Show: MTP Daily Date: January 27, 2017 Guests: Jorge Castaneda, Chris Cillizza, Jennifer Rubin, Yamiche Alcindor, Jeanne Mancini, Xavier Becerra
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: All right. This does it for this hour. Sorry for going long, Chuck, MTP DAILY starts right now.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s Friday. Two American allies, two very different White House strategies. Tonight, a tale of two relationships. President Trump has a warm welcome for one key ally across the ocean, but a cooler reception for the country that`s connected to the south.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re no longer going to be the country that doesn`t know what it`s doing.
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TODD: Plus, a historic first.
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MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Life is winning again in America.
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TODD: The first ever sitting vice president to address the and annual March for Life.
And President Trump`s first week in the White House. Characterized just like his campaign. A bit chaotic.
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington. Welcome to MTP DAILY and welcome to President Trump`s baptism by fire on the world stage. With the president, himself, fanning some of the flames.
Just moments ago, President Trump signed two executive orders. We haven`t seen the text yet, but Mr. Trump said one order is designed to give the military more resources and the other establishes new vetting measures for entry into the United States aimed at combatting terrorism. We haven`t seen the text of this order, so we don`t know that the specifics yet of which countries. On top of all that, the president continues to put pressure on the third biggest trading partner, Mexico, calling for, one, the immediate construction of a wall on the southern border, and, two, a major overhaul of trade deals, all while publicly shaming them from the bully pulpit. As part of an interview taped today and airing this weekend on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Mr. Trump threatened to impose a massive tax on Mexican goods. A proposal which the White House kind of walked back yesterday but didn`t, and I`m going to get into it what it means. But here`s the exchange just moments ago.
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DAVID BRODY, ANCHOR, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: This 20 percent border tax, we`ve already released this tax on Mexico or imports from Mexico into the United States. How serious are you about something like that?
TRUMP: Well, it`s something that I have the right to do. It`s something that I can impose if I want. We are getting along actually very well with the Mexican government. We`ll see what happens.
BRODY: Do you believe that that is strong move going forward? Do you see or do you --
TRUMP: Well, it`s an option. It`s certainly an option. I can do that. I can do it if I want. But we`re dealing with the Mexican government.
I just had a conversation with the Mexican government, actually with the president of Mexico. He`s a very good man. And we`ll see where It all goes.
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TODD: And here`s what the president said had a joint press conference with the British prime minister, Theresa May, this afternoon after his first meeting with the foreign leader at the White House. And just hours after he spoke on the phone with the Mexican president.
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TRUMP: As you know, Mexico, with the United States, has out-negotiated us and beat us to a pulp through our past leaders. They`ve made us look foolish. We have a trade deficit of $60 billion with Mexico. On top of that, the border is soft and weak. The drugs are pouring in. We are going to renegotiate our trade deals and we are going to renegotiate other aspects of our relationship with Mexico. And in the end, I think it`ll be good for both countries.
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TODD: That came just hours after President Trump tweeted earlier that, quote, "Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits and a little help on the very weak border must change now." All this said, there were some signs that President Trump and the Mexican president perhaps looking to smooth things over, at least publicly. Mr. Trump said he spoke with President Pena Nieto for roughly an hour today. He described it as a very good call. And he also insisted he has a great personal relationship with the Mexico president and the Mexican people. And in their readout of the phone call, the Mexican government said that Mr. Trump had agreed to something of a truce, at least publicly, over the back and forth about the wall. Saying quote, "The president`s also agreed to, at this point, not to speak publicly about this controversial issue." Is that a promise President Trump made? If so, can it be kept? Folks, let`s be serious here. The stakes don`t get bigger than this for an American president. Mexico is our second biggest export partner, our third biggest trading partner and our third largest supplier of foreign oil, hint, hint. There are massive implications for U.S. consumers and regional stability. There are signs that anti-American political forces are churning in Mexico in reaction. Their next presidential election is a couple years away but, boy, that can make a hard shift to, sort of, anti-American leftism. [17:05:14] There are dozens of states in this country, red states and blue states from California to Ohio, whose economies are tied to Mexican markets. These are just the states that count Mexico as their biggest or second biggest export market. That`s a whole heck of a lot of U.S. territory, folks. I`m joined now by Jorge Castaneda, who was the foreign minister of Mexico. And he is now a professor at NYU. Jorge, always good to see you, sir.
JORGE CASTANEDA, PROFESSOR, NYU, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF MEXICO: Great, Chuck, to see you also.
TODD: All right, let me start with this. This 20 percent ex tax, export tax. The argument, when you talk to Paul Ryan, speaker Paul Ryan, this really is his brain child. It would be something that would apply to all countries, not just Mexico.
Their argument is, hey, every other country does this to U.S. exports. What kind of tax does Mexico put on U.S. exports?
CASTANEDA: We don`t have a tax on U.S. exports, strictly speaking, Chuck, because of NAFTA. What we have in Mexico is a value-added tax, VAT, like in Europe, which the United States does not have.
