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For the Record with Greta, Transcript 1/26/2017

Guests: Kristen Welker, Mark Meadows, David Catanese, Jay Newton-Small, Ken Paxton, Letitia James, Hugh Hewitt, Nick Confessore, Molly Ball

Show: For the Record with Greta Date: January 26, 2017 Guests: Kristen Welker, Mark Meadows, David Catanese, Jay Newton-Small, Ken Paxton, Letitia James, Hugh Hewitt, Nick Confessore, Molly Ball

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: For the Record tonight, war on the border, or at least sort of. The Mexican president with a stunner today saying he decide not to come to Washington, D.C., but hold on to seat, Trump has different version, he said the no show is a mutual decision, but is it? And now, buzz about a tax on Mexican import it`s only going to make things a whole lot hotter.

Also, Trump`s top adviser, Steve Bannon, blasting the media as the opposition and say the press should keep its mouth shut. Could this relationship get any worse? Do not answer that question. And the president yelling at Republicans about a big risk they face with their Trump agenda, we`ll tell you what happened behind the scene at today`s GOP retreat.

President Trump moving ahead at breakneck speed, earlier in the day the president taking a quick trip to Philly, speaking to congressional Republicans about the cancellation of his plan meeting with the Mexican president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting schedule for next week. Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless and I want to go a different route. We have no choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Hours later at the Republican retreat a different foreign leader showing up all away from London, British prime minister Theresa May.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF GREAT BRITAIN: And a newly embolden confident America is good for the world. An America is strong and prosperous at home is a nation that can lead abroad. But you cannot and should not do so alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: And she`ll meet with President Trump tomorrow. And Trump getting a warm reception for his Republicans today as he ticked off his agenda.


TRUMP: Nice to win. Do we agree it`s been a while.

TRUMP: This congress is going to be the busiest congress we`ve had in decades. Our legislative work starts with repealing and replacing Obamacare. The American people will not pay for the wall. We`re going to have a lot of trade deals. Mitch, don`t worry about it. We also need to keep the ballot box safe from illegal voting.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Also, today several top officials at the state department stepping down from their post. NBC`s Kristen Welker is at the White House. Kristen?

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Greta, what a busy day. Let`s start with Mexico and the fact that in the wake of President Trump announcing that he would be signing that executive order to greenlight construction of that border wall that spark a backlash from the president of Mexico, who is under a lot of pressure from within his own country to really take a strong stand right now. He floated last night that he might be a no-show to this bilateral meeting that was schedule. And then these tweets earlier today, President Trump essentially saying, hey, maybe it is better it we don`t meet. And then came the word from President Pena Nieto that he was going to cancel the meeting. And that`s where things really got interesting because as you mentioned, President Trump said today at that GOP retreat that it was a mutual decision. I just pressed one of his top officials on that point, and I said did they actually talk, how was this mutual decision? And I was told that there had been conversation back and forth between the two countries throughout the day. The White House insisting they still want this meeting to take place, that they`re still very much in contact with the Mexican government. But it comes amid Press Secretary Sean Spicer telling reporters aboard Air Force One today that one of the ways that the president could make Mexico pay for that border wall is to slap a 20 percent tax on imports. Now, that spark a lot of concerns among businesses here who thought, hey, wait a minute, that`s going to drive up prices of some products. Just moments ago, Spicer clarifying that that`s just one of a buffet of options for how they might deal with this issue. I asked if there`s a sense of urgency and real concern about the fact that this is complicating and roiling an important relationship that the United States has. After all, Mexico is the U.S. third largest trading partners. And the response that they are confident, ultimately they will be able to resolve this. But, of course, Greta, this comes as President Trump had said he want to renegotiate NAFTA. That`s going to require Mexico sitting down at the table with him, and also as he wants to deal with this immigration issue. So, another busy day here at the White House, and I anticipate Friday is going to be just as busy, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kristen, thank you. Congressman Mark Meadows is a Republican from the great state of North Carolina, and shared the freedom caucus. He served on foreign affairs committee. Good evening, sir.

REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-NORTH CAROLINA: Good evening, Greta. It`s great to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to have you. All right, what do you make of this spat between the president of Mexico and the president of the United States?

MEADOWS: Well, really, it`s not much of this is not really new. When we talked about a border wall, obviously, that`s a promise that President Trump made when he was campaigning, and to follow through on that very quickly is really following through on a promise me made to the American people. When we look at it, who is going to pay for it, and the anticipated arrival of the Mexican president, obviously, we would still like to see that. I`m hopeful that we will. But when you really look at some of the context of this 20 percent tariff, I think a lot of that is really taking it out of context. It`s really more about a boarder adjustment tax.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, who is going to pay for it? And you`re in the freedom caucus and I can`t imagine your caucus like the idea of running up the debt. And the estimates even from Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan are anywhere from $10 to $15 billion, that`s a B. Where is this money coming from? They said this morning they float maybe this buffet of 20 percent tax, well that went over like a lead balloon (INAUDIBLE) So, where are we going to find this money?

