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For the Record with Greta, transcript 2/3/2017

Guests: Joel Rubin, David Catanese, Annie Linskey

Show: FOR THE RECORD Date: February 3, 2017 Guest: Joel Rubin, David Catanese, Annie Linskey

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: There you go. That`s all for tonight. I promise you to get a lot more than 18 minutes from "For the Record with Greta" which starts right now.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MSNBC HOST: We have breaking news. Tonight, Sean Spicer, "For the Record," our one-on-one interview at the White House. The public face of the Trump administration making news on Iran, Russia, Israel, and the Uber boycott. The White House press secretary like you won`t see anywhere else.

Also, President Trump`s powerfully on the economy. (inaudible) to Wall Street or a shot in the arm for business. The answer could shape your retirement savings.

Then new pressure on the White House over the immigration travel ban. Will the president stand his ground against some of the richest and most powerful business leaders in America?

A strong rebuke today from President Trump to Iran. On Trump`s order, the Treasury Department announcing new sanctions against 25 individuals and companies all involved in the Iran`s ballistic missile program. That, after the president tweeted, Iran is playing with fire. They don`t appreciate how kind President Obama was to them. Not me.

White House (inaudible) all options are still on the table. The Iranians have responded with a promise to continue their missile test. The Iranian foreign minister firing back at the Trump White House saying, Iran is unmoved by threats. NBC`s Kristen Welker joins us from the White House.

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Greta, good evening. We learn a couple of new details about the sanction late this afternoon. One, they were in the pipeline during President Obama. However, according to a senior official, they were triggered by recent provocation by Iran including that ballistic missile test which the Trump administration argues is in defiance of a U.N. resolution, important to underscore that the U.N. has not yet determined that itself.

Sean Spicer, the press secretary, who I know you interviewed today, was pressed on whether the president is keeping all of his options on the table the answer to that, yes, including military option. Here is what House Speaker Paul Ryan told Chuck Todd during an interview on "Meet the Press." Take a look.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So, I think the key is to vigorously enforce this deal. But also, remember, they are testing ballistic missiles. They`re still the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Human rights abuse galore.

And so those are where, I think, we also need to racket up sanctions. I think what this administration is doing which I agree with is saying we have have new administration and we`re going to hold you Iran to account.


WELKER: Important to also point out this is separate than the Iran nuclear deal. Of course, that`s a deal that was brokered under former President Obama. It was aimed at preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. I am told according to senior administration officials there are no current plans to pull out of that deal.

However, you may recall that out on the campaign trail then candidate Trump said he was going to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, but no immediate plan for that to happen. Still, this is an escalation between the United States and Iran, just two weeks into this new administration. Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kristen, thank you. And earlier today, as you noted, I was at the White House for a wide range interview with Press Secretary Sean Spicer. I started by asking if President Trump was going to keep the Iran nuclear deal or not.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has been very outspoken about his disdain for Iran, he thought it was a bad deal. When we signed it, we thought it was not in the interest of the United States, so we gave away too much to Iran. He continues to have major issues with it. Today was the first step in showing our displeasure, 25 sanctions were issued against individuals and entities that support their ballistic missile program.

But Iran got basically a sweetheart deal. They should be pleased with what the United States did. Instead they have been provocative and irresponsible. And the president`s actions today showed that he is going to not leave those actions unchecked. They are the first step in our -- and a sign that there`s a new administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think you said they are playing with fire.

SPICER: They are. Iran should not be provoking us. They got a sweetheart deal. They`re getting a lot from the United States. And I think the United States needs to make sure that they understand that if they act out of the provisions of the agreement, that we are going to act.

VAN SUSTEREN: The ballistic missile test doesn`t seem to violated the missile deal with the U.S., right?

SPICER: No, but I think that -- right -- no, it`s not a direct violation.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the U.N. resolution 2231?

SPICER: I think there is no question that it violates the spirit of that. I think our actions today are in direct response to the...

VAN SUSTEREN: They are trying to provoke us.

SPICER: They are. No question. There`s no question about that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you heard from Israel on that?

SPICER: I -- the president -- Prime Minister Netanyahu is coming here on February 15th. We`ve been in contact with Ambassador Dermer, but I`m not going to get into those discussions.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think Iran is doing this? I know historically...

SPICER: I think for eight years, they got away with it. And I think there is some degree to which they want to know how much is changed. I think the president spoke and acted very, very forcefully by letting them understand that this is not the administration that they have been dealing for the last eight years. The United States can reassert this place.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Sanctions have been imposed today.

SPICER: Uh-hum.

VAN SUSTEREN: Military action off the table or on the table.

