Show: MTP Daily Date: January 25, 2017 Guest: Michelle Reagan, Denise Merrill, Susan Page, Hugh Hewitt, Karine Jean-Pierre, Alfonso Aguilar, Hampton Pearson, Evan Smith, Hugh Hewitt
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: That is going to do it for this hour. I`m Steve Kornacki here in New York. And "MTP DAILY" starts right now.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s Wednesday.
A tale of two President Trumps is on full display.
(voice-over): Tonight, the two Donald Trumps. The one who`s keeping his promises, and the one who`s vanity is getting in the way of his message.
Plus, the wall. President Trump takes the first step to making good on his biggest campaign promise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And eroding climb change. Is the new administration working to freeze out U.S. climate science?
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
(on camera): Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington and welcome to MTP DAILY.
And one thing we don`t do well here is we don`t make the world turn with a smile but we`ll do our best. Welcome to a tale of two Trumps. On day six, the focus of this administration appears to be centered around two things, Trump`s agenda and Trump`s vanity.
What does not appear to be front and center on the White House agenda right now is any substantive attempt to unite a badly divided country.
Folks, the president of the United States is moving ahead with plans to fulfill campaign promises he made to his base. To build a wall along the southern border. To strip federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities. He`s threatening to send the feds to Chicago to fight crime there. And he may temporarily limit immigration from certain Muslim majority countries.
Those are the headlines today from the presidential agenda. Then, there`s also this separate and sometimes bizarre exercise of presidential vanity. President Trump, today, called for a major investigation into voter fraud. Without evidence, in an election that he won.
Why? Yesterday Republicans, Democrats and secretaries of state rejected Trump`s, quote, "belief" that there was widespread voter fraud which Trump argues cost him the popular vote.
Trump`s own legal team wrote this weeks ago, quote, "All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake." They, of course, submitted that during the whole Jill Stein recounts business.
Yesterday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer dismissed the suggestion that Trump would actually ask for a major investigation into voter fraud.
But then, Trump tweeted this this morning. I will be asking for a major investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states. Those who are illegal and even those registered to vote who are dead and many for a long time. Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures.
Well, here`s what Sean Spicer said today about this issue, including some of his response to a question about the Trump campaign lawyers` findings that there was no widespread fraud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, U.S. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think there`s a -- there`s a lot of states that we didn`t compete in where that`s not necessarily the case. If you look at California and New York, I`m not sure that those statements were -- we didn`t look at those two states, in particular.
I think we have to understand where the problem exists, how deep it goes, and then suggest some remedies to it. But right now, to, sort of, prejudge the process would, sort of, get in front of the whole need to have it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: What Spicer seems to be saying is there`s no problem with the states Trump won. But states that Clinton won are the ones that might be suspect. Yes? No?
Folks, when the president of the United States calls for a major investigation, people usually listen. Hearts stop. But what do you do when all the evidence contradicts the need for an investigation. Or is this investigation more of a political exercise to rattle Republicans on the issue of voter I.D.?
I`m joined by Arizona secretary of state, Michelle Reagan, who`s a Republican and Connecticut secretary of state Denise Merrill who`s a Democrat. She also happens to be the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.
Secretary of state Reagan, let me start with you, in Arizona. There is a concern that somehow folks who are not citizens somehow ended up voting. Can you explain how Arizona`s procedure works that would prevent something like that from happening?
MICHELLE REAGAN (R), SECRETARY OF STATE, ARIZONA: Absolutely. It`s a great question. Arizona`s voter registration system is pretty cutting edge in the fact that every time we`re registering somebody to vote, we`re bouncing it against Motor Vehicle Division to see what their citizenship status is.
So, we`re pretty confident, in Arizona, that we`ve got a wonderful system. In fact, I believe there`s other states that are trying to copy it right now.
[17:05:02] TODD: And let me -- Denise, let me go to you on this, in Connecticut. Same question to you. What do you -- what does your system do, in Connecticut, that would prevent somebody who`s not a citizen from you being able to -- how to you catch those folks?
DENISE MERRILL (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, it sounds like we have a similar system to that, in Arizona, as do many states. And I should comment that I`m speaking here today as president of a nonpartisan national association. So, you know, my own opinions aside, I would say that our election system in this country is quite secure.
And we`ve been called on -- I`ve been called on, personally, a lot in the last six months to defend it against allegations of hacking and rigging and all kinds of things. And I think it stood up pretty well.
TODD: Well -- and secretary of state Meryl, talk larger here for me on all the states. What kind of cooperation -- so for instance, how does Connecticut cooperate with Arizona to double check double rolls? How does it happen from California to New York? Walk me through that process a little bit.
MERRILL: Well, it is still a state by state system. There are some programs available through foundations and others who have tried to help us share data across state lines.
