offers derogatory information about a former secretary of state who is a
presidential candidate, the first person you call is the FBI. I don`t care
if you`re a Republican as I am or a Democrat. You call the FBI. The last
thing you do is go meet with the Russians to try and get the derogatory
They`re only trying to do that in order to use you to accomplish some
purpose and we know what that is. It is undermining our system of
And, once again, they`ve been doing this in western countries for over a
hundred years. It`s a very, very serious problem. That a high ranking,
several high-ranking representatives of the Trump campaign would not call
the FBI about this. Would go and meet with the Russians in order to obtain
derogatory information about Secretary Clinton. That`s not how we win
elections in the United States.
We don`t use Russian agents, Russian spies to gather information on our
opponents. We do not accept such information from Russian agents or the
agents of any other adversary.
TUR: I want to get another question in. Given that you say this meeting
could border on treason, I want to broaden that out. Does that mean that
Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner are bordering on treason as well, along with
And then, also, that Michael Flynn is bordering on treason and that the
president, himself, is bordering on treason because all of them have sought
out damaging information when it – about Hillary Clinton from the Russias
– from Russian. Excuse me. Michael Flynn did it.
Don Jr. – Donald Trump did it in that July 27th press conference in 2016
where he invited Russia to find Hillary Clinton`s deleted e-mails? So, are
they all bordering on treason, according to you?
PAINTER: Well, I think the president`s remarks are public remarks. We do
not have evidence that the president, himself, met with the Russians or
authorized meetings with the Russians. At this point in time, we do not
have that information.
[17:15:11] We need to focus on the facts we have. And what is treason
would be assisting Russia in an attack on the United States. Russia did
conduct an attack on the United States in 2016 through computer hacking to
disrupt our Democratic election process just as they did in France a few
And anyone who assisted in that or wanted to help the Russians disseminate
that information, even for their own partisan political ends, I believe,
engaged in treasonous conduct in assisting an attack on the United States
on our representative democracy.
But we need to get the facts. All I`m saying is the facts reported in “The
New York Times” article come very close if not crossing the line with
respect to treason, if those facts are true. We need to find out what`s
TUR: Richard Painter, thank you very much for joining me, sir.
And joining me now –
PAINTER: Thank you.
TUR: – is Sam Nunberg, a long-time Donald Trump aide and a confidant who
was fired early on in the presidential campaign. Sam, thank you very much
for joining us.
SAM NUNBERG, FORMER AIDE, DONALD TRUMP: Thank you.
TUR: You were an advisor early on. You have been in Donald Trump`s circle
for a long.
TUR: Is this a meeting that you would have taken?
NUNBERG: It`s problematic but probably I would have taken the meeting
because of the context of when you hear Don Jr. say that it involved
someone they knew from the 2013 Miss Universe. I know that that was
something that they had worked on for many years. They had worked on
trying to get the Miss Universe over to Moscow. It was my understanding it
had nothing to do with it and it seemed a little innocuous.
You know, Maggie Haberman, who worked on the second article that came out
over the weekend, she`s even said, we all love (ph) Maggie, that this was
something where Don had, like, an open-door policy and this was a friend of
On the other hand, though, what I would say is when you look at the lawyer
and the background of the lawyer, –
NUNBERG: – there were some issues where –
TUR: Well, why isn`t the campaign looking at the lawyer and the background
of the lawyer? Why was this a campaign when you would have an open-door
policy, where you could have unnamed meetings with – or unplanned meetings
with unnamed people? This is a presidential campaign.
NUNBERG: Well, I – well, this was a weird presidential campaign. It was
a weird presidential cycle, as you know. I mean, when this first started,
it was a skeleton campaign. You know, people like Don Jr., they had a lot
of contacts of people coming in.
I would tell you, though, at the end of the day here, when you look at this
and you look at the context of the meeting, is this something that amounts
to treason? Is this something that amounts to collusion such as something
that Mr. Painter, your previous guy? I would say that – I would say I`m
one of those people where it says it`s a nothing burger. And it`s even a
nothing burger even if they would have brought in information that would
have been negative towards Hillary Clinton.