MEADOWS: Well, I think on that -- and you`re right, it`s about $15 billion, Grate. And Speaker Ryan talked about the fact they were fiscal conservatives, and certainly on the freedom caucus we would support -- offsetting that with other dollars from other places.


MEADOWS: But the 20 percent.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, that`s the point. That`s the point, like where in the world -- $15 billion is a lot of money. And you know.


VAN SUSTEREN: You know, like there`s got to be some plan or some idea. The American people should at least have some certainty where that money is going to come from. And the president said the Mexico is going to pay for it. And now the president of Mexico says I`m not showing up to buy coffee if your country.

MEADOWS: Well, and answer specifically to your question, you and I talked a number of times about improper payments. There`s some $34 billion that we sent in improper payments just on Medicaid and Medicare kind of reimbursement. So even looking at some of those improper payments there`s -- when you have over One trillion dollar budget, finding $15 billion over ten years should not be a difficult task. I know that I put my staff on it today to say where can we have it? Some have suggested tapping into the strategic oil reserves to look at it pay for it there. But regardless, we`re going to give the president the tools to make sure that he fulfills that. I think that you`ll see that not only in this coming budget, but one that is fiscally responsible as we look to rebuild our military and securing our southern border.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, we may have to go fund-me account to raise that kind of money, that $15 billion. All right, let me turn to immigration and even the freedom caucus.


VAN SUSTEREN: The president seems to say the people who are dreamers, young people in the country, who came here on no fault on their own, that he is going to do -- he`s not going to ship them all back. And I think Speaker Ryan told me that as well last night. What is the freedom caucus think about that?

MEADOWS: You know we really believe that we need to take a step approach, Greta, about this. And the first step was secure the border, and that`s why you`re going to see, perhaps, we are a little bit more agreeable on building the wall to make sure that we stop the problem. Then, from there, it`s looking at our legal immigration program because what we`re finding is that the whole reason we`ve got this is because sometimes legally it takes up to ten years for someone to come here that are willing to follow the rules and the laws. So, as we look at that it`s more on addressing what happening in sanctuary cities, and making sure that 19,000 people, criminal, illegal aliens get sent back to their country. The president talked about that today, and that`s going to stop on his watch with the assistant of the new secretary of state, hopefully as soon as he`s confirmed, Secretary Tillerson.

VAN SUSTEREN: One quick question, I know that I can`t imagine that the congress, Democrats, Republicans, especially the freedom caucus like the idea if the president writes too many executive orders, simple because you served the authority of the legislative branch of the nation. Do you have any problem with the sort of this rapid fire executive orders?

MEADOWS: You know, we`ve been looking very closely to make that he`s not encroaching on congress` constitutional authority. And at the same time, as you know, we`ve identified almost 300 potential executive orders that he would write and correct on his own without authority from congress but, again, keeping those pillars of congressional authority and the executive branch separate. So we`re going to be vigilant about that making sure that what is rightfully the will of the people through congress gets enacted through law, and not allow him to use his pen in an inappropriate manner.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to have a choice. Thank you, sir.

MEADOWS: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, the idea of tax to pay for the border wall, that was the one who`s, initially, floated today but, as notice, President Trump press secretary, Sean Spicer, said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You tax that 50 percent, $50 billion at 20 percent of imports, which is, by the way, a practice that 160 other countries do right now. Our country policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in which is ridiculous. Buy, by doing it that way we can do $10 billion a year, and easily pay for the wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: The White House later walking that back pointing out there are lot of ways to pay for the wall. Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, criticizing the idea tweeting, quote, any policy proposal which drives up cost of Corona, tequila, or Margarita, is a big-time bad idea, mucho sad. Here`s what Speaker Ryan told me yesterday about paying for the wall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I know you`re follow-up question is Mexico going to pay for the wall. There`s a lot of different ways of get Mexico to contribute to doing this. And there`s different ways of defining how exactly they`ll pay for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Jay Newton-Small is a contributor to Time Magazine. And David Cantanese, is a senior politics writer for U.S. News and World Report. David, where is this money coming from? So somewhat confused where we`re going to get them

DAVID CANTANESE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: there`s a divide over words coming from -- obviously, that has been played out today between President Trump and even Republican leaders. Also, at the retreat up there in Philadelphia, Mitch McConnell and Speaker Ryan said this wouldn`t be funded through the normal appropriation, that this would have to come through a supplemental. That would raise the prospect -- I mean this insider Washington, but that would raise the prospect that it could be filibuster. And if you already got Republicans out there, looks like Lindsey Graham saying that they`re not for this, that`s a problem for President Trump.

