Show: MTP Daily Date: March 27, 2017 Guest: Ken Dilanian, Chris Jansing, Mike Quigley, Matt Schlapp, Kate Rogers, Mike Allen, Michael Steel, Karine Jean-Pierre
PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s Monday.
The health care revolt moves into the rear view. Tonight, White House rendezvous.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this was a movie, you`d turn it off because you wouldn`t believe it`s believable.
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ALEXANDER: Connecting the dots of House Intel Chairman Nunes` secret meeting on White House grounds.
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SEAN SPICER, U.S. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think there`s a difference between a leak and someone pursing a review of the situation.
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ALEXANDER: Plus, how far will Democrats go in their quest for a special prosecutor? We`ll talk on a Democratic House Intelligence member, ahead of a committee meeting happening this hour. And the thwart of the deal, which White House power players could be repealed and replaced after the health care debacle?
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
Good Monday evening. I`m Peter Alexander here in Washington in for Chuck Todd. Welcome to MTP DAILY.
The president`s right flank didn`t hold on health care. Will it hold on Russia? The GOP`s health care implosion raises significant questions about President Trump`s support on Capitol Hill. His foes on both the right and the left are arguably more powerful than ever right now and things only got worse today.
President Trump`s White House today confronted an escalating credibility crisis embroiling their top ally on the House Intelligence Committee, the Republican Chairman, Devin Nunes.
A spokesperson for Congressman Nunes said today that Nunes met with a source at the White House the day before he went public with information, that the White House said vindicated the president`s claims that President Obama wiretapped Donald Trump`s team. Even though, by all indications, Nunes` claims do not do that.
The chairman, Chairman Nunes, has still not fully shared the information with the committee. He also postponed an open hearing that was scheduled for tomorrow replacing it with a closed hearing that itself was postponed.
His handling of the incident has raised serious questions about his independence and his ability to lead to House Intelligence Committee`s investigation into an array of allegations facing this White House and President Trump`s campaign operation.
Democrats, even some Republicans, frankly, want a special prosecutor to take over. Here`s Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, this afternoon on the Senate floor.
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SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: If Speaker Ryan wants the House to have a credible investigation, he needs to replace Chairman Nunes. Chairman Nunes seems to be more of a partisan for the president than an impartial actor. His actions look like those of someone who is interested in protecting the president and his party.
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ALEXANDER: The White House and GOP leadership continue to reject those calls. The White House dodged questions about what exactly happened between Chairman Nunes and his source on White House grounds.
But press secretary, Sean Spicer, today again rejected calls for an independent investigation. House Speaker Paul Ryan`s office today stood by Chairman Nunes, saying Speaker Ryan has full confidence that Chairman Nunes is conducting a thorough, fair and credible investigation.
On top of all this, the Senate Intelligence Committee today said it`s going to interview White House advisor Jared Kushner as part of its investigation in the possible ties between Trump`s associates and Russia. To be clear, Jared Kushner isn`t just a top adviser. He`s also the president`s son-in- law.
We begin with the latest from the intelligence community and the White House. Ken Dilanian is here with us. He`s an NBC News Intelligence and National Security Reporter. Chris Jansing, my colleague, is out front on the White House north lawn right now.
Ken, let`s get to you if we can. Help us break this down the latest on this right here. So, I guess the simple question is, why was the House Intelligence chairman at the White House, meeting with a source at the White House? And, yet, they can`t reveal the basis of that information, frankly, or why he had to go back to the White House to share this information after the fact?
KEN DILANIAN, INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL XSECURITY REPORTER, NBC NEWS: Well, first, we can talk about what Devin Nunes is saying. And he`s saying he had to go to the White House because it was a secured facility where he could view this highly-classified intelligence.
Of course, the question there is, why didn`t he go to the capitol where he has his own secure facility, where every day he`s looking at highly classified intelligence?
DILANIAN: It raises the question, Democrats are saying, whether his source was, in fact, in the White House. And if that`s the case, this thing starts to look like a ruse.
ALEXANDER: To be clear, without getting into the weeds here, he said that this information could only be brought up, in effect, on servers that existed at the White House facility. DILANIAN: That`s correct. That`s right. Of course, that doesn`t explain why they couldn`t just print out the documents and courier them over to the capitol in a locked bag which happens every day.
DILANIAN: So, if his source was working in the White House -- now he says his source was not a White House official. But it could have been an intelligence official succumbed to the National Security Council.
It raises the question of why go through all this? Why have two news conferences? And then, do it without telling your Democratic members on the Hill.
Democrats are sure, at this point, that this was a put-up job. This was a way to get this information out to the public, seeking to vindicate the president for his bogus wiretapping claims.
[17:05:08] ALEXANDER: And to be clear, the president said he was somewhat vindicated when the information came right back to him just the next day.
So, Chris, to you. The White House today was asked about an independent investigation. What is the White House strategy on this, broadly, right now? How willing are they to, sort of, just dig in and keep pushing back on this?
CHRIS JANSING, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: They`ve seemed to be pretty willing. There was a lot of diversion today because the basic line, Peter, is you should go to Devin Nunes to hear about what Devin Nunes had to do.
