Show: MTP DAILY Date: January 31, 2017 Guest: Charlie Dent, Beth Fouhy, Rick Tyler, Karine Jean-Pierre, Pete Williams, Amy Klobuchar, Hans Nichols, Max Boot, Karine Jean-Pierre, Beth Fouhy
JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC HOST: I am Jacob Soboroff in for Steve Kornacki.
Coming up right now, "MTP DAILY." Stick around.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s Tuesday.
We`re hours away from the president`s Supreme Court pick. And that is isn`t nearly the biggest story of the hour, let alone day. Tonight, organized chaos. How President Trump`s first week and a half is giving a new definition to the word unprecedented.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, U.S. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It`s not a travel ban.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re going to have a very, very strict ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Supreme pick, will President Trump`s nominee for the Supreme Court really face a big political fight or is this much ado about nothing?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: This is not the time for our friends to embark on another partisan crusade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: And the president`s first military operation. What went wrong and what went right with the raid in Yemen.
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
Good evening. I`m Chuck Todd here in New York and welcome to MTP DAILY.
Buckle up, folks, in less than three hours, President Trump will announce his pick for the Supreme Court. As far as battles on Capitol Hill go, it usually doesn`t get much bigger than this.
And it is an important story. Even though at the end of the day, the new justice may not change the make-up of the court that we`ve been used to for the last decade, but we`ll dive into that story in a few minutes.
But it`s just one of several major storylines today. As confusion and chaos continue to escalate, a mere 11 days into the administration. Pretty much any other day, the fallout from the president firing the acting attorney general for refusing to defend an executive order would be our lead story.
But folks, that`s just a side bar, at this point. If you want to window into this chaos, look at what happened this afternoon. General John Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security held a press conference attempting to clarify the president`s order on refugees and immigration, insisting it is not a, quote, "travel ban." Even though President Trump called it a ban at the White House this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s working out nicely and we`re going to have a very, very strict ban and we`re going to have extreme vetting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: The president used the term, ban, again in a tweet yesterday. Confounding matters, White House press secretary Sean Spicer knocked the press multiple times today for using the word ban in its reporting.
Here`s NBC`s Kristen Welker asking him about the mixed messages from inside this administration.
KRISTEN WELKER, REPORTER, NBC NEWS: You`re saying it`s not a ban. This was President Trump`s tweet yesterday. If the ban were announced with a one-week notice, the bad would rush into our country during that week. He says it`s a ban. Is it a ban?
SPICER: He`s using the words that the media is using. But at the end of the day, it can`t -- hold on, hold on, hold on.
WELKER: Those are his words.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those are his words.
SPICER: Jonathan, thanks. I`ll let Kristen talk. It can`t be a ban if you`re letting a million people in. If 325,000 people from another country can`t come in, that is by nature not a ban.
WELKER: I understand your point but the president, himself, called it a ban.
SPICER: I understand.
WELKER: Is he confused or are you confused?
SPICER: No, I`m not confused. I think those are words that are being used to describe it are derived from what the media is calling this. He has been very clear that it is extreme vetting.
TODD: We had a lot of media blaming for a lot of things. And now, it`s the media`s fault for the president`s own words. Two days ago, Spicer himself, though, called part of the order a 90-day ban.
Anyway, there`s confusion over messaging and implementation so maybe we shouldn`t be surprised that all the chaos whirling this White House has unleashed a flood of leaks. Many of which seem designed to cover a few behinds.
We saw leaks at "The New York Times" that the Homeland Security secretary was caught off guard by the order`s timing. Although Kelly insisted today that he and his team knew it was coming but they didn`t know what was in it.
In another leak to "The Times," Jim Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, allegedly wasn`t consulted by the White House as the order was being prepared and signed at the Pentagon, by the way.
And leaks at "The Washington Post" rival factions within the west wing blamed each other for the chaos. In the A.P., Trump`s pick Rex Tillerson is described as baffled that he wasn`t consulted.
And then, in a "Vanity Fair" story, citing people close to Jared Kushner, they note that the most problematic episodes of Trump`s presidency so far are not happening on Kushner`s watch. Because they`re fall on the Sabbath which Kushner is out of pocket referring to the last two chaotic Saturdays.
And according to Politico, Republican leadership was not informed of Mr. Trump`s order. They were kept in the dark because senior staffers signed nondisclosure agreements with the White House. Rut-row (ph), separation of powers, anybody?
And it`s not just leaks, today Jeff Sessions, the president`s pick for attorney general, told Senate Democrats that he did not read, review or provide legal analysis to the White House regarding this or two other executive orders.
I`m joined now by Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. And, yes, he is in front of the Will Rogers statue. Congressman, that means you have to be funny the entire interview, sir.
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I`ll do my best, Chuck. Thanks for having me.
TODD: You got it. I know you`ve got a busy day of votes, et cetera. So, quickly, do you have any better feeling today about this executive order than you did on Saturday?
[17:05:08] DENT: Not particularly. I was certainly pleased by General Kelly`s clarification that green card holders should not be disrupted in their travels. That`s a good thing.
But there are still problems. The order is still being implemented. I think the order should be -- the enforcement of the order should be halted immediately.