But elections are very local in this country, mostly done at the county level. And they are responsible for checking out to make sure people actually live in that jurisdiction. And -- but there`s no way to entirely cross check the entire national record across the country.
So, there are lots of people registered in more than one state. Usually that`s handled on Election Day or just before Election Day. When people re-register, they are asked, in most states, whether they`re registered in another state. And that`s how that`s handled.
TODD: Secretary of state Reagan, let me go to something that I remembered candidate Donald Trump brought up. He was not a big fan of vote by mail. Your state is one that does a lot of early voting, a lot of vote by mail.
REAGAN: We certainly do.
TODD: Walk me through -- walk me through that process. How do you prevent -- you know, how is your system secure so that, you know, Joe Smith votes, you know, October 30th. And then, Joe Smith --
REAGAN: How do you know that`s really Joe Smith?
TODD: Exactly. And that Joe Smith shows up on Election Day to try to voted. How does your system stop Joe Smith from voting twice?
REAGAN: Well, in Arizona, a lot of people like to vote by mail. And so, it`s a pretty sophisticated system and it continues to grow every election.
But, basically, the voter is signing the outside of the envelope, if they choose to vote by mail. And that signature is checked, sometimes several times, to make sure that that really is the voter.
And if there is any question, the county officials will actually call the voter and ask them. So, we`ve got that pretty well covered.
And then, in addition to that, Arizona`s got I.D. at the polls, voter I.D. at the polls. And, you know, this isn`t bringing in a long-form birth certificate or anything. This is bringing in a photo I.D., a couple pieces of mail, to prove who you are. And that seems to work really well. It`s a great safeguard.
And the system will also tell you, our ePoll books will tell someone at the polls if someone`s already voted. So, if they`ve already sent in a ballot, you know, they`re going to be alerted when they`re at the polls.
TODD: And secretary of state Merrill, explain the -- walk me through the process of the transparency aspect after the election.
So -- because there are a lot of people who`ve done their own investigating on this. There are a lot of groups that have done investigating. Is it -- how transparent are the states in putting up the voter rolls.
MERRILL: Well, it`s very transparent, in almost every state. And most of the information, both on the voter rolls and in the statement of vote that`s after the election, is all published and open to freedom of information rules and everything else.
And, in fact, most of the time, people get a little upset when they realize that their voting information is so public.
But you can hear, also, that every state has an investigatory arm. If there are allegations of fraud or misbehavior or any kind of activity on Election Day or any other time, any citizen, in most states, can bring a claim of fraud or misbehavior. And that is investigated, usually by a bipartisan commission, that is -- it seeks to take it out of the political arena.
And every state gets literally hundreds of complaints on Election Day, --
MERRILL: -- and before and after, about things they are investigated with great seriousness.
So, there are lots of processes in place. And I think the states, all of them, --
MERRILL: -- take it very seriously.
TODD: Secretary of state Reagan, let me ask you, specifically. How many complaints -- I get it if you can say, I don`t know if it`s 403 or 402. But about how many complaints did you get in 2016? And how much investigating did you do and did any of them come -- did any of them prove to be fraud?
[17:10:02] REAGAN: We always take any allegation that we hear of fraud seriously. So, sometimes whether it`s substantiated or not, the goal is just to make sure our system is as free from fraud as possible. So, that`s something we`re always going to look into.
We hear things during every election that different -- some of them are rumors. Some may be facts. But there aren`t a lot of convictions of voter fraud. And that`s actually a good thing. I like to point to that, again, that means the system`s working. That we have the laws in place to make it as free from fraud as possible.
TODD: The biggest -- can you give me the last time, secretary of state Merrill, that there was any sort of significant voter fraud that you can come up with?
MERRILL: Well, it`s a widespread belief in the education -- in the election community that voter fraud is extremely rare. It`s frequently rumored, and sometimes alleged, rarely proven.
And I think -- I went back 20 years in Connecticut`s records to see -- when this all came up about five or six years ago, to see if there really was, - -
MERRILL: -- you know, any kind of allegations, unproven or proven. And we came up with one proven case in 20 years and that was without intent. In other words, it was a student who thought she had the right to vote and she didn`t. So, that`s pretty typical.
TODD: Very quickly. Secretary of state Reagan, anything -- can you -- can you think back --
REAGAN: Probably --
TODD: -- in Arizona`s history?
REAGAN: Yes, probably the most notable was just a couple of years ago in 20 -- during the 2014 election. We did have an individual vote in two states, knowingly vote in two states. And so, of course, that was sent over to the attorney general`s office.
But we find this stuff out by comparing roles with other states that we do collaborate with. And so, the system works pretty well. It will catch people eventually.
TODD: All right. Secretaries of state Michelle Reagan and Denise Merrill, thank you both. I apologize for a little bit of my brain freeze there on names. But I wanted to appreciate you both coming on and spending time with us.
