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MTP Daily, Transcript 11/21/2016

Guests: Bob Corker, Michael McFaul, Bill Kristol, Perry Bacon, April Ryan, Aditi Roy

Show: MTP DAILY Date: November 21, 2016 Guest: Bob Corker, Michael McFaul, Bill Kristol, Perry Bacon, April Ryan, Aditi Roy

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: Yes, if it`s Monday. We`re are about to get our first substantial on-camera comments from the president-elect, putting a Trump-produced video. No access for reporters.

Tonight, pulling back the curtain on Trump Inc.


REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, RNC: You have an international business person that has done incredibly well in life.


MITCHELL: Team Trump facing new scrutiny over the president-elect`s possible business conflict of interest.

Plus, stocking to the cabinet. We`ll talk to of the men being considered for secretary of state. And why Capitol Hill may soon be much busier than it`s been in a long time.

This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.

And good evening. I`m Andrea Mitchell in Washington in for Chuck Todd. Welcome to MTP DAILY.

Trump`s sprawling business ties are coming under intense scrutiny, all against a wild reality style backdrop of tweeter feuds and palace intrigue into possible cabinet picks. Trump`s business interests cover the globe from Canada to China. But what was once a campaign talking point has the potential to be a governing and ethics nightmare.

Trump is facing calls from watch dog groups to liquidate his holdings or silo them in a blind trust. There are reports that the Trump organization has already reached out to diplomats, but the virtues of having visiting leaders possibly curry favor by staying at the Trump Hotel in Washington.

An eyebrow-raising meeting he had last week with business partners from India revealed only by India`s media, not announced by the transition office to the U.S. press. There`s a report out of Argentina also that Trump brought up a stalled business project in Buenos Aires during a congratulatory call with that country`s President Mocri. A report that Mocri spokesman is denying.

And we`ve already seen Trump blurring the line between his business interest and U.S. diplomacy after his daughter, Ivanka, the executive vice president of his businesses, and his son in law sat in on the meeting between Trump and the Japanese prime minister last week.

Trump`s top advisers, his vice president and the chief of staff hitting the Sunday talk show circuit attempting to quell growing concerns about possible conflict of interest.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: In a recent interview after the election, the president-elect summed up his view of his interest in his business life with two words. He said, who cares? I can assure the public that they`ll have the proper separation from their business enterprise. He`s going to lead America with 110 percent of his focus.

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, RNC: He`s setting a system -- a legal system to shield himself from any and all conflicts. That`s what we`re doing. That`s what people are going to see. And in the coming days and weeks, the American people will see that.


MITCHELL: And this afternoon, things got a little testy between transition adviser Kellyanne Conway and a reporter with "The New York Times" over this very issue.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, FORMER MANAGER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I am very confident he`s not breaking any laws. He has many lawyers, accountants and advisers who tell him what he must do and what he can`t do.


CONWAY: Well, he`s not -- it`s not like he`s -- do you ask people, how long are you going to play golf and do the transition? Or how long are you going to --


CONWAY: Are you suggesting he is doing something illegal?


CONWAY: I think -- and I already said he`s not. But the presumption is that he is. So, if you operate from -- if you operate from a presumption of negativity and illegality, it`s going to be, you know, a tougher way to answer the question.


MITCHELL: All of this is happening against a backdrop of meetings and rumors about Trump`s picks for top posts inside the cabinet.

So, let`s dive in. I`m joined by my colleague, Katy Tur, who has the latest on the Trump transition, and MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber who`s following all the twists and turns around potential conflicts of interest.

Katy, what is the latest? We`ve seen on secretary of state, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, one day one`s up, one day the other is up. And there is some new reporting from our team tonight.

KATY TUR, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hans Nichols, our colleague in the Pentagon, is reporting that Rudy Giuliani is now in the running for DNI. Remember, Rudy Giuliani has been in the running for quite a few things so far. One of them secretary of state, one of them attorney general.

We have been told by people in the transition that, basically, Rudy Giuliani can have pretty much anything that he asked for because he was so loyal to Donald Trump during the campaign. Perhaps even his most loyal adviser and most loyal surrogate and defender of Donald Trump, even in some of the harder times.

[17:05:06] That being said, he was quite vocal about his interest in secretary of state. And we are told that Donald Trump chafed a little bit at that. Didn`t like how public Rudy Giuliani was seeming in regards to his interest in that role.

