For the Record with Greta, Transcript 3/17/2017

Guests: Margaret Talev, Nicholas Burns, Steve Clemons, Clarence Page, Susan Ferrechio, Kevin Cirilli, Howard Dean, Barry McCaffrey

Show: FOR THE RECORD Date: March 17, 2017 Guest: Margaret Talev, Nicholas Burns, Steve Clemons, Clarence Page, Susan Ferrechio, Kevin Cirilli, Howard Dean, Barry McCaffrey CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS SHOW HOST:  We`ll be back on Monday with more "MTP Daily." I`ll see you Sunday on "Meet the Press." "For the Record with Greta" starts right now, Greta, big first win for Whiskey. 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MSNBC:  Indeed, Wisconsin got a game tomorrow and of course I`ll be watching "Meet the Press" on Sunday.  So you are going to be working on Sunday.  Anyway, it was a wild day, another wild day actually here in Washington.  He is most certainly not backing down.  President Trump`s first comments about the wiretapping since the senate and house intelligence committee announced no indication that Trump tower was surveilled.  Here he is with the Press Conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR:  Mr. President, the government officials in London today rejected White House claims that the alleged wiretapping on you, on the Trump tower, on Trump organization or on members of your campaign was -- that British intelligence was either responsible for it or involved in it.  After these claims are rejected what is your take on that?  Are there other suspects or you think it was a mistake to blame British intelligence for this and, by the way, my second question, are there from time to time tweets that you regret --

DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Very seldom. 

MERKEL:  Very seldom.  So you never would have wished --

TRUMP:  Probably would not be here right now.  We have a tremendous group of people that listen and I can get around the media, when the media doesn`t tell the truth so I like that.  As far as wiretapping I guess by this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps. 

(LAUGHTER) 

And just to finish your question, we said nothing.  All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind.  Who is the one responsible for saying it on television?  I didn`t make an opinion on it.  That was made by a very talented lawyer on Fox so you should not be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox. 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Fox News now saying it has no evidence of any kind that former President Obama wiretapped President Trump.  And not disavowing the statement from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer yesterday. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  On Fox News on March 14th Judge Napolitano said three intelligence forces informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain, he didn`t use the NSA or FBI or department of justice.  He used GCHQ.  What is that?  The initials for the British intelligence spying agency, simply by having two people saying president needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump`s conversations, he is able to get it and there are no American fingerprints on this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, the British intelligence agency GCHQ steaming mad, firing back recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct wiretapping against the then President-Elect are nonsense.  They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.  The British Prime Minister office said the White House has promised those claims will not be repeated but there is more.  When a reporter asked Sean Spicer today, if he apologized to the Brits, he said no.  The president made it clear he is not apologizing for anything, in fact, he was joking about it today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

TRUMP:  As far as wiretapping, I guess by, you know, this past administration at least we have something in common perhaps. 

(LAUGHTER) 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, the German chancellor didn`t seem to smile but that is a reference to this incident in 2013. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is now mad too.  Angela Merkel dialing President Obama to ask if the NSA was tapping her cell phone and if so, Germany says that would be a breach of trust and unacceptable. 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

VAN SUSTEREN:  And here`s how the president`s joke as he stood beside the German chancellor is being covered in Germany, the English translation, Trump`s evil NSA joke.  With me Nicholas Burns, former ambassador NATO and he also served as under Secretary of State, Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for "the Atlantic" and Margaret Talev senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg news, Margaret first to you.  You wrote the Brits -- the Mexican government is not happy with us and the German government may not be happy with us, things the president said about Angela Merkel in the past and now the Brits how are they? 

MARGARET TALEV, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR BLOOMBERG:  The British government I think will get over it, but the timing of yesterday`s release by the British categorically denying that they did President Obama`s spying for him is note worthy because it not after a Fox report, it came after Sean Spicer`s appearance at the podium and the British were very frustrated at the idea that the White House would use that official platform to give air to an unsubstantiated accusation. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  That is fake news. 

TALEV:  It would be not the kind of news that bodes well for a special relationship and wanted to nip it in the bud and those lines of communication back and forth between both the ambassador and national security for Britain were very swift to the White House. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Ambassador, I know that we have sort of teasing with it but it really is serious, all this going on.  We need to have an open line and good relationship with all our allies and Britain being mad, you know, that certainly is not, you know, is not very -- I would not say it`s a very effective piece of diplomacy. 

