Show: MTP Daily Date: April 10, 2017 Guest: Chris Murphy, Michael Crowley, Susan Del Percio, Harold Ford Jr., Carolyn Ryan, Julia Boorstin
KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s Monday.
We`re sorting out mixed messaging on Syria.
Tonight, mission to Moscow --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: -- rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: How far is the U.S. willing to go to make Russia step up in Syria?
Plus, all shook up --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, U.S. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The only thing that`s being shaken up in Washington right now is - or is being shaken up is Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: How staff drama continues to play out in the west wing.
And justice and the American way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: -- so help me god.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: What changes are ahead for the court and the country as the Gorsuch era begins.
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
Good evening, I`m in the - I`m Katy Tur in for Chuck Todd from New York. Welcome to MTP DAILY.
Days after strikes on the Syrian air field, America`s role in the region remains unclear. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said regime change should be on the way. Here she is with our own Chuck Todd on Sunday`s "MEET THE PRESS."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: In no way do we see peace in that area with Russian covering up for Assad. In no way do we see peace in that area with Assad as the head of the Syrian government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: But uprooting Syrian President Bashar Al Assad didn`t sync up with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson`s statements. While ISIS is in focus, Assad`s fate is not defined.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TILLERSON: Our strategy in Syria, as you know, our priority is first the defeat of ISIS. Then, we hope to turn our attention to achieving ceasefire agreements between the regime and opposition forces. We are hopeful that we can work with Russia and use their influence to achieve areas of stabilization throughout Syria. And it is through that political process that we believe the Syrian people will ultimately be able to decide the fate of Bashar Al Assad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster also said other countries need to step up against the Syrian government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H.R. MCMASTER, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We`re not saying that we are the ones that are going to affect that change. What we`re saying is other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions. Russia should ask themselves, what are we doing here? Why are we supporting this murderous regime?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: The Syrian air base targeted in Thursday`s missile attack is already up and running again. But what comes next for the U.S. is unknown. For now, the strategy seems to be showing robust power, even if the White House is not exercising it.
Then, there is the threat of North Korea. As Kim Jong-Un tests his own missiles, the U.S. has now as deployed warships to the Korean Peninsula.
And let`s not forget Russia as Secretary Tillerson is suddenly more critical of that nation, calling the country`s handling of Syria`s chemical weapons, quote, "incompetent," ahead of his first visit to Moscow tomorrow.
Today, Tillerson is in Italy for the G7 where Syria`s civil war dominated the meetings. While visiting a World War II memorial, he issued a stark warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TILLERSON: -- rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocence anywhere in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: But what does the follow-up on these tough words look like? Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut serves on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator, today, Sean Spicer was asked about the air base that is now being used again by the Syrians, the air base that Donald Trump bombed. The president calls them a proportional - calls it a proportional response. Sean Spicer says it`s only being used as a P.R. stunt by the Assad regime. What is your take?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, the reality is that air strike on Thursday night didn`t change the balance of power inside Syria. It doesn`t make life any safer for Syrians who are getting tortured and terrorized and barrel bombed.
And it`s really unclear now what the U.S. policy is going forward. You`ve got Tillerson and Haley saying different things on different days as to whether we`re just going to punish Assad for chemical weapons attacks, or we`re going to extend military protection to other attacks on civilians.
I think people are, frankly, more confused not less confused about what our policy is in the Middle East and we better get it straight pretty soon. That`s why a lot of us think that there should be a debate in Congress about what our policy and what our military is allowed to do inside Syria.
TUR: What do you believe should come next in Syria?
MURPHY: Well, ultimately, I think that you cannot be conducting military activity in Syria if you`re locking children inside. So, we have to have a policy by which we are allowing refugees to come to the United States and we`ve got to be working with our partners to get anybody out of Syria who wants to get out.
I`m very worried about the buildup of U.S. troops in and around Raqqa. To the extent that they`re there, they should be only used to support Arab forces, perhaps Kurdish forces, in retaking Raqqa. I`m worried that they have no exit plan and we may end up having thousands of troops there for the long run.