SPICER: If you heard Donald Trump talk throughout the campaign, the reason that he is so successful as a negotiator is he doesn`t take things off the table. He doesn`t talk about what he is going to do. He doesn`t telegraph it. Worst thing someone can do and try to negotiate. He leaves everything on the table.

He understands the consequences of various actions would be. He is going to make sure that Iran understands it. He is going to not sit back and let the United States be treated this way for a deal in which they should be very thankful.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has he spoken with our allies like with France or Germany or the U.K. on this because the sanctions sort of, you know, if we have help from these other nations?

SPICER: He spoken to President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel last weekend. I`m not going to...

VAN SUSTEREN: Since the missile launch?

SPICER: Not since the missile launch. Again, I don`t want to -- but he`s in constant contact in our national security team. He`s constantly in touch with our allies throughout Europe especially to discuss these actions.

VAN SUSTEREN: So in response to what Iran said, I think Iran said that I think they took a slap at the president`s inexperience.

SPICER: Yeah, I think Iran is going to feel the might of the sanctions and if they continue to act, so I think the president has been very clear that there is more to come and they are playing with fire.


VAN SUSTEREN: We`re gonna have much more of my interview ahead. But, with me, Joel Rubin, former deputy assistant secretary of state who worked on Iran nuclear deal. David Catanese from U.S. News and World Report. And Annie Linskey from The Boston Globe.

Joel, first to you, the Iranians have done this missile testing but it doesn`t apparently violate the Iran agreement that we have with them, and also doesn`t violate the U.N. resolution, yet we can`t look the other way. So your thoughts on this. They are sort of threading the needle.

JOEL RUBIN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: They really are, Greta. It`s true they did not violate the letter of agreement. They didn`t violate the U.N. resolution. So this test is sort of a provocation to see where they can go and what kind of response they can get from the United States.

It`s also very strategic because one can look at it and see the response from the United States put us out ahead of our allies, puts us out ahead of the partners that we had in this Iran nuclear negotiation, and put us in a bit of a vulnerable position.

VAN SUSTEREN: But I think it`s rather cagey. I mean, I wouldn`t provoke Donald Trump, Donald Trump so far. Annie, I know how you feel about this. But he says they`re playing with fire. And he has not been afraid to do rather bold things. And he`s unpredictable. So I don`t get what the Iranian are getting out of the cagey and being provocative.



LINSKEY: I would not provoke him either, thank you. That`s exactly what he wants. That`s what he said his foreign policy is going to be. He is going to have this kind of wild card streak. For the Iranians, they have internal politics to deal with too. I mean, people cannot just roll over with this kind of language.

VAN SUSTEREN: They didn`t have to test.


VAN SUSTEREN: They didn`t have to test. And of course, that`s only going to get Israel angry. We have Prime Minister Netanyahu coming here on February 15th. Look at the relationship of Iran to Israel. Iran`s former president said he wants to wipe Israel off the map.

DAVID CATANESE, SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AT U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Sure, but I actually thinks his policy reflects on how restrain we are on our options on what we can do. I mean, this is basically adopting the Obama policy. Last year it was about nuclear Iran deal.

Trump went on the campaign trail and said he was going to rip it up. This is now a different issue. I think they are trying to apply more pressure. The republican reporting out there is that the Obama administration put this in place to put pressure on...

VAN SUSTEREN: And Donald Trump has pulled the trigger.

CATANESE: And Donald Trump is moving forward with the same policy. But, you know, to have the national security advisor go out there and said, you have been warned. Everyone wanted to know, what would that mean, you have been warned. Well this is what we mean.

Because, you know, when you don`t want to go to war, and I don`t think Donald Trump does, I don`t think the country does, you have a lot fewer options. When they say all options are on the table, what does that really mean.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what do you think -- what do you assume that some of our allies are thinking who are at least part of this agreement with Iran?

RUBIN: I think they are looking at this as wow, we`ve seen this movie before. Rhetoric matters in the international relation. Putting one unnoticed -- the statement today from the national security advisor...

VAN SUSTEREN: You have red line with President Obama in Syria. Rhetoric doesn`t really sort of matter.

RUBIN: The rhetoric can be very troubling because it is dare. Okay, so what happens if Iran reacts?

VAN SUSTEREN: We have deal with Assad or with the red line. We thought using chemical weapons on civilians. I don`t understand this. All I know is that Iran, you know, Iran is very dangerous. A short distance from Israel, and you don`t want to get Israel mad either.

LINSKEY: Yeah. I just feel like this is also a case where President Trump is running up against candidate Trump and he is beginning to realize that to govern, you cannot be quite as bold as he has been on the campaign trail. You saw it in a number of different areas in foreign policy. All of a sudden, he is -- believe it or not, he suddenly -- his administration at least is modulating a little bit.