JANSING: Although, then, Sean Spicer followed up by saying, you know, he thinks he`s been pretty forthcoming.
But, look, you know how the White House works. Basically, it`s not that hard to find out who has been here and who signed them in. Who they came to see. What their business was. There is a lot of security here.
Now, the people who have, let`s call it, unfettered access. Our people like the secret service, our people who are on the permanent staff here at the White House.
But even someone like him would sign in. There would be a record of it. It should be easy to find out exactly what happened. And part of problem for this White House is, you know, this question about leaks. They keep talking about they want an investigation into leaks.
And our Hallie Jackson said, you know, why is this leak OK but other leaks are not? And the way Sean Spicer explained it was, there is a difference between a leak to -- between a member of Congress and somebody who`s cleared to have that information and somebody who isn`t.
But the big picture for this White House right now is, A, the pressure that`s coming from the Democrats and public polls. 66 percent of Americans in a recent poll --
JANSING: -- think that there should be some, sort of, independent commission to look into Russia. And all of this is just keeping it in the news.
ALEXANDER: And, Ken, in simplistic of terms, this, if nothing else, gives the air of a lack of independence for this investigation that he was coming on the White House grounds, the chairman of this investigation, to gather up information to this. To say nothing of the fact that he was formerly an executive board member, in effect, for the transition team of now our President Donald Trump.
DILANIAN: That`s exactly right. Now, in his defense, he`s raising an legitimate issue about whether the names of Trump officials picked up on foreign surveillance were improperly shared around the government. That`s his job as the oversight chairman to raise that issue.
But the way he did it, he went outside the committee process, has really gotten Democrats just throwing up their hands and saying, we don`t have an independent investigation.
ALEXANDER: Yes, speaking of the press, let alone the president before speaking to the members of his own committee.
Appreciate it very much, Ken Dilanian. Chris Jansing, thank you very much as well.
ALEXANDER: I`m joined now by Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Quigley, thanks for being here.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D), ILLINOIS: Glad to be here, thank you.
ALEXANDER: Just a few minutes from now, as I understand it, you`re going to be meeting with fellow Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. Why are you meeting and, specifically, what information will you be reviewing there?
QUIGLEY: Well, at this point in time, it`s more of a strategy session. Given that tomorrow`s public meeting was canceled late last week. They have to decide how to move forward which includes discontinuing the investigation, reviewing documents and making sure that the proper people are interviewed.
ALEXANDER: So, discontinuing the investigation. Is that one of the reasonable options right now? I know a lot of people are calling for an independent investigation. But are you suggesting this investigation should be discontinued as a result of Chairman Nunes` actions?
QUIGLEY: No, not at all. I mean, I believe we should have both. There`s benefits to having an independent investigation. After 911, there were several forms. They all have different abilities.
Our committee has certain expertise. We`ll meet in top secret. We are able, therefore, to review documents that are not customarily available.
QUIGLEY: And we`ve already started the process. An independent investigation is absolutely critical but it would take some time to even get started. We have the opportunity to move forward very quickly as we need to.
ALEXANDER: So, just to be clear, when do you get to see the documents that Chairman Nunes had which he`s been referring to lately?
QUIGLEY: We still don`t know. I`m hearing, second hand, third hand, that sometime this week we`ll be able to review the documents somewhere in the Washington, D.C. area.
ALEXANDER: How badly do you want a special prosecutor here? And as I ask that, are you willing to threaten to walk away from this investigation, in effect, as I was asking, if you don`t get one in?
QUIGLEY: You know, I think it would be a mistake to walk away from the investigation. It is absolutely critical to have an independent prosecutor, especially given the fact of Mr. Nunes` late night excursions. Mr. Sessions failing to review and reveal the fact that he has now met three times.
ALEXANDER: So, to be clear, you`re ruling that out?
QUIGLEY: I think we absolutely need an independent prosecutor. But this committee has to continue to do its work.
ALEXANDER: So, is your --
QUIGLEY: And simply --
ALEXANDER: I hate to -- I`m sorry. I keep interrupting you. Congressman, so just to be very clear, I guess, would you be willing to shut down the government if you didn`t get one here?
[17:10:02] QUIGLEY: No, I`m never for shutting down the government. I`m for using public pressure to have government do the right thing, including having an independent prosecutor and having our committee`s investigation continue.
ALEXANDER: So, let me ask you if I can quickly. Democrats have criticized Chairman Nunes for making claims, in effect, without sharing his evidence. You said, when we spoke last week, and I know you said on it "HARDBALL" as well here on MSNBC, that there is probable cause that President Trump`s campaign coordinated with Russia. What`s your evidence for making that claim?
QUIGLEY: Yes, it`s simply the evidence that we have reviewed and been briefed on so far. I mean, I use it as an analogy. We`re not ready for -- to go to the grand jury. The point is there is enough evidence to say that there was coordination. There was probable cause to believe that there was coordination. So, I don`t know how to compare it any other way. It was just an analogy to give your viewers an opportunity to understand just how far this should go.