[17:05:13] I know that restraint is not a very popular policy these days but we have to step back and admit that we`ve got a lot of hubris about our ability to change the reality on the ground in Syria. We should be limited in our objectives and understand that, ultimately, it`s going to be regional players, not the United States, that`s going to have to lead.
TUR: So, the debate is centering around right now whether or not to leave Bashar Al Assad in power. Our Kristen Welker was in the White House press briefing room with Sean Spicer, trying to nail down exactly what the White House`s plan is for the Syrian president. Take a listen.
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KRISTEN WELKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Can you defeat ISIS with Assad still in power?
SPICER: Yes, sure. It`s not, like, there`s a single track that says you have to do - I mean, if we can get both at the same time or one happens after another, that`s fine as well. But I think we obviously -- the number one threat that America faces is ISIS is in that region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: So, can you defeat ISIS with Assad still in power?
MURPHY: Well, I don`t know that you can defeat ISIS, but you can certainly gobble up enough of their territory that they pose a much less significant of an immediate threat to attacking the United States.
I think we have to differentiate between preferences and policy, right? It`s OK to state that America`s preference is for Bashar Al Assad to be out of power and to take steps to try to effectuate that end. It`s a different thing to say that our policy is to achieve no political or military settlement unless there`s an immediate commitment that he leaves.
Our focus should be on stopping the blood shed inside Syria. And if that means that Assad has to stay as a transitional figure, well that may have to be on the table. ISIS, though, can be downgraded to the point where they are no longer a significant credible daily threat to the United States, separating Assad from this ultimate question of how long Assad gets to stay in power.
TUR: So, on the heels of all this, Secretary Tillerson is going to Russia this week for meetings at the can kremlin. He has taken a much tougher posture towards Russia (INAUDIBLE) saying that they at least bear some of the responsibility for Assad being able to drop chemical weapons on its own - on his own people. What do I believe that the secretary of state needs to accomplish when he is in Moscow?
MURPHY: Well, I have low expectations for this meeting. But I am heartened to see this just dramatic black and white change in rhetoric on Russia that`s happened over the past few days. I guess my expectations, my hopes for this meeting is that Tillerson comes out of it using the same kind of words going in.
Russia, absolutely there is complicity for what happened inside Syria. But the Trump administration has to understand that the hands-off approach on Russia that they have taken up until the last two days may have allowed Russia to think that it could get away with not exercising a veto power over this chemical weapons attack.
So, I just hope that the administration keeps this up and then comes to Congress and works with us on a Russia sanctions` bill that will give us more leverage with them when we`re, ultimately, trying to decide the fate of Syria, the fate of Ukraine, trying to work together with them on a host of other problems in the region.
TUR: Senator, there`s a lot going on. On the one hand, you`ve got Syria and you`ve got Russia, on the other, you`ve got North Korea and China. Donald Trump launched these missiles on Syria while the Chinese president was at Mar-a-Lago and while they were having their very first summit. Was that unilateral show of force meant to send a message to China that we will deal with North Korea alone if we have to?
MURPHY: Well, I`m sure that`s what Trump hopes the strike conveyed. But, you know, again, let`s be honest about what we did here. We took out a very limited strike, intended to only hit a handful of small military assets. I`m not necessarily sure that that translates to the North Koreans that we are willing to take every measure necessary to unwind their nuclear program --
TUR: Does that say anything to the Chinese though, about whether or not they should be working with us or force them into working with us in some way?
MURPHY: Well, I don`t think it`s going to be the strike on the airfield in Syria that`s going to convince the Chinese to come to the table. Here, I don`t think that Trump is necessarily wrong, that we need to put all of our cards on the table with the Chinese right now to force them to work with us on North Korea. That may involve some deal on other issues, like Taiwan or economics trade, to get something done on North Korea.
But that`ll be how this works out, putting all of our cards on the table. Not trying to scare them into working with us just because we are willing to take one small limited action inside Syria against an air base.
TUR: Senator, final question. I was just talking to one of your colleagues, Senator Markey, a moment ago. And he told me that Democrats will restore the 60-vote threshold when they`re back in power for Supreme Court nominees.