And just right here, we`re looking at this video of Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump meeting over the weekend. And while Rudy Giuliani was leaving, reporters lobbed a few questions at them and said, you know, Mr. Trump, what are you considering Mr. Giuliani for? And he said -- you know, they, reporters, said secretary of state? And Donald Trump said, among other things. He made a point to say, among other things. So, it sounds like Rudy Giuliani will get some role in the cabinet. It`s unclear what role that will actually be.

But the other big names that came out over the weekend, one of them was James Mattis, Mad Dog Mattis, for secretary of defense. A little of background on him. He`s somebody who is said to be quite a bit of a hawk. He said in the past that it`s enjoyable at times to kill some people. To kill enemies at war.

Now, remember, Donald Trump has been quite vocal about how he thinks our generals currently aren`t man enough. He is often cited General Pershing or General Patton as generals who would be too outspoken for nowadays. He`s expressed his affinity for a general who is more outspoken. Mad Dog Mattis would certainly be along those lines.

Also, Scott Brown talking about how he wants the role of V.A. secretary -- heading up the V.A. He said he put in his application and hopes Donald Trump is interested in it. That`s what Scott Brown told reporters today.

And Rick Perry. A lot of rumors around Rick Perry as well, what role could he be? Energy, defense, agriculture. He did not speak with reporters today in Trump Tower, but he did, Andrea, take a picture with the naked cowboy who was also there.

MITCHELL: You can`t make it up.

TUR: No.

MITCHELL: Ari Melber, let`s talk about the law and conflicts of interest. This is unprecedented. This is new territory. But "The Wallstreet Journal" called for him to liquidate his assets because it is so difficult to be above reproach. And with his withholdings everywhere and with his family running the business, there is no such thing as a blind trust. It`s not blind.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: No such thing as a blind trust. Take Trump Tower, one of the properties everyone knows. You can wrap it in cellophane. You can wrap it in card board. It`s Trump Tower. And if you put in a quote, unquote, "blind trust," he knows it`s there. He lives in it. He knows what his property value is. And he would know if other business interests or government activity affects it.

So, that`s why the only real thing you can do is try to sell or divulge out of assets that basically might present real conflicts, particularly, I think, around the globe where you`re going to end up in mixed situations.

Anyone who`s done business in China knows you are doing business, to some degree, with the Chinese government and its banks. That`s not as clear of distinction as we might think of more traditionally capitalist countries. So, that`s the big deal.

The other piece here that is to be fair to the Trump folks. It`s not Donald Trump`s fault that Congress has passed laws that basically exempt the president from the rules on business interest that affect most other federal employees. He didn`t write those laws.

We are now in an unprecedented situation and we may need to clean it up. And by we, the country, the Congress or the president. If he wants to take the lead which is your lead. Your opening introduction to this segment showed he`s doing the opposite. He`s blurring the lines, according to multiple reports.

But I would end the answer to this question on that point, Andrea. You certainly could have ethics` lawyers at the White House or in the office of legal counsel of the Justice Department draw up rules to deal with this so that you avoid the conflicts. They`re not doing that thus far. That`s not what we are hearing anyway.

MITCHELL: Ari Melber and Katy Tur, thank you so much.


MITCHELL: And let`s bring in tonight`s panel. April Ryan is White House correspondent with Nation Radio Urban Networks and author of the new book, "At Mama`s Knee, Mothers and Race in Black and White." Perry Bacon is NBC News senior political reporter. And Bill Kristol is editor at "The Weekly Standard."

I want to talk about the conflicts of interest and all that. But I`ve got to pick up on Hans Nichols reporting. Bill Krystal, you know the intelligence community. You were chief of staff for Dan Quayle when he was vice president.

If Rudy Giuliani has too many conflicts to be confirmed for secretary of state, the DNI has always been General Clapper (INAUDIBLE.) People who have been outside of the political world. Never has a political partisan who`s been involved in the campaign been involved in being in charge of all of our 17 intelligence agencies. It would be astounding, really.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Unusual. I was struck by that, too. And I was struck that I think Katy Tur almost buried the lead in her very interesting report which is -- it does not -- it looks as if Rudy Giuliani is no longer the leading candidate to be secretary of state.

[17:10:03] Four or five days ago, wasn`t that a done deal? He could have anything he wants. I noticed (ph) in Trump (ph), for all the talk about how loyal -- you know, loyalty is so rewarded. People who think they can have anything they want often don`t get anything they want. Which I think is, in a way, to Donald Trump`s credit, if he`s standing back and saying, who can help me do the job here rather than who campaigned the hardest for me.

But I`m very struck that Rudy Giuliani, according to Katy, is -- she`s being steered away from the notions he`s likely to be secretary of state.

MITCHELL: Does that mean it could very well be Mitt Romney?