VAN SUSTEREN: Israel has President Trump opposed a new sanction in Iran. The New York Times is reporting his administration is embracing pillars of Obama`s foreign policy including Israel to curve settlement construction. I asked Press Secretary Spicer about his statement today that future is really settlements might be an impediment to peace talks.


SPICER: We are going to have a long discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he`s here. The settlement should not be an obstacle to peace. I don`t think further settlements refer to that goal. We`ll have that conversation with the prime minister when he is here.

President Trump`s goal anyway is to have peace in the region and in the Middle East. So this is something that he is going to continue to push really hard for to figure out how we can achieve that goal of peace between these two neighbors.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you still expect the U.S. embassy to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

SPICER: I think that we are at the beginning phases of that discussion with the new administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any doubt that is going to happen?

SPICER: I think the president may discuss that during the campaign. And I think right now, he has tasked the senior team to begin those deliberations internally to figure out what that look like and mean.


VAN SUSTEREN: We`re back with the panel. David, you know, the settlement thing, is a horrible problem for the Trump administration.

CATANESE: Much more softer rhetoric there though from Spicer than we saw. I mean, to your point, than we saw Donald Trump on the campaign even before he took the presidency on what he was talking about Israel. Now, suddenly he is president, and he is signaling to Israel hey, back off the settlement.

Is he going to be able to say that to Prime Minister Netanyahu when he gets here to his face? You know, Netanyahu has sort of ignored our direction before on this from another president, the previous president. Will Trump have a better relationship with him? That is going to be the question. Will he be able to as tough as Spicer was there?


RUBIN: Well, I think we are seeing seeing, him speaking on both sides of his mouth, frankly. And I think that Israeli has read into it as oh, the settlements are okay in certain places and then one can argue oh, maybe this is a settlement freeze call, so we don`t really know.

VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible) sort of over the borderlines and the other ones sort of extensions or modifications or...

RUBIN: In the Bush administration, there was letter exchanged between the president and the prime minister at the time saying, Israel, you can build settlements within certain blocks, because those will be yours in the event of a deal eventually, and don`t build outside of them. What Israeli has proposed? Now it is outside of them.

Again, it goes to the effect of settlement construction and the big picture here, King Abdullah is probably getting this as well, some construction inflames the situation. It doesn`t move towards negotiation.

VAN SUSTEREN: It`s inflamed. What they don`t need. Anyway, thank you all. Still ahead, more from my one-on-one interview with Sean Spicer at the White House. What he told me about President Trump`s views on Russia. Does the administration`s tough new tone come directly to the top? Also today`s awkward meeting from White House. What business leaders really want from the president on the controversial travel ban?


VAN SUSTEREN: We covered a lot of ground in my interview with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer from North Korea`s nuclear threat to what it`s like to walk into the White House every day. We made news of what he said about Ambassador Nikki Haley. She`s the ambassador to the United Nations. She had extreme strong words towards Russia.


VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador Haley, U.N. ambassador, was very hard what she said about Russia basically, you know, you don`t get out of Crimea -- get out of Crimea or else.

SPICER: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was that the ambassador speaking or was that she is speaking for the president.

SPICER: She is speaking on behalf of the president. I think Russia -- there were sanctions reported in 2015 to deal with Russia`s occupation in Crimea. We have been very clear that we`re not going to lift those sanctions until they exit Crimea.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you expect additional sanctions? Because apparently they didn`t have much effect, it`s still there.

  SPICER: I think the president began conversations with President Putin. He is going to make very clear what his position is, not just with respect to Ukraine, but with respect to our entire geopolitical landscape and our national security.

That`s going to be part of conversation that continues to happen. But I think with respect to the sanctions that we`re impose specifically because of the Russia`s occupation at Crimea, those sanctions are going to stay in place until they withdraw.

VAN SUSTEREN: Secretary of defense is in Japan today, having been in South Korea and North Korea is forever rattling with nuclear weapons, and the during the campaign, Donald Trump said that he sort of off the cuff about Japan getting nuclear weapons. Said that maybe better off about or some of that. Where does the president stand with that area in Southeast Asia?

SPICER: He understands how vital it is for national interest. That`s why Secretary Mattis went over there right away after he sworn in to reaffirm our commitment to that area of the globe and to making sure they understand we support them, whether it`s South Korea, making sure they understand that Pyongyang and North Korean don`t pose a threat to them or anyone in the region, but also to reaffirm our commitment to the Japanese. So we understand its place. It`s a very important strategic place for us around the globe.

VAN SUSTEREN: I have been there a number of times. I have to tell you, it`s a very unpredictable place, North Korea. It seems like -- very little information coming out of it. And very dangerous. Never one says, we`re never gonna let North Korea go nuclear.

Well, they are nuclear. They have tested five times successfully. How concerned is the president about North Korea? There`s one report they maybe starting up some of their weapon program.