VAN SUSTEREN: But it`s also the whole idea -- this platform of the current president and GOP its fiscal conservativism. And yet, President Trump did tell everybody I`m going to build that wall. You know, he says he could build the wall, so that`s why a lot of people voted for him, I suspect, but he did say Mexico is going to pay for it. And now, the Mexican president doesn`t want to show up.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, it`s amazing. He`s like the most amazing salesman ever. And if you think of him as like a furniture salesman, he`s like this is the most amazing dresser ever, and everyone want to buy the Dresser. It`s like the great idea, everyone loves idea of the wall of Mexico. But as anyone who puts together an Ikea furniture -- putting that thing together -- is the devil in the details, and one missing bolts the whole thing falls apart, right? So, if you have -- in this case, one missing bolt is really going to be problematic. Let`s say Walmart, where prices are going to spike, and normal Americans might not be able to afford food for their children. So, in this case, it`s really dangerous and you`re playing with this amazing life policy. And top of the line sounds great, but details are really important here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is it really going to cost that much anyway, I mean, is there not a better way to secure the border without building a wall that cost $15 billion, which used to be $8 billion and it keeps getting higher, higher and higher.

CATANESE: I actually talked to former homeland security secretary, Tom Ridge, about this issue. He said, look, this got to be a layered approach, you`ve got to use some drones, border officials are also important manpower which Trump did include in his executive order. So it`s not about a wall. Also, we do have some fencing down there already that the parts aren`t covered by a wall are rugged terrain, there`s rivers, I mean, some parts of the border are tough to even put a wall. So there`s lot of doubt that we`re actually going to see a 20 foot concrete wall down there. I think enhance border security is definitely coming, but whether it`s going to be the wall that Trump touted.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think the president -- I think we`ll hear more from the president. I mean, part of the immigration issue is that we have so many people coming to this country and over stay their visa. They don`t come through the southern border, but the come through JFK, or Newark, or Boston, or something. We know there`s still -- that`s so out of control.

NEWTON-SMALL: Yeah, but you saw today there are protests in Boston, for example, which is a sanctuary city, and it was like Irish, you know. There`s a huge amount of Irish people who come here and over stay their visa. And, you know, that`s not the classic kind of illegal immigration that we think about when Donald Trump talks about building a wall with Mexico, but that is really one of the larger problems.

VAN SUSTEREN: And he certainly is doing what he said he was going to do. I mean, he comes into office and, I mean, like nobody should be shocked. He said he was going to build a wall, I mean, there`s no big surprise. He`s doing all the things -- with the exception of who`s going to pay for it. He still says the Mexican government or the Mexican people pay it. But, so far all his executive orders, he told us. That`s what he`s doing. He`s doing it.

CATANESE: Look at the week, it was Obamacare, it was repeal -- get rid of the trade deals, immigration, that was Trump`s candidacy. But the devil is in the details and that`s why we`ve got -- you know, in his executive orders they`re more symbolic.


CATANESE: . than substantive. And that`s why you`re going to have to see what congress does on a lot of this.

NEWTON-SMALL: I mean, you read these orders and it`s not like they actually do anything, and they get you maybe 5 percent of the way there of the promise. I mean, it`s sort of like, oh, we`re not actually going to build the wall, we`re going to get congress to study it for 60 days and come up with a plan to finance, potentially, building border security.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is the best example probably is the TPP because he signed that order about the TPP, but we don`t have the TPP. And McConnell was never going to bring up for a vote that`s already dead.

NEWTON-SMALL: Or the pipeline, the pipeline saying, oh, they must use American steel. And they sort of say, we`ll study potentially using American steel in there. We don`t produce the kind of steel to build those pipelines, it`s impossible.

VAN SUSTEREN: The president of Mexico not coming, mutual or was this like the kind of situation where you get dump by a girlfriend or boyfriend -- or pretend it was both.

CATANESE: Trump said in a tweet, don`t come if you`re not going to pay for the wall, which is odd to me, Trump wants to talk to him about it. Maybe use some of his power of persuasion which he`s supposedly very good in a room, turn on the charm, bring the Mexican president here.

(CROSSTALK) CATANESE: Why are you telling him not to come when this is your priority this week, and you want him to pay for the wall?

NEWTON-SMALL: How popular would Trump face is he to kick the Mexican president out and say, no, don`t come unless you`re paying for the wall. That`s all that screaming for him with the Republican base.

CATANESE: Look, for them to float a 20 percent import tax.


CATANESE: That doesn`t make sense.

VAN SUSTEREN: I would give Spicer some -- I mean -- I suppose they`re trying to think of a lot of ideas, and he said and we all seize upon it. I mean, it`s like -- good this to say, but, I don`t know, I`ll give him freedom on that one. I don`t know why, but maybe just a good mood tonight. But, anyway, thank you both. President Trump making news today on what he will do if Democrats block his Supreme Court pick. Also, Trump`s chief strategist blasting the media calling it the opposition party, and saying the press should keep its mouth shut. And congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, secret trip to Syria for meeting with President Bashar al-Assad, and what`s he saying about President Trump`s plan for refugees. She joins me live next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: These countries that have tremendous terror and its countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems. Our country has enough problems without allowing people to come in who in many cases or in some cases are looking to do tremendous destruction. We are excluding certain countries, but for other countries we`re going to have extreme vetting.


VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump discussing plans for executive orders on refugees and immigration, and White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said that order could come tomorrow. And the New York Times had obtained a draft of the plan which includes suspending the U.S. refugee admissions program for 120 days, and indefinitely blocking refugees from Syria. He kept in a total number of refugee admitted to the United States this year to 50,000, also being considered in order to ban visitors from, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 30 days. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, served on the house armed services and foreign affairs committee, she also served two-tours of duty in the Middle East with the Hawaiian Army National Guard, and currently serve as a Major in the Army National Guard. She very recently came back from trip to Syria where she met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Nice to see you, congresswoman.

TULSI GABBARD, U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Great to see you, Greta. Aloha.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, aloha, yes, indeed. All right, why did you go to Syria?

GABBARD: I`ve been very worried and have carried with a heavy heart what has been happening there, the suffering of the Syrian people. And I wanted to go there for myself to see if I couldn`t some small way convey the love, the care, and the Aloha of the people of Hawaii -- people of our country to the Syrian people. And see for myself the situation on the ground there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I know, there`s no doubt since you`ve done two tours in Iraq with our military, I know you`re deeply committed, you and I even spoke off-camera about this. You saw President Assad -- you met with him, what did you learn?

GABBARD: Well, first of all, this was not the reason for my trip, it wasn`t in the initial plan, but when the opportunity presented itself, I felt that it was important to have the meeting because if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, if we truly care about ending their suffering, we`ve got to be able to be willing to meet with whoever we need to if there`s a possibility and a chance that that could help us take steps forward towards peace.

VAN SUSTEREN: And look at the video of those kids, they adorable, aren`t they?

GABBARD: They`re beautiful. The thing is about these kids that we met in this shelter just on the outskirt of Aleppo is they and their families have lost virtually everything, but the strength and the joy that they had was incredible. They have hope for the first time in long time for their future.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now you have a different view of what the foreign policy should be in the United States than many of your colleagues. What is your position on what we should be doing or not to doing in Syria?

GABBARD: It`s been long calling now for years to end our countries, counter-productive regime change war in Syria. Not only is it not helping end the suffering of the Syrian people, but it`s actually working against the interest of the United States. It is working to strengthen groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, making their position stronger. And we`re doing that with American tax-payer dollars. Our dollars are going to help support fund and armed groups who are working alongside an allied with al-Qaeda in Syria, something that if you and I provide support to a terrorist group like that we would be thrown in jail.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it hasn`t escape me -- and, you know, we talked about this, you`ve got Egypt with Mubarak, and you`ve got Libya with Gaddafi, and Iraq with Saddam Hussein, is that, you know, we all those three are gone and those three nations are in utter chaos. And I know -- look, I`m a good American, I want to do the right thing is, but, you know, we have a situation where -- at least President Obama said, you know, that Assad will go. He hasn`t gone. Are you saying that we should be -- just get out of there? Is that you`re.

GABBARD: What I`m saying is that it is important for our country to stop spending trillions of dollars on these regime change wars for few reasons. First of all, every dollar that we spend on these intervention regime change wars is a dollar that we`re not spending on investing in re-building our infrastructure, and investing in our community and our future.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about those people? What about chemical weapons? At least, I read about chemical weapons.

GABBARD: That`s my second point, that this is a major point that these regime change wars have been carried out under the guise of humanitarian cause. But in every single situation that you`ve just talked about, the people in this country have resulted in far worse suffering than before, fare greater loss of live, their country have essentially fallen apart, and to our interest groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS have simply grown stronger. So not only has this regime change war policy that our country have followed for too long, ended up in disaster, chaos and suffering for the people in these countries, but it also works directly against the interest of the American people and our security.

VAN SUSTEREN: And they`ll have a lot push back from a lot of your colleague.

GABBARD: From some, you know, I introduce a bill to stop arming terrorists act. It`s a bipartisan bill, already has Democrat and Republican support, that seeks to put an end to this policy, this crazy policy that allows our taxpayer dollars to be used to directly and indirectly support these groups that are working with al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, this is such an important dialogue we should all be having, maybe more than how many people are on the inauguration crowd.

GABBARD: I would say.


GABBARD: Seriously, every day that this war is allowed to continue, more and more people are suffering. We`ve got to take action now.

VAN SUSTEREN: I wish more and more people could even in the media go take a look at it because you learn so much more. I not telling you what you should think after, but it`s incredible. I`ve been over there. But, anyway, congresswoman, nice to see you.