NICHOLAS BURNS, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL:  Greta, I think it`s a low point of the modern presidency.  I started my career in government in 1980 as an intern for the Carter administration.  None of our presidents have ever acted like this, such reprehensible charges and they`ve now been denied by the entire U.S. Government, by the Justice Department, by the FBI, by the Republican leadership in the senate and yet President Trump continues to put out this vile charge against President Obama and speak to the credibility issue.  When the president of the United States speaks with a German chancellor beside her the entire world is listening.  If they can`t believe him on this, will they not believe him when we`re in a crisis on foreign defense policy around the world?  It`s wrong.  It`s wrong to President Obama.  It`s a low point in our democracy and the White House has misplayed this and the president`s credibility is shot if he continues to say things that are absolutely untrue. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Steven, when you look at the polls it doesn`t seem like the American people believe that President Obama wiretapped then candidate Trump.  The house intelligence committee bipartisan says they`ve seen no evidence.  There is no evidence going to the senate intelligence committee bipartisan Republican and Democrat.  Senator Lindsey Graham has said he has seen no evidence.  I don`t think a lot of people think in the United States but what do you think is the global impact of this? 

STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC:  I think the global impact is one where, you know, I agree with much of what Nick Burns just said but the global impact is less than many people think.  I think these things blow over.  I think Donald Trump is now seen as a guy who rattles and shakes up our allies, plants just a little bit of doubt, knocks them around a little bit and makes them wonder what their footing with the United States is and the next time he gets a chance to hug them he does and I think in that environment everybody hoping for a more stable America and a sane president of the United States, kind of clicks back into gear.  It`s just becoming a very clear style of Donald Trump to inject doubt, to have fun, to shake things up and while these are unsubstantiated claims on wiretapping I think this notion about wiretapping victims of the world uniting is something where we have to go back and not be so indignant about the moral indignity of wiretapping, because the United States did wiretap and did listen in on foreign leaders, did engage in behavior which our intelligence agencies denied we were doing, so in that world Donald Trump is able to reshape gravity at least for the people who support him in this, if not for many members of congress who wonder what in the world is he doing. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  But if he is lying, Steve, if he is false or mistaken or any of those things, is that he says that he accuses twitter to get around media when media not telling the truth.  He is not being straight with us. 

CLEMONS:  Yep, I think it`s a real problem and tweeted out the implications of this is you know you can imagine Donald Trump saying oops, dropped the nuclear bomb, meant to drop a conventional one.  Important for the president of the United States to say what he means and mean what he says when he just offloaded this to a Fox News issue, that doesn`t capture the fact that he sent his people out like Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway, Reince Priebus and others to basically make the point that they`re sticking by the story, that we talked about TV`s and microwave, other forms of intelligence and we were said, oh, interesting information will be coming down the pike.  So I get that but we don`t have a president who plays by those rules and, you know, I think that it`s a big problem, but it`s going to continue unless the U.S. Congress finds a way to sensor the president of the United States for not telling the truth then all we`re doing is playing a game of holding our breath and moral indignity that has no impact at all on his behavior. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Margaret, why -- go ahead, ambassador. 

BURNS:  I very much disagree.  The credibility of the United States is at stake here.  This will have a big global impact.  You can be sure that our adversary, the Iranian, North Koreans, Russians and Chinese, they`re looking at a president that is diminishing before their eyes, because he is not telling the truth in public.  This is a very serious foreign policy problem having to do with the credibility of our leader.  You saw chancellor Merkel.  She did not smile.  She didn`t go along with the joke because she is a dignified person and how sad is it and I say this as someone who worked for Republicans and Democrats and is not particularly partisan that the leader of the free world most people feel right now is not the American president, it`s Angela Merkel, because our president refuses to play that role.  Today he didn`t support the European Union.  He didn`t say a negative word about Vladimir Putin.  He didn`t reaffirm that we keep the American sanctions on to help Angela Merkel contain Putin on the Ukraine issue.  He is not leading.  And it`s a problem for all Americans to face. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  And Margaret, why was Angela Merkel here?  I realize she was supposed to be here earlier.  Seems like a short trip.  I think the president got out to Mar-a-Lago and took the Japanese Prime Minister but she didn`t go with him to Mar-a-Lago. 

TALEV:  Yeah, this is certainly a different kind of visit and a lot of that has to do with her own personal calculus, standing for re-election and Trump has been polling at 12 percent in Germany as of earlier this week when we did our reporting on this.  You know, but Ambassador Burns raised some really interesting points.  Impossible not to contrast in your own mind the way Barack Obama would have conducted that news conference and the way President Trump does but this is President Trump`s presidency.  This is his opening appearance with Angela Merkel and he did want to send very clear messages on how he views trade and some of these other issues. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  He did say that he wasn`t isolation -- he was not an isolationist but he believed America should be treated fairly and America first essentially. 