So, all imports from the U.S., and stuff we import in Mexico from the U.S., are subject to a VAT tax in Mexico of 16 percent. From the U.S. and from all over the world, by the way. So, there`s no discrimination against the United States. TODD: Right. CASTANEDA: This is a function of our tax system in Mexico. It`s not a tariff, and it`s not linked to our foreign trade. It`s almost identical to what the -- all of the countries of the European Union and other countries in the world have.
TODD: Well, the argument that some in the Trump administration, though -- as you can tell, President Trump`s not yet sold on this idea. He`s pondering it.
But speaker Ryan is sold on this idea. They say, hey, wait, if this is what the U.S. does across the board, that this is no less fair than what you described with a vat. What would you -- what would you say to that?
CASTANEDA: Yes. Well, he`s not entirely wrong. The question is, one, whether this will benefit U.S. consumers, probably not. And, two, what effects it will have on trade from other nations with the United States? Especially if, one, you have a free trade agreement which is a case between the United States and Mexico, and Canada, by the way.
And I`m not entirely clear as -- whether this would be allowed or not. And, secondly, whether it really does conform to WTO, a World Trade Organization, rules which is not that clear either.
So, it`s not just a domestic legislative issue in the United States. It has to do with American commitments, legal commitments, both on bilateral trade agreements and on multi-lateral commitments that the U.S. has made over the year, Chuck.
TODD: Tell me this. Look, we know that the current president of Mexico, he has his own popularity issues. We know he`s getting a lot of pressure. There is almost unanimous opposition, I think, to President Trump in Mexico. He`s not very popular in the country.
How -- explain the political pressure that Pena Nieto is under right now.
CASTANEDA: There`s three things we should try to remember, Chuck. One, there has never been a U.S. president so -- who has taken office so soon who is as well known everywhere in Mexico as Donald Trump is.
You know, American presidents are not necessarily household names in Mexico until a year or two or three after they have taken office. Trump is. Secondly, he is immensely disliked in Mexico. He has a disapproval rating, which is worse than Pena Nieto`s which is not easy. Pena Nieto`s around nine or 10 percent approval. Trump is about 3 percent. TODD: Good grief. CASTANEDA: People really hate him here. Yes, it`s really terrible. And, third, you know, Mexican national sentiment against an American bully is a very easy thing to awaken. A lot of us have worked hard over the last 25 years, Chuck, to let TODD: Yes. CASTANEDA: -- leave our Mexican resentments in the past. They were justified resentments, justified anger over what happened in the 19th century, blah, blah, blah. We put it behind us. But, now, if Trump wants to really awaken this again, it`s right there ready to be awakened.
TODD: I`m going to read you something from "The Wall Street Journal." I have to say, it`s the first time I heard someone, we blah, blah, blahed our way through the Mexican-American War. But you`re right. It`s cable. We have an issue of time here.
But let me read you "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page which I`m sure you read. This is the moment that Mexico`s left, dormant, but not dead, has been waiting for, as anti-American Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador prepares to run for president again in 2018. [17:10:04] Mr. Trump is a foreign affairs neo-fight, but he is already learning that nations can`t be bullied, like GOP candidates or CEOs. They have their own nationalist political dynamics and when attacked, they push back. The pro-business sector of Mexico, I got to think, is panicked now about what the populist anger may happen, correct?
CASTANEDA: Not only the pro-business sector, which is the one "The Wall Street Journal" is most worried about of course, but also, you know, professionals, Mexican -- everyday Mexicans and men on the street, people who have families in the United States. One of every four Mexicans has family in the United States. People who work or teach in the United States like myself, part of the year.
You know, we`ve worked real hard over these last few years to change this. And we don`t want that leftist, anti-American sentiment to spring again. We want a strong national sentiment in Mexico, of course we do. Many people believe in Mexico that, perhaps, our policies, our economic and social policies have been too conservative over the past 20 years. They may be true but this is playing with fire. What Trump is doing is not only risking awakening the sentiment in Mexico, -- TODD: Yes. CASTANEDA: -- but awakening instability in Mexico. The U.S. should count its blessings.
TODD: Very quickly. If you were currently foreign minister and you were asked about -- give me a retaliatory measure. You were asked by your president. I need a tangible retaliatory measure, a tangible retaliatory measure against the United States to, sort of, send the message here, don`t do this. What would you recommend?
CASTANEDA: I`d recommend three one after the other. The first one would be cease communications between the existing American security military and drug enforcement people in Mexico and their Mexican counterparts. The Americans can stay here, but we won`t take their phone calls anymore.
If that doesn`t work, then I`d take half of the D.E. (ph) agents, I`d say probably 50 out of 100, and have them leave. And if that doesn`t work, then we`ll start looking at the central American immigrant situation on Mexico`s southern border, which we -- TODD: Yes. CASTANEDA: -- have been helping the U.S. on since July of 19 -- of 2014. Frankly, I don`t see any reason why we should continue to do that. TODD: OK. CASTANEDA: If the kids from El Salvador want to seek asylum in the U.S., let them do so.