ALEXANDER: To be clear about this, Democrats have criticized the chairman, Chairman Nunes, as a partisan here. You, of course, endorsed Hillary Clinton during the election. Why should you or, frankly, any Democratic member of that committee be viewed as a partisan in this?
QUIGLEY: Well, I`d like to think that either party would be upset at what took place. Just to understand, there seems to be better bipartisan cooperation on the Senate side. And both parties signed up for this. Both parties signed up to the four elements of this investigation. So, obviously, there`s enough smoke, even for the Republicans to understand, that if the Russians attempted to influence this election and received cooperation, the American public has a right to know.
ALEXANDER: In the Trump era, obviously, a lot of people have been focused on the role the Democratic Party should play right now. Is the -- is your party the party of no? And as I ask that, what other power do you have right now, as a party, to compete with this president, where Republicans control both Houses of Congress?
QUIGLEY: Well, it`s a fair question. But I look back at the experience we`ve had in the last six years. Speaker Boehner had to come to centrist Democrats to pass appropriation bills. At some point, if the Tea Party continues to do what it does and make things impossible to govern, the White House and Republican leadership will simply have to come to the Democrats and moderate their reviews.
ALEXANDER: If the president came to Democrats, though, would you be willing to work with them right now? A lot of people don`t see exactly what the value is for Democrats, giving them a lifeline.
QUIGLEY: Well, first of all, no one wants to be a government in exile for four years. Giving you one example. I think most Democrats will tell you, and have publicly announced, that had they would work the administration if we were to get a large infrastructure package. It`s all a question of whether they`ll actually come to the middle.
At this point, it`s difficult just because they`re playing so far out to the far right extreme.
ALEXANDER: All right. Congressman Quigley, we appreciate your being with us. You represent the north side of Chicago. I`m a Cub fan, so we leave with, go cubs. Thanks for your time.
QUIGLEY: Two in a row. Thank you.
ALEXANDER: Joining me now is Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union. Matt, appreciate your being here. Thank you.
MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: Great to be with you.
ALEXANDER: So, with the president`s agenda, effectively, in turmoil, is there a risk that more Republicans buck the president, specifically on his rejection of the special prosecutor? That is, obviously, not a popular position right now.
SCHLAPP: Yes, look, you always worry about this. This was a very early legislative loss for a president that enjoys a big majority in the House and a slim majority in the Senate. So, I think that`s always the concern. Does this, kind of, snowball and turn more negative or does the president continue to be on offense as he`s been with the selection of Neil Gorsuch, who I think looks likely to be put on the --
SCHLAPP: -- Supreme Court. And all these executive actions and administrative actions that they`re taking. There`s a lot of change going on in Washington.
ALEXANDER: So, specifically on this Russia issue, though, let me ask you. Republican opinion not with Republicans on this, even before the FBI publicly disclosed its investigation into Donald Trump`s team. Two-thirds of Americans wanted a special prosecutor to handle this, effectively to put it to rest, including 43 percent of Republicans. What do you make of that?
SCHLAPP: I don`t think people know what these terms are so much. What`s a special prosecutor? What`s an independent counsel? What`s a select committee?
ALEXANDER: It sounds like they want something other than what already exists though.
SCHLAPP: Yes, I think what they want is they want answers. By the way, I want answers, too. I`m a Republican. I`m a conservative. I think it`s fair for people to ask, was there inappropriate contact? I think at the end, we`ll find out there wasn`t. But I don`t think it`s fair just to whitewash it. Let`s get the answers.
The other thing I want to know is did -- what was the surveillance done by the previous administration?
SCHLAPP: Was it all just done in a standard way or not? I think I`m troubled by the fact that so many of our conversations can be swept up in these what they call routine sweeps. I don`t think that`s necessarily something that Americans love. The idea that it affects our politics. That one administration can potentially spy on an incoming administration. There`s a lot of questions here.
[17:15:09] ALEXANDER: You said that you want answers to those questions. So, I guess the one question to you would be, do you have full confidence right now in the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes?
SCHLAPP: I totally do. And I don`t really understand this latest controversy. I guess people are trying to make something of the fact that he came to the White House to go to a skiff and to get some -- you know, some confidential information. I will tell you, as someone who worked in a White House for four years, I had Congressman in and out of my office. Congressmen came to our White House constantly. So, that`s not an unusual thing.
ALEXANDER: But -- so, just to be clear on that, though. Isn`t it a little bit bizarre, you say it`s not unusual, that he would come to the White House to gather this information from a person that he says is not a White House staffer but it could still be a member of the National Security Council.
Then, he would go back, make a public statement about it and come back the next day to the White House to tell the president about it. Doesn`t it have that, at least, create the appearance of some form of interference when even the president himself says he wants an impartial investigation into this?
SCHLAPP: This is why these questions have to be thoroughly investigated and really made public. I don`t want to compromise our national security. But I do want to make sure that these -- I think these are very legitimate questions that people are asking.
