Show: MTP DAILY Date: February 20, 2017 Guest: Bob Ehrlich, Karine Jean-Pierre, Gabriel Sherman, Tom Reed, Bob Ehrlich, Karine Jean-Pierre, Ezra Levin, Steve Clemons
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Well, that`s going to do for us on this Presidents Day. I`m Steve Kornacki here in New York. "MTP DAILY" with Katy Tur in for Chuck starts right now.
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s Monday.
Some people are celebrating Presidents Day. Some people are celebrating not my Presidents Day. And some people know what the holiday is actually called.
Good evening, and welcome to MTP DAILY, I`m Katy Tur in New York in for Chuck Todd and welcome to the one month mark of the president`s administration.
Tonight, questions about the administration`s relationship with Russia continue to swirl. The president announced his new national security advisor also today.
And Republicans inside and outside the administration are pushing back against the president, calling the media, quote, "the enemy."
We`ll cover it all tonight. But we begin with the anti-Trump resistance they did -- resistance, period. And they not take the holiday weekend off. All day and into this evening, not my president`s rallies are taking place across the country. And our NBC reporters have been filing reports from coast to coast.
GADI SCHWARTZ, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Hi, Katy. Right now, we are in front of city hall in Los Angeles. And you see the crowds are up on the steps. They`ve got signs of every different type. There are so many different issues out here. People here for women`s rights. People are here that are against the Muslim ban. People here that don`t want to see families deported.
And we`ve been talking to several people here who say that they fear President Trump because he is making good on his promises. It`s the same type of thing that we`ve heard from President Trump supporters on why they support the president and why they`re so encouraged to see what he`s doing.
But both sides of the issue here, both sides of the President Trump definitely divided today.
MARIANA ATENCIO, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: I`ve been walking for several miles now. This march is almost finished.
And just now, as we were getting ready to wrap up, we also ran into these Trump supporters. And there was a little bit of a tense exchange with some of the marchers. But many people here are rallying against Donald Trump policies.
RON ALLEN, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: I think this is one of the biggest ones in the country, Katy. Police are saying there are thousands of people from 61st street up to about 68th or 69th Street, which is about a quarter of a mile.
And we also started down there, Columbus Circle, some confrontations. There were some anti-Trump and some pro-Trump supporters who were in confrontations back and forth, yelling and screaming.
The people over in this direction, you can see, are still trying to come in. This is supposed to go on for several more hours.
TUR: As we speak, the president is traveling back to the White House from his Florida home and Congress is on a week-long recess.
But if lawmakers thought they`d get a reprieve during their time in their districts, think again. Members of Congress were met with protests at constituent town halls over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAY SOMERVILLE: Ever since the election, I have felt like a passenger in a car that`s being driven by the drunk driver.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you proud to have him representing our country?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given the two choices I had, I am thankful that Trump is our president.
REP. TOM REED (R), NEW YORK: I`m here to listen. Ideas on health care fronts.
Let me -- let me throw one out -- let me -- let me throw one out there. I am very supportive of -- how about -- how about our conversation -- where do people -- where do we people stand --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: I`ll talk to one of the organizers behind the movement in a moment. But first, let`s go to Congressman Tom Reed. That was his town hall that we just showed you video of. One of four that he held on Saturday and one that actually had to be moved outside because so many people showed up.
Congressman, first off, thank you so much for being here. A lot of your colleagues --
REED: Well, thank you for having me.
TUR: Great. A lot of your colleagues were shying away from the in-person town hall, instead they were doing it on Facebook. Why did you show up in person?
REED: Well, we`ve been doing town halls since I`ve been in Congress. It`s something we`ve done 200 times plus. Because to represent people, you`ve got to listen to people. And that`s a cornerstone of my belief.
And we`re going to engage in the conversation, even with people that are a hundred degrees against what we stand for.
TUR: Do you think that protest was organic?
REED: Well, I think some of it was organized. Some of it was clearly organic. And, clearly, people are concerned. There`s a lot of fear. And there`s a lot of anxiety out there. And my job is to have the conversation to say, you know what? There`s more that unites us than divides us as a nation and we need to come together to solve these problems.
TUR: So, you had the conversation. What do you believe that your constituents are most worried about right now?
REED: Well, I think there`s just a lot of anxiety. A lot of people not recognizing that the -- what we`re going to do with health care, what are the solutions we`re putting on to the table.
We`re going to empower people. We`re going to move away from government- controlled health care and move to a people-based system that empowers people and doctors.
TUR: What if you continue to roll out this plan, you continue to give information about this proposed plan that is going to come out at some point and your constituents continue to come out to those town halls to push back against it? Are you worried that maybe your candidacy next time around could be in in jeopardy?
[17:05:11] REED: I`m not worried about reelection because I went to Washington to solve problems. That`s why I coach at the problem solvers caucus and the labels group that we participate in because it`s about solving people`s problems.
Once we start enacting solutions and empowering people, I believe a lot of this tension, a lot of this anxiety, a lot of this fear will go away.