TODD: Well, and, all right, there it is.
Jorge Castaneda, former foreign minister there in Mexico. Always appreciate your views. Thanks for coming out, sir. Good to see you.
CASTANEDA: Thank you, Chuck.
TODD: Let me bring in the panel very quickly, Chris Cillizza, MSNBC`s Political Analyst, and , of course, Mr. Fix at "The Washington Post;" and Yamiche Alcindor, MSNBC Contributor, also, of course, a reporter at "The New York Times;" and Jennifer Rubin, Opinion Writer for "The Washington Post."
OK. Chris Cillizza, I thought it was interesting there, and it was that last answer there from Jorge, that I have heard from others of what would the most likely retaliatory things that can be done. And that`s the can of worms that may be opened up here is a larger immigration problem.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST, THE FIX WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, and I heard you earlier on Andrea`s show talking about for every action there`s an equal and opposite reaction, right? We all learned that and then forgot it. You know, we learned it -- my son`s learning --
TODD: Right. CILLIZZA: -- this week in fourth grade, he`s asked to memorize Newton`s laws. TODD: Right. CILLIZZA: There are things that my second grader asks and I can`t remember. So, that`s -- but the point is that politics operates under that as well. This idea that we will simply put a 20 percent tariff, let`s say. Whether that`s a thought, a balloon float, or a policy proposal, we do that, and Mexico will just say, well, that`s it, we give up. This seems unlikely. I mean, and that`s the problem is this is a moving fungible thing. And this idea that you can just dictate terms is not how it works.
TODD: The issue is throwing the wall in with the tax thing. I mean, this tax thing, there`s a lot of it -- and I see how it`s politically appealing. I don`t know if it`ll work but I get why it`s (INAUDIBLE.)
CILLIZZA: Also, not totally new and not Donald Trump.
TODD: No, no, no.
CILLIZZA: I mean, this is not something he brought to the table.
TODD: That`s right. CILLIZZA: It`s been there.
TODD: They -- both left and right have come up --
CILLIZZA: Yes. TODD: -- with over the -- over the -- over the years.
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, this is just a grab bag of stuff. Let`s start with the wall. The wall in and of itself is unnecessary.
So, what kicked this off was something that was a boondoggle that is unnecessary because we now have net-net (ph) immigration going to Mexico, not from Mexico. So, the notion that we`re going to build this thing. We`re going to create a fear in Mexico. We`re going to create all kinds of legal environmental issues in the United States. That wasn`t a good idea to begin with. Then, you move on to this tariff idea. And it`s ironic that Paul Ryan, of all people, would have the nerve to come up with a proposal like this which is the definition of picking winners and losers. It is the definition of the government meddling in the economy. [17:15:00] It is going to be born not by Mexico but by American construct (ph).
TODD: And, in a sense, this is cross the board.
RUBIN: Yes. TODD: That they`re proposing. RUBIN: Yes, right. TODD: Not just for Mexico. It is for all exports.
RUBIN: And it would be across the board, not a good idea. Because it is going to be paid by parents who are buying --
TODD: Yes. RUBIN: kids clothes at target, not by the billionaires. And the notion that he`s going to give this as part of the tax reform bill, when he`s giving billionaires of dollars millions in tax cuts, and he`s going to enact this which falls on the American`s consumer. That`s just political nightmare.
TODD: Go ahead, Yamiche.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, the thing that I heard from -- that you said, I think was most interesting to me was this idea of who`s going to pay for all these issues.
His base, and I think a lot of the people out there who voted for him, they don`t understand, at least in my conversation with them, what this means if we start doing stuff like putting these tariffs on there. Who`s going to pay for this. What this wall means.
I think what they really are saying is, oh, well, Donald Trump`s doing a good idea -- doing a good job because he`s doing all this stuff. I was just out for the March for Life. TODD: Yes. ALCINDOR: And people are so excited about the fact that he`s doing all this stuff, but they don`t really understand the details.
TODD: But in fairness, I don`t think any of us know exactly how it`s going to operate. Look, there is a larger conversation to be had.
And I thought Joe Klein`s column earlier this week captured it. As a society, as we race towards automation and sort the innovation, have we gone so fast, right, that we have left the working class? Right. We just don`t have enough jobs. And it`s, like, are we in a societal thing?
So, will we have the trade-off of, I`ll pay a little bit more if my wages go up? The question is, will that actually happen?
CILLIZZA: What typically happens -- and I always say typically because typically Donald Trump isn`t president of the United States. Right? So, what typically happens in these situations is you sit in a focus group. You look at the poll. Let`s take health care. Do you think everyone should be covered? Broadly, people will say yes. You know, that`s a good idea. Can we raise your taxes a little bit to fund it? Well, I mean, I`m not going do --
TODD: What if I raise her -- but if I raise her taxes to fund your health care.