KRISTOL: I think it could be. They had a long meeting. And Mitt Romney is a serious guy and I don`t think he would, you know, go to such a meeting unless he thought there was something worth discussing.

And, look, I think Donald Trump may realize that it would help him a lot on the international stage and I think at home. It shows seriousness, shows a willingness to look beyond the campaign and think about governing.

I mean, Barack Obama famously made who has his secretary of state? His great rival, Hillary Clinton. Almost a century ago, Warren Harding, a president who`s not gone down in history in a great way. But nonetheless, the Harding administration was a fairly impressive one, in certain ways. Who was his secretary of state? Charles Evans Hughes, a very respected statesman who had been the Republican candidate four years before.

So, I think Romney is there. There are others. And I think -- last night, I think it`s been reported that Trump met with General John Kelly, the recently retired who reinforced our head of southern command. A very diplomatic to southern command is central Latin America.


KRISTOL: Did a very diplomatic job and (INAUDIBLE) down there but a huge amount to do. He would be, I gather -- I mean, he would a good candidate, in my view, for secretary of state as well.

So -- but I think it`s -- I actually give Trump credit. He seems to be having a fairly open-minded look at these people. Not all of them he knew very well before. (INAUDIBLE.) He hasn`t met many of these generals. Jim Mattis. And trying to see how they would fit in.

MITCHELL: And we should point out, to give you a little more street credit (ph) for this after these comments. You were never a Trumper yourself. So, you -- so you`ve come to this.

I want to ask April about these conflicts of interest because Barack Obama made the point the other night that he put all of his assets into treasury bills which were --


MITCHELL: -- famously non-performing in the last couple of years as interest rates were so low. So, he basically lost money on being president of the --

RYAN: Right.

MITCHELL: -- United States to avoid any conflicts because they are so plain vanilla investments.

RYAN: Right.

MITCHELL: Donald Trump is taking a completely different take.

RYAN: Right. And that`s -- and you have to look at Barack Obama. When he came into Washington, when he came into politics, he wasn`t a millionaire. He wasn`t this businessman. He was a --

MITCHELL: He had a lot of money from book sale.

RYAN: Right, right. But he was not a billionaire. He was not a millionaire. Book sales are great but it was not the equivalent of a Donald Trump.

And let`s -- I guess the closest equivalent we -- that have to Donald Trump George W. Bush. You know, before he became governor, he divested from a lot of his baseball team, the Texas Rangers. And other items that he had. He also put his stocks in a blind trust.

And people know going in that when you become president of the United States, it`s not about making money. It`s about ruling, governing and trying to help people. It`s not about the money. Yes, you`re making $400,000 compared to how many billions of dollars.

MITCHELL: Yes, he`s taking a dollar a year.

RYAN: Yes, and he`s not taking a salary and that`s a very interesting point.

But it really begs the question about how Donald Trump will carry on as president and his family will run the business. And, at the same time, you`re thinking in the back of your head about Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. He`s got to walk this fine line to make sure there`s no conflict of interest because people are watching. And people are remembering what he said on the campaign trail calling Hillary Clinton crooked Hillary.


PERRY BACON, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, NBC NEWS: I think to build on Bill`s point. Four of the first five picks have been, essentially, people on the campaign, Flynn, Reince Priebus, people who are very loyalist. If Trump chooses not to pick -- dumps Giuliani and picks a Bob Corker or a Mitt Romney, that`s going to be a very comforting thing, I think, in a lot of ways.

It suggests he`s evaluating people at least on their merit as opposed to based on their loyalty. That would be a switch if he chose someone who was a rival or Corker who was not a big supporter. I assume the reason he`d get this job is because Rudy had been supporter number one, in a lot of ways.

MITCHELL: And what about diversity and what about the hard line national security team as well as attorney general?

KRISTOL: Yes, that`s a -- it does look like an awful lot of white males are getting this first -- those three or four. We`ll see who gets other cabinet appointments. The first Supreme Court nomination will be very interesting, in that respect. It`s all -- they`re all kind of hardliners and vary different types of hardliners.

I mean, you`ve got General Flynn who`s been sort of pro-Putin, maybe that`s an exaggeration but certainly thinks we should work with Putin against ISIS. Mitt Romney has been a fierce critic of Putin, unfairly ridiculed in 2012 when he said, I think rather (INAUDIBLE), that Putin was a huge national security threat to the United States.

So, working that out within the administration would be interesting, maybe a team of rival situations. And I don`t know if Trump is intending that or whether that`ll just sort of happen, you know?