I`m holding in my hand here the complaint filed by my constituents in federal court today about their six relatives who were -- who were sent back from Philadelphia after a three hour visits in the United States sadly.
But I still have very serious concerned about that. I`ve been on the phone today with customs and border protection. There`s still a lot of issues.
I`m hearing, too, about universities in Pennsylvania that are having extreme difficulty with this order, too. People are not being able to travel. Visas of students, for example, who are in the United States --
DENT: -- have been cancelled. And so, they really can`t travel home, in some cases.
So, there are a lot of problems with this order that we have to sort out.
TODD: Have you had any luck talking to the White House about this directly since you are home -- since your district is home to so many Syrian refugees? One would assume you`re a -- you`re a member of Congress that they`d be talking to.
DENT: Well, I did call the White House on Saturday when this all broke.
And, by the way, I want to clarify, many of the Syrians in my district, they are not refugees. Many of them have been here for generations. Others are more recent arrivals. Most of them do not come in as refugees, believe it or not. They have a -- we have a very strong tradition of Syrians in our community. Mostly Syrian Christian.
But, no, I have not had any conversations with the White House since Saturday.
TODD: I guess, then, where does this go from here? You say your constituents are filing suit. You hope it gets halted. It sounds like the only shot you have of this being halted because I don`t think this is a White House that is one that would rescind an order any -- without a -- without a federal court telling them to. Do you plan on joining these lawsuits yourself?
DENT: What I intend to do -- I am working with Customs and Border Protection. That`s part of the Homeland Security Department.
I will be speaking with the State Department momentarily. I would like to see these visas reissued to these six individuals. They were treated deplorably in Philadelphia, in my view. They were really denied any assemblance of due process. I felt they were coerced to head back to Syria. That should not have happened.
So, bottom line is we`re going to keep working on this. I think we`re going to get to a favorable resolution for the outcome of my constituents.
But, there are 109 -- there are close to 200 people, just like my constituents, who were in transit, in the air when this issue was ordered. And then, of course, they were denied entry into the country.
TODD: Let`s be honest here. Does Congress -- does the congressional Republican leadership have the appetite to take on the new president now to basically try to pass legislation that would rescind this?
DENT: Well, I don`t know that they do. I certainly think, at this moment, we should be holding much greater oversight hearings on this.
I know chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, of the Appropriations Committee on which I serve, has already made a statement to the affect that we are going to provide some oversight on some of these executive actions because there are fiscal implications to these orders.
So, we`ll see if we need to pass legislation. I still think that the administration should simply stop enforcement of this order until a more thoughtful deliberate policy can be instated.
TODD: What do you -- do you believe it`s a ban? Do you call it a -- you know, it`s interesting. There`s been this -- it`s -- you know, there`s all this debate about what do you call it and it was, sort of, theater of the absurd, at some points today, in the White House briefing. Because, you know, they`re insisting it`s not a ban. The president himself has referred to it as a ban.
Look, what does it look like? Does it -- there`s a -- what duck -- does this walk like a duck and quack like a duck?
DENT: Well, some people have called it a Muslim ban. It`s actually not that. Because in the case of the Syrians, basically it`s a travel ban for virtually -- it seems like a travel ban for virtually everyone.
As I mention, these six Syrians who are not refugees, but visa holders, immigrant visa holders, they are -- they`re not refugees. And so -- and they`re Christian.
And so, everybody is being halted from coming into this country, it seems, from Syria. With very few exceptions as of now.
TODD: Do you think we have a moral obligation because of -- we`re the United States. Because the United States had planned action in Syria. And, you know, we can debate about whether it was the right thing or the wrong thing. But there was an expectation that the United States would be very involved in what was happening there.
Does that -- does that raise the moral obligation even more than just simply being, sort of, the history of the United States when it comes to being a home for refugees?
DENT: Well, look, I believe a lot of countries have an obligation here. Certainly, we do. We have a moral obligation but so do our friends in Europe and elsewhere. We`re not the only ones. So, I would say yes to that.
I guess what even is disturbing me more about this whole situation, you know, you`ve heard about the translators from Iraq, you know, who were -- who were detained.
DENT: And, to me, you know, that`s particularly appalling, given the fact that, you know, we just passed a defense authorization bill back in December that was trying to help expedite the processing of interpreters into our country.
[17:10:08] No one from the Department of Defense or the Department of State would ever signed -- would have ever signed off on an order to make it more difficult for interpreters to come into our country. We owe those people a measureless debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice on behalf of American troops and diplomats.
TODD: Final question. Do you believe our vetting process needs to be improved?
DENT: Our vetting process can always be improved. I do believe our refugee vetting process in this country is fairly robust as it is but it can be made better.
I would also like to tell people that the refugees and migrants heading into Europe are not the same ones who are heading into the United States. Those -- the ones who come into the United States, of course, and many times, have been awaiting entrance to this country for a few years. So, it`s a different process.
We do have a good vetting process. Yes, it can always be made better.
TODD: All right. Charlie Dent, Republican from Pennsylvania. A busy day. Appreciate it.
DENT: Thank you.
TODD: No competition there for Will Rogers but that`s OK.