REAGAN: Yes. I`ll see at my secretary in D.C.
TODD: Oh, very good. We`ll see you --
REAGAN: There`s a big convention coming up.
REAGAN: And I`m sure this will be a topic of discussion.
MERRILL: Yes, we do.
TODD: More people will show up, I promise. All right, let me bring in tonight`s panel. Thank you. Thank you very much. Hugh Hewitt, NBC News Political Analyst, host of the "Hugh Hewitt Show" on the Radio Networks; Karine Jean-Pierre, Senior Advisor with MoveOn.org; and Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief of "USA Today."
You know, Susan, this -- look, I spent a little bit of time taking the voter fraud allegation seriously. There is just -- this would be the biggest scandal in American political history. If there were 100 instances, let alone 3 to 5 million.
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": Now, it doesn`t mean that there aren`t some out -- some names of people who died and whose names are still on the voter role. But if no one tries to vote --
TODD: How many people die -- somebody -- oh, somebody just died. Somebody just died. Somebody just died. The point is somebody days every second.
PAGE: Yes. Yes. But what does -- so, it`s true that there`s some outdated records on the voting -- in the voting lists but that doesn`t mean there`s fraud. And we`ve had a series of investigations. Do you remember in the Bush administration, there was a very serious investigation into allegations of voter fraud? And the Justice Department was rebuked by the political -- some of the political people when they couldn`t find any.
TODD: Right. Hugh, I`m going to shift it right -- because it just feels like we`re having this conversation because Donald Trump doesn`t like the fact that he lost the popular vote.
HUGH HEWITT, POLITICAL ANALYST, NBC NEWS: I think that`s exactly right.
TODD: That`s why we`re having this conversation. We`re not having it because he`s worried about voter fraud.
HEWITT: Because he tweeted about it this morning. Anecdotal evidence is evidence of anecdotes. There was voter fraud in Virginia and Indiana this year. Two pretty interesting cases that totaled probably 100 votes max. It could not have significantly impacted the election.
But the historical legacy of (INAUDIBLE) of the data (ph) machine of the (INAUDIBLE) machine in St. Louis in Missouri is what overlays --
TODD: It feeds the narrative, but there`s like -- it`s been 50 or 60 years, man.
HEWITT: I know. And so, really, the study will reveal that there was not massive voter fraud. But why does he put it out there? It satisfies his bases longing.
TODD: Karine, I actually had somebody suggest -- I`m not going to say who it is because I don`t want to out them. But a very prominent person from the previous administration. Said, you know what? All the news organizations should do like what happened in 2000 and do their own investigation into the three to five million, because the country needs to be reassured that the democracy actually is pretty safe and secure. What do you think?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR, MOVEON.ORG: That will be an interesting --
TODD: I`ve got to call my boss and say, hey, do you have extra money for us to do this in all 50 states?
JEAN-PIERRE: That seems like a lot of money. But, look, I think to Donald Trump, he doesn`t like to be told he doesn`t have a mandate, right? He doesn`t like to be told he lost the popular vote. And it really gets under his skin because he is very much a narcissist.
But he also lives in his own universe. Because what he does is he sits in front of the television and when he doesn`t see what he likes, he decides, oh, I`m going to go to Twitter and set policies. Like, do we really want that? I think that`s incredibly dangerous.
But, yet, he wants to investigate something that is not a problem that is not an issue and completely avoid the real problem which is Russia hacking our elections.
[17:15:05] TODD: Let me go to this -- if he would have ignored this, Susan, Hugh, Karine, we`d be talking about -- we`d be having a debate about, all right, is Congress going follow through on the wall? Is congress going to do this and this executive order? Is Congress going to do this?
PAGE: Well, and we`ve been serious about how he`s fulfilling the promises he made during the campaign.
TODD: Yes. It`s a (INAUDIBLE.)
PAGE: Which is why officials are supposed to do it, right? If you get elected by a promise to build the wall, it is perfectly appropriate for you to, then, follow through on that.
But that`s not what we`re talking about. And both the -- both the allegations of massive voter fraud and his concern about how many people showed up for his inauguration are things that have grabbed the attention of everybody at the expense of some of the substantive things he`s doing to fulfill what he --
HEWITT: It frustrates me because this morning, I was doing my show live when he tweeted out the first two tweets. And then, the third tweet was about the Supreme Court nominating someone who will change the future of American (INAUDIBLE.)
TODD: That is (INAUDIBLE.)
HEWITT: For 35 years.
TODD: But I love this. So, first tweet is about that, and the third one is about basically the one issue, you Hugh cared about the most over anybody.
HEWITT: And so, I would like to have people watching the 21 judges to see who`s making cases in their court calendar and cancelling appearances to find out if it`s going to be Judge Gorsuch because I don`t agree with many of their characterizations. But I do agree, don`t step on your lead. Your lead is the Supreme Court. Stay with it. Go with it.