TUR: Why – but why so many meetings with the Russians that they don`t
disclose. They have to amend their disclosure forms? Why are there so
many revelations about people that are questionable that this campaign met
NUNBERG: Well, I don`t know if this – well, I don`t know that there are
so many of these meetings.
TUR: There`s quite a few.
NUNBERG: But this meeting in particular, Don Jr. was under no – was under
no – you know, he had no reason to report it.
TUR: Well, there`s this meeting.
NUNBERG: Jared subsequently reported it.
TUR: There`s Flynn`s meeting with Kislyak. There`s Flynn`s meeting with
NUNBERG: Those are during the transition. There is – those are during
the transition. Let`s also be honest. This isn`t as if – this – we`re
not at the point yet where this is something where it`s, like –
TUR: There`s a question surrounding the convention and Russia and changing
NUNBERG: There could be but this is nothing like – this is nothing where
it`s, let say, like a blue stained dress or something where we know now
that`s something you can show direct collusion between the kremlin and
between the Trump campaign.
And even if you could, by the way, people like Alan Dershowitz have said
that there may not even be a law violated. And I find it pretty sweet when
you have some people, Katy – and I`m – Katy, I`m not attacking you
brought him (ph) somebody like Richard Painter (INAUDIBLE). Somebody from
a – you talk about ethics during the Bush administration. Give me a
You`re talking about the same administration, you know, they had plenty of
ethical problems during (ph) themselves. I`d like to see where he, you
know – let`s not use everybody as an expert on things like –
TUR: Let`s move back.
TUR: So, Donald Jr. has a meeting with –
TUR: – a Russian lawyer who says, hey, –
NUNBERG: Who`s arranged by a colleague of his (INAUDIBLE.) Right?
TUR: – I might have dirt on Hillary Clinton. And then, I – then, he
says he sat there and he realized very quickly that she didn`t have
anything which implies that he would have wanted something.
TUR: So, does that actually express, at the very least, an openness to
collude or to get information about Hillary Clinton from anybody and to
collude with maybe a Russian if they had that information?
NUNBERG: From a Russian? Sure.
TUR: From somebody who was connected to Putin or Moscow.
NUNBERG: Well, we don`t know – well, first of all, you`re saying that the
lawyer may have been connected with – I don`t want to parse – but this is
a private lawyer.
TUR: Well, the lawyer has connections to Moscow. The lawyer has
connections to Putin.
NUNBERG: The lawyer has connections to represent – the lawyer is a
private practicing attorney who has represented people that are connected
TUR: The lawyer lobbies heavily to get sanctions –
NUNBERG: Perhaps –
TUR: – or to get the – this Magnitsky law.
NUNBERG: Let me ask you – let me ask some – I don`t want to turn it
around on you. But let`s say somebody had approached the Clinton campaign
and said, I have information that Donald Trump is having people from his
foreign investments, let`s say in Ireland or in England, let`s say. Do you
know what I mean? It`s the same kind of thing.
[17:20:00] What is the difference here on that? What is the difference?
TUR: Well, at the bottom –
NUNBERG: What is the difference?
TUR: – at the bottom, what is the – what is the deal with this campaign
and Russia? What`s the deal with the friendliness towards Russia? What`s
the deal with all the contacts between Russia? Is it a real estate thing?
And why is Donald Trump – why is he willing to go after everybody, Sam, –
NUNBERG: Well, here`s what I feel.
TUR: except for Vladimir Putin?
NUNBERG: OK. So, that`s a very big question here. So, let`s go – why
would the Trump campaign want to get information any way that they could?
Look, this was a very, very dirty campaign. OK? He had his own taxes
released. Remember, they were leaked out to the New York Times. This own
network leaked out videos, right, that he had from 2007.
TUR: We didn`t leak out any videos.
NUNBERG: “Access Hollywood”?
TUR: This network is not “Access Hollywood”. It`s on NBC News.
NUNBERG: NBC News. Well, NBC News colluded with “Washington Post.” No,
did you leak that?
TUR: No, we did not.
NUNBERG: No? OK. Well, somebody colluded to leak that out before – I
mean, this was something where they had to get a lot of information out.
This wasn`t a – they felt – if I had to guess, and remember, I was being
sued, at that point. I wasn`t exactly in direct contact with them. But
they had – all the advantages seemed to be for Hillary Clinton. They
wanted to get anything that they could get.