I think for the people who are under the gun here, they need it for their own reputations. But we all need it because, you know, I don`t think it`s good for the president if we`re hung up in this question about what happened in the election. It`s better for him, too, if we can get the answers to these very important questions.
ALEXANDER: So, let me talk to you, if I can. Of course, the president now says that he needs to work with Democrats. That he`s is open, frankly, to working with Democrats on his agenda. I just want your take on this. Why would Democrats bail him out right now given the problems he`s had over the course of less than a hundred days?
SCHLAPP: They`re not going to bail us out. Republicans need to understand something very clearly that if we the don`t work together as a team, we`re not going to have very many legislative successes. If we don`t have legislative successes, it`s hard to go back to the American people and say, it was a good idea to put us in charge of Congress and to put us in charge of the White House.
ALEXANDER: But the president says he needs to work with Democrats. Is that a good strategy on his part?
SCHLAPP: Well, I think -- look, the president is saying the right thing, which is he should always be open to the idea of working with Democrats.
SCHLAPP: But they are not going on bail our party out. If we`re going to repeal Obamacare, pass a big tax bill, get a budget through and all these other big questions, we`ve got to work better together as a team. And that starts with letting all of us, including conservatives, help craft these major pieces of legislation.
ALEXANDER: Matt Schlapp, it`s always good to see you. We appreciate your time and your thoughts. Thank you
SCHLAPP: Thanks, Peter.
ALEXANDER: The question remains. Can President Trump push the reset button? We`re going to speak to our round table next.
And family ties. Details of Jared Kushner`s new role aimed at overhauling federal bureaucracy. That`s next.
You`re watching MTP DAILY.
ALEXANDER: Welcome back.
President Trump`s son-in-law and current White House senior advisor, Jared Kushner, is set to take on a brand-new responsibility. The White House says Kushner will oversee what`s being called an office of American innovation that`ll focus on using technology and data to help streamline and overhaul the federal government.
[17:20:13] In an interview with "The Washington Post," Kushner said, quote, "The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers who are the citizens."
Before the campaign, you`ll remember Kushner`s career was focused in the basis of real estate development as well as publishing. Since the president took office, he has also been one of the members of the administration tasked with seeking solutions to Middle East issues.
All of this come along with news that the Senate Intelligence Committee will question Kushner as they look into possible connections between Russian operatives and associates of the Trump campaign. This was Trump spokesperson today telling me that Kushner volunteered to speak to the committee because, as they described it, quote, "he doesn`t have anything to hide."
We`ll talk more about that in just 60 seconds.
ALEXANDER: Welcome back to MTP DAILY.
The cloud of Russia hangs over Washington and it could start making it tough for the Trump administration to govern. After the failure of the president`s first legislative attempt in the health care revolt, the Trump team wants to move onto tax cuts and infrastructure.
Today at the daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says the administration is open to making some changes.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the president`s branded Chuck Schumer a clown. You know, he works entirely with Republicans on this bill. Would this -- would this require a serious change of course for the president?
SPICER: To some degree, sure. And I think the president talked about that. I think he`s -- we learned a lot through this process. I think we`re, obviously, looking at ways that we can improve not only how we handled health care but other things.
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ALEXANDER: Of course, the question remains, while Russian investigations loom, does President Trump have the political capital necessary to do the big things he promised during the campaign? That brings us to tonight`s panel. Joining me now is Karine Jean-Pierre. She is a senior adviser to MoveOn.org and worked on the Obama 2012 re-election campaign. Mike Allen, Executive Editor of "Axios." And Michael Steel, a former spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner and a former senior advisor to Jeb Bush.
Mike, first to you. I know you`ve got a little news to break on some of what the Republican strategy is right now. What do you know?
MIKE ALLEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "AXIOS": Yes. So, Republicans today are saying to the other House members, we can`t look like a clown car. The hard liners who helped shut down health care, someone described them to me as 30 people in control of our government, are very tempted to bite again.
Like, coming up, you have a couple of big issues about funding the government, including a possible government shutdown. On day 100, the century mark of the Trump presidency, the hard-line Republicans are tempted to use that as more leverage.
ALEXANDER: So, what is your take on this?
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: This is scary because, for the past several years, almost every government funding bill has passed with Democrat votes. Because this (INAUDIBLE) caucus, this group of hard-line House Republicans has refused to vote for these bills.
Now, already, Senator Schumer and Democrats are writing a list of ransom demands for Democratic support. No funding for the wall. Funding for Planned Parenthood. Funding for Obamacare. So, in effect, these same members that just torpedoed the repeal of Obamacare may be responsible for either guaranteeing these policy outcomes they certainly don`t want or shutting down the government.
ALEXANDER: Well, among the questions right now is really why members of either party should be helping this president. Now, what`s striking is the new -- the latest number from Gallup has his approval rating at, roughly, 36 percent.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR, MOVEON.ORG: Yes.
ALEXANDER: Karine, my question to you, I guess broadly, is the president says, oh, he wants to work some moderate Democrats. Right? Reince Priebus, we heard say that this weekend. What is the motivation for Democrats to throw him a life vest right now?