TODD: Yes, I just -- you know, and then, you`d be having a policy debate here.
TODD: And it just seems to be he is undoing himself on this.
JEAN-PIERRE: And I think this is what -- that`s what we want. We actually want to have a policy debate because we know what he laid out in the last 18 months and some of us are very concerned. And we want to have that conversation and keep his feet to the -- to the fire.
I mean, one of the things that Donald Trump did on inauguration when he took the vow is he promised that he would be president for everyone. And we want to make sure that actually happens.
Todd: Now, let many be -- I`m going to be a little bit cynical here. Is it -- he doesn`t to want have a debate. He doesn`t like where the immigration debate might come out? So, it`s better to have a -- it`s better to throw in a shiny object and everybody runs to it?
What do you make of that theory that this is all -- that there`s a little more planning to this than we might give him credit for?
PAGE: You know, I think that is sometimes the case. I think there have been times during the campaign where there was a negative story going on and he would do something outrageous and we would, indeed, focus on that.
But this focuses on things he doesn`t want us to focus on. Like the fact that he didn`t win the popular vote or the fact that not as many people showed up for his inauguration as for Barack Obama`s first inauguration.
So, it seems to me, that`s an odd shiny object to throw out.
TODD: Well, why do you want to investigate an election you won?
HEWITT: I don`t know. And we`ve all been to concerts. There`s always a musician who will throw a song into a set that you didn`t expect, then it throws the whole concert off. He keeps throwing his concert off because he had a great first week except for a couple lousy tunes.
TODD: And everybody`s only remembering the lousy tune.
All right, Hugh, Karine, Susan, I like that. It`s a -- it`s a -- no, give me more Mick. Sorry, Keith. No more Keith. Give me more Mick.
House speaker Paul Ryan joins my colleague, Greta Van Susteren, at the top of the hour. He`s going to discuss his relationship with the new president.
Plus, plans for Obamacare, tax reform and immigration. You won`t want to miss that. We`ll have more on Trump`s actions on immigration, a deep dive on it just ahead. So, keep it here.
TODD: Welcome back.
On the day that President Trump signed multiple executive orders aimed at at least starting to fulfill several campaign promises, there are new questions about how far the Trump administration may be willing to go on some other campaign promises.
U.S. officials today confirmed to NBC News the existence of a draft executive order that would study whether to resume allowing the CIA to operate black sites which would secretly hold terror suspects abroad, essentially avoiding any constitutional concerns.
For instance, if you kept them on U.S. soil. But it also calls for a review of the interrogation techniques listed in the Army feed manual to examine whether tougher techniques could be effective.
Now, in an interview with ABC News this afternoon, President Trump said he believes waterboarding works but will rely on his cabinet to decide on whether or not to revive the practice.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about this draft executive order this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, U.S. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is not a White House document. I have no idea where it came from. But it is not a White House document.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since it is floating around --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- is he considering --
SPICER: Kristin (ph), don`t -- this is a --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- bringing back black sites and waterboarding?
SPICER: You know, I`m not going to start answering hypotheticals about documents that are floating around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Congressional sources, though, tell NBC News, defense secretary James Mattis and CIA director, Mike Pompeo, are telling lawmakers they had nothing to do with the draft order.
By the way, this order would simply -- would ask the -- essentially, ask the military to update the Army field manual every three years. It may not include any new techniques. But that`s what this order would do, reviving it so that it would be a consistent look -- to look at this consistently.
Up next, the executive orders that President Trump did sign today and what they really mean, when it comes to immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The secretary of Homeland Security, working with myself and my staff, will begin immediate construction of a border wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: At the Department of Homeland Security today, President Trump signed two executive orders, aiming to enact his marquee campaign promise on border security. Along with shifting federal funds towards initiating border wall construction, so it`s existing funds already appropriated, Trump`s executive actions will also end catch and release. They will hire 5,000 border patrol officers, triple the number of ICE agents and create an office supporting victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
In an interview today with ABC News, here`s what President Trump said about paying for the wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MUIR, ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: The American tax payer will pay for the wall at first.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All it is is we`ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico.
MUIR: When does construction begin?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As soon as we can. As soon as we can physically do it. We`re --
MUIR: Within months?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would say in months, yes. I would say in months. Certainly planning starting immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Mexico`s president has already said his country will not pay for a border wall. And just this hour, The Associated Press is reporting that, according to a senior government official, Mexico`s president is now considering cancelling his planned trip to Washington next week which was designed to be his first meeting with President Trump.
There`s a lot we still don`t know about the new administration`s immigration policies, including the future of the so-called dreamers in the United States. The executive orders today did not deal with deferred action for undocumented children known as DAKA.