TUR: You say it`s about solving problems, Congressman. But it sounds like your constituents are pretty worried and pretty angry about the idea of taking away Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Doesn`t -- isn`t part of your job listening to their concerns and hearing them when they, say we don`t want you to take this away?
REED: Yes, and that`s what we engaged in the conversation with. The town halls we heard Saturday, that position.
But they also wanted to move to a single payer complete government controlled health care. And to me, that`s not the right path to go.
And I`m trying to also listen to that silent majority out there. The majority -- the forgotten men and women, the voice of them who elected Donald Trump. And that stood with me for reelection the last cycle.
TUR: When are we going to see a concrete plan for what you are going to replace or propose replacing Obamacare with?
REED: Well, that`s why it was so critical for me to hold these town halls because I wanted the input. And after we had five hours` worth of conversation, there were stretches where we had, actually, a constructive dialogue, where we talked about health savings reforms, advanceable refundable tax credit to put money in people`s pockets to purchase their health care.
I anticipate, after we get back, after listening to people, that will allow us to advance the policy when we return to Washington next week.
TUR: This wasn`t your town hall but it was said in one of the one the town halls we just played. A man felt like he was in a car with a drunk driver at the wheel. That`s the analogy presented with Donald Trump as president. When you hear stuff like that, how do you allay voters` concerns?
REED: By showing up and looking them in the eye and saying, you know, this is a great country. We`ve got great days ahead of us. And what we need to do is come together as a nation. And there`s people, like myself, that are fully engaged with that dialogue.
And by coming together and enacting solutions, we`ll get through whatever fear and anxiety that motivates these folks and that are concerns of these folks. And what we need to do is go forward.
TUR: What do you say to your fellow Congressmen not showing up?
REED: You know, I respect each member`s decision, how they represent their district.
For us, this has been something we`ve been doing from day one and will continue to do. Just as I showed up Thursday night when we had protesters take over our office for three days with a sit-in and sleep-in. We`re showing up because we care about people. It`s the right thing to do.
TUR: A lot of allegations flying that these are paid protesters, do you believe that?
REED: No, I think there`s some organization to it. It depends on where you`re at across the country.
What I saw on display was passion, was fear and anxiety. And as a representative, I think it`s incumbent upon me to get out there and have that conversation and tell folks we really care about them. And we to want make sure we`re doing right for them as we`re going forward.
TUR: Congressman Tom Reed, thank you for joining me. Happy Presidents Day to you.
REED: Thank you.
TUR: Joining me now, Ezra Levin, a co-founder of "Indivisible Guide." The group behind many of those protests happening at town halls across the country. His group is founded by former congressional staffers. And it began as an online Google dock of tools to resist the Trump agenda.
We`re going to get to him in a little while, but let`s bring in tonight`s panel. Bob Ehrlich is a former governor of Maryland who was a Trump surrogate during the campaign. Karine Jean-Pierre is a senior advisor to MoveOn.org. And Steve Clemons is editor-at-large at "The Atlantic." He`s also an MSNBC contributor.
Guys, thank you so much for being here. I`m so sorry that I couldn`t be there with you in person. If you were here tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problem.
TUR: Anyway, talk to me about what we just heard from Tom Reed. He`s showing up at these town halls. And there are so many Congressman who are not doing so, who are shying away and going -- and doing it on Facebook instead.
Governor, I want to ask you, do you think that`s the appropriate way to face your constituents?
FMR. GOV. BOB EHRLICH (R), MARYLAND: As a former member of Congress, I love what Tom just said. He`s as good as it gets. It`s -- he knows some of the protesters are paid and they`re professional activists and community organizers and that sort of stuff. But some are real. Some of it`s real angst. You get that. So, you show up and you do your job. And part of your job is to listen.
But it`s interesting for -- as I was listening to Tom, I was thinking about, geez, eight years ago, that`s sort of been me. I`d have been frustrated, angry over the past eight years. I just didn`t decide to show up and protest and destroy property and all of that. But folks to the right and center of this country have been really frustrated. And you`ve seen it.
So, I think part of -- one, first of all, Tom`s doing the right thing. He`s doing his job which is great to see.
But, secondly, you see the fact of a very divided country in a very philosophical sense. It`s not necessarily a partisan divide, but it`s a philosophical divide. And, obviously, elections have consequences.
And if you had thought you were going to have Obama three, it came crashing down November eighth and you don`t have it. So, you`re upset and you`re angry. And, for some reason, this modern progressive left likes to act out.
[17:10:12] And we`ll see -- I`ll just make one last point here. With regard to this acting out and these protests, it`s fine. It`s the American way. To the extent it destroys property or stops traffic and all of that, they`re just hurting themselves, which we`ll see how they perceive it and time goes on.
TUR: Governor -- Karine, you`re laughing so I actually want to -- I want to hear why you`re laughing. Go on.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR, MOVEON.ORG: So, with all due respect to the governor, I would like him to name me one -- to name one protester that he knows that`s being paid to come on and do this.
EHRLICH: Oh, my lord, are you kidding me?