TALEV:  That is right.  I was maybe 10 or 15 feet away from them.  It`s interesting when you talk about that she didn`t go along and laugh with it, there was certainly a flicker of recognition in her eye and you could feel it in the room that she understood exactly what he was doing which is going to how frustrated and embarrassing the situation it was between the Obama administration and Merkel at the time that Ed Snowden and WikiLeaks and all this information was revealed but there is an obvious difference which is that she was actually spied on by the Obama administration and there`s no evidence at this point. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Maybe you know this, ambassador, wasn`t it the former president of Brazil who also got spied on by the U.S. and so she canceled the state dinner. 

BURNS:  That is not even the issue here.  That is --

VAN SUSTEREN:  No, no, I`m just serving as an anecdote on this whole thing, in the spying business. 

BURNS:  The issue here is that we have one president, President Trump, accusing President Obama of a crime.  That he didn`t commit.  And won`t be honest enough when his entire government and the Republican leadership in congress tell him he is wrong to admit he is wrong.  This is a crisis of credibility for this particular president.  It`s going to have a big impact overseas on how people see us.  They won`t treat us as seriously in the future. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  And Steve? 

BURNS:  Go ahead. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  I was going to ask you what you thought, Steve, on Monday when director Jim Comey testifies, the director of the FBI testifies Monday on Capitol Hill and we assume he`ll say there is no evidence that President Obama wiretapped then candidate Trump.  What happens then? 

CLEMONS:  Well, I think you hear -- you`ll hear President Trump continuing what he is saying as he was supposed to be credible on Fox News and that is where the story is.  There`s so much that Nick Burns said that I agree with that I want to agree with, but I just think what`s happening is there are two different worlds co-existing.  One in which gravity works in which the president of the United States supposed to be the moral and political leader in the world and to set -- and there`s another thing where he is elevating economic issues as national security issues and letting traditional national security issues fall by the wayside.  And I think that those of us that are trying to understand this president where he is going is not the question of right or wrong it`s the question of what are the patterns that we`ll see and, you know, Germany is a country that produces a lot, that saves a lot and consumes a little and that creates distortions in the world and Donald Trump is raising that and putting that in the spotlight.  That`s increasingly becoming the national security parameter that he cares about and that he is elevating while he is shaking up NATO, while he is threatening intelligence communities, which he sees as sort of having been, you know, what Donald Trump is showing is he took on big media, he is taking on the world`s intelligence agencies, he is taking on the Democrats, et cetera, and those -- and he is showing he is sort of king of the jungle in the way he is presided and dominated all of these and he is not about to walk it back and at some point unless you imagine a collision where these other forces can win, this is going to be a pattern we continue to see over and over and over again. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  I hope you`ll come back.  There will be a lot to talk about in the next four or eight years.  Thank you all, more on President Trump joking about his wiretapping accusation, plus Monday is the big day.  FBI Director Jim Comey will break his silence but then what?  Will things change?  Also, the GOP health care bill now dead on arrival, something big happened today and coincidentally the same time that President Trump was speaking with German chancellor Merkel.  I`ll tell you what it was.  Also tonight, very stern warning to North Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes an eye-opening statement involving nuclear weapons and North Korea. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

TRUMP:  We said nothing.  All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television.  I didn`t make an opinion on it.  That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox and so you shouldn`t be talking to me.  You should be talking to Fox. 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

VAN SUSTEREN:  President Trump not backing down from his claim that President Obama wiretapped him, but the president might want to consider this, a new FNC poll shows 76 percent want him to produce documents supporting his allegations so far he has not done that.  And also this, another 63 percent want probes into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and then on this Monday, we`re going to be seen for the first time at a public hearing and that very issue with the testimony from the head of the FBI and then tomorrow morning, of course, marks two weeks since the president first tweeted that President Obama wiretapped him and lit this controversy on fire.  So here`s a look back at what a long and, yes, strange two weeks it`s been. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

VAN SUSTEREN:  President Trump`s explosive allegation on twitter accusing former President Obama tapping his phones at Trump tower. 

He said it`s a new low by President Obama. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There was no such wiretap activity.  I can deny it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The president wants congress to look into this. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have no insight into what exactly he is referring to. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`ve seen no evidence of the allegations. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you believe that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump tower? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There`s no evidence of that. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Sean Spicer attempted to clarify President Trump`s tweet on wiretapping. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The president was very clear in his tweet that it was, you know, wiretapping. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The FBI and department of justice last week for any evidence of a warrant and hadn`t heard a thing. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Will your justice department comply with the Intelligence community --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Either retract or provide the information. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don`t think there was an actual tap of Trump tower. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`ve seen no evidence. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Have you seen anything to suggest there are wiretaps? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You can surveil someone through their phones, through their -- certainly through their television sets and microwaves that turn into cameras. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I`m not inspector gadget. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Director Comey, have you seen any evidence that President Obama wiretapped Trump tower? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That is unusual for a sitting president to accuse a former president.  I have zero evidence that happened. 