TODD: Yes. Yes.
CILLIZZA: Yes. And so -- that is a -- so, the rub is that. And I`m not sure he has to -- you know, people say, well, he`s not -- he`s not laid out all the specifics yet. Well, I mean, it`s like seven days and five hours into his presidency.
But that`s where it`s going to be the issue. Is where does it come from? How do they sell it? Trump is a better salesman than Barack Obama, politically speaking.
TODD: Yes. CILLIZZA: Right? Takes credit for everything. So, how do they sell it and do people buy it?
RUBIN: There`s a fundamental disconnect. Mexico is not the reason why we have this problem. Automation is. You just said it, Chuck.
It has very little to do with trade. Donald Trump has gotten it into his head. He`s sold is to his base. That our jobs are being stolen by Mexico. He thinks the trade deficit is some bad thing. I have a trade deficit with Safeway Grocery Store because I pay the money and they give me groceries. We`re both better off for it. It`s not inherently a bad thing. The problems in America are not going to be solved by starting a trade war with Mexico that`s going to be borne by his base. They`re going to be dealt with by education, training, infrastructure. Those are the heart of things. They`re not flashy and they didn`t work, the reason why he got elected.
ALCINDOR: But he`s such a good -- in some ways, he`s such a good salesman that I think that he`s -- if he can sell this to people and say, you know what? I did this. And this is -- I took care of you. And I don`t think people -- when I talk to people in Ohio or in Pennsylvania, they don`t understand that the factories close because your job didn`t exist anymore.
They`re -- he`s caricatured Mexico in a way that has gotten people to buy into this idea that they are all criminals. They`re all terrible. They`re coming over the border, doing all these terrible things. And what I hear the idea that there`s going to be this anti-American sentiment in Mexico, it makes sense. If you`re caricatured a whole country, then of course they`re going say that they`re going to push back 2018.
TODD: That was the most -- I`m going to pause here. But that was the most important thing that I thought somebody who has served in Mexican government can explain better than we can. Which is Anti-American sentiment is always under the surface in Mexico. It doesn`t take much to bring it -- bring it (INAUDIBE.)
CILLIZZA: He`s giving an ample. Ample.
TODD: You guys are sticking around for the hour.
Coming up, prolife activists take their message to the nation`s capital. And they get some major support from the administration. The president of the March for Life joins me next. Stay tuned.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TODD: Welcome back. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during this conversation. Tomorrow, President Trump is expected to speak by phone, but the man it feels like we`ve been talking about nonstop since Election Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Anyway, President Trump is also scheduled so speak with the French president, Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. But, of course, it`s that Trump-Putin phone call that everybody`s wondering about. It comes after his senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway, apparently acknowledged this morning in an interview with Fox News that the administration is, indeed, considering lifting sanctions against Russia put in place by President Obama. Which sanctions? That is unclear. Mr. Trump himself dodged when asked about that issue of sanctions today.
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TRUMP: We`ll see what happens. As far as the sanctions, very early to be talking about that. As far as, again, Putin and Russia, I don`t say good, bad or indifferent. I don`t know the gentlemen. I hope we have a fantastic relationship. That`s possible. And it`s also possible that we won`t. We will see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: He doesn`t know the gentleman. A long way from the old stable mate`s conversation back there in the campaign anyway. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PENCE: This administration will work with a Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers. And we will devote those resources to health care services for women across America.
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TODD: Vice president Pence became the highest ranked government official to ever address the March for Life in person. According to organizers, 10S of thousands gathered in D.C. today for this annual event. No doubt they are encouraged about this administration`s early talk on trying to have more anti-abortion rights policy moves. And one of his first acts after being sworn in, President Trump reinstated and broadened the so-called Mexico City policy that denies U.S. foreign aid to programs or groups that provide abortion procedures. President Trump tweeted out his support for the rally this morning. Joining me now, Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life. Jeanne, welcome to -- welcome to the show.
JEANNE MANCINI, PRESIDENT, MARCH FOR LIFE: I`m happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
TODD: What`s it -- you know, for years, I`ve always felt as if the March for Life paid a lot of lip service by Republican administrations. You get -- you get the phone call. But it seemed different this time. Do you feel like it`s different this time with --
MANCINI: I absolutely do.
TODD: -- Vice President Pence? MANCINI: Well, I don`t believe that the March for Life has ever come up in a White House press briefing until in this weekend. I think that the White House made a concerted effort to talk about it and to ask the media to report on it. And then, to send both Kellyanne Conway and the vice president was just a huge sign of support for us. So, yes, absolutely.
TODD: Symbolism is big.