DENT: Yes, I wasn`t too funny today. I`ll try next time.
TODD: I`m sorry. This is serious business though, and all serious. Thank you, sir. Thanks for sharing your views.
DENT: Thank you.
TODD: Let me bring in tonight`s panel. Karine Jean-Pierre, Senior Advisor at MoveOn.org; Rick Tyler, an NBC Political Analyst, and, of course, former communications director to the Ted Cruz 2016 campaign; and Beth Fouhy is our Senior Politics Editor right here at NBC News.
All right, Beth, you know, for the Trump administration, having the same story be in the news three straight days is a big deal. But it`s not good news, in this case. This is a case where even the Supreme Court pick has yet to be able to sort of tamp down what is happening here.
They do any better today? Did General Kelly bail them out?
BETH FOUHY, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, NBC NEWS: You`re right. I mean, the fact that it`s been in the news for three days is shocking because every other thing that he`s done, since being elected, even incredibly huge things like let getting into the rift with the Mexican president.
FOUHY: Announcing that we`re going to start paying for the wall and it`s going to be start to be built, you know, any time now with American funds.
TODD: That was, like, three months ago, right?
FOUHY: Well, that`s the thing. This is what we were talking about five days ago. It was the biggest thing ever. The women`s march, 10 days ago, the biggest thing ever. Everything is so far in the rearview mirror.
And, in the Trump administration, everything takes over everything else. And it`s hard to keep track of what`s really important.
Now, of course, this is really important. This confusion over this travel ban. But it`s sort of obscures all these other important things that have taken place.
TODD: It is. But this strikes me, Rick, as, sort of, the start of what could be the greatest challenge to the Trump administration. And that is going to be a comfortable working relationship with Republicans on Capitol Hill. Because it was always tenuous.
It feels like, you know, he`s ready to break. Now, granted he would be among the first to break. But there`s a lot of Republicans unhappy today.
RICK TYLER, POLITICAL ANALYST, NBC NEWS: There are. We forgot to mention Russian hacking as well though.
TODD: And conflicts of interest --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Voter fraud.
TODD: -- and voter fraud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything.
TYLER: The problem with the way this executive order -- and I`ve explained that I don`t necessarily have an issue with the policy but the way the policy was rolled out. Which tells me several things. Either you don`t trust the cabinet members and the senior leadership that you brought in or you don`t trust certain people on the Hill who chair committees. That`s going to be a problem.
The reason the White House`s leak is because people want to cover their own reputation. But at some point, when it looks like a circus, everybody`s reputation is affected. And General Kelly may have been bailed out Trump today, but he`s not -- someone like that, someone with stature like that is the not going to bail him out forever. And you will begin to lose people.
TODD: And I guess -- look, in this case, it just seems, Karine, that they did not get their arms around this today. And I think they were trying to. I think they were hoping General Kelly would. But then, they got into this is it a ban, is it not a ban.
And, look, this is a case where the president, you know -- they`re afraid to say the president misspoke.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR AT MOVEON.ORG: That`s exactly right. To tell the truth --
TODD: It`s OK.
JEAN-PIERRE: Right? To tell the truth.
TODD: It`s OK to misspeak.
JEAN-PIERRE: It is. People do it all the time.
TODD: I do it.
JEAN-PIERRE: Everybody does it.
TODD: You know, I botched your name. You know, there was a misspeak right there.
JEAN-PIERRE: You did a perfect job. I really appreciate that.
But, yes, and I think what they were trying today was rewrite history which you can`t do. We all know that they called it a ban. The president himself called it a ban. Sean Spicer called it a 90-day ban.
So, it`s -- what`s the -- what`s troubling me is that he was using the power of the presidency, such a powerful position to be in, to target vulnerable communities like the Muslim community, like women, like the Latinos. And we`ve seen this over and over again with almost every executive order.
TODD: OK. But there`s part of -- the idea of this order is going to sell easily to America. The idea of making it a little harder to get in here. The idea of, hey, you know what? We shouldn`t -- why do we have all these -- so, does that bail him out, Beth? Because the idea is popular? Or is the incompetence Trump the idea?
FOUHY: I -- the idea is popular. It is going to be overcome by the fact that it`s three days of bad story for Trump because the story is about chaos. American`s don`t want chaos. Americans don`t to want turn on the T.V. and see this city and this airport and this location just roiled (ph) with angry people marching. Two weekends in a row now we`ve seen that.
[17:15:11] People want politics to be over there. They don`t it to be interfering with their life constantly. And ever since Trump has been elected president, I mean, really, before he was elected but especially after, it`s been one thing after another. And it`s going to start just feeling like chaos. Even if the underlying policy is popular.
TODD: You said -- Rick, you brought up something. You said, there`s clearly a trust issue. And there is no doubt. OK. You do. You see all these blind quotes. Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, they`re, like, eyeing each other. Or maybe Mike Flynn and Bannon are eyeing. Everybody is, like -- you have all these different -- everybody`s trying to pit -- you know, is it Jared Kushner over here.
That`s not good. The fact is -- and that`s what congressional Republicans are seeing.