TRUMP:  I think you`re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The joint letter that was signed by the co-chairs of the senate intelligence committee --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They say very definitively we see no indication that Trump tower the subject of surveillance. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Does the president accept those findings?  Will he concede that it wasn`t true and in fact will he apologize to President Obama for it? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  First of all he stands by it.  Where was the question - -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So you think --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I believe he will. 

TRUMP:  Wiretapping by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps. 

(LAUGHTER) 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Clarence Page is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist with The Chicago Tribune, Susan Ferrechio Chief Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Examiner and Kevin Cirilli is politics reporter for Bloomberg News, welcome to all of you.  Clarence, one thing is clear, he is shaking up Washington, but I think you go outside the beltway and saw the crowds that he drew in Tennessee the other night.  The American people, even though they want more information, his voters are still passionately behind him. 

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE:  I bet his ratings are terrific.  This is great television for people outside the beltway who don`t follow all the fine print in the news and issues, they`re seeing -- those who voted for Trump, they`re seeing the Trump that they voted for, the guy --

VAN SUSTEREN:  I don`t think they care.  I think they`re so firmly behind the president they think the rest of us are nuts for keep asking the same question. 

PAGE:  Except FNC poll you showed, what, 80 percent want to hear more about what is in the documents and want to know more about his relationship with the Russians.  I think that crosses party lines and we`ll hear more about that. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Susan, what are they saying behind -- we get the public statements but you know everybody on Capitol Hill.  What are they saying on the hill? 

SUSAN FERRECHIO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER:  They say this is Trump being Trump and we can`t control what he does on twitter.  Happy he is pushing through the GOP agenda.  I think if -- I know from talking to the majority leader in the senate he told me that he has spoken personally to Trump and asked him to -- told him he didn`t like the tweets and thought it was distracting from their goals but I think they have come to accept he does it and there`s a certain kind of Teflon quality to him that of course was part of his campaign they never seemed to have any problems with the things he said, there were no repercussions in the polls and I think that poll you just showed was really interesting and people want to hear more, but I don`t know if that necessarily means this is bad news for Trump that they look upon him disapprovingly, because of all this and also I`ll point out the connection of Russians and the Trump campaign, we still haven`t seen any evidence of that and I think that is another thing to point out here the press keeps asking about it yet there isn`t any evidence and people are making `s on Capitol Hill about it still. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Kevin, we might find out more on that from Director Comey on Monday, whether -- he is not going to sell us the inside of the investigation, but at least give us a hint or a tip whether there might be something going on in terms of an investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia investigation.  That doesn`t mean anything did anything wrong, but an investigation.  But he is also going to ask the question did President Obama wiretap candidate Trump? 

KEVIN CIRILLI, BLOOMBERG NEWS:  Let`s not forget this is a Republican- controlled congress so the fact that Republican committee leaders are setting the agenda on this I think it only adds to the fact that instead of talking about health care policy instead of talking about tax policy or financial regulatory reform, they`re still facing questions on this.  That is a tough call -- that is a tough spot for the White House to be in. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  But as you said Republicans are leading this.  President Trump did say he wanted an investigation. 

CIRILLI:  Absolutely.  And so I think the pressure coming from whether or not Republicans are going to be able to conduct such a fair investigation remains to be seen, but either way the American people do want answers on this for different reasons, I`ll be it, but this will definitely continue I think in the weeks ahead. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Clarence, I think it`s absolutely a plan and Susan mentioned tweeting.  He`ll continue to tweet, because he very seldom has regrets.  He said very seldom and does it to get around the media when the media is not truthful.  He got around the media with that tweet where he accuses President Obama of wiretapping him but this is Donald Trump, the president. 

PAGE:  He told us his definition of fake news, news he doesn`t like, you know, I mean and this is pretty plainly obvious that he wants to go around the media like every president does in order to talk directly to the people and finds that twitter is his way to do it but it comes across very cryptically which we are arguing about for the quotations marks around wiretapping, this sort of thing. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  You know Susan, many people find the tweeting and comments like so-called judge, some of those are unseemly but, you know, setting aside the words, is there damage? 

FERRECHIO:  Well, to whom, the judge or to Trump? 

VAN SUSTEREN:  Not -- I think the judge will survive.  Everybody backed up the judge with that. 