MANCINI: Yes. TODD: But symbolism is -- it doesn`t -- it only is symbolism if it doesn`t meet with actions. MANCINI: Right. TODD: So, give me your priority list. What do you want to -- what do you think that President Trump and this Republican Congress can do to advance your agenda? What are some specifics that you`re asking for? [17:25:07] MANCINI: The first is Supreme Court Justice, so number one. Number two, enacting or signing into law No Tax Payer Funding for Abortion Act which was passed at the House this week. TODD: Yes. MANCINI: Three would be enacting, when passed, late term abortion ban, paying capable bill. So -- and that`s popular with the American people. The poll this week came out saying 77 percent of Americans are in favor of limiting abortion, at most, in the first three months of pregnancy. And then, fourth, defunding our nation`s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, as long as they continue to do abortions.
TODD: Let me ask you this, though. On the issue of when did the -- who should make this decision about abortion procedures? Government officials or medical officials?
MANCINI: Oh, it`s a great point, yes.
TODD: Yes. And this is -- I think that -- let`s try to take the politics out of this and I know it`s very difficult. But I think there`s a lot of discomfort about the idea that a politician makes that decision.
MANCINI: In terms of the timing is what you`re saying.
TODD: The timing, exactly.
MANCINI: So, well, the truth of the matter is that the large majority of abortions do happen within the first three months of pregnancy. And it`s very, very rare that a woman needs to be an abortion if she`s got an issue with health later in pregnancy. And there are exceptions in those cases.
So, I don`t -- I`m not sure that the health part of it of, you know, preserving abortion to the first three months would actually be a huge issue.
TODD: No, I understand that. But do you think this should be a -- let it be up to the doctors, at the end of the day? Let it be put it as a doctor`s decision about whether, hey, look, this is a major health issue for this pregnant mother.
MANCINI: Well, yes, and that`s what -- that would be included in the law, at this stage in the game. So, right.
TODD: Let me ask you about other life issues. Where is the March for Life when it comes to the death penalty? Where`s the March for Life when it comes to refugee?
MANCINI: Right. So, well, the March for Life, of course, was started as a reaction to Roe vs. Wade and DARE vs. Fulton (ph).
TODD: Totally get that. It was about --
MANCINI: And it was about beginning of life issues.
TODD: -- specific issues. Right.
MANCINI: And so, for the most part, we really tried to stick to beginning of life issues. We don`t take a stance, per se, on some of these things. But I would say, broadly, we`re in favor of protecting and defending the inherent dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. But we really focus on beginning of life issues. We have five staff -- I mean, there`s only so much that five staff on a small budget can do.
TODD: Let me -- let me ask you this. It feels as if the abortion debate has been now a red versus blue debate. And there was a time --
MANCINI: (INAUDI BLE) more of that (INAUDIBLE.) TODD: -- there was a time that you had prolife Democrats, prochoice Democrats, -- MANCINI: Right. TODD: -- prochoice Republicans, prolife Republicans. And I know everybody will complain about why did you use that? Look, everybody has the description that they want, and that`s my decision on how I`m going to do that. But, you know, has -- do you think your movement`s become too politicized? MANCINI: Well, let me -- TODD: Are you concerned politically?
MANCINI: -- let me just say this. That, first of all, the March for Life is not partisan and we always seek to get a Democrat to speak.
This year, for example we were really hoping and planning on having Senator Manchin speak. Last year, we had Congressman Lipinski speak. So, we really try to work closely with Democrats. We try to work behind the scenes as well to encourage them more. We had Democrats for Life that was part of the March for Life conference in expo these last few days.
So, it`s something that we`re always seeking to work on because it`s enormously important that this not be so polarized. It is getting to be more and more like that and I think it`s unhealthy for everyone.
TODD: Do you -- did you -- were you uncomfortable with the way that, all the sudden, you felt as if your march, which has been an annual march, was suddenly -- did you feel extra pressure for turnout because there was so many comparisons being made to the Women`s Marches last week?
MANCINI: Oh, no, we`re -- look, we`re very different that the Women`s March. We`re 44 years strong. We`re very youthful. Anybody who attended the March for Life today knows we`re a very young march. We`re here in blizzards. We marched last year in the blizzard. We`re here in subzero temperatures. Three years ago, it was seven degrees, the day of the March for Life.
TODD: Do you think you need to move -- you need to move your anniversary out of January.
MANCINI: Right. Get into May or something like that. So, we`re also a one issue group. And we`re peaceful. You`ll never hear someone -- a speaker at the March for Life threaten to blow up the White House, for example. I mean, our mission is love and it`s really build agriculture of life. So, you know, not great comparisons.
Now, that said, I have been asked a whole lot about numbers. And what I`m really wanting to say to people is the number we`re concerned about is 58 million.
MANCINI: Fifty-eight million is the number of Americans that have been lost to abortions since 1973. That`s not -- that`s not rare.
TODD: Do you -- do you accept the fact that Roe V Wade is going to stay law of the land?
MANCINI: You know, we`ll see. But to be honest with you, my more important goal, the harder goal, changing hearts and minds. It`s a culture where abortion is unthinkable. Women don`t want abortion.