TUR: Why is Donald Trump willing to go after everybody except Vladimir
NUNBERG: How do you know he`s willing – he`s signing a sanctions bill.
Aren`t they going through a sanctions bill with Congress right now?
TUR: He has not said he`d sign a sanctions bill.
NUNBERG: He bombed Syria.
TUR: They were against that sanctions bill.
NUNBERG: He bombed Syria.
TUR: That`s not the question. Why is he willing to go after everybody –
NUNBERG: What do you mean? How is he –
TUR: Well, no, why is he willing to go after everybody but not Vladimir
NUNBERG: What – if you were Vladimir Putin right now, I would –
TUR: Sam, he was willing to go after you and you were a long-time
confidant of his. Seriously, you worked there for a long time.
NUNBERG: What has he done? But, Katy, what has he done in his presidency
TUR: He`s willing to go after everybody. But he hasn`t gone after Putin.
And Vladimir Putin directed hacks into our electoral system.
NUNBERG: First of all, one, I agree with you.
TUR: That is (INAUDIBLE) by the intelligence community.
NUNBERG: I agree with you, one.
NUNBERG: Two, I don`t want it to come out like a Russian file or a Putin
file. I think Putin is a direct enemy of the American state. I don`t
think he`s in our – he – excuse me, he`s an adversary of ours.
But you show me where, during this current administration, where Donald
Trump has done anything that has been positive or proactive or productive
or Vladimir Putin? If anything – if Vladimir Putin thought he was helping
elect Donald Trump, he must feel as if he got scammed so far. Show me
something. I don`t know where – what has he gotten?
TUR: Sam, I`ve got to leave it here.
NUNBERG: He hasn`t gotten anything.
TUR: I`ve got to leave it here. Thank you so much for coming on and
giving your insight. I appreciate your time.
When we come back, what else may be out there on the Trump campaign`s
relationship with Russian sources?
And later, the Republican health care bill is in even more trouble today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Kill the bill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t kill us.
CROWD: Don`t kill us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kill the bill.
CROWD: Kill the bill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t kill us.
CROWD: Don`t kill us.
TUR: Welcome back.
The president is again lashing out at former FBI Director James Comey on
Twitter. This time apparently in response to a misleading report by “The
Hill” newspaper that more than half of Comey`s memos, detailing his
interactions with the president, contain classified information. President
Trump tweeted, quote, “James Comey leaked classified information to the
media. That is so illegal.”
Comey gave some of those memos to his friend, Daniel Richman, a Columbia
Law Professor, asking him to share with reporters. Three of Comey`s memos
were classified from the beginning and were never shared with him.
[17:25:10] Rickman tells NBC News the contents of the one document he did
share are not classified. A congressional source familiar with the matter
says a small portion of one of the other memos Rickman received has been
If that phrase sounds familiar it was because of retroactive classification
that caused trouble for Hillary Clinton during her campaign. And it was,
of course, James Comey who accused Clinton of being, quote, “extremely
careless” in handling classified information. We`re back with more MTP
DAILY in 60 seconds.
TUR: Welcome back. Excuse me.
Let`s bring in our panel. Jennifer Jacobs is the White House Reporter for
“Blumberg News.” Lanhee Chen and a Research Fellow at the Hoover
Institution and a former advisor to Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio. And Molly
Ball is the politics writer at “The Atlantic.”
Molly, let`s start with you. This meeting with Don Jr. and this lawyer
with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, what does this add to this Russian
narrative? Where do we stand today?
MOLLY BALL, POLITICS WRITER, “THE ATLANTIC”: Well, it`s just a continuing
dripping and dripping of revelations. I don`t think we know yet what the
significance of this is fully.
As with so many developments in this investigation, they`re highly
suggestive. They could be nothing. And, you know, it is a, potentially,
significant fact. And it`s something that we know the investigators are
And, you know, it`s odd that the story seems to have changed or evolved as
more details have come out. But there`s – we don`t know what we don`t
know. And these investigations are in progress so I don`t think we know
the full significance.
TUR: Jennifer, why does the story change so many times, when it comes to
folks around Donald Trump?
JENNIFER JACOBS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, “BLUMBERG NEWS”: Yes, exactly. I
mean, Don Jr. said his story, of course, didn`t change. He just was
offering up more information.