FERRECHIO:  That is a great question.  I wonder who is damaged when he tweets like that.  There`s some people when he tweeted about Obama wiretapping him now believes that Obama did that and doesn`t matter if no - -

VAN SUSTEREN:  No one who liked President Obama before suddenly said anything.  I don`t like President Obama -- I can`t believe I think we were so -- people are so divided I don`t think you`ll move one person. 

FERRECHIO:  That is probably true so the question is whether all this tweeting will lower his credibility or lower his, you know, we`ll start so tee tweets and ignore them. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  We still haven`t. 

FERRECHIO:  No, that is true.  That was the case during the campaign as well.  But, you know, he is early in his presidency.  When he tweets about foreign policy today, he put out a tweet about North Korea while Secretary of State was over in Korea and so, you know --

VAN SUSTEREN:  Which actually that is the one where I think, Kevin, he is so uncertain -- I think that North Korea, it may not be such a bad thing if they`re unsure about President Trump, because we`ve tried everything else with North Korea. 

CIRILLI:  He is advocated that he is argued that his unpredictability is an asset.  Critics would pounce on it.  I would just say that, while we in the media haven`t adjusted to his tweets, the markets have. 

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right.  We`ll take a quick break and we have breaking news from Iowa, GOP Senator Joni Ernst is now hosting a town hall in Des Moines and seen tensions rise at town halls across the country since President Trump was sworn in.  This one coming just days before a critical vote next week which is on the GOP health care bill, we are monitoring this town hall and we will bring you any developments as they come in. 

And there`s a news alert.  It Republican vote on health care took place today, the bill would not pass.  Why?  I`ll tell you about some big news that happened today just under the radar and we are awaiting the arrival of Air Force One in Palm Beach, Florida.  President Trump expected to land in just a short time. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  We met with 12, pretty much no`s in Congress. You saw that a little while ago and they went from all no`s to all yeses and we have a lot of yeses coming in. It`s all coming together. We`re going to have great health care. It`s going to be passed, I believe. I think substantially and pretty quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST:  President Trump sounding confident the Republican health care bill will pass next Thursday when it hits the house floor for the vote but red alert, just 18 minutes before the president expressed confidence about Republican health care bill, Republican Senator Dean Heller telling reporters that he will vote against the bill. And this is big. He joins Republican senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins, both Republicans, already on record as no votes.

There are, of course, 52 Republicans in the senate. So if the bill does pass the House, those three GOP no votes in the senate would kill it. But will the bill even get there from the House? Will the House pass it on Thursday? The House Freedom Caucus is still opposed to the bill and if all members of the Freedom Caucus vote no, the bill is dead in the House.

That means it won`t even make it over to the Senate for a vote there. The House vote on Thursday coinciding with the seventh anniversary of Obamacare becoming law. With me, former Vermont governor and former chair of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean. Good evening, sir.

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VERMONT:  Hi, how are you?

VAN SUSTEREN:  Good. So, if you do all that math and you take in all the that I`ve said about the House and the Senate and all the no`s that we`re hearing about, do you think this is going to pass the House, and if so, do you think it`s going to pass the Senate?

DEAN:  I don`t think it`s going to pass the Senate because I don`t think it will get any Democratic votes. There are senators like Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp who live in very conservative states. The truth is this is terrible for Trump voters. This bill is terrible for Trump voters. They`re going to take the biggest hit and they`re not going to like this bill at all.

So, there`s no reason that a Democrat from West Virginia or North Dakota or a place like that would vote for this bill. They may have a problem with confirming Gorsuch. There`ll be pressure on them to do that but they won`t be pressured to do this back home. So, I don`t think that -- and it`s a terrible bill. I mean it`s going to be terrible for the Republicans if it passes. In the house, it`s hard to say, you know why? Because the speaker - -

VAN SUSTEREN:  Why do you say -- why do you say it`s terrible for the Republicans, because a number of them certainly embraced him. Speaker Ryan thinks, you know, he certainly embraced it, maybe the architect of it. President Trump has embraced it. Maybe it won`t be happy with it later but at least right now you know he`s bringing up Republicans to twist arms to get the votes.

DEAN:  It kicks 24 million off health insurance according to the CBO which is the only reliable source. These Republicans have no reliable sources. And it kicks 15 million of those people off -- off Medicaid which is fairly -- it happens fairly quickly.