GABBARD: Nice to see you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Next, President Trump and the fight over sanctuary cities. I`ve talked to leaders on both sides of these clash, the Texas attorney general and very high ranking officials from New York City. Plus, President Trump meets his party, why he`s warning Republicans Obamacare repeal is risky.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: From day one I`ve said it, and I mean the immediate removal of criminal aliens -- they`re going to be gone fast. And finally, at long last, cracking down on sanctuary cities.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Donald Trump today and his executive order cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities that don`t comply with federal immigration efforts. The divide is already triggering clashes, the city of Austin, Texas, signaling it may not work with the Trump administration. Ken Paxton is attorney general of the great state of Texas. It`s nice to see you, sir.

KEN PAXTON, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS: Thanks for having me on again, and congratulation on your new show and I`m excited to be on this amazing opportunity for you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. And I`m happy that I`m here. First of all, since Texas is a border state, is a wall going to be help or is there another more effective way and perhaps even cheaper way to seal that border?

PAXTON: You know what, I think there`s a lot of tools in the tool belt. I think that the wall is appropriate in some places and maybe technology that helps us in others and obviously we need more agents. And that was another thing that Trump, President Trump put in this executive order, is more border agents and more immigration officials.

VAN SUSTEREN: The price is actually staggering. I think it`s like, you know, I don`t know how many millions of dollars for just a mile of this wall. Have you had a chance to speak with the Trump administration about the border?

PAXTON: Not this issue in particular but if you look at the cost and the safety issue imposed on Texans, I think I`ve seen studies that show that illegal immigration cost the state upwards of $12 billion a year. And so you`re talking about a wall that costs $10 to $15 billion you know, for one time cost. So ultimately, I think it pays for itself. It`s just a matter of figuring out which methods works best in which places.

VAN SUSTEREN: What`s your position to the sanctuary cities?

PAXTON: Well, you do know that Texas is, right now, we`re in legislative session trying to pass legislation that would ban sanctuary cities. Governor Abbott has spoken out on this and has even suggested now he`s just defunding sanctuary cities but potentially also removing officials who don`t follow their constitutional obligation to follow the law.

You know, it creates safety issues, security issues and particularly, President Trump mentioned that he wants to remove illegal criminals. That`s not happening as such as it should and I think, you know, we`re talking about the safety of our citizens here that we want to protect.

VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump said that he wanted to stop this -- catch and release under the Obama administration, where you catch someone and you release them back into its host country and into the country of nation from which he or she is from. What`s your view on that because can we build these detention centers they want because there`s more money?

PAXTON: Well, absolutely, again, it`s ludicrous. The catch and release idea has been ludicrous. If you catch them, it doesn`t make sense to just let them go -- let them release in our country. It makes sense total sense to send them back where they are. You know, once you get to setup, you know, it`s a onetime cost.

There`ll be some cost of having border agents but ultimately, the risk to our citizens who have terrorism across the board and just the cost of immigration -- illegal immigration is tremendous especially for the border states.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, thank you for joining us.

PAXTON: Hey, I`m glad to be on your new show.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. The sanctuary cities passions (ph) are running high. Listen to a top New York City official, public advocate Letitia James speaking last night at a rally on immigration.


LETITIA JAMES, PUBLIC ADVOCATE, NEW YORK CITY: We`ve got to join hands and protect the marginalized communities and vulnerable community just as we protected African-Americans in the 60`s. We got to protect those who they`re coming after. We have a city made greater by the blood and sweat and tears of immigrants.


VAN SUSTEREN: Letitia James, she is the public advocate for New York City. Thank you for joining us.

JAMES: Thank you Greta and welcome to MSNBC.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you very much. Now, you are obviously -- while I listened to that sound bite, you are in support of New York being a sanctuary city. Why?

JAMES: Because New York City and so many other cities like it were built on the blood and sweat and tears of immigrants and I take very seriously the fact that New York City and this country as a whole is a welcoming city for immigrants. And our economy is based upon immigrants. And immigrants have contributed so much to our city and so much to our nation and I don`t believe that we should turn our backs on immigrants. I don`t believe that we should break up families.

I don`t believe that children should be torn away from their parents or students who are currently in college should have to leave college as a result of these policies. What we have is a broken immigration system and that is what we should be focusing on. And clearly, New York City is a sanctuary city and we`re here to defend it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you must be a little bit hard by the fact Speaker Ryan told me that he`s not going to sent dreamers home. That`s what he says and President Trump says that. But you must be greatly distressed at our federal government, our members of congress going back decades because we really don`t have an immigration system that`s been very effective. Would you agree with that?

JAMES: I definitely agree with that. And that`s the heart of the problem and we really should be focused on the broken immigration system. But right now with these executive orders, we are prepared to file litigation. We are prepared to educate New Yorkers. We are prepared to inform individuals of their right and we also are prepared to get a significant number of attorneys to represent individuals in deportation cases.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know you have a long history in helping the homeless and people in New York City who have problems with landlords that -- I`m curious, are you willing to -- would you be willing to sit down for instance with Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of HHS and at least, you know, the two sides come on this very important dispute to try to work on some sort of solution to address these problems?