But I had a couple GOP campaign operatives today say, listen, you know,
we`re eight months in. It couldn`t – these people have gotten together a
list of every single, you know, Russian or foreign national that they ever
had any communication with during the campaign or transition and presented
that to the public, to the press.
You know, in these last eight months, why couldn`t they have already
presented that? And that would have made things a lot better for them.
So, you`re right, the changing story is the thing that raises a lot of
TUR: Jen, I know that you have a lot of contacts within the White House
now. Is there anyone talking about maybe finding a way to compile that
list, get that done so that they can head off any future revelations?
JACOBS: They feel like they have released as much information as they
would like to right now. That`s all I know.
TUR: That`s what they`ve said repeatedly in the past, I guess.
Lanhee, you worked on the Mitt Romney campaign. Is this a meeting that you
would have taken?
LANHEE CHEN, RESEARCH FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Probably not a meeting I
would have taken, and certainly, if anybody on the campaign wanted to take
the meeting, we would have expected them to let us know so we could do some
Now, let me just say, it`s not unusual for a campaign to want to gather
opposition research on one`s opponent. Certainly, there has been reporting
that the Democrats in the Clinton campaign had some working the Ukrainian
government or agents of the Ukrainian government. That`s not unusual.
But I do think that with this meeting in particular, it would have been
important to at least vet who this person was. Why are we meeting with
her? What is she offering? What ties does she have? And to go in with
our eyes wide open to avoid precisely the kind of situation that the Trump
team is in now.
TUR: And, Molly, you wrote a big article about Don Jr. I believe it was
last year, a big profile. From your sense of him, why do you think he was
the one that would organize a meeting like this?
BALL: Well, he`s a highly social person. He`s got a lot of friends.
He`s, sort of, an operator. And, at the point that I wrote the profile
which was May of last year, Trump wasn`t even the nominee yet.
But it was already clear that Don Jr. was very much a trusted advisor to
him. He was a high-profile campaign surrogate. This was before he had
given that very well-received speech at the Republican National Convention.
But he was, sort of, coming into the spotlight, and very much an operative
for the campaign.
As we know, the campaign, much like the White House, was very much a family
affair, also like the Trump business. And Don Jr., although not necessarily
as high profile as perhaps Ivanka has always been very much at his father`s
side and a part of the effort.
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the power was all among the kids
especially around that time because Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort
were infighting and ultimately the kids were trying to push out Lewandowski
so the kids were the access of power especially at that moment.
Jen, there is a lot of talk about sanctions, the bill for sanctions is
stalled right now in the house. The White House is not a fan of it. If it
does make it to Donald Trump`s desk, is he likely to sign it?
JENNIFER JACOBS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER FOR BLOOMBERG COVERING THE
WHITE HOUSE: It sounds like it. I mean, I am serious about that. You had
Mark Short (ph) at the briefing today and talk a little bit about that. I
think there would be so much pressure. Obviously, it was brought up in that
meeting between Trump and Putin. They stressed that.
They said listen, there`s a lot of anger and mistrust in congress right
now. These sanctions are on the table. It sounds like the president and
Putin didn`t maybe hash overall the details of the sanctions, but it was
brought up as a point to say this is how serious it is in the United
States. So, yeah, I think there would be a lot of pressure to get that
passed. I do think he would sign it.
TUR: Lanhee, the president has said that he doesn`t necessarily believe
that – or he doesn`t know if Russia was the one behind the hacking
definitively. But then he also goes back and he blames President Obama for
not doing enough.
So wouldn`t it follow – at the very least follow from blaming President
Obama for not doing enough that he would want to be on the front lines of
making sure that the sanctions were as tough and as stringent as possible?
After all, he`s a guy who campaigned on making sure that he was going to be
the protector of the American voter.
LANHEE CHEN, POLICY EXPERT, COMMENTATOR, AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I
sure hope so. I mean, I think that is an easy step for this administration
to be able to take to draw contrast not just with the Obama administration
by the way but with the Bush administration. I think the mistake that we
have made over the last two administrations is trying to think that we can
have a friendly relationship with Vladimir Putin.
This is not a guy, frankly, who cares at all about American interests or
about American leadership. So we have to view Putin in a clear eye fashion.