SPICER: Obviously, it`s a scenario that we are going to have to monitor here at the end of the second week. The president is concerned about their influence and their capability. That` why again, I mean the first trip that Secretary Mattis took was to reaffirm our commitment to South Korea. Have our presence there. But also Japan. Understands the importance of both of those nations in that area of the globe.

VAN SUSTEREN: When something like a nuclear weapon it could be too late.

SPICER: I think their capability of launching and reaching the United States it is still not there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes. South Korea certainly.

SPICER: Absolutely. I think that`s why again, but I think making sure we are over there having those conversations with the blue house to talk about our commitment to South Korea and making sure that there is a check on North Korea`s capabilities.

VAN SUSTEREN: Big world, isn`t it? Lot of dangers. We`ve gone all across the globe. We`ve gone from Iran to Russia. Very dangerous world.

SPICER: On Monday, the president is going to travel down to Tampa, the home of central command and special operations command to get briefing from the commanders and thanks the troops down there. They are so bravely supporting the work that goes on around the globe. You realize how important the work that goes to commands do to ensuring our safety.

And you realize as we go around the globe, how many hot spots there are, how many threats we face as a nation. And I think part of the reason the president want to make sure that he get down (inaudible) right away was because they play such an important role in keeping our country safe and making sure that those threats don`t come into our homeland.

VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible). All right. Let me talk about here at home.


VAN SUSTEREN: Today, the president met with some business leaders, but the CEO of Uber did not show up. He got pressure over the immigration.

SPICER: He make some kind of joke. He got a car ride or something.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Go ahead.

SPICER: We had a lot of folks that wanted to attend that meeting. There are a lot of additional companies who wanted to be here. They understand that the president`s agenda is one that`s trying to lower the regulatory climate to grow jobs and grow our economy. That`s why I think he saw so many massively successful companies gather today here because they want to be part of this agenda.

They understand that the president has got an agenda that`s looking to easy the regulatory climate to allow them to produce more, to manufacture more, to get more jobs in the country. And so we welcome additional companies who want to be part of that process.

Every single day, whether it`s pharmaceutical companies or car companies or manufacturing companies were having meetings with president saying that they understand his agenda. They want to be part of it. They want to grow jobs. They want to bring jobs back. They want to institute new manufacturing here in America.

But it`s a very infectious and positive spirit that is going throughout America small businesses, large businesses. People who understand that if we change the business climate in this country and become more competitive that we can grow the economy, we can grow jobs, we can lift up the wages that can benefit every American.

VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible) pressure and not coming.

SPICER: He has got to answer to his employees and his shareholders. That`s his decision to make. Obviously, it`s a great company. They really helped transform how we travel. That`s a good thing. That innovation, that entrepreneurial spirit is still alive in America. That`s a great thing. He has got to do what he has got to do.

But the president was so proud to welcome other amazing companies and the list of companies that want to be part of this continues to grow because I think they understand what his mind-set is and what he wants to do. I think more companies continue to want to be part of that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All of the things that he wants to do during the campaign, there`s no surprise what he has done so far. This is what he said he was going to do and he done it.

SPICER: I think it`s interesting, Greta, because so many times you hear excuses on why I can`t do it, I know I campaign that. This president came and he followed through on domestic policy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Without any doubt.

SPICER: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sometimes he has to go to Capitol Hill, he has to deal not only with promises with his own party, but also he has got to deal with democrats. Leader Pelosi made a comment the other day. She said that Steve Bannon, one of your colleagues, is a white supremacist. How are you going to turn down the heat? How do you get the temperature down? That`s what...

SPICER: First of all, can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot who started throwing this -- I mean, to make that kind of outrageous charge is ridiculous. It`s not something that you would expect from her. But at the end of the day, I think what this president, what this team that he assembled is going to do is through action, not words, get things done. And you saw that whether it is...

VAN SUSTEREN: Does he invite her up here and stop the name calling?

SPICER: I think he has already brought republican and democrat unions and businesses to the White House. The individuals that came to this business - - some supported him, some of them who didn`t. All of them have been very vocally against him during the campaign. He wants to get things done. He wants to put America back to work.

And I think as the American people start seeing how his policies are geared toward keeping this country safe, our people safe, putting people back to work, it`s through actions and deeds that he is going to show that this country is moving in the right direction.

VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible) How many steps you do a day?

SPICER: About ten thousand.

VAN SUSTEREN: About ten thousand a day?


VAN SUSTEREN: And doing more now in this job (inaudible).

SPICER: Definitely.

VAN SUSTEREN: A lot more?

SPICER: Definitely.

VAN SUSTEREN: What time do you get here in the morning?

SPICER: I try to get here between 6:30 and 7:00.