So, this is a disaster -- I wouldn`t want to go to an election having the people who voted me four years ago or two years ago having the reward be that I lose my health insurance and, you know, the public now -- nobody loves Obamacare but they like Obamacare much better than they like what the Republicans are trying to do. Trumpcare is a disaster.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, we just got a statement from leader Nancy Pelosi and she`s talking about the bill and she said, "Republicans are terrified the American people will see the reality of their disastrous Trumpcare bill. If the GOP are afraid of the public having the facts about the bill, they shouldn`t be voting on it.

As I wrote to Speaker Ryan, the American people members have a right to see an updated CBO score and the consequences of the final legislation before any vote by the House. When Democrats amended, the Senate passed the Affordable Care Act at rules. We insured the American people had an updated CBO score for the final legislation before the House voted.

House Republicans contempt for transparency matches their contempt for the working families who would be devastated by Trumpcare where Republicans are deluding themselves if they think they can hide from the millions of Americans whose lives will be destroyed by the bill." She wants an updated CBO score and apparently the, well, the Republican Whip, Steve Scalise is refusing to commit to that.

DEAN:  Well, look, I mean, I have a huge amount of respect for Nancy Pelosi and I think she was a great speaker but that`s all -- this is all inside baseball. The American people aren`t going to care if there is a CBO score or not. What matters about the CBO score is people who know what they`re talking about know that the CBO score is the really accurate way to judge this. What really is going to kill the Republicans on this bill is if it passes, it does some really bad things.

One of the worst things it does, despite the fact that it`s taking away 24 million people`s health insurance over a 10-year period and 15 million quite soon, one of the worst things it does is it saves $323 billion which Trump is then going to turn over to tax cuts for the people who are in the top 1 percent of income. Now, that is insane.

Here are all these people who like Trump because he wasn`t like all the Republicans and Trump embraces the Republican pro-billionaire agenda when he gets to the White House and says screw all the people that voted for me. These are all people -- the people who are going to get hit the hardest are in places like West Virginia and Arkansas and Kentucky where huge numbers voted for Trump because they wanted change. This isn`t change. This is worst than any Republican president in history.

VAN SUSTEREN:  I suspect that President Trump were listening tonight and he would thank you for your concern about how it`s going to hurt him, but I think he probably thinks that this is the best bill he`s going to get, that this is the deal and, you know, he can`t get a perfect -- can`t get a perfect bill but this is the best the country is going to get and it`s going to improve Obamacare in his mind.

DEAN:  Well, the problem with Trumpcare is it`s real. You know, people elected him because of his promises, none of which he`s kept as far as I can see, except for harassing immigrants. So, people elected him for that reason. He`s going to get the Ronald Reagan question. How are you better off than you were four years ago, and the answer is, absolutely not if you don`t have health insurance. And there are a lot of people -- this is not a small number of people that are going to lose their health insurance.

Everybody in America is going to know somebody who lost their health insurance as a result of a Trumpcare. That`s not a good place to be and the House members know it. And the Senate knows it. Tom Cotton who is one of the most conservative people in the Senate has talked about this very problem because Arkansas is going to get hit harder than most other states.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Indeed he had a very aggressive town hall when he was answering questions from his constituents. Governor, thank you for joining us.

DEAN:  Thanks for having me on.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Ahead, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just said something North Korea might want to listen to. That story is ahead. And we are waiting for President Trump`s arrival in Florida -- that`s expected in just a few moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAN SUSTEREN:  Back now and the fight over the GOP health care bill. It looks like it`s on life support with a third Republican senator coming on to vote as a no. President Trump asking about this fight during his news conference today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN CIRILL, CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG NEWS:  Have you received (INAUDIBLE) health care (INAUDIBLE). What exactly, sir, do you think will unify this Republican Party?

TRUMP:  Well Kevin, I think we have a very unified Republican Party. After all, we have the presidency. We have the House. We have the Senate. And we`re getting along very well, I will tell you and if you were at the meeting that I just attended where we took 12 no`s or semi no`s, no yeses and within a short period of time everybody was very much on board and a commitment to vote yes.

I think we have a very unified party. I think actually more unified than even the election. You see, when they talk about me, I seem to be very popular at least this week within the party because we have our highest numbers -- the highest numbers that I`ve ever had in the party. So I think there`s a great unification.

Now health care is a very, very difficult subject. It`s a very complex subject and it`s a subject that, you know, goes both ways. You do something for one side and the other side doesn`t like it, but it`s really something that`s come together very well, and I think it`s going to be very, very popular. Extremely popular.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN:  Back with me Clarence Page, Susan Ferrechio and Kevin Cirilli who asked that question to President Trump. Kevin, if you had gotten a follow-up question because I know you don`t get followup questions in those instances, what do you want to ask as a followup question?