TYLER: Well, in some ways, Priebus and Spicer, who, by the way, should be pay-per-view because these press conferences have become epic. But the -- when he say -- when Spicer says the reason we didn`t do a lot of, I guess vetting of the -- on the one hand, he said they did. He argued about that today at the press conference. And on the other, he said he didn`t because he didn`t want the bad guys to get -- I get that part.
But, still, what about the guys that you didn`t consult or the people that should have been consulted that weren`t consulted? And even Kelly didn`t seem like he was entirely consulted.
TODD: I was just going to say, he was -- he -- you could tell he was willing to defend a small narrow fact and that was it.
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. You know, what`s -- the other thing that`s really bizarre is these are his secretaries. They`re not, you know, Obama holdovers. These are the people that you`re supposed to trust. This is not a Sally Yates situation which was horrible.
But it just doesn`t make sense this they have such a bubble and they -- only one or two people are part of this conversation and writing these executive orders.
TODD: Beth, you and I have covered -- done a lot of this almost together. At rival networks and we`ve been through -- and I was thinking about bunker mentalities. Clinton got into it in the late 1990s. The Bush White House got into it during Iraq. Obama during health care, at times, got bunker mentality. But it usually takes a year or two before you get there. They immediately went into the bunker.
FOUHY: Well, and we know from Trump`s tweets and many of Trump`s comments, that he still nurses this grievance mentality about whether or not his crowds were big enough, whether this country takes him seriously, whether the media takes himself seriously, why he lost by 3 million popular votes to Hillary Clinton.
So, he`s been nursing this resentment and he seems to sort of cloud his close advisors with that. They seem to basically reflect it back at him. And it also looks like, so far at least, this presidency is really being run out of the White House completely and not out of the cabinet which is not completely uncommon, but it`s quite pronounced in this White House.
TODD: And right now, no one can tell the president no. That`s the other lesson we`ve heard -- learned so far. You guy are sticking around for the hour.
Coming up, less than three hours until the president makes his pick for the Supreme Court. He invited both finalists to the White House today. Yes, it`s a show sometimes. How far are Democrats willing to go to oppose the president`s pick? I`ll ask Senator Amy Klobuchar. Stay tuned.
[17:20:10] TODD: Welcome back.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer told NBC News that Democrats were going to try to delay confirmation votes on President Trump`s cabinet nominees and, well, they did just that. Boycotting a committee vote for two Trump nominees, Steve Mnuchin for Treasury and Tom Price for HSS. And we`re not quite sure what`s going to happen next. Republicans are not happy with the move. Here`s Senator Orrin Hatch, the longest serving Republican in the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I think they ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots. Stop holding news conferences and come here and express yourself here. And then vote, one way or the other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: White House press secretary Sean Spicer called the Democratic boycott outrageous and embarrassing. Then, again, Senate Republicans did the exact same thing in 2013 under President Obama when all eight Republicans on the environmental committee were no-shows for a vote to advance a future EPA chief, Regina McCarthy at the time. Again, another delay tactic.
As we all know, hypocrisy always shows its colors when the other party`s in power. No matter what it is.
We`ll be right back.
TODD: It`s Supreme Court nominee day, and somehow it was not the lead story. Anyway, the President is the announcing his pick in prime time, 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
According to sources who have spoken to our own Pete Williams, the choice likely comes down to Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Thomas Hardiman of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
But this announcement and what follows could expose rifts in both parties. How far are Senate Democrats willing to go to oppose the president`s pick? And will it be far enough for the Democratic base? And will Senate Republicans defy the president and their base if President Trump wants to go nuclear? Never mind by the way, if somehow there`s an ideological issue with one of the picks.
Pete Williams, NBC`s Justice Correspondent. So, Pete, give me the baseball card stats for our two finalists here, Gorsuch and Hardiman.
PETE WILLIAMS, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Neil Gorsuch, 49, fourth generation Coloradan from Denver on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals which hears from six western states. He went to Harvard Law, so he`s an Ivy League graduate.
Thorough going westerner. Loves to hike, and fish, and hunt, and ski. And he`s a big fan of Antonin Scalia. No big Supreme Court rulings on -- no big rulings in his past on questions like abortion. But he has been very strong on freedom of religion.
Thomas Hardiman, 51, from originally Waltham, Massachusetts where he drove a cab for his father`s cab company. Moved to Pittsburgh, married the daughter of a prominent Democratic family. Was made a trial judge by George W. Bush, then put on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Again, no hot button rulings on something like abortion, but he did say that he believes the right to have a gun exists not only in the home for self-defense, but also outside the home as well, Chuck.
TODD: Very quickly. Why is there a perception among some conservatives that they think somehow Hardiman is like a Souter, a David Souter in disguise? Why is that even hinted at and it`s not for Gorsuch? Is there any reason for it or is that just conservatives being a little paranoid?
WILLIAMS: Well, he has a pretty good track record. Both of them have been on the courts of appeals for about eight years, eight -- a little less than a decade. So, there`s not that Souter issue there. And they`ve been in the federal courts grappling with the kind of questions the Supreme Court would have.
I think it comes down to the fact that Gorsuch is considered more in the mold of Scalia, maybe more of a scholar textualist originalist than Hardiman is.