[17:10:05] Has that been a discussion behind the scenes among Democrats, that this is something that needs to be reinstated, in order for the Senate to work in the bipartisan way that it was intended to work?
MURPHY: Well, Senator Markey and I will have conversation about that. I don`t know that I`ve been privy to that conversation happening behind closed doors.
In fact, I think we`ve, you know, frankly, telegraphed the opposite at times to Republicans. That if they want to break the comity that has existed over Supreme Court nominations, that they may live to regret that day, because there will be a Democrat in power in the White House perhaps when the next vacancy, a swing vacancy comes up.
I don`t actually think Republicans should bet the farm on Democrats reversing course if and when we take control of the Senate.
TUR: Do you believe they should though? In the spirit of working together, in the spirit of bipartisan cooperation in the Senate, especially with something like the Supreme Court, should the Democrats restore the 60- vote threshold?
MURPHY: Well, we have to have a broader conversation about how the Senate works. The fact is when we had a 60-vote majority for presidential appointees and for district court judges, Republicans abused that privilege. Half of the filibusters of district court judges happened during Obama`s time in office. Over the course of history, half of them, Mitch McConnell during President Obama`s time in office.
So, we have to step back and say, to the extent the minority has the ability to filibuster anything, they`ve got to use that much more responsibly than they have in the past. And that should apply to Democrats as well as it applies for Republicans.
TUR: Senator Murphy, appreciate your time, sir.
MURPHY: Thank you.
TUR: Michael Crowley, the Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent for Politico joins me now. Michael, let`s start with a little bit of reporting that your colleague, Shane Goldmacher, did about a closed-door meeting with the communications` team. He says in his reporting that Mike Dubke noted - - told the assembled aides that the president lacks a coherent foreign policy. There is no Trump doctrine.
This happened all before those Syrian airfield strikes. So, what is the biggest hurdle here for the Trump administration?
MICHAEL CROWLEY, SENIOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: Well, I think it`s to figure out what they think and to try to coordinate a president who campaigned on a set of values and principles that is, I think, not shared by a lot of his top most influential foreign policy advisers with their world view. And to figure out, is there some way we can get everybody on board?
Trump has shown us that he is, in his own words, very flexible. So, it may be, now that he`s coming around to people who are on his national security team, like secretary of defense, Mattis; his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster; and increasingly we`re hearing from Nikki Haley, a more kind of conventional establishment world view where -- that is not that different maybe from what you would have seen from a Jeb Bush or a Marco Rubio.
But, you know, Donald Trump`s rhetoric in the campaign was in a very different place. And I think they`re trying to figure out what is our vision? How do we reconcile it with what we said before? And is this what President Trump really wants?
TUR: Is it partially because Trump, himself, is not really an ideologue. He`s somebody who campaigned on America first, but he campaigned also on this idea that, no matter what, he would know best. And he would make the decisions that were best which is part of the reasons his supporters just had this blind faith in him.
So, are the aides left to try and figure out what he believes or is there a point where he`s going to communicate exactly what he wants, he, the president of the United States, wants going forward?
CROWLEY: You know, I -- it really does look situational. I mean, I think that what he wants going forward is to look strong and is to look like he is -- and it`s just, sort of, win the moment, I guess.
I mean, as you say, he`s not ideological guy. Unlike a lot of presidents, I don`t think he`s really interested in the dueling theories of foreign policy, the realists and the internationalists and the neocons.
And I think he`s looking for strength and the idea that, you know, he`s not going to be pushed around and he is delivering for the country, in some sense.
So, I don`t think that he`s going to come out and articulate some grand vision. I really think that the people around him, to some degree, are coming up with the vision that`s pretty mainstream. But then, they have to adapt it to whatever Trump thinks is happening in the moment.
Because it`s clear that this is a guy - it`s almost like somebody -- like the movie "Momento." You know, you can`t remember what happened the day before, it is like he has amnesia and it`s a fresh start for him. And he`s going to have these - this establish - this establishment-oriented team bringing him a set of options.