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes. No, I want you to name just one.
EHRLICH: Oh, my lord.
JEAN-PIERRE: Just one, just one.
EHRLICH: The professional organizers out there?
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, yes. No, this is -- this is very much organically happening.
JEAN-PIERRE: Around the country because of what --
JEAN-PIERRE: -- because of what Donald Trump has been doing for the last 30 days.
EHRLICH: Well, wait a second, can I ask you a question?
JEAN-PIERRE: And also -- and also -- wait, let me finish.
EHRLICH: It started the day after the election. He hadn`t done anything.
TUR: Hold on. Don`t go there with each other, guys. Come on, this is not -- this isn`t "Crossfire." Let`s just -- let`s just hear --
JEAN-PIERRE: Let me -- let me -- let me finish.
JEAN-PIERRE: Let me finish. And there is no report showing today that there`s been any violence. So, it -- so, that`s --
EHRLICH: What about Berkeley.
JEAN-PIERRE: Well, that`s a whole different issue.
JEAN-PIERRE: And I don`t condone violence. I think these protests should be non-violent and peaceful. But they`re -- what we`re seeing across the country have not been violent, at all. They`ve been pretty organic.
And, look, one thing that I can say and I said this before, the one thing that Republicans have been able to do is sell the importance of Obamacare which is something Democrats were not able to do for six years.
And if Republicans were so proud of what they were doing with Obamacare, they wouldn`t be cancelling all of their town halls. They would be showing up and listening and doing what the Congressman that was just on the air is doing. And they`re not.
And so, what`s happening is people are coming out and they`re saying no to the Muslim ban. They`re saying no to taking away their health care. And that is what`s happening. And it`s only 30 days -- it`s only, what, 32 days.
TUR: Karine, Governor and Steve, hold on a second. I want to bring in Ezra Levin, who knows a thing or two about these protesters we teased a moment ago.
Ezra, talk to me. Are these protesters, as the governor alleges -- are any of them paid protesters?
EZRA LEVIN, CO-FOUNDER, "INDIVISIBLE GUIDE": No, absolutely not. The -- this is an organic movement that`s being led at the local level.
And it`s coming together to be led in really creative ways. We have people bring Valentine`s Day cards to their members of Congress asking for a date. We have people putting together scrapbooks of people in the district or in the state who are personally affected by repeal of the ACA.
These are citizens. These are constituents. These are folks who are really concerned about the direction of the country. They`re nurses. They`re school teachers. They`re folks with day jobs who are spending their nights and their weekends trying to get involved in the political process. Some of them for the very first time.
TUR: Governor, you know, a lot of -- on this point. A lot of folks are uncomfortable with this president. A lot of folks didn`t vote --
TUR: -- for this president.
TUR: How can you allege that all of the people that are -- or even some of them. I mean, how can you dismiss it by saying that they`re being paid?
EHRLICH: Oh, I don`t dismiss -- I don`t dismiss the angst. As I`ve said, a lot of people thought -- these are big government types. They want single payer and they want open borders. We get that. These issues were debated during the campaign and they lost. And they thought they weren`t going to lose. They thought it was going to be Obama three, obviously.
And so, with regard to Obamacare, for example, it`s been on the ballot three times now. Really, referendums on Obamacare. It`s bleeding. It`s a disaster. The only thing it`s done is increase the Medicaid rolls which if that`s what you wanted to do, the president could have easily done, that by the way, when Democrats had control of the House and the Senate.
TUR: Bob, --
EHRLICH: That`s what it`s done.
TUR: Bob, hold on --
TUR: -- hold on a second.
EHRLICH: But with regard to the networks they`re bleeding. And the reason major insurers are pulling out of the networks is they can`t make a buck.
TUR: Bog, well, so far, we have to see what the Republicans offer in replacement form. We haven`t yet seen that.
JEAN-PIERRE: Which is nothing.
TUR: There are a lot of folks in the Republican Party who are pretty concerned about how exactly they`re going to try and roll back this plan and fix it.
That being said, Ezra, I want to ask you, you`ve helped organize this pushback against Trump movement. How does that sustain itself? Can it sustain itself for long enough to affect the 2018 midterms?
LEVIN: Yes. So, I would say that we didn`t organize hardly anything. We put out a Google dock that was largely based on the tactics and strategies of the Tea Party, saying that local defensive congressional advocacy can indeed work, can indeed change the mind of your individual senators and your representative.
What we`ve seen, in the last four or five weeks, is that 7,000 groups at the local level have formed, using this guide. If you go to IndivisibleGuide.com, you type in your zip code, you`ll find one near you. You`ll find town halls near you.
And what we see is people are getting engaged. This isn`t just laconism (ph). This isn`t just Facebook or Twitter or Web sites. This is people getting together with their friends, families and neighbors and coming out and making their voice heard.
[17:15:05] It`s really -- I`ve got to say, it should be inspiring to see whether you`re on the right or the left, all of this civic engagement.