JAMES: I think the Trump administration -- President Trump unfortunately ignores the Tenth Amendment, which protects cities and states against overreach by federal government. And yes, I am prepared to reach out to Mr. Carson because I recognize that New York City and New York state relies heavily upon federal subsidies.

And it`s important that they understand that right now in New York Coty, we are facing a homeless crisis -- 60 to 80,000 New Yorkers tonight are going to sleep in our shelters homeless. In addition to that, we have public housing which is crumbling because of divestment from the federal government.

What we need now more than ever is assistance from federal government individuals who desperately need affordable housing in our city, in our state. But more importantly than that, we need a compassionate government and a government that recognizes accomplishments and the contributions of immigrants.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I should say, I correct myself. It`s not HHS. Dr. Carson, its HUD.

JAMES: Correct.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, I think the best thing we can do in this stage is have a conversation on these very important issue instead of, you know, it seems that too often people have drawn a line in the sand. These are real problems and we at least be looking for real solutions and at least talking to each other, but I`m glad that -- I hope they`re willing to talk to you as well.

JAMES: I hope they are as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you for joining us.

JAMES: Thank you so much.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. President Trump`s chief strategist is unloading on the media. What influence has he had on the president, and we`ll tell you what a potential big risk for Republicans with the Trump agenda.



VAN SUSTEREN: Can you work with President Trump?

PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER: Of course I can. No, I do work with President Trump, not can I. I do work with President Trump. I work with him quite closely actually. I spend more time talking with this president than the last few days I think than -- I would just on a limb here --than I probably talked with the last president in the last six months. So, this is something that he is working very closely, hand in glove, with Congress.


VAN SUSTEREN: Speaker Ryan telling me he`s working hand in glove with President Trump. And today Trump took the stage at the Republican retreat in Philadelphia and talked about his agenda.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The hour of justice for the American worker has arrived. I`ve said many times that the American people will not pay for the wall. We`re going to have a lot of trade deals. Mitch, don`t worry about it.

Made in the U.S. A. We used to have that. We don`t have it anymore. They like to say Trump, Trump, Trump. We also need to keep the ballot box safe from illegal voting. Our legislative work starts with repealing and replacing Obamacare.

We have no choice, we have to get it going. He is writing his heart out, right, and we`re actually going to sign this stuff that you`re writing, you`re not wasting your time.


VAN SUSTEREN: Trump also focusing on the party`s top domestic issue, repealing Obamacare and why it`s risky.


TRUMP: Every time they tell you about Obamacare, we`re taking them out of a big jam, big jam. We`re putting ourselves at risk to a certain extent because we`re taking it off their platter.


VAN SUSTEREN: Hugh Hewitt is host of "The Hugh Hewitt Show" on Salem Radio Network and is the author of "The Fourth Way: The Conservative Playbook for a Lasting GOP Majority." He joins me.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you Greta and congratulations.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. Congratulations to you. I understand that every member of Congress got a copy of it in Philadelphia for a treat.

HEWITT: They all walked into their rooms and found "The Fourth Way" under a pillow thanks to Simon & Schuster and the fact that John Thune and Cathy McMorris Rodgers were the conference chairs in the Senate and the House respectively. Old time friends of mine and they agreed to make that happen. So, it was a good way to get my message into their hands.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, someone did get there because I certainly heard that the book is up there and they`re passing it around. All right, is President Trump a conservative?

HEWITT: No, he is a nationalist. He`s not a (INAUDIBLE) conservative like I am. He maybe a little bit in the Ronald Reagan mold in terms that I re- read Ronald Reagan first inaugural which is very similar to Donald Trump`s inaugural. It`s actually kind of great (ph). He looked out over in 1981, a country in retreat, inflation crushing people. So he`s not really a conservative -- certainly not a free trader but he is a Republican and he`s a nationalist and the Republicans in Congress are going to be able to work with him.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I`m sort of interested in is that a lot of people are shocked by what he is doing but nothing that he`s done on the last few days -- besides, you know, calming the crowds -- but nothing was, I mean, he didn`t say he was going to do.

HEWITT: Oh, he`s delivering. I think his numbers are going to go very high in the next couple of weeks because he`s doing what he said he would do. The executive order on the fence, and I`ve been wanting a fence for a long time, or a wall or barrier or whatever you want to call it, was detailed specific, timely and what he promised to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Except there are a couple of little problems. One is you`ve got the problem where he said the Mexicans will pay for it and that`s gotten a little bit slippery right now. You know, the Mexicans said they`re not going to pay for it and nobody wants to raise taxes. Freedom Caucus isn`t going to allow that.

Nobody wants bigger debt. You got the situation where the dreamers, which he said that he`s going to lock down the borders or something and build the fence, but now he said last night and so as Speaker Pal Ryan, the dreamers aren`t going to get sent back to their country. They`re going to be here. So on the big picture, yes, but the details are a little different than what he said.