MITCHELL: Well, he met with Chelsea Gabbard, the Democratic Congresswoman, Iraq War vet from Hawaii. We don`t know if she`s up for something. Scott Brown was in there. The former senator who is angling for the Veterans Affairs. So, there -- another white man however.

[17:15:08] He met with Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of -- education of schools -- the school`s superintendent.

RYAN: He also met with Bob Johnson, the former head of -- the founder of BET, over the weekend as well.

MITCHELL: And what do you think of that?

RYAN: Well, I talked to Bob Johnson`s personnel and they said, you know, Bob Johnson really believes that Donald Trump really wants to help inner city America. Some of the words that he was saying, he really wanted to look at issues of urban America.

But, at the same time, when you have someone like Jeff Sessions pegged for the U.S. attorney general and is already an issue still with the civil rights backlog in the Department of Justice as well as education and EEOC, it makes you wonder.

And people like Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner. She`s very concerned about how that case is going to play out now because in this administration, they had done -- in just these last couple of weeks, they decided to change the dynamic of who was on that case. Because there was a big contingent (ph) piece about if they should charge the police officers.

So, she`s very concerned with the outcome. And this administration is very clear about that they have a certain amount of time to, really, deal with certain issues before the next administration.

MITCHELL: April, Perry, Bill, stay with us. We`ll be right back to talk more about all of this.

Plus, coming up, Democrats looking for leadership roles. Discuss what went wrong and how to regroup. Michigan voters who is supported Obama, in a way, explain why they chose Trump.

And Congresswoman Debbie Dingle of Michigan joins me to discuss how Democrats can win them back. Stay tuned.


MITCHELL: And welcome back. We now know that the entire Trump family won`t be calling the White House home right after the inauguration. Here`s what the president-elect told NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell this weekend.


KELLY O`DONNELL, CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: And Mrs. Trump and Barron, when will they move to the White House?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very soon. Right after he`s finished with school.


MITCHELL: When they finish school. Well, 10-year-old Barron will finish school, the school year, at his Manhattan private school, we`re told. When does he move to D.C.? Barron will be the youngest boy to live in the White House since John F. Kennedy, Jr. He`s also the same age as Malia Obama when her father was inaugurated.

And we`ll be right back with Chuck`s trip to the Midwest and his conversation with voters who turned those blue states red.


MITCHELL: Democrats are searching for a message, a strategy, anything if they look at the wreckage of this election. Chuck Todd spoke to some voters who helped elect Donald Trump after supporting President Obama last time around. Here`s his conversation with working class voters in Macomb County, Michigan.


CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Trump and Clinton, honesty was a big thing for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honesty is a big thing for me. I think Donald is a little brash and wrong at some times. But I can accept that because he`s in my face and I believe that to be honesty, as opposed to -- as opposed to somebody shaking my hand and smiling in my face and then forget about that guy.


MITCHELL: I am joined by Representative Debbie Dingle of Michigan who represents those voters, who knows them well. Congresswoman, thank you very much for being with us.

What went wrong? What was the failure of messaging to those voters by the Clinton campaign?

REP. DEBBIE DINGLE (D), MICHIGAN: Well, first -- so, first of all, I don`t represent Macomb County. I represent the Down Rivers which has the same kind of voters that you saw in Macomb County. The working men and women who just think that too many people have forgotten about them. That we`ve forgotten that the purchasing power is actually less than it used to be. The prescription drugs have been going up.

And issues that a lot of people are ignoring but is very real in the Midwest are people`s pensions they they`ve put into a life time and that, suddenly, you`re threatened. The teamsters here have a very significant issue that people are trying to cut their pensions 60 to 70 percent. People -- they didn`t translate what was happening in Washington to them and they wanted to vote for somebody they thought was going to care about them.

MITCHELL: Now, Hillary Clinton was surprised by the upset with Bernie Sanders in that primary in Michigan. So, she should`ve been on guard that that message was not carrying, her message wasn`t carrying. And they were saying, well, President Obama bailed out the auto industry. So, thinking that that was enough of a calling card. Why wasn`t it?

DINGLE: Because it didn`t translate down to everyday people. And I don`t -- there is a frustration and anger out there that people don`t understand. Everything is a frustrating experience from, you know, if you turned 65 and you`re on Medicare, you can spend 14 hours just trying to fight with your insurance company as to who`s a primary payer.

The people don`t understand that the cost of medicine and food keeps going up. And they didn`t translate the saving of the auto industry down to how their life was better.

The fact of the matter is their job was saved. But they kept hearing about trade deals and they felt like their jobs were being shipped overseas. They didn`t see Democrats fighting for them on trade deals.