VAN SUSTEREN: And what time do you walk out of here?

SPICER: Between 9:00 and 10:00.

VAN SUSTEREN: Weekends usually?

SPICER: (inaudible) weekend.

VAN SUSTEREN: (inaudible). Job exciting?

SPICER: It`s unbelievably. It`s very exciting.

VAN SUSTEREN: What`s it`s like to walk in the White House every morning?

SPICER: It`s pretty -- I never get old. It`s really humbling and it`s an honor. Every time you walk in that door and realize that you are among a very, very privileged number of Americans who get to work here. It is truly the people`s house. And the time that you are here. You realize that you got so much time to enact change for the American people and you try to make sure that you use every minute of every hour of every day.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you favor but you lose half the country. Who is going to win this weekend?

SPICER: America.


SPICER: Patriots. The American team. I`m lifelong Patriots.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t blame you for being the Patriots.

SPICER: I want you to say -- look, you used to say go Pack go.

VAN SUSTEREN: I still say go, Pack, go.

SPICER: I know. I keep hearing you say go, Packs, go.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, go, Pack, go. But Atlanta, they deserve -- I have to give Atlanta credit, anyway.

SPICER: They did a good job. They beat the Packers. But now, it`s on to Super Bowl trophy to Tom Brady.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, Sean.

SPICER: Thanks a lot. Take care.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you. Thank you very much.

SPICER: Thanks for coming.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.


VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, President Trump`s new move for Wall Street. Is he giving a boost to the economy? Or another giveaway to the big banks? The answer could affect your retirement savings. But first, we`ll hear from a man who has been in the White House. Former Chief of Staff Andy Card on the wild first two weeks of the Trump administration.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Two weeks into the Trump administration we`ve seen a lot of action. But we`ve also heard perhaps more than we should have. The "Washington Post" calling leaks from the White House totally bananas. And we learned about President Trump`s alleged abrupt call with Australia`s prime minister. Details about a conversation of the president have with Mexico`s president. "Politico" reporting, "Distrust is spurring leaks." Kellyanne Conway says, "It`s not being leaked from the White House.

Andy Card served as chief of staff to President George W. Bush. He also advised the first president Bush and President Reagan. Andy, nice to see you.

ANDY CARD, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:  Great to you see you Greta. Thanks for having me on.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Andy, I hear so much about all the leaks coming out but I`ve been the around the block long enough here in Washington. It seems like every administration has leaks and I must admit I`m quite impressed with the Trump White House kept secret who the nominee was for the Supreme Court. But your thought, are leaks comings out more than usual?

CARD:  Well first of all, I think President Obama left with grace and President Trump came in with excitement and a commitment to do what he said he was going to do. So, people should not be surprised by the aspirations that President Trump brought to the office and he`s been following through.

I do think there is a learning curve for the White House staff and I was impressed with your interview with Sean because it demonstrated the kind of understanding that there needs to be a process to consider lots of options, not options that would change the aspirations of the president for policy but discussion through a process to allows people to anticipate the consequence of decision and especially narrow the number of unintended consequences to decision that are made.

So, I give them high marks for aspirations, a kind of learning curve grades, you know, they move from probably a C minus to a C plus. And I think what Sean said today tells me they`re moving into the B, B plus category where they`re getting a process in place to understand and debate policy, issues and consequences sometimes before those policies are announced in great detail.

But I do say certainly they`ve had a pretty aggressive first few weeks in office and they`re now starting to find a more credible stride and to the president`s credit, he was doing this without cabinet in place. It`s now he`s getting some cabinet members in place and I want the senate to confirm the rest of his cabinet so that he can have the wise counsel of cabinet members who will have the courage to speak truth the power and participate in the process of implementing policy because, you know, the White House doesn`t get to implement hardly any policy.

It`s implemented by the agencies and the departments around the federal government and it`s wise to have people from those implementing agencies sitting at the table to discuss the consequence of policy as its being implemented. So, they`re getting there. I think they made a lot of progress in the last few days, but they certainly had some stumbles coming right out of the block.

VAN SUSTEREN:  OK, two-part question. One is how is your counterpart, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus doing? That`s the first question, and the second -- you can answer them whichever way do you want or not answer them at all if you don`t want to, is what is the job of chief of staff?

CARD:  Well, first of all, Reince Priebus did reach out to me. We`ve had a couple of phone conversation and I had the privilege in meeting with him when Dennis McDonough, who was chief of staff to President Obama graciously invited most of the chiefs of staff to come to the White House and talk to Reince Priebus. And it was a very candid open conversation with people who are Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives.