And especially to encourage adoption. You know, in our country, there are almost a million abortions every single year. Almost a million. That`s a lot. Twenty-two thousand infant adoptions. Why can`t we do more to encourage women to choose adoption? It`s [work on at the March for Life.
TODD: Well, here`s something I know is not going to happen today. I don`t think there`s going to be any -- we`re going to get any closer to resolving this debate. But over time, perhaps there`ll be more a civil discourse over it.
MANCINI: I certainly hope so. And I invite that very much. Jeannie Mancini, thanks for coming in.
TODD: Congratulations on your efforts today. We`ll be watching and thanks for sharing your view.
MANCINI: Thanks so much.
TODD: You got it. Still ahead, fighting President Trump`s agenda. The deep- blue state that`s gearing up to take on the White House in a pretty big way. Stay tuned.
TODD: Welcome back to "MTP Daily." An extraordinary moment in the White House today. President Trump repeated his belief that torture works. Straight up. An approach to obtaining information and combating terror, that`s been denounced by democrats and republicans alike.
Standing on the world stage today during his first press conference, sitting next to a world leader, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, President Trump acknowledged that the issue of torture is a major disagreement between him and his own advisers including his defense secretary.
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TRUMP: Secretary of Defense General James Mattis and he has stated, publicly, that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding, or however you want to define it. I don`t necessarily agree, but I would tell you that he will override because I`m giving him that power.
He`s an expert. He`s highly respected. He`s the general`s general. I happen to feel that it does work. I`ve been open about that for a long period of time. But I am going with our leaders.
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TODD: We`ll have more "MTP Daily" just ahead. But first, Josh Lipton with the "Friday CNBC Market Wrap."
JOSH LIPTON, CNBC TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Chuck. Stocks ending the day flat. The Dow lost 7 points, the S&P dropped 2, and the Nasdaq low as 5. Early readings of fourth quarter GDP show the economy grew at a pace of 1.9 percent this fall, below forecasts and well off pace from this summer`s 3.5 percent growth.
Nestle is cutting back on sugar in hopes of boosting sales. The company will unveil a new formula for its chocolate milk product in an effort to attract consumers who shied away from artificially sweet drinks. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
TODD: Welcome back to "MTP Daily." Republicans now have control of the White House and both houses of congress in Washington. But all the way on the other side of the country, the biggest state in the union, California, is as deeply blue as ever and could become the epicenter of what some democrats call the resistance to President Trump`s agenda.
California Governor Jerry Brown gave a fiery state of the state address earlier this week. Laying out the way his state is prepared to fight against at the Trump`s White House.
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JERRY BROWN, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: We will defend everybody. Every man, woman, and child who has come here for a better life has contributed to the well being of our state. I attend to join with other governors and senators and with you to do everything we can to protect the health care of our people. We can`t fall back and give into the climate deniers. The science is clear, the danger is real.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: Just before delivering that speech, Governor Brown sworn in the man who will be in charge of leading California`s legal fight against the Trump administration. It`s former congressman and now attorney general for California, Xaview Becerra. Mr. Attorney General, welcome to a show you`ve been on plenty of times.
XAVIER BECERRA, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA: Great to be with you.
TODD: Nice to see you. I take it you`re here in Washington. Are you already ready to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration?
BECERRA: Doing business, but it`s not setting in a lawsuit.
TODD: All right. Let me start with a specific here, and that`s the issue of sanctuary cities. We know a lot of mayors want to resist. There has been some chatter that the state -- that California essentially wants to codify itself as a sanctuary state. Explain what that would mean.
BECERRA: California is essentially saying that we want to make sure that we`re not mistreating people who are in our state who are working hard, who depend on our public safety or general welfare provisions. And so we`re going to continue to do what we`ve done.
We`ve already got legislation laws in our books that say that our local law enforcement authorities will do everything they can to prevent crime, take dangerous people off the streets, but we`re not going to go out there and do the bidding of the federal government when it violates people`s constitutional rights.
TODD: What is this line? And in that -- so, what some in the Trump administration, frankly some republicans will argue is that okay, but, there`s -- that it`s gone too far. That they understand the argument that says okay, this is not about show me your paper, show me your papers and searching for people that might have broken the law. What is -- is there something that actually cities could be a little tougher on?
BECERRA: Well, see, it used to be that. That was the problem. The federal government was asking states and local law enforcement to do exactly what you said they don`t do. And that was what caused the problems. Is that you had a whole bunch of communities in California that no longer wanted to cooperate with the police or sheriff when it came to investigating crimes in the neighborhood because they were afraid that in the process of becoming witnesses, they`d also be kept subject to deportation.
TODD: San Francisco`s a specific issue and it`s a specific case, did they do too little? Is that a case where law enforcement did mess up?
BECERRA: I think there was a lot of communication. But it wasn`t an issue of trying to harbor people who really should be in the hands of law enforcement and may be in deportation proceedings.