MITCHELL: As the Democratic Party looks for a new leader, Keith Ellison, one of your colleagues, has put his hat in the ring for the next Democratic chair. First of all, what do you think about Keith Ellison leading the party?

DINGLE: Well, Keith Ellison is a friend of mine. But I think it`s a long way from now until February. And we`ve got to do some deep soul searching about what went wrong and how are we going to be a party that`s an inclusive party? How are we going to keep being a voice for those that need us to be a voice? We`re disparate. We have the coast and we have the Midwest. How can we make sure we`re protecting everybody that needs to be protected but we`re also delivering for everybody?

And we need to have those real conversations. We need to have it with inside our House caucus. We need to figure out what our agenda is going to be and how we`re going to deliver. Then, when we have those conversations, who is the right person to lead the DNC?

MITCHELL: Similarly, I want to get your reaction to Tim Ryan, your colleague from Ohio, what he said this afternoon in the context of challenging Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader.


REP. TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: How many seats do we have to lose before we make a change? Eight seats? Ninety seats? A hundred seats? I mean, we`re at the point now where we`re not even a national party, at this point. I`m pulling the fire alarm here because the House is on fire and need to develop a new Democratic Party because, right now, our party is in denial of what happened last Tuesday.


MITCHELL: Do you agree with that?

DINGLE: First of all, no, I don`t agree with that. I do agree that we have to sound the fire alarm. I did say for two years that -- you know, I did because I said it to you that Michigan was competitive. But, by the way, the media missed it as much as anybody else did, too.

MITCHELL: Boy, did we.

DINGLE: But the fact of that matter is we`re a -- you know, I said it to you before the primary and the general.

[17:25:03] But here`s the reality. We`re a very disparate party. I`m very focused on the Midwest and getting seats back. But it`s a whole bunch of factors from gerrymandering to not understanding working men and women and the issues that matter to them. But there are people on the (INAUDIBLE.) We have a very active black caucus. You can`t backdoor into being a leader of many disparate voices.

We need somebody -- I actually happen to agree with President Obama today who talked about the fact that Nancy Pelosi does understand the disparate voices. And she`s got to pull us together.

Now, I do believe that we`ve got to make changes and we`ve got to take some long, hard looks inside the caucus. But it can`t backdoor into leadership races. You`ve got to have somebody who can lead us and bring us all together. It`s not, I`m OK but you`re not. It`s I`m OK, you`re OK. We are stronger as a we and need somebody who can lead us as a we.

MITCHELL: Debbie Dingle. Thank you, Congresswoman. Thanks for being with us.

And still ahead, as Donald Trump interviews candidates for secretary of state, I`ll talk to one of the men who was the running, now expects to be overseeing the confirmation hearings. Stay tuned.


MITCHELL: And more MTP DAILY right ahead. But first, Aditi Roy has CNBC "MARKET WRAP."

ADITI ROY, CORRESPONDENT, CNBC: Thanks so much, Andrea. Stocks close at record levels. The Dow rises 88 points. The S&P adds 16. The NASDAQ up 47.

[17:30:00] Travelers hitting the road this holiday week will find lower prices at the pump. According to Lundberg, prices are down six cents over the past week to $2.20 a gallon for regular.

And shares at Wal-Mart finished higher today, the company kicking off cyber Monday on black Friday starting at 12:01 a.m. So, no need to camp out if you are looking for deals. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.


ANDREA MITCHELL, JOURNALIST, ANCHOR, REPORTER AND COMMENTATOR FOR NBC NEWS: And welcome back to MTP Daily. As Donald Trump`s cabinet continues to take shape, a number of names are still being considered for secretary of state. Will Trump pick a rival? Mitt Romney traveled to Bedminster in New Jersey over the weekend to meet with the president-elect. Romney said they had a very thorough and in-depth discussion.

Or will Trump opt for a loyalist? Rudy Giuliani is a top Trump surrogate and adviser and is openly campaigning for the job. Meanwhile, President Obama spoke with Russian president Vladimir Putin yesterday in Peru at the start of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperative summit in Lima.

According to the White House, the exchange lasted only four minutes, but they say that two presidents spoke about the conflicts in Ukraine and the war in Syria. Both crisis the next secretary of state will have to navigate.

And joining me now is Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, another name being floated as the possible secretary of state. Senator, welcome. Thank you very much for joining us today. Do you think you are still in contention? It`s great to see you. Just to ask - - do you think you are still a contender? Have they talked to you about the job?

BOB CORKER, SENATOR OF TENNESSEE, CHAIRMAN OF FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Andrea, I had multiple conversations this weekend with various people but, look, that`s for them to decide and them to announce. Undergoing through a fascinating process where lots of different kinds of people with different kinds of backgrounds and outlooks and relationships to the president-elect.