So, it was very empathetic and sympathetic gathering of people who have been in the position of chief of staff, and I was impressed with how Reince Priebus took the opportunity seriously and he took copious notes and he asked great questions and everyone was pretty candid in their responses. He`s got to make sure there is a process in place to protect the president, not protect him in a literal sense but protect him from having his time abused and space in his mind taken up with irrelevant things.

The president makes brutally tough decisions. You want those decisions to be made with wise counsel so you need a process to allow the president to get wise counsel and then you want to be able to take the decision so that it can be implemented to live up to the president`s expectation. And that`s a difficult thing.

But in terms of Reince, he`s prepared for the job. He`s got a good team around him. I`m particularly impressed with Joe Hagen, one of his deputy chiefs of staff who is handling the operations of the White House, the trains, planes, automobiles, scheduling, that`s very important. But there are some troubling areas where Reince is going to have to understand the personalities of people who have direct access to the president and make sure they don`t abuse time nor take-ups facing the president`s head with things that the president shouldn`t be worrying about.

VAN SUSTEREN:  And we have a minute left but you mentioned the Obama chief of staff. I mean it is true with the -- you know, we make it look like there`s so many wars in the city, but the Obama staff was gracious as to the incoming staff to the Trump just like, you know, the Bush staff was gracious to the Obama staff, trying to make this a good transition.

CARD:  Well that`s very important and I think people who have worked in the White House realize how important it is to for the whole world to see how America can have a transition that is peaceful even when there are presidents coming in of a different party or a different philosophy.

And people who work at the White House regardless of the party or philosophy usually are rooting to the baton to be passed in a grateful gracious way that will make a difference so that, you know, President Trump is the president of everyone in this country and he`s the leader of the free world and we all want him to succeed and I think Dennis McDonough did a good job of demonstrating that on behalf of President Obama and his team.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well I`ve heard nothing but you know -- nothing but a lot of respect shown from this new administration towards the prior one in terms of transitions so, you know, they were incredibly helpful to the new administration. Andy, thank you for joining us.

CARD:  Greta, great to be with you and congratulations on your new opportunity.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Thank you Andy.

Up next, the White House showdown over the travel ban. Could business leaders prompt a change from the president? Also inside the White House, power struggles, how Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump just made big impact on policy.



VAN SUSTEREN:  Today, the president met with some business leaders but the CEO of Uber didn`t show up. He got pressure from -- over the immigration.

SPICER:  He made some kind of joke why he missed the -- he didn`t get a car ride or something. That`s his decision to make. Obviously it`s a great company. You know, they`ve really helped transform how we travel. He`s got to do what he`s got to do.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Uber CEO abruptly quitting the president`s business advisory council about the president`s controversial immigration order. Today, the president meeting with that council, business leaders from across the nation including Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Musk defended his decision to attend the meeting vowing to use his seat at the table to voice objections to immigration policy.

And news from other big companies, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft recently drafting a joint letter opposing President Trump`s travel ban. President Trump just tweeting on the travel ban, "Must keep evil out." Laurence Tribe is a professor at Harvard Law School. He`s a big critic of the administration and the travel ban as well as ethics issues. Good evening sir.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Professor, on the issue of this executive order I`m curious whether you think that it`s unconstitutional or you don`t like it because those are two different things. You have something that is unconstitutional --

TRIBE:  Very different.

VAN SUSTEREN:  -- or you can have something that`s constitutional or you just don`t like it. Where are you on this?

TRIBE:  I think it`s unconstitutional. It`s also something I don`t like because it`s not going to keep evil out. It`s going to encourage evil. It`s obviously going to be an inspiration to ISIS and it seems to me that my being objection is that it`s not justifiable. That it`s a religious discrimination.

That it`s a discrimination probably against people from countries where Donald Trump isn`t doing a business and it is a violation of due process. It`s unconstitutional from the top down and I think courts will hold that, but I think it`s also ridiculous.

  VAN SUSTEREN:  Let`s talk for a second on constitutional issue. Many people I think believe that it says it`s a Muslim ban. It does not say Muslim. It bans people coming from seven nations who happen to have a majority of Muslims citizens as they say (ph), but it`s not -- it doesn`t say no Muslims.  It`s seven nations --

TRIBE:  No, of course not but --

VAN SUSTEREN:  And seven nations that have been otherwise been identified in other parts of our government as nations that we have our eye on.

TRIBE:  Right. We had our eye on them and in fact we have what I suppose you could call extreme vetting. They were the nations that the Obama administration said you couldn`t come here from without a visa. The fact is that many Muslim nations are not included in the ban.

There are something like 36 that aren`t included but the fact is that every nation that is included in the ban, is a Muslim majority nation and preferences are given to the Christian minorities in those nations. So you have to be completely blind not to see that this is a Muslim ban beneath a very narrow fig leaf.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Are Christians within those countries included in this ban - - in this Muslims majority nations, are Christians who are also from those nations, are they also covered by this ban?