HEWITT: I`m an optimist and I wonder if he will share this. I think his Nixon to China opportunity is immigration. And he builds the wall, he keeps DACA in place and he does a regularization of immigrants who are in the country and feasible and productive and brings them above the economy, not citizenship, not voting. But I argue in "The Fourth Way" at length, please President Trump, think about doing a Nixon to China on immigration because it could bring a lot of Democrats at the table to get a lot more done. Do you think he might be open to that?

VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t know why he hasn`t opt to but the problem is that he`s got to be able to please all of these people on Capitol Hill and Speaker Boehner once told me that being speaker of the house is like trying to -- barrel full of frogs and trying to get across the floor without the frogs jumping under the barrel.

HEWITT: If he doesn`t immigration reform, no on can accuse him of being soft on immigration. No on can call them amnesty a proponent. Donald Trump is invulnerable on immigration if he does any kind of regularization. And I think the fact he`s leaving the DACA alone and Paul Ryan has said they don`t have to worry, this is a -- and Sean Spicer talked a lot about it at the White House too on Monday. This is a sign to me that he intends to take and cease the middle like he did with the union workers.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, he`s taking on the media. Steve Bannon says that we`re the opposition -- probably we`ll talk a lot about it on the other side of the break but what do you make of it they`re taking on the media?

HEWITT: They are minimizing Democrats by making the media the opposition party. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, you get lost, you`re not the conversation, its very politically shrewd.

VAN SUSTEREN: So he`s smart.

HEWITT: Very smart.

VAN SUSTEREN: Politically smart at ways.

HEWITT: At least politically smart. It`s a very thunderous thing. Like going to concert with two bands playing, there are so many things going on. It is noisy but it`s drawing my attention. It`s got me interested. I read the Bannon interview in the "New York Times." He clearly -- this is a roll out of a plan, it`s not accidental.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right. We`re going to talk more about that after the break. Anyway, Hugh, congratulations on the book.

HEWITT: Thank you Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Hope you come back.

HEWITT: Thank you Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Still ahead, more on President Trump`s chief strategist we just spoke about calling media the opposition party.


VAN SUSTEREN: And now three stories you may not know. Number three, the U.S. Constitution is stored at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. in an atomic bombproof vault. There`s a special elevator that carries the document underground every night and deposits it into the vault. The vault was originally invented in 1953 and replaced in early 2000.

Number two, a new kick starter campaign is raising money for what it calls "year-round sunbathing apparel. This garment called TanRound is supposed to keep the wearer warm while he or she sunbathes in cold weather. Online funders have already invested more than $9,000 into the clothing line.

And number one, the federal government released the first batch of photos taken from a new weather satellite that will give researchers a better way to track hurricanes and other severe weather conditions. These are the highest resolutions images of Earth that we`ve ever had. Just look at the quality comparison. So there it is. Now you know.

And there`s big news today about the next fight here in Washington, the Supreme Court. President Trump is saying that if Democrats block his nominee, he wants the GOP to use the so-called nuclear option. Also, a story going viral, Trump`s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, hammering the mainstream media.

In an interview with the "New York Times," Bannon saying, "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while." And the media here is the opposition party. They don`t understand this country and they still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States."

Nick Confessore is a political reporter for the "New York Times" and Molly Ball, politics writer for "The Atlantic." Nick, what do you think about what Bannon said about -- the media is the opposition party?

NICK CONFESSORE, POLITICAL REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well look, I think he`s channeling his boss for one thing. I think President Trump is wounded (ph) by the coverage. He`s wounded about being called out for his statements and his occasional lies, and so he`s channeling the rage and anger of his own boss.

But I think his statement about the oppo party is actually instructive about the world view. He`s coming into office pretty unpopular. He`s got a problem with his own party and the GOP and he has to keep the focus somewhere else so the intend to use the media as a foil (ph) because you can always win a fight or just kind of rally your own supporters by blaming the media.

So, if they`re having problems with their own principle, the president, having problems on their own policy, it makes sense to go after the press, try and start a war with the press. I can just say that if he thinks we`re going to stop talking and reporting and doing journalism, it`s going to be a very, very long wait.


MOLLY BALL, POLITICS WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well yes, I mean to me, every single thing that has happened so far in the Trump administration has been d‚j… vu from the Donald Trump campaign. So, it is not news to me that this attitude toward the media has continued from the campaign and they think it is a winning strategy.

You know, Nick is right to point out that the media -- we`re not going to sit down and shut up. But it`s clear that Trump needs an enemy. He needs a foil, he needs someone to target and it`s interesting that they believe, you know, he said the media is the opposition party not the Democrats. He has apparently decided that the actual opposition party does not have the stature or the real result or for whatever reason to be his opposition.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, this (INAUDIBLE) off camera on Donald Trump, Petter Alexander of NBC ran into Donald Trump and a few others in the West Wing tonight and it just came into NBC and Peter Alexander asked the president, "How about the building?" Donald Trump, "phenomenal, honestly phenomenal. They have a great staff here. I`ve gotten to know them pretty well. It`s really been good."