JEAN-PIERRE: And I really don`t know what the motivation will be -- would be. Because, look, if you had asked me a week ago that the House who voted to repeal Obamacare 60 times, 60 plus times, would have the vote under Trump to repeal again, I would have said yes.
[17:25:02] But what has happened is you saw the resistance really is indeed strong. Right? And so, people came out and had a very loud voice. And what`s going to be happening is I think what we`re seeing with the Trump -- the Trump and Russia, kind of, continued --
JEAN-PIERRE: -- investigation, hopefully, will continue to fuel that -- all of that. So, it`s, kind of, complexing that they would even have that conversation.
ALEXANDER: What Matt Schlapp told you earlier exactly comports with what we`re hearing from Republicans in both the administration and the capitol. And that is that the -- this Democratic idea is really a hail Mary kind of a pipe dream because they are weak. When you look weak in politics, you are weak.
And the Republicans, if they had their own caucus together, might be able to get some Democrats to come on but they`re not going to be able to get them to save the day.
STEEL: Well, and let`s remember, there are still some moderate Senate Democrats that have been in the House for more than a decade. Nancy Pelosi has held all of her members and kept all of her members from working in a substantive way with House Republicans.
ALEXANDER: We talked about weakness here. I want to talk about the weakness that we`re witnessing, as it relates to agenda items going forward. And one of the weaknesses, what some would say, is Chairman Devin Nunes right now who a lot of people are looking at and going, John McCain among others, and say, I`m not even sure what`s going on this House Intelligence Committee right now.
What do you make, as a person who formerly worked for the House speaker, Paul Ryan? Ultimately, it`s up to him to decide, you know, who serves as the heads of these committees. What do you make of the situation where, regardless of circumstances, the appearance of interference seems to be great right now that he went to the White House to gather this information?
STEEL: I think this is another aspect of transitioning from being a party of opposition to a party of government -- party of governing. I think there is no question that Chairman Nunes is doing his level best to secure the security of the United States, the national security of the United States. And he`s learning on the job as he does that.
ALEXANDER: It sounds like Democrats right now aren`t going to give him any breathing room right here. They`re just going to keep pushing on this.
But let me ask you this question, specifically. We heard from Congressman Quigley a short time ago. He said, as he`s told me before last week for a piece I did on nightly news, that there`s probable cause, you know, in this Russian collusion case, as he described it. We heard from Adam Schiff, the ranking member, as well saying there`s more than circumstantial evidence. Why is it OK for the Democrats to say things like that in an open forum but it`s not OK for Devin Nunes to report some of the things that he learned from the documents that he`s seen?
JEAN-PIERRE: That`s what -- that`s the question we all have. Right? We want to know, what is he potentially hiding here?
Look, you have -- you have Jeff Sessions who, as we all know, lied about his connections with Russia. So, you need -- we need a special prosecutor there, absolutely.
And now, like you were saying. Senator McCain even said, Nunes` behavior last week was troubling.
ALEXANDER: But even the Democrats, it feels to me, have gone a little bit far, saying things like, hey, there`s more than circumstantial evidence. Can`t tell you what it is but it`s out there.
JEAN-PIERRE: What -- and this is why we need a special prosecutor and I think we need a bipartisan independent commission as well so we can get to the bottom of this. I think that`s the answer here. We have to know.
And I think the commission, it puts it out in public. There is subpoena power. We know exactly what`s going on and you can`t hide anything.
ALEXANDER: Mike, how do you deal with this infighting?
ALLEN: Well, Peter, to deal real quick with Chairman Nunes. Your mother was right. If you don`t have anything to hide, don`t hide it.
And the way that they have handled this just invites questions. And, in fact, it`s been handled so clumsily that someone said to me that it`s almost as if they`re trying to push the investigation out of this committee and get it independent. Because it just makes it so hard. You`ve got to look independent. So hard to defect.
ALEXANDER: So, how do you -- what do you make of that? I`ve that now from other sources right now. A lot of people are saying it`s almost as if this is intentional. They got to get an investigative -- a separate independent body involved.
STEEL: I think there`s no question that national security should be beyond partisan politics. And at this point, there --
ALEXANDER: That`s just it.
STEEL: -- should be more and more partisanship in national security. And so, we may need to look at a mechanism to ameliorate that.
ALLEN: And an important piece of context. Mike, is this right? I was told that, traditionally, especially in the House, the intel was absolutely the least partisan committee.
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, it is. That`s right.
STEEL: That`s what the Armed Services --
JEAN-PIERRE: That`s right. That`s why everybody`s upset.
STEEL: And in the Intel, to a certain extent, even more so.
ALEXANDER: (INAUDIBLE), everyone. We`re in agreement. You feel you`re watching Richard Burr right now and Mark Warner feels that they`re handling it appropriately.
STEEL: They seem to be -- they seem to be in a better place than their House -- than their House counterparts.
ALEXANDER: Even though Richard Burr, like Devin Nunes, were both among those, according to reports, who were called by the White House right now to try to put to rest some of the conversations about Russian collusion.