If President Trump is able to get these sanctions in place, I think that
would go a long way toward clarifying where we stand with Russia and
approaching the situation with the realism it deserves.
TUR: Jennifer, Lanhee, Molly. Guys, stay with us. We`ll come back to you a
little bit later. And still ahead, senate Republicans try to rehab their
health care bill, but are they facing an even greater uphill battle than
TUR: Still ahead, President Trump puts pressure on senate Republicans to
fix their health care bill ahead of their August recess. But can they
deliver? That`s next. But first, here is Hampton Pearson with the “CNBC
Market Wrap.” Hi, Hampton.
HAMPTON PEARSON, CNBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Katy.
The Nasdaq and S&P closed higher led by gains in technology stocks. And
investor confidence ahead of Friday`s earnings season kickoff. The Dow lost
5 points. The S&P gaining just 2 points. The Nasdaq added 23 points.
Amazon rose 1.8 percent as the company got ready for its so-called prime
day sale event tonight. Shares of Tesla rebounded from last week`s sell off
climbing .9 percent. Abercrombie plunged 21 percent after the retailer
terminated a potential buyout of that company. That`s it from CNBC, first
in business worldwide.
TUR: Welcome back. Members of congress are returning to D.C. today and here
is what they found waiting for them.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kill this bill! Kill this bill! Kill
TUR: Capitol police say 80 people were arrested this afternoon between the
house and the senate. These protests against the senate`s health care bill
are happening even as we expect to see a new version of the bill very soon.
Republicans are still splintered as they try to come up with some kind of
repeal and replace for Obamacare that can attract at least 50 votes.
And the situation actually got more complicated over the July 4th break as
a number of lawmakers faced demonstrations and tough questions on health
care from their constituents at home. Over the weekend, two more senate
Republicans said they are not in favor of the original draft of the bill.
That brings the total number of Republicans against the original bill to
Congress only has three weeks left before that August recess, and President
Trump tweeted today that he, quote, cannot imagine that congress would dare
to leave Washington without a beautiful new health care bill fully approved
and ready to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Earlier today, one of the bill`s advocates, Senator Pat Toomey
indicated that he has not given up yet.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
PAT TOOMEY, JUNIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM PENNSYLVANIA: I think there`s still a
path. I`m not pollyannaish about this. It`s very, very difficult when you
can only lose two votes and there may be already two that are
irretrievable. And I think there is still a shot at getting to 50. Mike
Pence breaks a tie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Joining me now from Capitol Hill is MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake.
Garrett, thanks for joining us. What can we expect if anything to happen
GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Katy, Republican senators seem to
think they will see the bill this week. The theory was that we might see it
in the earlier part of the week. I talked to John Cornyn a little while
ago. Now we`re thinking maybe later in the week we might actually see the
text of this new bill.
I don`t think we`ll see a CBO score this week and I don`t think there`s any
chance that there will be a vote until next week at the earliest. But I
think the big thing is we`re going to find out what changes they made to
this bill. I mean, he talked about the bill that 10 Republican senators are
ready to say no on. I think that we have to think about that as almost the
separate thing. I think the bill that`s going to come back here is going to
have at least a couple of these changes.
Big increase in the money for opioids to bring some of the moderates on
board, allowing people to use their HSA spending accounts to pay their
premiums. And then sort of maybe the most controversial item and the thing
that could swing at least get some of these conservatives back is this Ted
Cruz amendment that would allow people to buy essentially stripped down
cheaper plans with the thinking being you could at least get more people
insured, get premiums down.
Potentially creates all host of other problems down the road but that might
be enough to bring some of these conservatives back on board too.
TUR: Will that be enough, though, to get this thing passed? Are there
enough conservatives that would say yes to this Cruz amendment for Mitch
McConnell to be able to bring this to the floor for a vote?
HAAKE: Well, that`s the million dollar question because you can bring all
the conservatives who are opposed to this back on board and still be in
trouble because you don`t have the moderates. Dean Heller of Nevada seems
like a very hard no, unless his governor who is far more popular than he is
in the state of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, decides to back this bill.