Peter Alexander, "Since there was confusion about the 20 percent, do you just want to clarify?"

Trump, "What 20 percent is that?

Peter, "The 20 percent about Mexican imports tax as one of the options.

Trump, "We`re going to tax people coming in. Look, we cannot lose our companies to Mexico or any other place and then have them make the product and just send it across our border free. We`re going to put a substantial tax on those countries, OK. And that`s why, by the way, they`re all coming back, OK. Without that they don`t come back so easily. Thank you very much. I appreciate it."

Nick, that`s an interesting exchange with Peter Alexander. I suppose others were there. I suppose the president was a little bit surprised when he ran into them in the West Wing.

CONFESSORE: Right. Well look, I mean I`ve heard now in the last few hours two or three or four different version of what this policy is going to be - - how firm it is. Is it something they`re floating or a part of a menu of options as the White House chief of staff has said? But now it seems that President Trump is not entirely up to speed on what his own advisers are talking about as the proposals. So I guess we`ll have to wait for the fine print to really understand it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Or Molly, the advisers are sort of freelancing and talking and never had the authority and you know, that they were just doing this on their own.

BALL: Well, from what I understand, you know, Trump has actually been pretty consistent. He said during the campaign that he wants to tax the imports coming over the border. It`s the people around him particularly the sort of conventional conservative thinkers who would rather do something like the House Republicans have been proposing and trying to put together this border adjustment tax.

Trump told the "Wall Street Journal" I don`t like it, it`s too complicated. He still feels that way. That`s not how the Republicans in congress feel and they`re still trying to get on the same page or pretend they`re on the same page or find a way to make it look like they`re on the same page. They`re not on the same page.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has trumped surprised you with anything? Has he done anything that he didn`t say he was going to do?

BALL: So far most of the things -- no, I will say, he said he was going to do a lot of things and he hasn`t done all of them.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he hasn`t had a chance --

BALL: He said he was going to --

VAN SUSTEREN: He`s been two weeks in the presidency, right.

BALL: He walked (ph) some things back. He said he was going to put Hillary Clinton in jail and he is definitely not going to do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: He`s not going to do that though.

BALL: I mean he said so many things many of which were contradictory that almost anything he does could be something but --

VAN SUSTEREN: -- surprised you though?

BALL: But the thing --


BALL: Everything Donald Trump does surprises me. He`s endlessly surprising. But no, I think you make a really good point, which is you know, the border wall. There were so many people who thought oh, he`s not really going to do this and he`s really doing it and the same thing with terrorists. So many people said, oh, he doesn`t mean that, it`s just a campaign line. He`s really pursuing it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, (INAUDIBLE) it`s not (INAUDIBLE), anyway, thank you nick and molly. Thank you both.

And "For The Record" who thinks doing taxes is easy? Nobody. Speaker Ryan made a bold statement to me, that`s next.


VAN SUSTEREN: I want to say something "For the Record." It is obscene what members of the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans have done to you, with that ridiculously complicated tax code. I don`t understand it. Do you?

And guess what, if they were asked and were honest, members of Congress would admit that they do not understand it either, which is why most hire someone else to do their taxes. And that`s absolutely obscene. The very ones who actually write the tax code can`t figure it out for themselves. Know you know that is really messed up.

So you wonder how come the tax code got so complicated and incomprehensible. Well, because it`s loaded with loopholes, thousand and thousand of them and those loopholes are special things for special people. So how did it become special? Simple. Pay millions and millions of dollars each year for lobbyist within Capitol Hill to get you those special deals. Don`t have that kind of change in your pocket? By the way, those lobbyist, they have a nickname, K Street.

Since K Street in downtown Washington is where most lobbyists have their high priced offices. Now, I feel bad that the average American doesn`t have a lobbyist. So I was hardened when I heard this from Speaker Ryan.


RYAN: When we`re done simplifying the tax code, getting the lobbyist carve outs out of the tax code, we`ll win that race and letting people have a simple system. Most Americans will be able to fill out their taxes on a post card.

VAN SUSTEREN: You`ll blow up K Street then, the lobbyist?

RYAN: Yes. Yes we will.

VAN SUSTEREN: You`re going to blow them up.

RYAN: I`ve been trying to do this for years and I`m so excited we finally get a chance to do this because we have the House and the Senate and the President who is with us on getting this stuff out of the tax code.


VAN SUSTEREN: And yes of course not all lobbyists are bad. Many are very good, but it has gotten so out of hand and it hurts you. Thank you for watching. See you tomorrow night right here at 6:00 p.m. eastern. If you can`t watch us live, set your DVR and make sure you --