TODD: Let me change subjects. What would be your standing to sue the Trump administration on issues of climate change? What`s a specific that you think you might have standing on?
BECERRA: There are any number of causes of actions that could be raised for any of the things that Donald Trump has talked about. What they exactly would be depends on what he tries to do. We have moved forward with the blessing of the federal government, pretty far forward on a number of items.
We relied on the representations of the federal government to take actions. We`re not pulling back. We`re going to continue to go forward. We have the right under the constitution of the United States to provide for the general welfare of our people.
TODD: At the end of the day, are you going to sue the Trump administration because they`re not doing some things or do you have to have something that California wants to do and the federal government won`t let them and that has to be your standing? Whatever it is. What`s that line there between sort of political lawsuit to okay, this prevents California from doing what it wants to do?
BECERRA: First, I didn`t take this office so I could sue people. I took this office so I could protect people. And we`re going to do everything we need to do to protect Californians. And that includes a lawsuit. But, a lawsuit is like what the federal government has the power to do when it comes to war.
You should really not be looking as the first cause -- or the first action you take to file a lawsuit. You should do everything you can to resolve things short of, but if you have to, you`ll do what you need to and if we have to go to court because the federal government is trying to intrude on the business of California, we`ll do what we need to do.
TODD: Let me ask something, is there something that right now we`ve got the issue of Mexico and right now it`s going to I think create a lot of problems between U.S. and Mexico relation, government to government relation.
Obviously, Mexican relations are very important to the State of California, trade, culture and otherwise. Is there any way that the State of California would try to take action to prevent certain policies from going forward when it comes to Mexico? BECERRA: If they intrude on the rights of the state and the people of California? Absolutely.
TODD: Would building a wall, would that intrude, is that something the federal government, there`s nothing California can do about preventing a wall from being built in the State of California?
BECERRA: No, that`s not true. That`s not true.
TODD: Is there a way you think you can the wall from being built in California?
BECERRA: Depending on what they try to do, absolutely. You cannot force people to have a wall built on their own property. You cannot force a state to accept something that has not passed the muster of -- the current statutes that require whether it`s environmental standards to be met or standards of public safety to be met.
And so there are any number of hurdles that any administration in Washington, D.C. would have to jump before they can build a medieval wall which probably will never work. TODD: Is it safe to say that you`re looking at whatever ways necessary there is to find some legal standing to slow or stop this wall from being built?
BECERRA: I will find whatever ways to do what I have to do. It doesn`t have to mean it only includes ways within a court of justice. And fortunately for us in a court of justice, alternative facts have no standing. The only thing hat counts is the truth. And so, I think we`ll be able to show that the truth matters if we end up having to go to court. TODD: How much of your time do you think is going to be spent in combating the Trump administration your time in office?
BECERRA: As much as the Trump administration tries to come at California. We`re going in a certain direction. We become the sixth economic power in the world by just sitting back. We`re doing things. We`re creating jobs. We`re providing safety and opportunities for our people.
We`ve got some of the greatest industries and sectors of employment in the nation. We`re going to move forward, and we`re going to do what makes us a strong state. Sixth economic power in the world. So, if they want to get in our way, we`ll do what we have to just to keep moving forward.
TODD: And if the Trump administration essentially asks you to at least conduct an investigation into allegations of voter fraud. Would you do that?
BECERRA: I think we`re ready to do that because we have said before, countless times that we have a system with a great deal of integrity. We to want track down any voter fraud. We`d like the president to show us some evidence that there has been voter fraud. I mean, he`s making all sorts of allegations.
As I said, alternative facts don`t count in a court of law. Maybe they count when you`re doing a press interview, but we need to have facts. And if he wants us to do investigation, he has to give us the underlying premise for that investigation. What facts does he have that there was some kind of cheating going on in our voting system?
TODD: All right. Xavier Becerra, I will leave it there. You are the attorney general of California. I have a feeling you will become a familiar face to many people in the Trump administration as well.
BECERRA: So be it.
TODD: Should be interesting. Thank you, sir.
BECERRA: Thank you.
TODD: Safe travel back to California.
BECERRA: Thank you.
TODD: This Sunday on "Meet the Press," Virginia senator and former vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, joins me for an exclusive interview to discuss how democrats plan to oppose the Trump agenda. His first Sunday show interview since the election.
And still ahead, recapping a busy first week for the Trump administration. Our panel weighs in on what they believe are the most impactful actions of the week. Stay tuned.
TODD: Welcome back. Tonight, I`m obsessed with one of our own. And I`m not going to try anymore. Tom Brokaw is celebrating his 50 years. Correction, make that the first 50 years here at NBC news. It is no exaggeration to say that those of us here at NBC News are always in awe of this man and what he`s done. Correspondent at our L.A. bureau, covering everything from the rise of Ronald Reagan to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
White House correspondent during Watergate. Seven years as anchor of "The Today Show." And of course, for more than two decades, the anchor and managing editor of the NBC nightly news. And at his ample spare time, he managed to write numerous books including one that added a new phrase to the language, "The Greatest Generation."