And when it comes to implementing the president`s extreme vetting plan, there are plans in the works, we know that, which may include temporarily limiting immigration from certain Muslim majority countries. Those actions could come as soon as this week but we don`t know the timing for sure.
[17:25:00] I`m going to bring in Alfonso Aguilar. He`s the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles. He has vacillated on Mr. Trump. Now, Mr. Trump with us the entire 18 months, I feel like, that we`ve been on the air doing this daily show.
This is an issue you`ve worked on in the Bush administration, so you know this issue well. First, it`s interesting today what he did do on immigration and what he didn`t do. The fact that he focused it on the wall and border security and didn`t touch, yet, what to do about undocumented immigrants. What`s that tell you?
ALFONSO AGUILAR, PRESIDENT, LATINO PARTNERSHIP FOR CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES: Well, I`m actually encouraged. I think he -- the fact that he hasn`t rescinded the executive order that created DOKA. He said, right after the election, that he wanted to deal in a fair way for those who enter here illegally when there were minors. It seems to me that he`s looking for a way.
And he said he was going to find a way to find a solution for those who benefitted from DOKA. So, it could be legislation and there`s legislation introduced in the Senate by Senator Durbin and Senator Graham and Flake, has bipartisan support to provide temporary status for those who benefitted from DOKA.
So, if he gives the green light to that legislation, it could pass. Now, would it be very ironic that President Trump is in his first year in office is able to pass a legalization bill. It would be very ironic. But I think what he`s saying, it makes me think -- and not doing by not pushing in the orders, --
AGUILAR: -- he`s making me think that he`s actually thinking about that.
Now, in the meantime, I think it`s important to address border security. And the fencing along the southern border, strengthening domestic enforcement, sanctuary cities, those are issues that have to be addressed.
TODD: Let me ask you about sanctuary cities. You know, this get -- this term gets thrown out a lot.
TODD: Right? And, look, when it comes to immigration enforcement, the question is how much -- a lot of this, it`s up to local law enforcement to enforce. So, some cities say, no, you`re not kicking these folks out.
So, I want to explain a little bit what that phrase means. There`s going to be a lot of mayors that are going to defy him on this.
TODD: We`ve already -- I mean, it -- the line -- the list of mayors defying is already pretty lengthy. Is this a -- in your estimation, is this a fight that`s worth pursuing, not politically, but policy wise for the Trump administration?
AGUILAR: Absolutely. It has become a political fight for the left. Look, there`s not a model sanctuary city. Trump has been very clear. And if you look at executive order, what he`s saying is he wants to prioritize removing those -- detaining and removing those who have criminal records.
So, the idea -- what he`s talking about when he talks about sanctuary city, he means, if the local police detains an undocumented immigrant who has a criminal record, --
AGUILAR: -- the city should refer that person to federal authorities.
TODD: Now, what city isn`t doing that?
AGUILAR: Like San Francisco.
TODD: Is truly not.
AGUILAR: There are several cities that --
TODD: Where they -- where people with criminal records don`t get sent back.
AGUILAR: It`s happening. And I think San Francisco is a perfect example. And so, the idea is, again, to encourage, to ensure that -- I mean the way to do it, obviously, if you don`t cooperate, you`re not going to get federal grants and federal resources.
But I think it makes sense. And that`s the only point, when it comes to sanctuary cities. He`s not saying -- not empowering state and local police to go after undocumented immigrants who have no criminal record. What he`s saying is if you run into somebody who`s undocumented and has a criminal record, you have to refer them to the federal government so they can be removed. Who can be against that?
TODD: You explain it better than he does.
AGUILAR: Well, --
TODD: Do you think that`s an issue?
AGUILAR: -- I think that it`s important for those who advise him, certainly Sean Spicer and others, to make that point. That -- the same thing with the wall. Fencing is necessary. You know, now we talk about the wall. Through the campaign, Hillary kept saying, I want to build bridges, not walls. Well, Hillary Clinton voted for the Secure Fence Act.
AGUILAR: Every single immigration reform package that has been discussed and debated in Congress has included fencing. Fencing works and it`s necessary.
TODD: The real rubber meets the road when we start thinking about what`s going to happen on DOKA. And that`s a different situation.
AGUILAR: Correct. And if he supports legalization of those -- of the dreamers, that will be very impressive.
TODD: We`ll see. We`ll be watching, Alfonso. Good see you, man.
AGUILAR: Thank you.
TODD: Appreciate it.
Still ahead, have you noticed your local newspaper has a lot fewer pages these days? What some smart political reporters are doing to try to make sure your local politician still has someone trying to hold their feet to the fire.