I think it`s fascinating and I`m happy for them that they are doing it in the manner that they are.

MITCHELL: Le me ask you about Mitt Romney. We know famously how critical he was during the campaign. Can Donald Trump work with a rival? You have Mitt Romney on Trump`s foreign policy. Just a few quotes come to mind when it comes to foreign policy. Trump is very, very not smart. Trump`s Syria and ISIS policy ridiculous and dangerous. Trump`s foreign policy would make America and the world less safe.

Trump`s bombast is already alarming the allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. In 2012, Romney called Russia the U.S.`s greatest geopolitical foe. Donald Trump doesn`t agree with any of those things. He doesn`t agree with that or what he said about Russia.

CORKER: The only person that can decide that, there is only one person that matters here and that is president-elect Trump. And apparently, he thinks that he can and that`s all that matters. Andrea, you know, my likely role is going to be to confirm or to lead the confirmation of whoever it is that he nominates.

But it`s very evident that he feels very comfortable in talking with him and they had a private conversation where those bygones were set aside. So, again, he is to use an old term, he is the decider here. It sounds like they had a very good meeting.

MITCHELL: The meeting only lasted one hour. How could all of those issues, their disagreements of foreign policy, their past disputes be resolved in an hour?

CORKER: Yeah. You know, Andrea, there are all kinds of back channeling that takes place. In a transition like this, there are so many people that are involved in so many characters. Many of them I`m sure had conversations not only with him, but those people around him. But I can only guess, I mean, you have more insights into that I`m sure by talking to sources that are dealing with this and something that I`m not doing.

Obviously, I don`t think he would bring out someone with the stature that Mr. Romney has without having some degrees of seriousness and wishing to talk with him again. I think the process and I`ve shared this with them, the process is going through and looking at people that really represent very different things as far as who they are or where they`ve been, not necessarily huge ideological differences but pretty fascinating.

They obviously want to go through this in a very diligent way and find the exact person that fits where the nation is and where they are relative to foreign policy issues.

MITCHELL: I want to ask you about Rudy Giuliani. Do you think that Rudy Giuliani with his business interests representing some of these foreign entities, he would have to recuse himself. He has been controversial. He`s very close. He is in the inner circle. He is openly advertising that he wants the job. How he would be as secretary of state? He is not known for being tremendously diplomatic in the past.

CORKER: Again, you know, since my job is likely in this case to be trying to confirm whoever they nominate, I don`t want to handicap folks, but obviously, they have done tremendous background I`m sure into those relationships and they are looking at those things and must feel like that there is a comfort level that works for them.

Obviously, the personalities between the two gentlemen just mentioned are very, very different, but that`s what I`m saying that I think it is fascinating about what they are doing is they are going through and looking at people that represent very different approaches and trying to get the one that meshes best with president-elect Trump and where he wants to go.

The world as you know is somewhat unsettled by the election and actually an interesting time for America to take advantage and to move ahead and to reorient some of the relationships that probably need to be reoriented a little bit. So, it`s an interesting time. I think they are trying to find exactly the right person that fits that mix.

MITCHELL: Let me ask you this. If you are not chosen and if you are leading the confirmation, have they given you you an idea of their time table? Because in the past we have seen how they want you to get Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell or Hillary Clinton confirmed as secretary and they tried by January 20th to have someone in place. Have they given you that time frame, sent any briefing materials up to you?

CORKER: They have not done so. My sense is that they would want to be on a similar time frame to what occurred before. That is the first confirmation and hopefully having them in place at the same time the president is sworn in. It`s evident they are putting tremendous focus on the national security team by virtue of being the first people being announced.

I think he wants to have all of that set and moving ahead. And I think he sees the tremendous opportunities that he has that are real to really reach out and look at foreign policy in a different way than it has been looked at in the last four to eight years.

MITCHELL: Finally, the democrat Senator Ben Cardin told me today that he believes that Donald Trump has to either divest his business holdings, all his assets. That`s what the Wall Street Journal is saying, they should be liquidated because of things like the fact that he got interest in Istanbul, he got interest in Buenos Aires.

There is controversy about today, denied by the Argentinians, but the fact is he has business holdings almost everywhere in the world. The meeting he held with businessmen raising eyebrows. What do you think he needs to do?

CORKER: One of the things Ben and I won`t be doing is leading confirmation hearings on president-elect Trump. I mean, he is our president. I am certain that.

MITCHELL: Do you have to worry about conflict of interest with these foreign leaders? As foreign relations chairman, that`s in your lap.