To our team, Mike, Mike as well -- two Mikes. (INAUDIBLE) for a second. I know you guys will be here so stay with us. I appreciate it.
Still ahead, the resistance. California Governor Jerry Brown talking about how his state is prepared to fight the Trump agenda.
Stay tuned. You`re watching MTP DAILY.
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS White House CORRESPONDENT: Next right here on "MTP Daily," Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivering a warning to sanctuary cities. Hear what California Governor Jerry Brown has to say about the Trump administration`s threats. But first, Kate Rogers with your "CNBC Market Wrap."
KATE ROGERS, REPORTER FOR CNBC: Thanks so much, Peter. Stocks closing mostly lower. The Dow on the longest losing streak many years, falling 45 points with Goldman Sachs closing with the most losses. The S&P down 3 points, the Nasdaq though up by 11.
The collapse of the health care bill is leading to economic uncertainties, according to FED member, Charles Evans, who added that inflation is on target. $300 billion could be pumped into the economy if more people bought homes. New data from the Rosenberg shows home ownership at 50-year lows. That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
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JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: I strongly urge our nation states and cities and counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws and to rethink these policies.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ALEXANDER: We`re back now. That was Attorney General Jeff Sessions today at the White House urging an end to so-called sanctuary jurisdictions and threatening to pull federal money if they don`t comply with immigration enforcement. Chuck Todd just recently sat down with California`s governor, Jerry Brown, in an unaired section of his "Meet the Press" exclusive. One of the many things they looked at was how the state which has a number of sanctuary cities might battle back against threats like these.
California by the way gave Hillary Clinton one of the largest margins of victories over Donald Trump in November voting for her by a 30-point margin while President Trump swept many of the nation`s swing states. So Chuck start by asking the governor, who is more out of touch, California with America or America with California. Here`s part of the conversation.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY BROWN, GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: It is not a matter of out of touch. California is very prosperous. We`re growing faster economically than the rest of the country. We`re in those states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, there are a lot of people suffering a lot. A lot of democrats weren`t where they wanted to be in terms of economic security. In California, that`s not the case. Even in Orange County, the prosperity is so strong that republicans voted for Hillary Clinton.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: First time since the depression.
BROWN: Right. And I think the question is -- first of all, we`re governing the state, it was in deep trouble just a few years ago. It was called ungovernable. Now, we have a state surplus. We have harmony in Sacramento to the extent we never do in politics, and people have jobs. 2.1 million jobs have been created just in the last six or seven years. So I think it is that sense of economic security that makes the difference. So if we have the same insecurity as Akron, Ohio, Hillary would not have gotten the votes she got in California. TODD: Well, let me ask you, though. You`re going to have -- you`re going to continue to have different priorities.
TODD: . than the federal government. Where do you fight and where do you work? BROWN: Well, we fight on health care. We fight on immigration. But we work on infrastructure. And President Trump is really going to spend a trillion dollars in some form. We have a program. In fact, we have a rail system from San Jose to San Francisco that relieves the congestion in the Silicon Valley and the republicans in California want to kill it.
And this is a real test for Donald Trump. Does he believe in a shovel ready construction project that will create American jobs by American products is ready to go within a couple months or not? Because republicans are only against it for purely crass political reasons. TODD: He`s a transactional guy. He`s going to say, I`m not gonna support you on this infrastructure bill. You work with him on immigration, maybe he`ll give you the infrastructure. Are you willing to do deals like that? BROWN: I`m willing to work with the president. I certainly think collaboration, diplomacy. After all, we work with Russia, we work with China, we certainly can work with our own president and within our own country. I want to work with him where there`s something good. But I`m not gonna just turn over our police department to become agents of the federal government as they deport women and children and people who are contributing to the economic well being of our state which they are.
TODD: It used to be a movement in California among democrats to your left who just want to fight, fight, fight. Is there a point where it becomes harder to actually govern this state if everything is a lawsuit with the federal government?
BROWN: Well, if serving a lawsuit, we`re in trouble here. I do curb the exuberance on either side. I`ve been successful because I try to do things on the basis of common sense. What`s practical? I do work this thing. And the politics of today are very polarized. People like to escalate. Republicans do that and democrats also do that. So I`m there somewhat as the senior states for now and I`m going to keep everything on an even keel. That`s really what. TODD: So would you sue on the wall? For instance, you would sue on the law. Meaning, they want to start the wall. He was indicating there are plenty of ways that you could slow down essentially the start up of the wall simply by making it harder for the federal government to even stick a shovel on California grounds. BROWN: Well, I hear the same thing in Texas. There is a lot of private property. People don`t like it. The wall to me is ominous. It reminds me too much of the Berlin Wall. When I see that 30-foot wall, I worried somehow. Are they trying to keep me in or keep them out? I really think people ought to be careful because there is a lot of odor here of a kind of a strong man, a kind of world where you want the ultimate leader here to be doing all this stuff. And having a wall locking the people in is one of those characteristics. I think Americans ought to be very careful when we make radical changes like a 30-foot wall keeping some in and some out.