Plus, you`re not going to want to miss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear Mr. President, welcome to this introduction video about the Netherlands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR, "MEET THE PRESS DAILY" SHOW HOST: Welcome back. Lots of folks have been looking for signs about how the new Trump administration may or may not address the issue of climate change. Just this hour, the Associated Press reports Trump administration is mandating data and scientific studies from the Environmental Protection Agency, undergo review from political staff before they are released to the public.
An EPA official acknowledges to NBC News that everything is subject to review by qualified personnel. This comes after the AP reported the EPA was under a media blackout. Spokesman Sean Spicer said today the administration is not restricting speech from federal agencies like EPA.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: They haven`t been directed by us to do anything. I think what they -- from what I understand, is that they`ve been told within their agencies to adhere to their own policies, but that directive did not come from here.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: Also making some environmental advocates nervous, the Centers for Disease Control postponed a climate change conference that was scheduled for next month in Atlanta. CDC tells NBC News they are considering budget priorities as they look to reschedule. And the climate change section on the official White House website now directs to a blank page that thanks people for their interest in the issue and says stay tuned.
The EPA tells NBC News its lack of social media posts and press releases is simply a "temporary pause." Obviously a lot of folks are keeping their eyes on it. In fairness, let`s check back in in a couple of weeks and see if this is still the case. We`ll have more MTP just ahead, but first, it was a historic day for the markets. Hampton Pearson with 20,000 different pieces of detail.
HAMPTON PEARSON, REPORTER, CNBC: You got that right, Chuck. The Dow closed above the 20,000 mark for the first time ever about two months after closing above the 19,000 level. The S&P rose by 18 pushing further into record territory. The Nasdaq adding 55 points to end at another new high as well.
Shares of Dow component Boeing helping boost the industrial today. The aerospace giant posting revenue and earnings that beat estimates sending the stock up more than 4 percent. And eBay is surging after hours. The company`s results were in line with expectations. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
TODD: Welcome back to MTP Daily. We`ve spoken a lot on the show about the fractured media landscape in this country and while there seems to be more outlets than ever here in Washington covering national politics, that is not the case at the state, local, and regional levels. Local newspapers and TV affiliates are cutting back on state house reporters and city council reporters and investigative reporting units all over the country.
Take a look at this from our friends at the Pew Research Center in 2014. Newspapers saw a 35 percent decline in the number of state house reporters since 2003. When it comes to full-time reporters, only 47 percent of all state house reporters in the country cover that beat full-time. But in recent years, there`s been a growing number of non-profit news organizations attempting to fill that void.
Joining me now are two leaders in that landscape. Jon Ralston is the recent founder and editor of the Nevada Independent, it`s a nonprofit news site that launched earlier this month. You know Jon well here. He`s been an NBC News and MSNBC political analyst. And Evan Smith, CEO and co-founder of the Texas Tribune, a nonprofit media organization in Austin, Texas which employs the largest state house news bureau in the country.
The Texas Tribune was founded in 2009. Jon Ralston just founded his this year. Gentlemen, welcome to you both. Jon, let me start with you since you just started. Why did you do this? What void got created in Nevada because you are the -- you are a one man band it seemed like for a long time covering Nevada politics. What changed that said I have to do this?
JON RALSTON, FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF NEVADA INDEPENDENT, NBC AND MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well I got old and I needed help, Chuck, what do you think it was?
RALSTON: But seriously, you know, you`ve said those statistics, they`re very apt here to the newspapers in Nevada have been cutting back for a while. And I really wanted to cover the legislative session to begin with. That starts in about two weeks. We meet every other year here, very primitive, but it`s 120 days. I wanted to get the best possible team I could. I wanted -- I conceived this idea of a nonprofit site.
Thought of three young journalists I wanted to hire to do it. I hired two great former AP journalists and another one was working at the Las Vegas Sun and they`re already out there producing a ton of copy. I got a Las Vegas based reporter. A phenomenal manager editor. We are just trying to go and cover the news in a way that hasn`t been covered here.
And as you well know, Chuck, and Evan knows this too, never has our profession been hurting so much in terms of not being truthful or being seen that way, not being transparent. So we are trying to make our brand truth, transparency, depth. I have to tell you real quickly that Evan very graciously when I first announced this helped me out, gave us some great ideas, and yes, we liberally stole from the Texas Tribune site. TODD: No. I was just going to say, Jon, I mean, this is how I want to introduce Evan. Evan, you`re sort of -- you`re the -- you`re one of the big 21st century pioneers in this. You took $4 million, you now got a budget of $42 million. You`re basically now the dominant state news organization arguably for state politics in Texas.
I understand why there`s a void in Nevada. How did it happen in Texas? Houston Chronicle, Austin American Statesman, Dallas Morning News, three quality newspapers over the last 25 years. What happened?
EVAN SMITH, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF TEXAS TRIBUNE: Yeah, and still quality newspapers and still doing everything they possibly can to cover this stuff. The problem is the state has grown. The problems of the state have gotten more complicated and complex, not less. And so we need more coverage. There was not enough coverage.