TODD: And I guess Hardiman, though, would create diversity in the court. There`s no ivy league there. Sorry, I know Georgetown would beg to differ. But, technically, no ivy league.
WILLIAMS: He`s a Notre Dame -- he`s a Notre Dame grad, Georgetown. No ivy league there.
WILLIAMS: And you`re right. That would be a touch of diversity and that tells you something about this court that that would be considered diverse.
[17:25:02] TODD: Yes, that`s for sure. Although, he would fit right in, catholic or Jewish, these days on religion. He seems to fit right in there.
Anyway, Pete Williams, we`ll all be waiting. A little longer evening than any of us expected. Thank you, sir.
Let me bring in a person that could be one of the higher profile questioners of this nominee, when it comes before the Judiciary Committee. And that`s Democratic Senator Amy Klobachar of Minnesota.
Senator, welcome back to the show.
SEN. AMY KLOBACHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Great to be on, Chuck.
TODD: So, what is your test for whether you will vote a Supreme Court justice up or down that you know, ideologically, you`re not going to agree with? But what is your test?
KLOBACHAR: Well, I think, first of all, I see it as such a solemn duty when you look at the decisions of the court. How they affect people in their everyday lives, from what happened with citizens united, in terms of really, in my mind, destroying a lot of the way our elections have been run. When you look at some of the environmental cases before the court. It is a big deal for people.
So, I look at it as, what has this person done in the past? How have they respected precedent? Do they view this as a role where they`re going to continue this conservative bent of the court, where they`ve basically been legislating and, in my mind, not respecting some of the precedent in the majority? Or are they going to be someone that looks at things in a different light?
So, I think the hearings, of which, of course, the Republicans are the ones that will schedule them, --
KLOBACHAR: -- are going to be very interesting because we`re going to be having a nominee that`s coming at a time where we have never seen such a decisions like we have in the last few years.
TODD: I understand that. But the make-up of the court. You know, if you look at it, the last time it had nine. The nominee here isn`t going to change the make-up of the court. Does that at all lower the threshold for you?
KLOBACHAR: Well, that threshold word is a pretty interesting word that you just used. Because, no, it doesn`t change it for me. You have to look at each nominee on their -- on their own merits.
But the word, threshold, is important here because, of course, this is not a 51-vote threshold like we`ve had with these cabinet secretaries that are before you. Like we have with other judges. The Senate has decided, through Republicans and Democrats being in charge, to keep the 60-vote threshold.
And we`ve done that because both parties, and kind of a game of chicken, have said, you know what? You could be in charge the next time. You could be in charge next time. Different president. And we want to have someone that can attract votes from the other side.
And so, this is a case where if this person is not in the mainstream, whoever he nominates in this White House apprentice that we`re about to witness tonight. With two people. We don`t know who. Maybe a third. We don`t know who it`s going to be, but if they can`t get those types of votes, they`re not going to make it to that threshold.
TODD: But what should trigger a filibuster? What should be -- what should you use the filibuster for, when it comes to a Supreme Court nominee? What should be -- you know, how egregious do you -- does your opposition to a nominee need to be for you to pull that?
KLOBACHAR: You know, I`m a former prosecutor, Chuck. So, I don`t -- I want to look at the evidence in every case. And so, I can`t really say what that is when you have a complicated history of law and you have someone`s record that spans years and years.
But what I -- what I do know is that all of our Democratic senators are going to take this seriously. There will be a few that may automatically say they`re opposed.
KLOBACHAR: But I think a lot of us will want to see what the evidence shows and go from there.
But it is a very important job. The highest court of the land with a court that`s been going clearly in one direction.
TODD: Look, Merrick Garland, that situation left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of Democrats, a lot of senators. How is that impacting you? Do you think -- can you take -- can you remove that incident and feel like -- and not sort of apply retribution over it?
KLOBACHAR: Well, as a lawyer, I`ve got to look at what`s before me. But if I could get someone like Merrick Garland, that`s where it resonates with me. If you could get a candidate like that that has and a nominee that has --
TODD: No, I understand that. But do you feel like -- do you want the Republic -- do you want to punish Republicans for what they did to Merrick Garland?
KLOBACHAR: I don`t -- I don`t -- I don`t view my job that way, as retribution. But what I do know is that the Democrats, given what we`ve seen in the last year with no justice on that court, given that a lot of us have said we have to do our jobs and have a hearing, we`re going to be taking this very seriously. And looking at every nook and cranny of this nominee`s background.
TODD: All right.
KLOBACHAR: And when you`ve seen what we just saw last night, where the acting attorney general, whose been willing to stay on, gets an order thrown at that puts the country in chaos, no independence, in terms what have they did. They won`t even bring her in on the decisions. And then fire her.
This is a White House that has shown that they are not going to stop at intruding into the judiciary or intruding into the work of the Justice Department.
And so, --
TODD: So, what you`re saying is their actions --
KLOBACHAR: -- people (ph) are very aware of this.
TODD: -- so, you`re saying their actions over the weekend are going to make you take a different look at their court nominee, even if this person is purely qualified because you don`t trust them?