TUR: Steve, let`s bring in -- let`s bring in Steve Clemons. He`s been sitting here patiently and listening. Talk to me about what you`re seeing in Congress, specifically with John McCain and Lindsey Graham. They`re pushing back against this president and they`re feeling pretty alone in doing so.
At what point are they going to convince -- and are they going to be, at any point, convince their fellow Republicans to get behind them for investigations of the Russian hacking, independent investigations?
STEVE CLEMONS, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, a couple of things, Katy. First of all, it`s -- you know, John McCain and Lindsey Graham are pros at the Ezra Levin guide "Indivisible." I really love reading this guide. I think it gives very, very healthy, smart, humorous information to people. It`s, in many ways, light hearted.
But John McCain and Lindsey Graham, right now, are like the people in front of that, you know, proverbial tank in Tiananmen Square, saying, hey, stop, there is something important here. And I think that when they -- when John McCain comes out and says, you know, dictators get started by demonizing the press, that`s a very, very important red flag for all of us, showing what he might -- what he might do.
I think the issue is not just what Republicans say that they can bring around. I was with a progressive U.S. senator new to the Senate who was talking about John McCain. And saying that John McCain and, believe it or not, Comey of the FBI, maybe two of the most important people, standing between the failure of democracy and us preserving democracy.
And I was remark -- I was -- I was shocked by the Comey comment. But, clearly, something that happened in that hearing, that classified hearing on the Russians, and what not, really impacted this senator and made them stand up.
And people are watching John McCain. He has tremendous respect in the U.S. Congress. And his leadership and what he`s willing to do and putting himself on the line, I think, is inspiring other people to say, we need to put ourselves on the line. Maybe it`ll be a not my president day protest, maybe it`ll be other kind of things.
But, certainly, we`re seeing, I think, an important kind of leadership telling Donald Trump where some of the big red lines in this democracy are.
TUR: Steve, one more question to you. A couple hours ago on my 2:00 p.m. show, a congressman brought up a moment between President Obama and the current -- the, at the time, Russian President Medvedev back in 2012.
TUR: He thought that Obama was talking to Putin. And, in reality, he was talking to Medvedev -- God, that name`s going to kill me.
CLEMONS: Medev -- Medev -- Medev.
TUR: Thank you. It`s -- you know, it`s a holiday Monday.
But he was saying that, basically, his argument was the whole Michael Flynn controversy was the same as -- overblown. It`s the same as what President Obama was saying to the Russian president, that he needed some flexibility, weight has some flexibility and they can talk more about missiles after his election. It was a hot mic moment. It was not meant for reporters to hear.
And now, Republicans are using this as a talking point to, basically, equate what happened with Michael Flynn and what happened with President Obama.
Talk to me about that and whether or not --
CLEMONS: It`s absolutely not -- I mean, I`m sorry, but it`s absolutely not the case. I mean, we have a -- Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. But as he`s come into office, he`s been engaged in a love fest with Vladimir Putin at the time when, you know, and talked about alleviating sanctions before they`ve done any of the things that they`re supposed to do on Crimea.
As we`ve seen them hack, not only to the U.S. democracy but in other governments across Eastern Europe, as they`ve harassed and beaten up U.S. diplomats. All of this going on while other -- you know, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort with various kinds of alleged interaction with the Russian government.
It looks as if the appearances are that these guys, basically, are advocating for Russia`s interests at a time when you`ve got a U.S. president coming in, without having weighed any of the other issues.
And when you see calls with Putin that are really warm and fuzzy exercises, and you see Angela Merkel beat up, you see Malcolm Turnbull of Australia beat up. This has created a lot of fear and lack of trust in the United States.
So, there is nothing similar to the Medvedev-Obama discussion and what Michael Flynn did in, potentially -- allegedly potentially offering Russia some flexibility down the road once they came into office.
TUR: So, I have jumped the gun a little bit. We`re going to talk about that more coming up after the break. I promise, Governor, you`ll be able to chime in as well as Karine.
Ezra, back to the issue of protests, which we originally were talking about. Not to jump around too much in this conversation, but I`ll give you the --
TUR: -- I`ll give you the last word. What are we going to see next?
LEVIN: Well, you know, I would give Tom Reed some props for actually showing up. Many, many of his colleagues did not. What I would not give him props for is not actually answering the questions that his constituents were bringing to him. His constituents don`t to want see 32 million Americans lose their health insurance.
[17:20:00] And they were asking him what he would do to get Donald Trump`s tax returns released. I don`t know if Donald Trump is engaging in a big cover-up of his business dealings or of his dealings with Russia.
What I do know is that Tom Reed, as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, can unilaterally require that the president release his tax returns. I know that it`s been used before for a sitting president, and I knew that Republicans used this law, two and a half years ago, to release tax return information. Tom Reed is choosing not to do that.
So, I hope that he listens to his constituents, goes back to Congress and stops rubber stamping the Trump agenda and starts resisting it.
TUR: Ezra Levin, thank you very much. Bob, Karine and Steve, don`t worry. We can talk more about this in just a few minutes. Stick around.
Coming up, Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster is in. We`ll have new details on President Trump`s new pick for national security advisor.