CORKER: That`s a good point. I must sense this. They will do everything they can to make sure they are not haunted by this for the next four years. I know that they are looking at this in a very, very serious sure, and making sure they alleviate those. I know he wants to be very, very successful as a president and the last thing they want to have happen is continual stories about this.

I know they are bringing in the best and the brightest folks to deal with this. I`m sure they will deal with it appropriately. Yes, those relationships will be looked at overtime, but they are smart people. I think they understand what will pass and what won`t do that. I`m sure they are doing everything they can to make sure that they put something in place that will.

MITCHELL: Senator Bob Corker, thank you very much, thanks for being with us.

CORKER: Thank you, Andrea. Thank you.

MITCHELL: You bet. Joining me now, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul. Ambassador, thank you very much. Mitt Romney, one view of Russia, started articulating with Donald Trump and then Rudy Giuliani. Where do you find any compatibility between these candidates for secretary of state?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Obviously as you just pointed out, candidate Romney had a very different view of Russia in 2012 than candidate Trump in 2016. I`m not sure where Mr. Giuliani is with respect to Russia. And that`s the point I would make in general.

That when I worked on the transition back in 2008, people were not chosen based on some ideological litmus test or what their views of Russia or China. There was a much more personal relationship with the president, eventually became known as the team of rivals. And then we duked it out on the policy issues after we were in the administration. I suspect there is going to be a similar process here.

MITCHELL: This is also reporting by our colleague, surprising to some, that Rudy Giuliani is being considered for director of national intelligence. That DNI role is enormously powerful, one of the major post 9/11 reforms. Leading and coordinating all of our intelligence agencies, 16 agencies.

MCFAUL: Well, if he loses the musical chairs game at the secretary of state at the state department, he has been very loyal to president-elect Trump. They have to find a place for him and that process happens in transitions all the time. I would say that the intelligence organization including the CIA and the DNI, they have a different job in the inner agency process than secretary of state or secretary of defense.

They are not supposed to be making policy. In some ways, it`s a different kind of job. Even though outside, you will think, well, if you`re the head of teh CIA, you`re making policy or head of DNI. Actually, that`s not their job and that might be a better place for him if president-elect Trump decides that on policy issues, he is not the right fit.

MITCHELL: It has always been a career military, career diplomat. It never has been someone who has been in the midst of this political fray. Certainly not as actively as Rudy Giuliani. That said, Vladimir Putin is watching all of this.

As a Russian expert, what do you think he is thinking as he sees the way this cabinet is being formed and the people who are being chosen, Mike Flynn in particular for national security adviser?

MCFAUL: Of course, they are delighted that Donald Trump won and will be the next president. He has been inconsistent on a lot of foreign policies, but he has been very consistent with respect to Russia. He wants a new beginning and reset with Russia. I have no doubt that he and president Putin will try to do that.

But it`s also important to look at who the entire team will be because with the president that doesn`t have a lot of foreign policy experience, those different advisers will have a great deal of influence and particularly over at the Pentagon.

Who is chosen to be secretary of defense I think matters a great deal in terms of Russia policy because on a lot of places in the world, we disagree with Russia with respect to Iran, with respect to Syria. So I think it`s a little too early to judge what the U.S.-Russian relationship will be like and the smart people in Russia know that as well.

MITCHELL: Ambassador Michael McFaul, thank you very much. Thanks for joining us today.

MCFAUL: Thanks for having me.

MITCHELL: Coming up, The Lid. Trump advisers are offering two very different takes on a possible Muslim registry? Where does Donald Trump stand on the issue? Stay tuned.


MITCHELL: It`s time for The Lid. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach met with president-elect Trump yesterday told Reuters last week that Trump`s policy team had drafted a proposal for registry immigrants for Muslim countries. We have more proof of that today.

Check out this photo of Kobach outside his meeting with Trump yesterday, flagged by the Topeka Capital Journal, zooming in, visible in Kobach`s hand is a document entitled Department of Homeland Security. Enlisted there is a plan for barring the entry of potential terrorists, closed quote, by reintroducing the national security entry-exit registration system.

A Bush-era program that tracks immigrants from high-risk areas. That was drafted in part by Kobach while he worked for Bush 43. The panel is back here. April, Perry, and Bill. Bill, you know a lot more about this than many people. What are the risks here if that is indeed what they`re talking about?

This seems to be similar to what president-elect Trump said when he was a candidate, when he was in Scotland, that he wasn`t talking barring all the Muslims, banning all the Muslims. It was just Muslims from high-risk countries would have to be extremely vetted.