CIRILLI:  What exactly is he going to concede on to the Tea Party? Some of these House Freedom Caucus members who have great concerns, people like Senator Rand Paul who have argued that the so-called Cadillac Tax wants to be institutionalized by House Speaker Paul Ryan`s friends so. Look, from a policy standpoint there`s stuff in this legislation that the White House likes considering the fact that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it`s going to return $337 billion to the government.

There`s also a lot that folks don`t like, people like Senator Dean Heller who is a moderate just came out against this in the Republican Party, who says that, you know, wait a minute, 14 million Americans could lose health insurance within the first year. This is a tight, tight tricky issue for this president that he`s going to have to play political referee on.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Susan, how does the GOP get this passed? What can they do?

SUSAN FERRECHIO, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER:  They do it step by step. I think if they can get it to the House next week, they`ve got the whole week to work on it. It`s going to go through another committee first and then it will make it to the floor. If they can cobble together that 218, I think when it gets to the Senate there may be changes in the senate. There will be a process where it could be amended and I think that`s where you might see more changes --

VAN SUSTEREN:  What could make Senator Collins happy, Senator Rand Paul happy and now Senator Heller happy?

FERRECHIO:  I`m not sure you can make Senator Rand Paul happy. They can lose two and they probably will, right. But I think what they`ll end up doing is making changes to accommodate the more disgruntled factions. So, in the House it will be as Kevin was saying, a more conservative Tea Party based Republicans. And in the Senate, it will be people who like Tom -- people are concerned like Tom Cotton or Susan Collins about the number of people who are going to be kicked off Medicaid, the phasing out period.

There may be some wiggle room there but Republicans have insisted the authors of this bill that there can`t be major changes to this. Something has got to change though in order to get these people on board. The Senate is a larger problem but it first has to get through the House.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Clarence, you know, none of these bills are ever perfect because it`s all -- and then big problems because we just don`t have enough money to keep everybody happy all the time. So that should be --

CLARENCE PAGE, EDITOR WRITER, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE:  We call that deficit spending.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

PAGE:  That`s how Washington solves that.

VAN SUSTEREN:  So, people are going to be enormously unhappy whether it passes or it doesn`t pass and so -- how does it help Trump politically to have this wrapped around his neck as Trumpcare?

PAGE:  I don`t see how it helps him at all. I mean he can survive the midterms because he`s not going to be on the ballot. He won`t be on the ballot. People who are on the ballot are already very nervous. Joe Manchin is a senator I have a lot of respect for from West Virginia, a conservative Democrat.

He knows the grass roots quite well and he said most folks in his state who are on Obamacare don`t know they`re on Obamacare. But they will know it when they lose it. And they`re always going to remember which party took it away from them. And that is something that people, realists know across the country. And that`s why you have such a different reaction in the House than the Senate because senators have to appeal to a broader base of voters than they do in the House and so you`ve got a lot more narrow factions. I don`t know how you satisfy all these folks.

FERRECHIO:  The overarching problem for Republicans is from the get go, this is about taking away an entitlement. The whole idea of repealing Obamacare is taking away an entitlement. When has that ever happened successfully in America? It`s almost political suicide some people would argue. In this case -- they`re trying to make a switcheroo so people aren`t feeling like they`re taking away (INAUDIBLE) but they still save money. It`s like putting together a Rubik`s cube. That`s what they`re --

VAN SUSTEREN:  But they call it repeal. Is it repeal anyway or is this sort of tinkering with the old --

FERRECHIO:  Well, it`s repealing the mandate, the taxes, a whole bunch of things. Not all the taxes --

CIRILLI:  Not all the taxes.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Why is it tinkering with the old -- why isn`t it just tinkering with Obamacare, I mean, if you`re not getting rid of the whole thing?

PAGE:  Well, you can`t just pull it out because it gets all tangled, the root and branch with other parts of the public and private sector. So, repeal, well, you know, what do they mean by repeal? We`re probably going to see that in the debate I think.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Panel, thank you.

Right now, President Trump`s plane, Air Force One has just arrived in West Palm Beach, Florida. He will spend the weekend at the Mar-a-Lago Estate today for the weekend. He`s going to have a busy week ahead though, of course, that key vote of the GOP health care bill.

And take a look at this picture. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the border of North Korea, and who is that behind him? Who is photobombing him? We`ll explain.