There`s a lot more and you can see it in a two-hour special Sunday night at 9:00, 8:00 central. But wait, there`s more. Tom will be my guest on "Meet the Press" this Sunday along with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and as I mentioned a moment ago, former democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.
Just don`t forget. In his spare time, Tom Brokaw also did meet the press action as well. We here at "Meet the Press" by the way will be kicking off the celebration of our 70th year on the air. So Tom`s 50th and our 70th. Come join the party on Sunday.
TODD: Time for "The Lid." We`re going to look back at the most impactful moments of President Trump`s first week in office. The panel is back. Cillizza, Alcindor, Rubin. You guys were all asked to give me your most impactful. Chris CilLizza, your most impactful moment of the first week was?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, WRITES "THE FIX" FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: Donald Trump talking about crowd size. Baffling to me.
TODD: And you noted in the NBC interview which was on day five.
CILLIZZA: Yeah, I just don`t -- I understand that one level why this is important to him because ratings and appearances matter a lot. I`ll make a prediction about the Supreme Court justice nominee next week. It will be someone who -- if you thought of Supreme Court justice from (inaudible), that person will fit it, right?
But impactful in terms of -- to me revealed something about this person who is not different than the person who ran for the office. The person in the office still cares about appearances, ratings, and settling scores against the media whether real or imagined. TODD: Yamiche, your most impactful moment. Similar theme but a different one.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, NATIONAL REPORTER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, mine was the fact that he was doing this in front of the CIA wall and the fact that this was really a place where people, a kind of a hologram (ph) where people talk about serious things in front of the wall. But he took that space and said you know, I`m going to talk about crowd sizes. I`m going to continue to be the president that I`ve always been.
What it signals to me is the fact that this next four years is going to be about him challenging the media and really coming us and really pushing back and trying to delegitimize us, and then to really focus on how people view him and whether or not he looks likes he`s winning. I think the moment that he feels like he`s not gonna be winning, that`s going to be what sways how he has policy and what his decisions are. TODD: Jennifer, they both went style, you went substance. No, you did. I`m not saying, but it is sort of style and substance that for him do matter the same. Equal parts with him. And that`s not.
CILLIZZA: I would argue style might matter more.
TODD: You might be right.
JENNIFER RUBIN, JOURNALIST, WRITES "RIGHT TURN" FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: I would as well.
TODD: Your most impactful.
RUBIN: My most impactful was the leak today from the GOP retreat on Obamacare. They are just as confuse as I have thought they have been. They don`t have a single plan. There are major issues like the roll back of Medicaid which there`s no agreement on.
It is dawning on them that they are going to be responsible for all of the disruption, they are going to be responsible if it`s perceived as being less generous than Obamacare. So, I have been predicting all along that repeal and replace is not going to happen, and I may be right.
TODD: Look, I`m going to just suck up to my own show. I have to say -- just now the interview with Xavier Becerra, now attorney general of California, they believe they know how to gum up the works on the wall. It could be used before this wall construction begins if you think all about the lawsuits and it sounds like they think they can file.
CILLIZZA: By the way, just to bring it full circle, this is what we talked about at the beginning of the show, which is action, equal and opposite reaction. You don`t just get to do things without other people also being like, you know what?
We`re going to throw a little bit of a hurdle there. Let`s see how you handle it. This is not -- you know, just the side, that`s the deal. It`s not like running -- I mean, it`s not like running a business.
TODD: And that`s businessman in general.
TODD: . find out when they get in the office, how hard this is. Great panel. Thank you. What a week. After the break, President Trump puts the issue of D.C. statehood on his plate. Did he mean to? Stay tuned.
TODD: In case you missed it, most of Washington, D.C. and the residents who drive cars participated in something of a daily silent protest. And that includes the newest famous resident. Since the year 2000, the standard D.C. license has featured the slogan "Taxation Without Representation." It is part of the district`s longstanding push for statehood that have a little nudge at the federal government.
President Bill Clinton had the protest plates put on the presidential limousine pretty much as soon as they were available. And used them for his final weeks in office as his own little protest. President George W. Bush had those license plates removed, but the number on the license plate stayed the same.
Presidential limo is always 800-002. President Obama did not use them during his first them, but they were put back on the limo, known as "The Beast" these days, after his second inauguration in 2013. And now it seems President Trump is the first republican president to have his limo sport the official protest plate.
The Washington Post spotted "The Beast" with the "Taxation Without Representation" plate during the president`s trip this week. We`re not sure whether the president is aware of the plates, if it was a conscious decision. But guess what? D.C. residents sure are and they`re pretty happy about it.
That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back Monday with more "MTP Daily." If it`s Sunday, catch Meet the Press on your local NBC station.
FOR THE RECORD with Greta starts right now.