In those good papers and elsewhere when we started in 2009. We started in November of `09, Chuck, with 17 full-time 11 reporters. Today, we have 60 full-time, 35 reporters. All we do is public policy politics and state government. The demand is there, the need is there. We`re trying to solve the supply problem in more than seven years in. We`re making a real go of it.
TODD: Jon, why is nonprofit the way to go in this and I say this because, you know, it`s one hand to get individual donation. Evan got quite a few corporate donors and some university donors. That can get tricky too. Why nonprofit?
RALSTON: Yeah, it is tricky, Chuck. There`s no doubt about it. I thought about it for a long time. And I think I decided to go nonprofit for several reasons. One is I think it sends a message that we`re not in this to make money. Secondly, I have to be honest, we formed the 501C3 because corporations like contributing to 501C3 because they can conduct it. We`re following the Texas Tribune model here, Chuck.
We`re being totally transparent about our donors. Every donor, corporate and otherwise, is being disclosed on the site. People conceal our donors. We`re going to be on that to disclose that the donor is mentioned in the story. We`re going to make mistakes. We`ve said that up front.
But the other thing, Chuck, and I think this is really important, and you know this too, is to be interactive with our readers to let them have a window into what we`re doing, let them criticize us, don`t be defensive, and really do it in a different way.
TODD: You know, Evan, I guess the other part of this that both you and Jon had personas. You had soem connections you were able to sort of build this from scratch. And the technology of today you can do that. Can this be done without, you know, can this done without it being somebody of your prominence in the state. I mean, do you need that in order to get this off the ground? SMITH: Well, it helps, but I don`t think it`s a necessary condition. You know, I think you can get really great journalists together, along with very important great business people, the stuff will not pay for itself. The economic model is as important to build as the content. And I want to echo what Jon said about the importance of nonprofit.
Look, we are a public service journalism organization. We are guided by a public service mission. We are making our community healthier the way a lot of nonprofits do. And that`s the pitch we make. The individuals foundations and corporations. The need exists in all 50 states for more coverage of this in the capital community and not every one of this organization is going to be the same.
The Nevada Independent is not exactly like the Texas Tribune. They`re doing something similar, but Texas is different from Nevada, as California and New York are different. So every place can find their own model for what works best. What is absolutely the same across 50 states is the need for more accountability journalism.
TODD: Absolutely. I always say, the more local you go, the more corruption you may find. Jon Ralston, go to the Nevada Independent, go to the Texas Tribune, and if you`re a working journalists and you`re doing okay, don`t be afraid to help out some good journalism going on in Nevada and Texas. Anyway, guys, good luck to you, thank you both.
SMITH: Thanks, Chuck.
RALSTON: Thanks, Chuck.
TODD: Still ahead, going Dutch. Why I`m obsessed with an international welcome message to president Trump. Stay tuned.
TODD: Tonight, I`m obsessed with a really great piece of political satire. A Dutch satirical TV show put together a fake tourism video to introduce president Trump to the Netherlands. Here`s just a piece of it.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear Mr. President, welcome to this introduction video about the Netherlands. It`s going to be a great video. It`s going to be absolutely fantastic. We speak Dutch. It`s the best language in Europe. We`ve got all the best words. All the other languages, failed.
This is the Afsluitdijk. It`s a great, great wall that we built to protect us from all the water from Mexico. Nobody builds oceans better than we do. This ocean, it is so big, you can even see it from the moon. And we made the Mexicans pay for it. It`s true.
We also have a disabled politician for you to make fun of. People tell us very important people. They tell us we`ve got the best tax evasion system God ever created. It`s just unbelievable. You should tell your sons to put all your -- sorry, their businesses here. We totally understand, it`s going to be America first, but can we just say the Netherlands second.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: The show posted two versions of the clip online, one has been up for two days, the other for three and combined. They`ve been watched more than 10 million times. We`ll be right back.
TODD: Time for "The Lid." Let`s bring back our panel. Digest the last few seconds. Maybe a couple of other things. Hugh Hewitt, Karine Jean-Pierre, Susan Page. Hugh, immigration. On one hand, it`s the cornerstone of his base, right? It is what electrified Trump. What does he have to do and what can he get away with do you think politically?
HUGH HEWITT, SALEM RADIO NETWORK HOST: Executive order is terrific. I`ve been an advocate for defense for 10 years. It is finally going to get built. It makes it possible for him to then go, leave DACA in place, expand the sweeping regularization, realign American politics.
He also promises within 180 days a study on what we need at the border that can be comprehensive and one that we needed for a long time because people talk in generalities about the border and I`m looking finally for some specifics. So I love the executive order and I love it sets up liberalization on DACA that people do not expect from Donald Trump.