KLOBUCHAR: I think that there`s going -- there`s clearly trust issues about what just went on which millions of people`s lives thrown in limbo. But I think the nominee will stand on their own merits, but it`s clear that`s one of the reasons why democratic senators kept talking today about our views on the executive order with regard to Senator Sessions nomination.
And you look at what we saw with the finance committee with Mnuchin and Price where they basically roll those signatures, things we haven`t been told that are the truth. To all of this, I wouldn`t just say it`s supreme court, but it`s led to some clear trust issues when these nominees are coming before us.
TODD: And you don`t feel as if at what point do you feel as if you owe the president to let to have him have his team?
KLOBUCHAR: I think you are going to see even with senate rules, you will see votes on nominees and you`re already seen in the security area we have. The secretary of defense is in place. And we`ve got someone running a number of the agencies that have already gone through and I think that is very important, but, beyond that, I think we`re going to look at each of these nominees on their merits and I`m sure you`ll see votes scheduled as you did today.
But we have to look at each of them. We have a bunch of billionaires. We have people that we have to look at thoroughly and when Penny Pritzker was up, it took six months because it took a while to go through all of those financial. And that`s just true no matter who the president is.
TODD: All right. Interesting data point there on former secretary of commerce, Penny Pritzker. Anyway, Amy Klobuchar, democrat from Minnesota on the judiciary committee. I`m sure we`re going to see you a lot during this confirmation hearing. Thank you.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you very much, Chuck.
TODD: Still ahead, we`ll have the latest on this weekend`s raid in Yemen. What we know about the operation and what went wrong? Stay tuned.
TODD: These days, palace entry watchers, photo ups matter. Interesting one at the White House. President Trump met with cyber security experts and sitting right next to him was Jared Kushner. President also postponed today`s planned cyber security executive order. Though we don`t yet know why, perhaps maybe they are making sure it goes through all the proper channels on this one. Anyway, we`ll have more "MTP Daily` just ahead. First, here`s Hampton Pearson with today`s "Market Wrap."
HAMPTON PEARSON, JOURNALIST, CNBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Chuck. Stocks continue to slump. The Dow slides triple digits for a second day, the S&P off by 2, the Nasdaq actually adding a point.
The federal reserve began a two-day policy meeting, it`s first since Donald Trump was inaugurated. It announced this decision on raids tomorrow afternoon.
Consumers were a little less confident this month as they grew more cautious about business conditions, jobs, and income.
And Apple shares are higher after the company reported revenue and earnings that beat estimates. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
TODD: Welcome back. We`re continuing to learn more today about what a senior military official is calling the first clandestine strike under President Donald Trump. The senior official tells NBC News that two Americans were killed in this raid carried out by the super secret joint special operations command in Yemen on Sunday.
This mission targeted an Al Qaeda camp in Al Bayda in South Central Yemen. AQAP. According to that senior military official, almost everything went wrong, including that the seals aircraft had to be destroyed after a hard landing, and noncombatants ended up being killed during a fire fight. A fire fight by the way they didn`t fully expect either.
Defense Department identified one of two Americans killed as a member of SEAL Team 6, the infamous SEAL Team 6, 36-year-old Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens of Illinois. Defense secretary said in a statement, he quote, gave his full measure for our nation.
According to a senior military official, the other American killed was eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, yes, that al-Awlaki, daughter of Anwar al- Awlaki, an American-born Al Qaeda leader who was killed in a U.S. strike five years ago. The girl`s grandfather also told NBC News she was killed.
So an American citizen ended up dying. But the Pentagon is still assessing and is neither confirming nor denying any civilian casualties on the ground yet. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was pressed repeatedly today on the question of targeting Americans overseas.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president has previously indicated that he would encourage the targeting of families of terror suspects. Is that still his current position?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When did he say that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On Fox.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The other thing with terrorists, do you have to take out their families?
SPICER: I think he`s been very clear that when it comes to seeking out ISIS and other terrorists, he`s going to lean on Director Pompeo, General Mattis and seek their opinion on stuff. I think that will be continued.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the president willing to kill and target American citizens, even minors, just because their family members are terrorists?
SPICER: No American citizen will ever be targeted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Joining me now from more insight on this raid, our Pentagon correspondent, Hans Nichols. Hans, the Pentagon seems to -- was this raid unsuccessful or was there successes out of it?
HANS NICHOLS, NBC PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well there was success in that they gathered the hard drives, they gathered the intelligence. It was unsuccessful because an American seal died and by definition, any time an American seal dies, that cannot be called a successful raid. Here`s what happened.
First off, this was an operation that was planned during the Obama administration. It just the opportunity presented itself in the first few days of the Trump administration. Trump authorized it, so yes, it`s his first clandestine operation.
What happens is almost from the beginning, encountered small arms fire. They weren`t expecting that. These are the seals that are coming into a compound. Again, they`re not going after high valued targets. To go after high valued targets, you use a drone.
TODD: That`s right.
NICHOLS: You go after them from the sky.
TODD: This was to gather intelligence, right?
NICHOLS: Gather intelligence. You pick stuff up off the ground. Things went south. You also had separate from this, you had to plane the Osprey that crashes. Osprey has had some problems in the past. It`s been doing pretty well in the theaters in Iraq and elsewhere.