TRIIBE:  They`re not covered by the ban because they are religious minorities and the ban makes an explicit exception for potentially persecuted minorities. And the president made clear that what he means by that is the Christian minority.

He`s been very explicit. In fact he goes on television and says that Christians are beheaded with particular savagery and frequency in these countries. The fact is that our constitution forbids drawing a line, a religious gerrymander and that`s very well settled. And I think the president`s lawyers ought to know that.

VAN SUSTEREN:  One of your former colleagues, Professors Alan Dershowitz, who you duked it out with the (INAUDIBLE) policy and things, he believes that it is constitutional though he says it`s very badly executed which I think is probably universal agreement how this was rolled out.

TRIBE:  I think Alen is wrong. I think Alen is wrong. He`s a smart guy, but I think I know my constitutional law and I think Alen is wrong on this one.

VAN SUSTEREN:  I`d love to have you and Alan both back, the battle of the titans. Anyway, thank you sir.

TRIBE: Thanks Greta and congratulations on your new gig.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Thank you. And when we come back, the fight on the economy. Did President Trump just give sweetheart deal to Wall Street or a lifeline to small business?

Also behind the scenes with how Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump may be helping to stir policy.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDNT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We`re bringing back jobs. We`re bringing down your taxes. We`re getting rid of the regulations. I think it`s going to be some really, really exciting times ahead. We expect to be cutting a lot of the Dodd-Frank.


VAN SUSTEREN:  President Trump speaking today at his meeting about his executive order targeting the Dodd-Frank financial regulation setting up next huge fight. Democrats say it`s a massive give away to the big banks. The White House says it will free up business to make jobs, either way, it could have huge impact on the economy and your retirement savings.

Sabrina Siddiqui is a political reporter with "The Guardian" and Jeff Mason is White House correspondent for Reuters and president of the White House Correspondents Association. First to you Sabrina, Dodd-Frank fight, what`s going to happen with this?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN:  Well, I think that you certainly will see Democrats try and push the message that Donald Trump ran on economic populist and then he said he was going to stand up for the little guy. They`re already pointing to the fact that Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary or who will soon be confirmed as treasury secretary is a former Goldman Sachs executive so is the director of the Donald Trump`s National Economic Council.

So they believe you see the imprint of Wall Street already on the Trump administration and I think that they certainly will try and make the case that this is a give away to Wall Street, that this certainly unravels a lot of the progress that was made to try and protect consumers from predatory lending and abuses by mortgage and credit card companies in the financial sector.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Jeff, I was happy to see the president meet with people from all walks of life and business is important and obviously I`m happy to see him -- he met with some union leaders. But in all of these business meetings I never see the guy that owns the grocery store, the two or three grocery stores.

You know, we`re seeing this huge CEO`s and they should be at the table, but I would like to see someone who actually has to run a business and make payroll everyday of about seven people.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS:  Well, and people like that were a big part of his constituency that helped him get into the White House, but I think -- and he has said this a lot, that his supporters understand that it`s business leaders, it`s these billionaires that he`s putting his cabinet are the ones that he believes are right for getting the economy moving again. I don`t think he sees a disconnect.

VAN SUSTEREN:  But where I grew up, someone who has seven employees and now moves it to nine employees because of business is going well because of some good ideas, I mean, that makes a big difference in my community.

MASON:  For sure.

VAN SUSTEREN:  I mean, it`s not these (INAUDIBLE) and they have very different issues and problems, you know, with the smaller business than these massive corporations.

MASON:  Yes, and regulations affect small business especially hard as well.

SIDDIQUI:  And Republican has certainly campaigned on repealing Dodd-Frank. Donald Trump himself said he would do that so the question is can they overcome a Democratic filibuster and get enough (INAUDIBLE) Democrats to cross the line and support them in undoing some of the Obama regulations.

VAN SUSTEREN:  I think you`d get some. But anyway NBC News confirming President Trump`s daughter and son-in-law led the charge to sideline a direct executive order overturning the Obama era protections of LGBT rights in the workplace. NBC News learns Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner pushed the White House to put out a statement from the president promising to uphold the 2014 action. Now Jeff, this is interesting.

MASON:  It is interesting. It`s interesting because that last thing that you read, that happened earlier this week. And then a few days later, 24 hours even later, this other draft order, executive order on religious freedom started floating around, and floating around especially amongst gay rights advocacy groups who are concerned about many of the issues that they addressed there. It was sort of the opposite of the signal of saying I`m going to uphold the rights that President Obama stood for.

VAN SUSTEREN:  But I guess it`s no surprise because remember during the election when he was asked about gay marriage, he said that`s one already decided by the Supreme Court. He`s never -- he`s been more of a business type guy and less of a social issue type guy.