TODD: Karine, you buy that? You think that is where we could head? I think we might be headed there. KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR AND NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON AT MOVEON.ORG: I think we might -- we just don`t know. My sense is we`re probably heading there. Look, in regards to the wall, it`s ineffective policy. It never has worked. U.S. taxpayers are going to be paying for it. And I just -- it`s just an awful, awful policy that`s just -- I don`t think it`s -- of course, I don`t think it`s a good idea, but we`re paying for it and it`s going to be ineffective. SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR USA TODAY: You know, I think we may see more aggressive deportation policies not just for people who have criminal records. The executive order says that all illegal immigrants would be subject to deportation. Obviously you set priorities but if you greatly gin up the services, law enforcement services along those lines, this is not just Obama`s policy.
The question on DACA, you know, his language on that has been soft. He`s indicated respect for families and that sort of thing. And he didn`t include a reversal of that today. But I don`t think it`s clear what he`s going to do. And I think if he does it, if he accepts (inaudible) with the people who brought him to the stand.
TODD: By the way -- go ahead.
JEAN-PIERRE: The relationship with the Mexico president. What is that going to look like if he keeps pushing this they`re going to pay for it?
TODD: Well, it`s deeper than that. Look, politically, I don`t think he can come. Like we have to remember. Our politics is local and politically the Mexican president can`t be looking like he`s hat in hand to the guy whose many Mexican residents believe is insulting him. This is a tricky situation because he does need Mexico`s cooperation if he wants to renegotiate NAFTA.
HEWITT: I`ve crossed that border many, many times in the Southern California. I`ve gone through that many, many times. There is a lot of cross-border traffic. Billions of dollars depend on a good relationship from both sides. Rex Tillerson when he is confirmed will have to be down there in a hurry if the Mexican president.
TODD: Imagine the secretary of state has to spend a lot of time dealing with Mexico.
TODD: Normally -- usually that isn`t high priority because you don`t need it.
HEWITT: But I do -- I go back to the famous words of President Obama to Eric Cantor, we won, you lost on the fence. The fence was his key signature deal. He has to build it and he`s going to build it.
PAGE: And we know how he`s going to make Mexico pay for it. That`s because the executive order calls for every U.S. agency to figure out what aid we`re giving to Mexico and that`s going to be I think the tool that he`s going to use to say that Mexico is paying.
TODD: I have to say, though, there is a big, a chunk of people, Karine, in Mexico who feel as if they`re being deported from North America.
TODD: This is a political conversation that`s happening down there because they feel like, oh my God, you`re going to rip NAFTA apart, now, I mean, this is going to cause a lot of turmoil in the Mexico-America relation.
JEAN-PIERRE: That`s exactly right. It has caused a lot of turmoil over the last several months since Donald Trump brought this in. As we said, it was the hallmark of his campaign. This is the problem that he`s going to have, it`s like how are you really going to have a relationship with Mexico when you continue to push this wall and saying Mexico is going to pay for it when actually the taxpayers are paying for it, we are.
TODD: But short-term politics, he has to get the wall built, he`s right. Anyway, thank you, guys. Great conversation. After the break, hats off to a TV legend. Stay tuned.
TODD: Finally tonight, if you`ve been anywhere near a TV or radio or smart phone today, you haven`t missed it. We lost the woman who was arguably one of the two or three most beloved television actresses of our time. Mary Tyler Moore died today from pneumonia at the age of 80.
She was a star in two of the best sitcoms in television history, for which she won six of her seven Emmy awards. Her viewers of the black and white era, Mary Tyler Moore was Laura Petrie, the savvy and chic wife of comedy writer Rob Petrie on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Laura broke the mold of the yes, dear wife, that had been a staple to TV sitcoms.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
MARY TYLER MOORE, ACTRESS: Rob, wasn`t that exciting?
DICK VAN DYKE, ACTOR: It was embarrassing.
MOORE: Oh, Rob, did you hear what she said about me? Behind every great man.
VAN DYKE: Is a woman with a big mouth.
(LAUGHTER) TODD: It also may have well been the first TV comedy in which it was occasionally obvious that the married couple were actually sexually attracted to each other, God forbid. Then in the `70s, she broke another mold on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Mary Richards was an independent, smart, unmarried working woman, who is not at all obsessed with getting her MRS degree. The was wrote as (ph) job. The scenes at her workplace, WJM TV in Minneapolis are the stuff of TV legend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve got spunk.
MOORE: Well. I hate spunk.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: Mr. Grant. Sorry. Of course, she did much more than TV. But tonight, we say good-bye especially to Laura Petrie and Mary Richards.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to make it after all. You`re going to make it after all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Now all we`re missing is the meow. Anyway, I`m not going to meow to Greta. "For The Record with Greta" starts right now. Greta, it`s all yours.