So you have the Osprey crash. Hard landing I guess is the term you hear at the Pentagon. And you have three injuries there. You have three wounded from the gunfight, and the one -- and one seal dead.
TODD: Who ran this operation? It`s always been -- out of the Pentagon, CIA, who ran it?
NICHOLS: Pentagon. It`s a Pentagon operation.
TODD: Pentagon-ran operation.
NICHOLS: It is 100 percent.
TODD: CIA not involved. Obviously bin Laden raid, you know, was that sort of the joint.
NICHOLS: It was joint, right. Okay. So, there`s some reporting I heard that NBC hasn`t confirmed. The United Arab Emirates special forces were also informed. It`s the SEAL Team 6. General Mattis was at dinner at a fancy Washington dinner, Alfalfa Club dinner, on Saturday night. Leaves in the middle of that dinner.
NBC is reporting that was because he got news, he got indication that this operation wasn`t going well. Now, were there any CIA assets? Can I conclusively rule that out? No, I don`t have that on my notebook.
TODD: All right. Hans, you`ve got to do nightly. I`ll let you do that. Let me bring in somebody who has also been following this very closely, Max Boot. He is a senior fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and of course a contributor to Commentary Magazine.
So Max, what`s your read on this? You heard Hans`s reporting. A successful mission at the end of the day because of the Intel or is it always going to be viewed as an unsuccessful because we lost two American lives?
MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW FOR NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES AT THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, COMMENTARY MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR: Well, obviously nobody wants to lose lives in any kind of operation, but I think that the SEAL Team 6 operators and the military in general understand that`s one of the risks that they run. And I think the success or failure of the mission will be judged based on what they recovered from the scene and what kind of intelligence they can exploit. But I think there is going to be a new battle that`s going to be fought after this raid which is the battle of the narrative because as you eluded to, Anwar al-Awlaki`s very young daughter was killed in this raid along with some other civilians. And the message that Al Qaeda is going to put out there is that the U.S. is targeting his family. That they are out there to kill innocent people, including young girls.
And of course, I don`t think that`s the case at all. And in spite of President Trump`s rhetoric, that`s not how SEAL Team 6 operates. But remember, credibility is incredibly important in this kind of battle of the narrative. And what kind of credibility does Sean Spicer or President Trump or anybody else in the White House have at this moment when they keep retailing falsehood after falsehood day after day?
This is where it really catches up with you because we need to have credible spokes people who can rebut the lies and rumors that Al Qaeda will put out there in order to mobilize people in Yemen and around the Muslim world against the United States and how can President Trump now credibly claim that he is not doing the very things that he advocated doing on the campaign trail?
TODD: Max, look, you follow this very closely, tell me since we`re talking about Yemen again and unfortunately, usually is only in the news in our battle with dealing with terrorism, it`s usually only in the news when one of these raids takes place. And then we sort of forget about it.
There was a time that John Brennan when he was at the CIA will say AQAP was the number one threat, bigger than ISIS as far as the homeland was concerned. Is that still the assessment of the Intel community? That while ISIS is a bigger problem in the Middle East, that AQAP is still focused solely on trying to kill Americans?
BOOT: I think ISIS is probably a bigger threat all around, but there`s no question that AQAP is a real threat. And even somebody like Anwar al-Awlaki who was killed in a CIA drone strike in 2011, he`s still a threat because the videos that he recorded, the stuff that he put out on the internet, it`s still out there, still radicalizing people.
When you look at the motivations of some of the recent terrorists that we`ve had in the United States whether in Orlando or San Bernardino or Boston or elsewhere, and in many cases it was a combination of ISIS propaganda and AQAP propaganda beyond, you know, their involvement in specifically carrying out plots. They continue to play very active role in radicalizing people in the west.
And that`s in many ways the number one terrorist danger that we face right now which I don`t think President Trump quite realizes because he`s very much focused on foreigners coming in here to attack us, whereas I think the real danger is Americans being radicalized by a combination of the actions of the U.S. government and by the propaganda that spread by groups like AQAP.
TODD: And if we look at those who have tried to commit major terrorists attacks in the country over the last few years, many of them turn out to be American citizens. Anyway, Max Boot.
BOOT: Vast majority, absolutely. American-born, American citizens.
TODD: Max Boot, Commentary Magazines, Council on Foreign Relations, appreciate you for sharing your view, sir, thank you.
BOOT: Thank you.
TODD: All right. We`re going to dig into all of this in a few minutes. We`ll be right back.
TODD: All right. We need a lighter obsession. Tonight, I`m obsessed with what should be an excellent sports moment, but it`s become one of the least entertaining weekends in the sports calendar. That`s right, I`m talking what happened this weekend. NFL and NHL both had their all-star weekends. And what a mess. Let`s start with the NFL pro bowl or as most of us know it by the bye week before the Super Bowl.
The game is supposed to feature the sports biggest and brightest stars, but the league settles for whomever will show up, definitely not the Super Bowl teams. According to to the top sport stats sites, 37 players turned down pro bowl invitations this year, usually citing health concerns or because they are playing in the Super Bowl.