Susan Collins still sounds like she is a very hard no. Someone like Rob
Portman or Shelley Moore Capito are going to be tricky to bring back on. So
if you`ve got those two moderates, that`s it. I don`t think that the Cruz
amendment in itself will be enough. We have to see what other changes Mitch
McConnell and his team will be able to make in this bill to potentially
attract those moderates back.
TUR: At what point we will see makings of a bipartisan deal on health care?
HAAKE: The sense I get here, Katy, is that that`s probably going to be the
last ditch effort here. There doesn`t seem to be any appetite for that for
Mitch McConnell and there doesn`t seem to be any appetite for that from the
White House. From the White House, you`re still hearing that they would
rather see this sort of split repeal and then replace as the option before
they would go to work with Democrats.
And Democrats who have said they want to work with Republicans on fixing
the Affordable Care Act, I think will never get there as long as that
repeal, that “R” word is on the table. No senate Democrat wants to be part
or party to undoing President Obama`s sort of legacy achievement.
TUR: Politics, sometimes just an issue of semantics. Garrett Haake, thank
you very so much, sir. Just ahead, Iraqi forces declare a major victory
over ISIS. We`ll have a report from the front lines.
TUR: Welcome back. This U.S. military today is congratulating the U.S.
military – excuse me, today is congratulating the Iraqis for a, quote,
historic victory. And they say Mosul is back in control of Iraqi security
After nine months of battling ISIS to retake the city, Iraq`s prime
minister met with commanders on Sunday and declared victory in the
country`s second largest city. But the fighting is not over yet. Small
pockets of the terror group remain in the city`s historic neighborhoods.
NBC`s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has this report from Mosul.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC`S CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: We are in the old city of
Mosul. This is the front line. This is the place where ISIS has made its
last stand in this city. And we`re not just anywhere in the old city.
Behind these buildings to my left is the Tigris River. For the Iraqi troops
who have been doing the ground fighting here, for their American advisers
who have been helping calling in air strikes, the Tigris River has always
been their main objective because the old city, this hold out for ISIS ends
at the Tigris.
So the fact that the troops are here, the fact that we were able to reach
this area means the main thrust of the operation is more or less over. You
can hear there`s still some gunfire, there`s still been some air strikes.
There are pockets of fighting ongoing in this city as some ISIS hold outs
remain. But the big push, the push to get here, a push that has taken nine
months of Iraq effort backed up by U.S. troops is now more effectively at
its end. Richard Engel, NBC News, Mosul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: And you can catch more of Richard Engel as he reports from Northern
Iraq this Friday at 9 p.m. eastern for “On Assignment.” We will be right
TUR: It is time for “The Lid.” Let`s bring back our panel. Jennifer Jacobs,
Lanhee Chen, and Molly Ball. Molly, starting with you again, health care.
Republicans are facing a bit of a tough battle when it comes to health
care. What`s the likelihood that they`re going to be able to get a vote to
BALL: You know, the Republicans that I`ve talked to are increasingly
pessimistic. And they were pessimistic to start with. So, you know, things
only seem to be getting worse for this bill. Mitch McConnell has not found
a rabbit in the magical hat of his. There was an expectation that he would
find a way to pull this off at the beginning.
But, you know, as the senators were back in their home districts, heard
nothing but negative feedback for the most part. And as Garrett was saying
just a couple of segments ago, they just keep getting more and more nose on
the bill and there isn`t even a bill yet. So, it just doesn`t look good.
TUR: Let`s take a listen to a couple of those skeptics, Lindsey Graham and
(START VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: Obamacare is going to
fail. My advice is if it does fail, work together in a bipartisan fashion
to replace it. I don`t know what the outcome will be, but Mitch is trying
JOHN MCCAIN, SENIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM ARIZONA: My view is it`s probably
going to be dead. But I`ve been wrong. I thought I would be president of
the United States.
MCCAIN: But I think – I fear that it`s going to fail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Lanhee, what`s the problem with Mitch McConnell just saying, hey, you
know what, this is too tough, let`s find a way to work with Democrats. What
would be the political risk of doing that? And would the American public be
happy and welcoming of congress finding a way to work together?
CHEN: I think it`s a tremendous political risk after seven years of talking
about repealing and replacing Obamacare, to not at least have fought for a
vote, to have fought this all the way through, to have consideration of
some alternative, I think is absolutely imperative for Mitch McConnell and
for the senate Republicans.