But Trump will seemingly come to it with a fresh pair of eyes, not really interested in the prologue or the theory around it. Just what`s going to work in the moment.
TUR: I hope you`re not suggesting that he gets his old tweets tattooed on his body so he can check them out every day. Even though --
CROWLEY: We won`t go that far.
TUR: -- even though they`d be contradictory.
Talking about Syria, though, and that - and that strike, that missile strike. The air base that Donald Trump hit on Thursday, the Syrian regime has already flown a couple of planes out of it.
[17:15:09] The White House is calling that a P.R. stunt, saying the air base is not operational. That they had to wheel those planes in that were pre-fueled and let them take off.
Lindsey Graham had a slightly different view of it. Here`s what he said to our Chuck Todd this weekend on "MEET THE PRESS."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Here`s what I think Assad is telling Trump by flying from this base. F you. And I think he`s making a serious mistake. Because if you`re an adversary of the United States and you don`t worry about what Trump may do on any given day, then you`re crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: Pretty provocative from Lindsey Graham.
CROWLEY: Yes, it is. And, actually, you know, my reaction to that is who is provoking Trump more here? I mean, is Assad provoking Trump by doing this or is Lindsey Graham, who long-wanted deeper U.S. intervention in Syria, who was really critical of Barack Obama and now is pressuring Trump to go deeper. Do more to try to push Assad out of power.
Is he using this as an opportunity to try to go after Trump`s pride? To try to say, hey, you can`t let this guy push you around.
I mean, so, in other words, Graham maybe is, sort of, the instigator here. Because Graham doesn`t want to see these strikes that we saw the other night just on this one airfield to be the end of the story. He thinks that there should be a much deeper American involvement in Syria. That there should be a coordinated campaign to try to push Assad out and hold him accountable for what he`s done there.
And despite what Trump did on Thursday night, there is really -- there doesn`t seem to be any appetite in this administration for, at this point, pressing further down that line. So, I see, definitely, the ultimate culpability here, obviously, is Assad.
But I see Graham as a little bit of a provocateur, trying to make sure that this gets Trump`s attention and maybe, you know, gets his back up - maybe gets his - gets his pride involved.
TUR: Final question. In a couple of sentences, can you sum up what Rex Tillerson is going to want to get out of Moscow tomorrow?
CROWLEY: Well, I think he would like to get the Russians to say we`re going to pull back some of our support from Bashar Al Assad. We realize that he just - this use of nerve gas is just something we can`t tolerate. And we understand now that you, the United States, are -- have some lines that you`ve drawn and you`re coming in and willing to enforce them.
Let`s go back to some -- restart a peace process that includes you, the Americans. And in good faith, we`ll try harder than we have before to find a solution that gets Assad out of the picture. You know, we`ve heard you, Washington.
I`m skeptical that that will be the case. The Russians, when they dig in, they dig in deep. And I don`t think that that air strike was really enough to change their calculus, at this point.
TUR: It`s hard to set parameters when you don`t know exactly what the president of the United States is going to say on any given - on any given day. Michael Crowley of Politico. Thank you very much.
CROWLEY: Absolutely, Katy. Thank you.
TUR: Coming up, the Trump team tries to smooth over some west wing drama. We`ll have the latest from the White House just ahead. Stay tuned.
[17:20:01] TUR: We continue to follow developments out of San Bernardino, California. A suspected domestic abuse -- a suspected domestic dispute turned to blood shed inside an elementary school earlier today. Investigators say the shooting happened inside one of the classrooms.
Right now, a female teacher and the alleged shooter died in an apparent murder-suicide. Two students were also shot and are in the hospital, listed in critical condition. But right now, police are not releasing the age or names of those children.
Police will be holding a briefing in the next hour or so with more information. And we`ll, of course, bring you any new developments in this story as they happen.
We`ll be right back.
TUR: Welcome back to MTP DAILY.
A new week offers a new opportunity for the president to try and move on from the inner White House drama encircling some of his top aides.