TODD: No, I understand that. But you have essentially, you could take the government to court. You could stop this. You could pull out every stop to stop the wall from being under construction? BROWN: I don`t like that wall, number one. And to an extent that that violates law, certainly I would enforce that. We`re not gonna sit around and just play patsy and say, hey, go ahead, lock us in, do whatever you want, deport 2 million people. No, we`re going to fight and we`re going to fight very hard, but we`re not gonna bring stupid lawsuits or me running to the courthouse every day.
We`ll be careful, we`ll be strategic, and we`ll do the right human and I would even say Christian thing, from my point of view. You don`t treat human beings like that. That is not what -- I mean, Trump is supposed to be Mr. Religious fellow, and I thought we got to treat the least of these as we would treat the Lord. So I hope he would reconnect with some of his conservative evangelicals and they`ll tell him that these are human beings, they`re children of God, they should be treated that way.
TODD: Let me move to party politics here a little bit. Who is the leader of the Democratic Party?
BROWN: Who is the leader? I think there are probably many leaders.
TODD: Who should be the leader right now? BROWN: Whoever the leader who can seize the rings of leadership.
BROWN: Right now, there`s a total vacuum. TODD: There is. Why isn`t it you? Right now, you`re a very popular four- term governor at this point, in this two terms. Why isn`t it you?
BROWN: Probably because I`ve run for every office and there`s no more left. One of the reasons. Second -- but I`m willing to play whatever role I can if that requires a leadership skill. I`ll be glad to contribute.
TODD: So give some advice to Tom Perez. He`s a new chair of the DNC. What should he do?
BROWN: Well, that`s interesting. First, I wouldn`t wish that on anybody. I was the Democratic Party chairman in California. It is a miserable job. So Tom, too bad. What you got to do? You got to raise money, you got to keep the activists engaged and happy, and you got to attack the other side. TODD: It is unlikely Donald Trump will ever ask Arnold Schwarzenegger for advice. But if you -- what could Donald Trump learn from Arnold Schwarzenegger`s experience? You can see a guy who had no experience going in, and he evolved as a governor over his six years.
BROWN: And he went from very popular to below 30 percent.
BROWN: I have one piece of advice for Donald Trump. Don`t fight everybody. Pick your battles.
TODD: Do you think that`s what Arnold learned over time? BROWN: Arnold performed measures on the ballot. He lost all. And that was the beginning of the end. In politics, you have to have battles, but you have to choose your battles and you have to make more allies than enemies. It`s simple. Politics is about addition, not subtraction. TODD: All right. Governor Jerry Brown, there`s always more I want to talk to you about, but never enough time.
BROWN: Thank you.
TODD: Thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ALEXANDER: You can see all of Chuck`s interview with California governor, Jerry Brown, at meetthepress.com. Ahead right here on "The Lid," taking the winners and losers of last week`s health care battle. We`re be right back.
ALEXANDER: Today, for the first time, the Trump administration strongly condemn actions by Vladimir Putin`s government. The White House called for the release of protesters detained by Russian police. On Sunday, more than a thousand people were locked in detention centers after anti-corruption rallied across Russia. And while the U.S. State Department denounced the move promptly, the White House faced criticisms for staying relatively quiet until today.
An estimated 60,000 people marched in a dozen cities there after allegations that Russia`s prime minister received big ticket gifts from Russian oligarchs. The opposition party leader published the report detailing the mansions, the yachts, all of it allegedly amassed by the official. But he was arrested. Urged protesters to continue marching still. Prime Minister Medvedev denies the corruption claims.
And let`s say not only plans to run against Putin in the upcoming election despite an embezzlement conviction that invalidates his candidacy. He says he was not given a fair trial. After Sunday`s rallies, not only he was jailed, his office was raid by security services, and his staff was charged with extremism. The party world (ph) tonight. More "MTP Daily" right after the break.
ALEXANDER: Welcome back. Time now for our "Lid." We want to get back to our panel one last time. Karine Jean-Pierre, Mike Allen, Michael Steel. Appreciate you`re all being here again. So let`s talk about some of the fun this weekend, right? This is Donald Trump`s tweet on Saturday morning. We know well how the Saturday morning tweets can for for him right now. He tweeted the following. He said, watch Jude Jeanine on Fox News tonight at 9:00 p.m. And this is what she said.
(START VIDEO CLIP)
JEANINE PIRRO, FORMER PROSECUTOR, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, AND REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CANDIDATE FROM NEW YORK: Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ALEXANDER: Aides say it was a coincidence, not a conspiracy. My panel, my "Lid" teammates, what do you make of this right now? MIKE ALLEN, CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF AXIOS MEDIA: Well, at least she was subtle about (inaudible).
ALLEN: One thing we talked about this entire hour, less than meets the eye. It seems clear that the president when he was alone in the White House started tweeting on Fox & Friends. They had a little box, saying he`s going to talk about wiretapping. Actually, Jonathan Swan got the back story which is that Judge Jeanine was actually very annoyed at her Fox (inaudible) because she had nothing about wiretapping. So they put this thing out there and she had nothing new. ALEXANDER: What`s the challenge with this president`s tweets?