And would the U.S. strike first? A warning to Kim Jong-Un, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE:  The policy of strategic patience has ended. We`re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN:  All options are on the table. That is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He made that threat to North Korea while in South Korea today. Those are his strongest words yet on North Korea`s nuclear program. The secretary declining to rule out military action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TILLERSON:  Certainly we do not want to -- for things to get to a military conflict. We`re quite clear in that in our communications, but obviously if North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN:  The secretary also going to the demilitarized zone on the border of North Korea, that`s the most heavily board armed border in the world. And look at this. This is a bit eerie. A North Korean soldier visible in the window, apparently taking a photo of Secretary Tillerson. Meanwhile, President Trump tweeting this morning, "North Korea is behaving very badly. They have been playing the United States for years. China has done little to help."

Secretary Tillerson`s next stop on his Asia tour is China. And as we reported yesterday, the threat of nuclear weapons coming into renewed focus with the release of newly declassified and terrifying videos of nuclear weapon tests from the cold war era. Four-star General Barry McCaffrey joins us now. Nice to see you, sir.

BARRY MCCAFFREY, RETIRED U.S. ARMY:  Good to be with you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN:  When I hear the secretary say all options on the table I sort of hear that as code for military as it was part of it and of course he didn`t rule out a military as an option. But what could we possibly do from a military standpoint? They`ve done five nuclear tests but their nuclear programs are either hidden in mounds or hidden underground so we don`t know where they really are to take them out. The country is hermetically sealed. We don`t have a, you know, a huge amount of intelligence there, so what can it possibly be?

MCCAFFREY:  Well, I think Secretary Tillerson actually had a pretty balanced sensible approach to it and so did Secretary Mattis a few weeks back when he was in Korea. North Korea is a train wreck pending. It`s highly unlikely that we`re going to take unilateral first strike against their nuclear weapons. They`re on the verge of having an operational ICBM, of having a submarine launched ballistic missile.

They will probably have 100 or more nuclear weapons in a fairly short period of time and I think our only option right now is to ramp up the anti-ballistic missile defenses in both South Korea and Japan and at sea with the U.S. Navy. These people are dangerous.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Well that would be the THAAD missile defense in South Korea that China is so mad about us, you know, setting up in South Korea.

MCAFFREY:  We absolutely have to ignore them. We got to put money and resources into all three phases of it. Not just THAAD, sort of a short end rapid response to a theatre ballistic missile. We got strategic missiles, thank god, in Alaska, in Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the Navy has some very capable systems and we`ve got PAC-3 Patriot upgrade. We`ve got to invest in this. These people are a threat to the American people.

VAN SUSTEREN:  If we set up the THAAD missile defense and did all that you suggested and, you know, what about the fact that they are so loaded with artillery on the border between North Korea and South Korea? I mean are we prepared for that?

MCAFFREY:  Not at all. I mean, that`s the big question. The appropriate question you raise, the figures are possibly some 12,000 conventional artillery pieces can range this megalopolis of Seoul, Korea, with 25 million people so I think we got to be concerned about now --

VAN SUSTEREN:  How do you fight that?

MCAFFREY:  -- is miscalculation.

VAN SUSTEREN:  How do you defend against that?

MCAFFREY:  We got to worry about -- well, I don`t think you do. I think if they start shelling across the border and any significant way, I think it`s going to go almost immediately to all-out war. The South Korean armed forces are clearly going to take action and we will end up being involved in it.

VAN SUSTEREN:  General, thank you for joining us. Hope you`ll come back, sir.

MCAFFREY:  Yes. Good to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Breaking news, Senator Joni Ernst is having a town hall in Iowa. It`s getting well, a little bit feisty. Tough questions on health care, guns and education. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE:  Health care for all! Health care for all! Health care for all!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN:  Breaking news from Iowa. GOP Senator Joni Ernst holding a town hall and it is getting pretty heated. Moments ago a constituent asking the U.S. senator why she voted for Education Secretary Betsy Devos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I would also like to know why you voted for her when the people of Iowa said no.

(CROWD CHEERING)

SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA:  Thank you for being a teacher, and yes, she will be held accountable and the decisions that she makes -- if she is planning on making any wide sweeping changes, that would have to go through Congress and we would have to -- we would need to approve that. So, we will -- so, I will hold her accountable in that manner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN:  And then a young girl had this question on gun control.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Never before has there been a huge chance of me being shot and killed at school. I don`t want to be shot. I want to learn. Why do you keep voting against common sense gun reform?

(CROWD CHEERING)

ERNST:  That`s a really good question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN:  Senator Ernst responding that we need to enforce the gun laws already on the books. And before I go, it is Friday, contest night. Someone is going to win some record swag. Name that tune, quick. Go to www.facebook.com/greta. Thank you for watching. Have a great weekend. I`ll see you back here Monday night 6:00 p.m. eastern. If you can`t watch live, set your DVR. Follow me on twitter but make sure you go to my Facebook page. You may win show swag. Go right now. "Hardball" starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END