Already not exactly a recipe, but let`s be honest, what do we really care about any of these all-star situations? We only care about the feats and skills and strength, the home run derby, the slam dunk contest, the three- point shot. There`s a good chance you missed this year`s NFL skills competition. It was pre-taped and aired Thursday night. Big mistake.
Does the NHL, they have a pretty cool skills competition themselves, but you need a chart and an advanced degree in statistics to figure out what the heck`s going on. And that confusing format continued to the series of I guess games that on Sunday that players were guided into divisions and the main event is a three on three tournament. Somehow, the metropolitan division came out on top, yey, I guess.
Folks, we don`t expect much from all-star games. Let`s keep it simple and show off the talent. I want dunk contests, three-point sheeting contest, fastest fastball, home run derby, perfect spirals, hail marys, we know how to do this. Heck, just bring back the battle of the network stars. We`ll be right back.
TODD: Time for "The Lid." Let`s bring the panel back, Karine Jean-Pierre, Rick Tyler, Beth Fouhy. Okay. The Supreme Court fight for the democrats and you heard Amy Klobuchar there. Karine, she didn`t commit to anything, right? Didn`t commit to filibustering. Didn`t layout a criteria. Can she support somebody she doesn`t agree with?
Let me ask it this way to you. Can a democratic base tolerate an elected democrat supporting a confirmation of someone who is qualified even if they don`t agree with the ideology?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR AND NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON AT MOVEON.ORG: I don`t think so because we just look at what Donald Trump has done with this executive order and we have been discussing. Just look at the two weekends. Just last weekend, tens of thousands of people across the country came out because they are angry with what`s going on with our country.
So I actually believe that people are looking at the Supreme Court justice, this particular pick, as we need to have an independent kind of judiciary, right? Especially after what we saw with Sally Yates yesterday. He decided to fire her. And he used words like betrayal. And if you understand the judicial process, that`s really appalling.
TODD: Let me take on another. Rick, I think -- Karine, you`re trying to be nice. I think there`s some in base democrats who would say hey, look at the republican said to Obama, and you know what, we don`t like this Trump guy, let`s make their lives miserable, that way or something like that. And that what it seems like base democrats aren`t going to tolerate elected democrats working with him too much.
RICK TYLER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: The problem that both parties have is there is, you know, your base. On the democratic side, you have what I call the Bernie base because they were the most active out there and.
TODD: And they are non-Washington, right? They certainly think Washington is part of the problem.
TYLER: Right. And the classic argument is we would have won if we were purest like Bernie and the right says we would have won if we were purest...
TODD: Didn`t he work for a guy who would make that argument?
TYLER: And so the Democratic Party is in the wilderness. Maybe a regional party or coastal party. Certainly, Chris Cillizza had a great piece that showed a graphic about how bad it is for the Democratic Party. Will it swing back? Of course it will. But I don`t know how the democrats get their footing in the next couple of years especially in the senate.
TODD: Where are you on this?
BETH FOUHY, SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR FOR NBC NEWS AND MSNBC: This is their moment. They have to do it. The angry base has been motivated now. It`s not just Bernie people, it`s a whole lot of people who are appalled about what is going on with Trump. They are out there. They are marching. They are resisting. And they are looking at Washington democrats as being completely having absolutely no impact on.
TYLER: To your point, it might actually be good for republican party. That is because people don`t like to see all of this chaos.
FOUHY: That`s right. And yet I don`t see how the democrats in Washington can just let either of these guys throw. Even the two people we think are going to be the nominees both sailed through.
TODD: All right. I will just say this though, if you care about a United State senate that can ever be operational or functional, if we -- if the filibuster gets used and the nuclear option gets used, it`s over. The senate as the place that is. Basically.
TYLER: All that go back to the Kennedy court. That`s what it will be.
TODD: Look, everything -- by the way, I know everybody (inaudible) who. That`s where we`re headed.
JEAN-PIERRE: But we`re in unusual times.
TODD: Yes, we are.
JEAN-PIERRE: Not normal times. That`s the thing. That`s what we are.
TODD: And that is also true.
FOUHY: That`s really true.
TODD: But I have also ran out of time. That`s the most true thing I have said all along.
TODD: Thank you, all of you, all three of you. After the break, there`s a health deadline headline that you won`t want to miss, right after this.
TODD: In case you missed it, there are only a few hours left in what could be the last open enrollment period for what`s affectionately by some and unaffectionately by others called Obamacare. In case you missed it, it`s now becoming more popular than it ever had been before. As of mid-January, more than 11.6 million people have signed up using the federal and state- ran website on healthcare.gov alone.
About 100,000 more people have been enrolled this year compared to last year and previous years. The Obama administration granted extension but that probably isn`t likely to stand around. Just last week, Trump administration reportedly pulled those last minute TV ads that were promoting open enrollment until the end.
Folks, we`ve heard it again and again and watch it in you break it, you own it. When it comes to Obamacare, republicans are trying to figure out how to break it and not own it if they can pull that off. Good luck to them. We`ll all be watching. That`s all I have for tonight, but my friend, Greta`s "For the Record" starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END