We saw an attempt to smooth things over this weekend as NBC News reports that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus held an hour-long meeting on Friday afternoon between two top figures, representing the war between, the two factions inside President Trump`s orbit, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner.
This, though, is about much more than personality tensions between top aides. There are deep philosophical and policy differences at issue here about everything from America`s place in the world to the role the federal government plays in our lives.
Just last week, there was evidence Kushner`s west wing role was expanding as he took a trip to Iraq with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while Bannon was removed from his spot on the National Security Council.
White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, today called reports of infighting overblown. But even some Republican members of Congress are weighing in with Iowa Congressman Steve King tweeting right to the president last night, quote, Steve Bannon is the linchpin to your energized base. Conservatives are an endangered species in your White House.
For more on this, we bring in NBC`s Chief White House Correspondent, Hallie Jackson. So, Hallie, where does Steve Bannon stand as of tonight, Monday night?
HALLIE JACKSON, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Presumably, inside the west wing in his office, Katy, at this exact moment, he`s still on staff. We - it`s our understanding, based on our reporting from our team here at the White House, that the dust has settled a little bit, when it comes to these reports of a shake-up. In large part, due to that meeting that you just talked about that we reported out.
On Friday afternoon at Mar-a-Lago, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon and the chief of staff was delivering this message of, like, listen, we`ve got to work this out. We`ve got to put some of these reports behind us. We can have ideological and policy differences.
But what we can`t have is the drip, drip, drip of leaks to the press. The president not pleased, at least that`s our understanding, by those reports, particularly on a week when he had the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
You had today`s ceremony in the rose garden. That`s what his team wants to be talking about, and not, as Sean Spicer was pressed about multiple times today, these reports of infighting that he did call overblown, as you called out. That he called sensational, essentially. No surprise that Spicer would then, sort of, aim his fire at the press, saying the media got away with this story a little bit.
Clearly, there are ideological differences, though, when you look at where these advisers are. But the president, as his team has pointed out, is somebody who wants to bring together people with a diverse point of view.
The question is -- and I talked to somebody who was part of a previous administration who talked about what it`s like in those first hundred days when there is infighting. And the point was made that, listen, there needs to be a diverse set of opinions.
But there`s also got to be the discipline to say, hey, this is what we`re doing. We`re not going to leak it. We`re not going to talk about it. We`re going to get it done.
TUR: Is there a sense of cohesion, though, in this administration, in the west wing about where exactly they`re going on a day-to-day basis when it comes to messaging? What their strategy is, what their policy is, what the Trump doctrine is?
JACKSON: Yes. Well, listen, you talk about the Trump doctrine. That is a question that has come up in light of the political reporting by Shane Goldmacher that Mike Dubke, the Communications Director here, held this meeting last week in which he stood up and questioned foreign policy. This is something that, obviously, the White House has pushed back.
You heard Sean Spicer, today, layout this America first doctrine. As a veteran of the campaign trail, you`re well - very familiar with it as a lot of his supporters are as well.
[17:25:07] When it comes to cohesion, that`s, kind of, the big question mark, right? Because you have different policies that have been put out there that are inconsistent with what he said on the campaign trail.
Like, for example, the action that he took in Syria, as we`ve been talking about. The question is going to be, can everybody come together? Can they get it together, essentially, over these next 20 days or so that are left in the first 100 days?
It is a symbolic time period but it`s important, nonetheless, because I do think that the administration understands messaging. And the framing of those first hundred days is going to be important how the American people view the president`s first three or four months in office.
And I would also add this. That the administration is pointing to what they say is a president making good on some of his campaign promises. For example, the Supreme Court pick. That was accomplished today.
What they have not made good on is something like healthcare reform. That was a big promise of the president`s on the campaign trail that failed, as well as tax reform and infrastructure, too -- Katie.
TUR: Hallie Jackson outside of the White House. Thank you very much, Hallie.
Now, let`s go to tonight`s panel, "New York Times" senior editor, Carolyn Ryan; former Congressman Harold Ford Jr.; and Republican strategist, Susan Del Percio.