Now, if that effort fails, the next order of question then becomes what
kind of a bipartisan solution might there be. Democrats have drawn their
line in the sand. They say, look, we`re not willing to work with
Republicans so long as they`re talking about repeat. This vote is going to
have to happen first before there`s further talk of any kind of bipartisan
action on health care.
TUR: Listen to Senator Jerry Moran talking about why he is not in favor of
(START VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY MORAN, JUNIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM KANSAS: With the Affordable Care Act,
premiums are going up. And my concern is, with the plan in front of the
senate, that was in front of the senate a week ago, I`m not convinced the
premiums are going down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Jennifer, Donald Trump campaigned on the premiums going down. You`re
going to have better coverage for less money. Why does the White House back
the senate on this?
JACOBS: Well, it does sound like the White House is expecting to see the
bill this week. Like Garrett said, it does sound like they`re really
counting on a vote next week. But you`re still seeing that push and pull
between conservatives and moderates.
Interestingly, Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine, in an
interview with Bloomberg this morning was talking about how encouraged she
was about Mitch McConnell talking last week about possibly, you know, doing
something bipartisan if this fails and not repeating the mistakes that
Democrats made by passing this with just one party.
She was urging Republicans to work together with Democrats. But then, Mike
Pence, the vice president, in an interview on Rush Limbaugh`s radio show
today signaled just the opposite. He was critical of Republicans who have
been talking about wanting to work together with Democrats. So I think
that`s a pretty strong signal that if there are changes to this
legislation, the White House wants to move to a more conservative direction
rather than to try to soothe the people in the middle.
Another interesting thing that you heard from Pence today was, you know,
that whole argument that he`s trying to make that there are victories,
little victories in this bill for various people, that understand that
maybe you`re not getting everything you want, but this bill does do a lot
and people need to declare a victory.
TUR: Jen, is there anybody in the White House that is pushing for maybe
something bipartisan, any of the moderate factions in the White House, Gary
Cohn, Dina Powell, someone like that, Jared Kushner?
JACOBS: If they are, they`re not winning. It does sound like that they`re
leaning at the more conservative faction.
TUR: Molly, if they can`t get this done, the White House will have another
piece of legislation that they were not able to pass. Which points to what
major legislation have they been able to pass? What does it mean for the
BALL: Yeah, I mean, I think they would say that the regulatory bills that
passed in the congress very early on were major pieces of legislation. But
the big ticket things that they promised to do, besides just repealing
regulations, those have not been done and the timeline keeps slipping.
And so they are in this box where they made all these promises that they
haven`t kept because of all these divisions. It is going to be hard for
them to explain to their constituents both in the Republican Party and in
the general electorate.
TUR: Molly Ball, Jennifer Jacobs, Lanhee Chen. Guys, thank you very much.
After the break, members of congress get creative in their criticism.
TUR: In case you missed it, some folks in Washington aren`t thrilled with
President Trump`s short-lived hypothetical plan to partner on cyber
security with Russia, and in case you missed it, it seems like they`re all
trying to one up each other with comparisons to show just how upset they
are by this idea. Congressman Adam Schiff said it would be akin to inviting
the North Koreans to participate in a commission on nonproliferation.
Senator Marco Rubio used the different hot spots of choice, partnering with
Putin on a cyber security unit is akin to partnering with Assad on chemical
weapons. Senator Amy Klobuchar, however, got a little more folksy,
suggesting it would like the fox guarding the hen house or the bear
guarding the honey. She wasn`t the only one.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s beyond puzzling. That`s like tweeting out that he
would like to fight drug abuse in America by starting a new drug
interdiction conference with El Chapo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not a good idea for the fox to guard the hen house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this is like the guy who robbed your house proposing
a working group on burglary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: You know, what I think Congressman Adam Kinzinger actually deserves
the last word here.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM KINZINGER, CONGRESSMAN FOR ILLINOIS: I use the analogy of letting the
fox guard the hen house, but I also think it`s like the roadrunner working
with the coyote to ban dangerous acne products.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: PSA, watch out for those (inaudible). That will do it for me tonight.
We`ll be back again tomorrow with more “MTP Daily.”
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