SIDDIQUI:  He`s not ideologically driven when it comes to some of these social issues and it`s interesting to see they`re all in Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who of course running this more socially liberal circles in New York as well so I think that you could see them having an influence.

He does feel as though he`s being pressured by the religious right to pursue some of the legislation that critics say could open up the door to discrimination against LGBT individuals. At the same time, you do have Mike Pence as his Vice President. He of course signed a bill in Indiana as the governor that was met with a lot of controversy for precisely that where people felt that this enables businesses to deny service to people just because they identify as LGBT, and I don`t think that the fight is necessarily over.

There are still signals coming from the White House that they might pursue some kind of religious freedom legislation that could very much be caught up in this sort debate.

MASON:  Although they did not want to engage very much on that order this week. I mean as soon as the controversy started coming up about what was involved in that order, they were distancing themselves as much as they could.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Jeff, as president of the White House Correspondents Association, can you tell us what is the status of the White House Correspondents Dinner his year? I mean, is it going forward or not?

MASON:  Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Is President Trump going to attend and accept the invitation?

MASON:  I have no updates on that --

VAN SUSTEREN:  Not at all?

MASON:  But I can tell you that the dinner is going to happen and we look forward to having it.

VAN SUSTEREN:  And all the sort of parties who go on about it, are all the news organizations --

SIDDIQUI:  "Vanity Fair" pulled out and the Bloomberg party.

MASON:  Yes, I`ve read that. You know, we have nothing do with that. The White House Correspondents Association throws our dinner and it is about preserving and celebrating the First Amendment. It`s about recognizing scholarship awardees and giving awards to members of our association who have done terrific work. And all those things are the things that we`ll do again this year.

SIDDIQUI:  I think you may have slightly less of celebrity presence there if you`ve looked at these award ceremonies. They`ve been very vocal -- Hollywood has about how they feel about the new president, but as Jeff said, this award is about a lot more than celebrities won (INAUDIBLE) that that`s been not typically productive.

MASON:  If there are fewer celebrities who will attend who have huge parties around that dinner this year, we have no problem with that.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Anyway, well the story continues. We`ll find out as time march on. Thank you both. You know

SIDDIQUI:  Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN:  And now three stories you may not know. Number three, Michael Jackson`s trust is estimated to be worth more than world $1 billion, but the IRS says that the estate owes over $700 million in penalties and back taxes. So, if the IRS wins the argument, Jackson`s estate will be value at somewhere at $434 million.

Number two, there`s an ancient lost continent lying at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Researchers believe the continent formed when the fragments broke off in Africa and India as they split apart millions of years ago. They have named the lost continent Mauritia.

Number one, you probably heard of wearable devices like fitness trackers but a new wearable technology allows any surface to turn into a keyboard. The device is called TAP and uses Bluetooth technology to sense your finger movement so, now you know.

"For the Record," something is happening in the shadows of the Capitol and it needs to be addressed. That`s next.


VAN SUSTEREN:  I want to say this "For the Record." It`s happening right here in the shadows of the beautiful U.S. Capitol, right under the noses of both Democrats and Republicans and it`s disgraceful. The "Washington Post" is first to put the spotlight on this disgrace and tonight I want to crank up that spotlight. Meet Heavens Lester, she`s two. That`s her mother Krystal Heavens. Heavens says the highest levels of lead in that little body that Washington has seen in decades. And she has brain damage from that lead.

How could this happen? Well the answer is shameful. The "Washington Post" reports Heavens` family is placed in a house under a Washington, D.C. program for the homeless known as Targeted Affordable Housing. The D.C. Housing office supposedly inspected the house, said it was safe. It was not. It was lead toxic causing that poor child brain damage.

Also according to the "Post" there are weaknesses in the those federal guidelines followed by D.C. and other cities. The guidelines are supposed to provide safe housing for homeless families. Heavens` home, it wasn`t safe by any stretch of the imagination. Authorities, they don`t even really check for lead. Instead, they just eye ball the house looking for peeling paint and a fresh coat of paint hides it -- poisonous peeling lead paint -- and authorities look no further.

In the case of little Heavens, the city and the landlord are now pointing fingers at one another but the federal government is part of this. How disgraceful, that in Washington, D.C. with all the politicians put so much powee to make things better that this could happen. And you can bet that little Heavens is not the only child. I sure hope Housing and Urban Development secretary Dr. Ben Carson is watching tonight. I know he cares. I just hope he does something.

Thanks for watching. See you back here Monday night 6:00 p.m. eastern. Have a great Super Bowl weekend. Follow me on twitter @Greta. Facebook is a great place to follow me from behind the scenes video and more. I just put up a great video. You`ll love it. Facebook. "Hardball" with Chris Matthews starts right now.