MICHAEL STEEL, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO JOHN BOEHNER: I think the important (inaudible) is that the speaker retains a strong relationship with his members, even stronger probably due to the events of last week. They know that he had his back and he retains a strong relationship with the White House.
ALLEN: Why didn`t they clean up faster? They shouldn`t knead Jonathan Swan to explain what they`re up to. STEEL: I agree it should have gone faster and agree that Axios obviously should take over the White House communication operation. ALEXANDER: We`ll talk about that in the break. Very quickly, what is that you say is a strong relationship still with the White House right now? We know that Paul Ryan was there I think visiting with the vice president and the president and Dr. Price just a short time ago, the health secretary. How strong is that relationship right now?
STEEL: I think it`s an incredibly strong relationship because I think everyone involved knows if we want to get policy victories, to make things better for the American people, the house, the senate, and the White House are gonna have to move in tandem. ALLEN: And then the other end of the telescope is the alternative is chaos (inaudible).
ALEXANDER: So (inaudible) right now given the challenge, we`re witnessing a lot of this chaos right now, Reince Priebus obviously as an affiliation that goes back with the speaker, Paul Ryan. He got Steve Bannon on the other side right now. How does this all sort of -- where does everything settle at the end of this? KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR AND NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON AT MOVEON.ORG: Well, we -- I mean, we will continue to see. But look, most White Houses have, as we all know, these diverging kind of two different parts of people always infighting.
ALLEN: This has 10.
JEAN-PIERRE: Right. This has like 10, 20, who knows? But look, I mean, to me, the way that it is always seemed especially if you look at all of the executive orders from the past and who has been the authors of them, it seems like Steve Bannon clearly has a very strong voice in this White House especially as he talks about deconstruction of state and you see that playing out in the different agencies. So, that`s to me who has the stronger voice. But also you have Jared Kushner in there who seems to play also president as well because he`s been giving these multiple high level responsibilities. ALEXANDER: As we talked about, Mike, is you`ve got like the Gary Cohn (ph) of the world, right? You got these guys, the old Goldman folks. You got Jared Kushner. You got Steve Bannon and the like. The sort of the nationalism against what in effect is the sort of democrats in the group who seem to be clashing. ALLEN: Sure. This is very much the way the president ran his businesses. He likes having competing power centers that will give him different advice so in the end, he`s the decider, and you have the family members invested with a lot of power. But they do have different orbit. So Steve Bannon unquestionably is the architect. At Axios, we call Jared Kushner the Supreme Court because he is the last word. We ask people, if you want to sell an idea to the president.
ALEXANDER: Even when he (inaudible) during health care week? ALLEN: Jared Kushner, well, he`s back. Somebody was saying that it must be in the west wing when Jared and Ivanka returned, they said it must be like mom and dad are back. ALEXANDER: Yeah, exactly. And the important thing is less what who`s up and who`s down within the administration and more that they find a way to pick this lock with congress and actually get these big things done. ALEXANDER: And the fact that Jared Kushner is gonna be testifying, being interviewed by the intelligence committee coming up. No date scheduled just yet. Regardless of it being perhaps nothing, he`s not under investigation by the FBI by any indication, this is a lot of smoke in the words of Mark Warner. STEEL: It`s voluntary. It seems the way to clear the air. Clear his name and let`s hope that everyone can move forward in that direction. ALEXANDER: The drip, drip, drip on Russia seems to be dogging these guys.
JEAN-PIERRE: I would just say that I feel like Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are more enablers than savers (ph). I mean, that`s what they do as a family. And I think even in his business, that`s what the family tends to be, is enable Donald Trump.
ALEXANDER: Guys, we appreciate you being here. Karine, nice to see you. Mike Allen, Michael Steel. ALLEN: Like "Saturday Night Live." ALEXANDER: Exactly. Complicit. That`s what they call it. After the break, the quiet end of a revolution. Stay tuned to "MTP Daily."
ALEXANDER: Back now, in case you missed it, the Arab spring is officially over. The chain reaction that set off upheavals across the mid-east in 2011 seemed to signal a new future for that region. President Obama for one was hopeful that broader aspiration run the horizon for America`s role in the middle east. But just days ago, Egypt`s former president, Hosni Mubarak, quietly walked free.
Mubarak ruled for three decades with corruption, censorship, and abuse. After violent protest, the death toll reached nearly 900. Mubarak was forced out of office and later arrested. He was once charged with conspiring to kill protesters during that uprising. Ultimately those charges was dropped. Opponents perceived this treatment by the court as too lenient, others said it cast doubt on Egypt`s transition into democracy.
The regime changes haven`t been without hurdles. Mubarak was eventually convicted for stealing public funds and he served much of his sentence in a military hospital due to his health. The 88-year-old toppled leader who once sentenced to life in prison returns home to a neighborhood ironically shared by his former home, the presidential palace. That`s all for us tonight. We will be back tomorrow with more "MTP Daily." "For the Record with Greta" starts right now. Greta.
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