Plus, what you didn`t goat hear from Chuck`s exclusive sit down with former CIA director and defense secretary, Leon Panetta.
We`ll be right back.
TUR: Welcome back.
The president`s week-long scramble to replace the national security advisor ended today. After a weekend of interviews at what the president likes to call the winter White House, and what is actually a private club that charges 200 grand for membership, Mr. Trump named Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster as Michael Flynn`s replacement just a few hours ago. McMaster served as the director at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, a contender who was less known outside of the defense circles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCMASTER: I`d just like to say what a privilege it is to be able to continue serving our nation. I`m grateful to you for that opportunity. And I look forward to joining the national security team and doing everything I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people. Thank you very much.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You`re going to do a great job.
MCMASTER: Thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Acting national security advisor, General Keith Kellogg, who`s right there on your screen right there, will stay on as a top advisor.
A senior White House official says McMaster will be able to choose his own team, a major point that was a bit of a sticking point for a couple other candidates who were in the -- in contention for that role.
Meanwhile, Senator John McCain called the choice outstanding and Congressman Devin Nunez, who chairs the permanent select committee on intelligence, lauded McMaster as a fresh thinker.
More MTP DAILY just after the break.
TUR: Welcome back.
As we just said, President Trump, today, named Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster to be his new national security advisor.
But Russia continues to cast a shadow over the Trump administration. On the same day senators discussed Russia in a classified briefing with the FBI director, bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee sent letters to government agencies, directing them to preserve all records relevant to its investigation on Russia`s interference in the 2016 election.
A story in "The New York Times" today alleges non-government Trump associates crafted a plan to lift sanctions against Russia and gave it to the White House.
And according to my colleague, Bill Neely, Russia is preparing a dossier on President Trump`s psychological make-up for its president, Vladimir Putin.
In a "MEET THE PRESS" exclusive this weekend, Chuck interviewed former CIA director and defense secretary, Leon Panetta. Here is some of what you didn`t get to see from that interview about the future of U.S. relations with Russia.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Is Russia among America`s chief adversaries, at this point? You know, whether you rank it one, two, three or four?
LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR AND DEFENSE SECRETARY: Without question.
TODD: But you don`t say without question and it`s not worth reaching out to them and trying to form some sort of new alliance?
PANETTA: Listen, it`s always worth trying to reach out to the Russians or to Iran or to North Korea. I mean, it`s important to try to see if you can find some diplomatic approaches to at least having communication with those adversaries. That`s always important.
But you have to do it from a position of strength, not a position of weakness. And if it looks like, somehow, you`re concerned about somehow wanting to cut a deal. And so, you don`t draw lines. You don`t draw lines on they`re moving into the Ukraine. You don`t draw lines on their doing Syria. You don`t draw lines when they try to influence our election.
If you are not drawing those lines and making very clear that there are limits to what the Russians are going to do, they are going to take advantage of it. Putin is going to take advantage of it. That`s why it`s important to respond and respond with strength.
TUR: Let`s bring back our panel, Bob Ehrlich, Karine Jean-Pierre and Steve Clemons.
Steve, first question to you. The Senate Intel Committee is requesting records right now about the intervention -- Russia`s intervention into the election. What do you expect is going to come out of that?
CLEMONS: Well, I mean, I think they`re going to dig deeply and I think they`re going to try to get as much as they can.
But what we haven`t heard are consequences for not preserving those records. That`s one thing that caught my eye. The second thing is for the Intelligence Committee, most of that happens behind closed doors. The public is going to have a hard time getting access to what really transpired, what really happened.
And when we see reports, many of them will be redacted with information that`s taken out because it`s classified. So, that is the consequence of there not being a select committee established that`s bipartisan and public, as opposed to an Intelligence Committee investigation.
TUR: So, Bob, because of that, because of all those redactions that we`re likely to see and the questions that will still remain in the public`s eye, is Donald Trump always going to have a cloud when it comes to Russia?
EHRLICH: Well, first of all, what Director Panetta said, and a former colleague, obviously, was absolutely accurate. And that`s the reason foreign policy under Barack Obama was a disaster. Fake lines in the sand and being pushed around and around the world by various miscreants and bad guys.
So, I agree with everything he said. I support full transparency. I think -- with regard to the cloud, it has to be real reporting here. Now, not just innuendo. There`s been no fact, not one fact produced by anyone that keeps hearing about hacking into the election that anything Russia did actually impacted the final vote.
TUR: Nobody is saying that it`s impacted anybody.
EHRLICH: If that occurred, by the way, that would be the biggest story ever. I welcome -- give me that story. So, I agree we have to be tough with Russia.
TUR: Well, no --
EHRLICH: We also, as the president said with regard to the fact that they`re a nuclear super power, reach out -- Ukraine. I am very (INAUDIBLE) part -- Ukraine. I belong to former members of Congress associations supporting Ukraine.