BILL KRISTOL, NEOCONSERVATIVE POLITICAL ANALYST AND COMMENTATOR: Citizens from high-risk countries I guess. In fact, lot of these countries are. Look, right now, it is easier to get into the U.S. from Great Britain than from Saudi Arabia. It`s not ridiculous for countries to have different standards. We require visas from some countries and others we have visa- free travel.

That`s certainly the case when we travel to other countries. If it`s done in a serious way and a sober way and a way that ensures American citizens that their civil rights are respected and foreigners that there`s not discrimination on the ground of religion, I think it`s fair to say we should take a fresh look at the way we`re processing people`s applications to come to the U.S.

But Trump should personally say, no Muslim registry, no discrimination on the basis of religion. It`s not that hard for the president-elect to say two or three sentences to make clear that he is abiding by basic American norms.

MITCHELL: And in fact, what has been so disturbing about this is all, Perry, we haven`t had clarity. He`s creating a team, choosing people who have had these views. He said himself in various forms.

And the data proved that the immigrants, the refugees who were processed, and it takes two years to get them through whole U.N. process as well as homeland security, that there has been really minimal problems of any kind with the Syrian refugees. They are mostly women and children.

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: This is a very serious issue, where Reince Priebus says, I`m not ruling it out. It`s not a comforting notion to Muslim-Americans who are very worried about what happens to them and relatives and people coming into the country.

The idea of removing from a Muslim registry to a list of people from Muslim countries is a semantic change and it might be an important one. But still, Donald Trump campaigned on a Muslim ban. So people are going to look at that differently than it was in 2003 after 9/11.

I do think this is a problematic notion and one that they can talk -- particularly in the climate we`re in now, we`re seeing all these hate crimes and all these things that are happening in the country. It`s time for him to say something about he wants to be the president of all Americans, not just the ones that voted for him.

MITCHELL: In fact, I asked that question of Ben Cardin earlier today on MSNBC, and he said, it is past time for president-elect Trump to speak out about the rise in hate speech, in bullying, in things that are happening in schools. There was a swastika not far from here in a school, in a very fine school district. This stuff is not just anecdotal. We are hearing it more and more often.

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT AND WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: We are. What happened, unfortunately, during this election cycle, there was a ramping up of certain rhetoric. Hateful rhetoric. And we`re now seeing it. The day after the election, we saw a spike in hate crimes.

And I talked to Cornell Brooks, the head of the NAACP, before we went on the show and he said, you know, we are watching. We are watching right now and we`re working with justice. I talked to people at justice. They said, you know, we are watching this and we are trying to make sure that we are enforcing what needs to be enforced.

They`re saying FBI as well as justice are working on this. We have to wait and see and hopefully, president-elect Donald Trump will allay fears and concerns and speak to this. He has to speak to many of these issues.

MITCHELL: Bill, it was an unusual situation in the days following the election, where you had the ADL, the anti-defamation league, working with the Muslim-American groups, and calling the for somebody to speak out.

KRISTOL: I think it would be pretty easy, honestly, for the president-elect to call 15 to 20 religious and civil leaders to Trump Tower on the conference table, have a meeting, let some of them be televised. Reassure them, we may have policy differences about immigration or other issues, but that he doesn`t intend to discriminate. He tends to respect fundamental civil liberties. BACON: He could go to a mosque, he could go to a synagogue. Reassure people and say the way President Bush did after 9/11. There`s something he could do. I know it`s only been two weeks, but we are seeing a very high increase in the number of hate crimes around this. There is something he could do in this moment as opposed to.

MITCHELL: And children are affected. Children I know are very much affected. Children of color, children of different ethnicities the. Thank you all so much. To be continued. Bill, Perry, and April. Thanks for being with us. And after the break, why congress members could have a lot less free time coming January. Stay tuned.


MITCHELL: Well, in case you missed it or them, congress isn`t on the hill all that much. There are 41 days left in 2016, but only 12 days left on the legislative calendar. Lawmakers could be looking at spending a lot more time in the nation`s capital in 2017. House majority leader Kevin McCarthy is likely to extend the workweek for the house of representatives in the first session of the 115th congress.

McCarthy is looking the at potentially eliminating some of those long weekends. The house has been in session for 113 days so far in 2016. Even with the 12 days still on the calendar, congress is on pace to be in session for the fewest number of days since all the way back in 2008.

The official schedule isn`t out yet, but with republicans leading a unified government come January, leader McCarthy could be angling to get more time for his chamber to pass favorable legislation. That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with a lot more from MTP Daily. With All Due Respect is about to start right now.