But -- so -- but the fact of it is, it just can`t be innuendo and throwing words around like hacking. They didn`t hack into the election. There -- and President Obama actually said it. Not one shred of proof that any vote was impacted by any foreign entity, --
[17:30:00] TUR: Hold on. Hold on, Governor.
EHRLICH: -- or agency, or country.
TUR: You`re conflating -- you`re conflating two -- I`m going to call you Bob. Governor, I`m going to call you Bob. Conflating two issues here.
EHRLICH: Call me anything, that`s all right.
TUR: Nobody has said that this definitely affected the outcome of the election. That`s one thing. What all of the intelligence agencies are saying is that they hacked into the election. They may be trying to influence.
EHRLICH: What does that mean?
STEVE CLEMONS, POLITICAL AND FOREIGN POLICY COMMENTATOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Not only Senator Burr, Senator Graham, Senator McCain.
EHRLICH: Listen, we`re not arguing here. I`m not arguing with you. Let there be full transparency hearings, let`s go, absolutely. No problem.
TUR: But you`re saying there`s no evidence here. And that`s just.
EHRLICH: There is no evidence. You can`t prove that.
TUR: Steve, take it away.
EHRLICH: You got to be kidding. You heard the chief of staff, the White House chief of staff, on national television yesterday said the intelligence agencies have cleared all the senior Trump staff.
TUR: That doesn`t necessarily mean that Russia didn`t hack -- but that`s two separate issues.
EHRLICH: Stop the innuendo, please. Just make it real news, please.
EHRLICH: Stop the innuendo, please.
TUR: Karine, do you believe this is innuendo?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR AND NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON AT MOVEON.ORG: Oh my goodness. EHRLICH: Can you imagine eight years ago if republicans would have acted like this?
JEAN-PIERRE: Okay, here we go.
TUR: I have a problem. Hold on. I have a problem saying that two wrongs -- the argument of two wrongs make right. Let`s just move on from that. Karine, do you believe this is all innuendo?
JEAN-PIERRE: I will say this, we are 32 days into the Trump administration and so far, his foreign policy is a disaster. Look, we have a brutal dictator in Putin who undermined our democracy. We know that. The intelligence agencies have said that. Republican leadership has said. That is not an innuendo. That is true. That is indeed the fact. And I think the only way we can.
JEAN-PIERRE: . get to the truth.
JEAN-PIERRE: Let me finish -- let me finish. We just heard you go on and on and on.
EHRLICH: Just a fact, one fact, please.
JEAN-PIERRE: Let me finish. Let me finish. The intelligence agencies, they said this, not me. They are the experts that have said this. Look, what we need is a bipartisan independent commission to really make this public so that the people could know what is exactly happening so we can see what`s the truth. That`s the only way we`re going to get to the bottom of this. So I agree with Steve 110 percent on this.
TUR: Steve, Governor Pence -- sorry, Vice President Mike Pence is in Europe right now, and he`s -- or he was, he was trying to assure NATO allies that the U.S. is still an ally, but he`s also saying that they need to do their part which is a campaign promise that Donald Trump had, that NATO would have to pay their fair -- the NATO countries have to pay their fair share if they wanted to continue to get the support from the U.S. Is there a risk though that if they don`t do that, the U.S. won`t honor Article Five?
CLEMONS: No, I don`t think there`s that risk at all. And to be fair to the vice president and his effort to get NATO members to do more, in the interview that he did with my colleague Jeff Goldberg, Barack Obama made the same appeal, secretary Robert Gates made the same, very, very strident comments about Europe doing more. So that`s a constant theme. What is problematic is that NATO being such an extraordinarily important alliance.
What people like H.R. McMaster and others, the new national security advisor, have called the most important, most enduring, most vital national security alliance the United States has, that while that is going on, we have seen Russia come right to the edge, dissect, not a NATO member nation, but one that sends shock waves through the Baltic which is Ukraine and create other areas of concern so much so that at the Warsaw Summit of NATO just this past year, we made the decision to actually base more U.S. troops on that eastern periphery in those countries of NATO.
So NATO matters a lot, getting these other NATO member nations to amp up, and I think Vice President Pence has done a wonderful and stabilizing job there. What has not been wonderful and stabilizing are the many shock waves that President Trump sent in questioning the validity of the alliance, the worth of it, while he was hugging Russia.
And that is -- I think Russia`s biggest strategic objective in the world today, the number one objective is to split the western alliance, to split the United States from Europe, and to basically drive a dagger into the heart of NATO. And I think Pence is trying very hard not to have that happen, but it`s not clear that Pence and Donald Trump are on the same page.
TUR: Governor, Karine Jean-Pierre, and Steve.
EHRLICH: I agree 25 percent.
TUR: Hold on, hold on, governor. You`re going to have a chance in a couple minutes. But stay tight. Hold your seat. We`re going to come back. Coming up, the conflict within the Republican Party over President Trump`s war on the press. Stay with us.
TUR: Welcome back. We got new details on how the president might crack down on undocumented immigrants within the U.S. President Trump signed an executive order in January expanding the pool of undocumented immigrants that would be considered priorities for deportation. This weekend, two documents emerged, detailing how to implement those orders.
Among the priorities, detaining those captured at the borders while they await hearings and deporting criminals. And expedited removal proceedings and prosecution for parents who brought children to the U.S. illegally. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly signed off on the memos, but the White House insists these are drafts and not finalized. More on this story as it develops. Stick around for more "MTP Daily" next.
TUR: Welcome back. Following President Trump`s tweet on Friday referring to members of the media as, quote, the enemy of the American people, a number of republicans and members of the president`s own administration have pushed back.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I`ve had some rather contentious times with the press, but no, the press as far as I`m concerned are constituency that we deal with, and I don`t have any issues with the press myself.
JOHN KASICH, GOVERNOR OF OHIO: I have great respect for the press. I was once in the press. The key though is not to be over sensationalizing anything, but get to the facts.
JOHN MCCAIN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM ARIZONA: I hate the press. I hate you, especially, but the fact is, we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It`s vital. Without it, I`m afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That`s how dictators get started. And I`m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I`m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: You call that a love/hate relationship with Senator John McCain and Chuck Todd. Since the president took office, Senator McCain has been walking a delicate line supporting the broad republican agenda and almost all of the new cabinet nominees while also speaking out against the president when he sees fit.
Joining me now is Gabe Sherman who wrote a piece published this weekend in New York Magazine called "How many chances do you get to be an American hero?" John McCain ambivalently agonizingly takes on the president. Some of problem with English today, Gabe.
GABRIEL SHERMAN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR: Great to be here. Thank you.
TUR: Thanks for coming up. It`s an amazing piece, number one, talk to me about why McCain is feeling like he`s all alone on this.
SHERMAN: It`s really a fascinating tight rope that he`s walking in. You know, he`s getting a lot of flak from the left for as you pointed out voting for Trump`s cabinet picks. What he`s trying to do in my conversations with him I think is really play the long game. For him, the long game is Russia.
And he doesn`t want to expend a lot of political capital fighting with Trump on the cabinet picks and domestic policy. John McCain is a republican. He does like a lot of Trump`s plans to deregulate the economy and stuff like that. So that`s really -- that`s okay with him. What he`s trying to do is focus on getting this bipartisan select committee to investigate Trump`s ties to Russia.
TUR: And does he going to get that? Does he believe he`s going to find the support he needs?
SHERMAN: Right now, it`s frustrating for him. He had met with Mitch McConnell before our interview earlier last week and McConnell reiterated his position that he doesn`t think they need a bipartisan committee, that this can be handled within the intelligence committee. And as you point out, a lot of the intelligence committee findings are classified, the public will not see that. McCain wants to put all of this on to the public record.
TUR: I want to take a little piece from the article, and we can read it here. This is talking about John McCain, his concerns about Russia and how he feels about the leaks. He says, of course relying on the press also means -- you say this -- of course relying on the press also means relying on those who leak information to the press, a position that puts McCain once again at odds with the president who has vowed to seek out and punish low-life leakers.
Well, you`re saying McCain acknowledged the leaks have potentially damaged national security, but that the leaks in themselves are important because it`s the only way for the American public to get the information.
SHERMAN: Yeah. I was really actually surprised by that, because here you have a situation where John McCain, a sitting senator, is in a sense making the case for journalism. And normally we don`t think politicians are on the side of investigative reporting, but McCain was saying listen, this is really the only way the public is going to find out about this because congress is slow walking these investigations.
The Trump administration of course as we saw from the press conference is not going to talk about it. So the only way we`re going to find out is through reporting.
TUR: It`s difficult to get answers from the Trump administration on these things. Reince Priebus, chief of staff, was on "Face The Nation" over the weekend and he was asked about the president calling the press the enemy of the people. Let`s take a listen to that. We do not have it. Unfortunately. But basically, he said that the president needs to be taken seriously. Is this kind of dialogue dangerous?
SHERMAN: I mean, as a reporter and I guess I`m self-interested, but I would say yes. I mean, this is a case where we have the government, Donald Trump is the largest megaphone in America telling millions of people, don`t believe what you read just because we tell you so. And I think you can debate individual stories and say this is not fair, that`s not accurate, but to make sweeping statements about the journalism being the enemy of the people I think is eroding what makes our system work.
TUR: I don`t think he`s gonna change. There`s no sign that this is going to be dialed back in any way.
SHERMAN: No. I mean, this is who he is, clearly this is work for him during the primary in the general election. There`s no sign he`ll change. This notion that there`s a Trump pivot. We got to just bury that fiction. He`s never gonna pivot.
TUR: What do you do, continue talking about it or you just let him go on his anti-media tirade and just put it to the side, ignore, and talk about the issues?
SHERMAN: I think Washington Post editor Marty Baron was quoted recently saying that what journalists should do, they`re not the enemy of the Trump white house, they`re at work. I think journalists should do what we`re doing, just continue to do our job. I think over the long run, the public will see, if what Trump says is really outside of not reflective of reality. I think the truth will eventually -- might take a while, but it will get through.
TUR: Do you think the administration has a point though to say that the coverage of him is not fair or it`s coming all of it`s coming from a negative place?
SHERMAN: Of course. I mean, subjects are always free to point out and criticize coverage. I think what you don`t want to do is delegitimize the role that journalists play. They can say yeah, that story was wrong or we don`t think that was fair, but that`s a separate, that`s a separate conversation.
TUR: And when he goes on and he says certain news organizations are okay and he re-tweets certain articles that he likes occasionally or articles that back up a point that he`s trying to make, how does he walk that tight rope? How can he say some things are okay, but everything else is terrible? How can he say everything against him is terrible?
SHERMAN: It`s completely bogus. I mean, let`s just back up. Donald Trump is now praising Fox News. He called it the only honest morning show on television. And back during the primary, he skipped one of the republican Fox News debates because he was feuding with Megyn Kelly. So it`s completely opportunistic.
TUR: That is a good point. I didn`t remember that. That left my memory.
SHERMAN: Yes, so much news.
TUR: So much news keeps happening. Gabe.
SHERMAN: Thank you.
TUR: . thank you so much for being here. Great article. Everybody go out and read it. Fantastic. "The Lid" is next. Stay with us.
TUR: Time for "The Lid." The panel is back. Former governor, Bob Ehrlich, Karine Jean-Pierre, and Steve Clemons. Karine, let`s start with you. What do you make of this ongoing battle that Donald Trump has with the press specifically calling them the enemy of the people? Calling the press the enemy of the people.
JEAN-PIERRE: I think it`s incredibly troublesome. Loo, Donald Trump is continuing to show himself to be a bullying chief. He needs a foil, and the foil is now the press. Thank God for the constitution and the founding fathers when they put forward the first amendment right.
So I think what he is doing too as well besides causing this very dangerous scenario is also causing a smoke screen because he doesn`t want to talk about Russia, what is actually happening with his relationship with Russia, and also the folks that work for him. So, it`s troublesome and dangerous.
TUR: Governor, do you find this disconcerting?
EHRLICH: It`s not my style. Certainly it`s his style (inaudible) in the campaign. So, it is his style, not mine.
TUR: Is it because it is effective, does that mean it`s okay?
EHRLICH: I think -- your last guests have very good points to raise with regard to sweeping statements being inappropriate. I will say this, however, with regard to the leaks, to the extent that the leaks are coming from intelligence personnel, they are felonies, so you should be really careful with that. With regard to the press and the president himself by the way, the bus of Dr. King was not removed from the oval office. That was the first.
TUR: Governor, the reporter who did that apologized immediately.
EHRLICH: He apologized, but the fact is 100,000 folks aren`t out there mobilizing to be an immigration in enforcement force. When the press gets it wrong, it certainly feeds the ability of the president to do this. The president has an obligation to get it right. He doesn`t always get it right. He needs to be called out. No problem. But when the press gets it wrong, it`s not just a no count, it counts.
TUR: No, when the press gets it wrong, it is important for the reporter in question or the organization in question to follow up with the correction. It happens every single time when they get things wrong.
EHRLICH: (inaudible) correction. A repeated correction.
TUR: . which is what that reporter did repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly. That`s what`s every people does every time they get something wrong, they issue a correction.
EHRLICH: (inaudible) former congressman, governor.
TUR: Steve Clemons, what do you make of John McCain saying that this is a sort of thing that allows dictators to get started?
CLEMONS: I`m sorry.
TUR: Steve, sorry.
CLEMONS: Look, I think accountability journalism and more important than that, I think the question is, you know, Tom Reed we saw today, unbelievably impressive in so many ways that despite the differences willing to go out and meet people. Well, journalism, responsible journalism. It does make mistakes but (inaudible) back, also part of that, you know, thing we call democracy.
It`s almost as if Donald Trump didn`t spend a day in his life preparing for this race to become president. Actually, you know, dialing in and trying to understand how a system of checks and balances works in this country. I think that is the thing that we are not producing new young Tom Reeds in Donald Trump land.
TUR: Got to emphasize this. When reporters get something wrong, it is always important for them to go back and correct it and is what happens. So governor, thank you so much. Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you.
EHRLICH: My pleasure.
TUR: Steve Clemons, thank you.
JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Katy.
CLEMONS: Thank you.
TUR: We`ll be right back.
TUR: In case you missed it, there`s no such thing as president`s day but wait you say. Lots of people are off work today. There`s no mail delivery. The stock market is closed. Mattresses and furniture are being sold at deep discounts. Clearly president`s day is real. But it`s not.
Technically, The federal holiday we`re marking today is Washington`s birthday even though it`s not actually Washington`s birthday although some states have opted to change the name of the holiday to honor some or all of the presidents. But if you`re going to insist on calling a president`s day, the folks at Merriam Webster would like to remind you that the apostrophe, well it goes after the "S", not before, because we`re celebrating multiple presidents.
So with our current president frequently used phrases, happy so called president`s day. That`s all for me tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily." Chuck is back also.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END