Obviously, the White House is pushing back on a lot lately. Day to day, there`s always a story that they totally disagree with. There was a meeting, though, between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner that Reince Priebus was moderating, I guess.
Can you resolve those ideological differences? Is that possible?
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, not on -- I mean it`s a matter of can you get along well enough to serve the president, though. Can you put certain things aside?
TUR: But what if you don`t know where the president stands?
DEL PERCIO: Well, I think that is the key here.
DEL PERCIO: But there is something that is worth noting is that the president had the same point of view as Jared Kushner up to 20 months ago.
DEL PERCIO: So, he is more aligned there. But what you also have to ask yourself, the question if you`re in the White House right now, is do you want Steve Bannon on the inside and with you or do you want him on the outside running a media empire?
TUR: To that point, there was a report that Breitbart was told not to run any negative articles about Jared Kushner.
CAROLYN RYAN, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Right. The -- there`s certainly questions about how powerful he might be with this Breitbart connection. And you make a good point about whether you want him as part of your tent or not.
But I think the more profound issue here is going back to what you said earlier in the show. When you have a post ideological president, it`s much more difficult for aides to know what, thematically and message wise, they are moving toward. Are they in alignment with the president when he is so, to use his word, flexible? To use other people`s words, capricious or inconsistent?
So, you`re going to have, I think, more dramatic ideological clashes as part of this administration.
TUR: The criticism on Jared Kushner, though, is that he is young. He`s inexperienced. He doesn`t know what he`s doing. He`s been given too much. He`s a Democrat.
But would the Democrats rather have him the one in charge. Him being the one who`s in Donald Trump`s ear, rather than somebody like Steve Bannon, even if he is inexperienced?
HAROLD FORD JR. (D), FORMER CONGRESSMAN, TENNESSEE: So, I think he`s probably been given a lot and Jared is a capable guy. I don`t know who`s capable enough to handle all that`s in that portfolio.
Two, Trump ran this way. He talked about tearing up trade deals and tearing up other deals with countries and renegotiating them on the fly. He never laid out a strategy or philosophy.
He just said he would do it better. So, in his mind, you have to come to him because he`s going to get this done better.
The question in the White House -- and I think you said it very well. Susan said it best. You`ve got to - got to do what`s in the president`s interest. This president`s about getting the best deal, transactionally, with whomever he`s dealing with. So, they --
TUR: What deal has he gotten so far that`s been the best deal?
FORD: No, no. Believe me, I`m not - I`m only making what I -- trying to understand him. He looks at figuring out, whether it`s Syria, whether it`s Egypt, whether it`s China, whether it`s Mexico, whether it`s the Congress.
Remember, after health care failed, he said, we`re going to move right to taxes and we`re going to work with Democrats. He had Schumer over the next night and he praised Schumer.
Now, what fundamentally could change at all is if they lose the Kansas and Georgia House seats which would, I think, inject a different kind of political thinking in the White House and might damage probably Steve Bannon more than it will Jared Kushner.
But to hear Steve Bannon call Jared Kushner a Democrat, it seems to me that that`s a desperation kind of throw here right at the end. If that`s your best case to say to the president, you should listen to me.
When he won as a post-ideological president, I would have to give the advantage to Jared. Not only because he`s family but I could say that the message is one that`s probably one he has as well.
DEL PERCIO: Not only that, the president wants to win, as we know. So, right now, he hasn`t been delivered many wins.
TUR: I don`t even know what that means any longer.
DEL PERCIO: It means health care did not go the way he wanted.
TUR: If the president wants to win. He says that over and over again. Does the president know what a win looks like?
DEL PERCIO: No, but that`s -
TUR: If he knew what a win looked like, wouldn`t he have gone over to the Democrats and said, let`s find a way to make this work?
DEL PERCIO: He knows what he thinks is a win. So, whatever`s in front of him. If he is speaking about healthcare, he wants to win it. Whatever he wants to define a win as, he didn`t win that. That was something Bannon was involved in.
He wanted a win on the travel ban. He didn`t get that once and then didn`t get it again. Something Steve Bannon driven.
So he will start going to people who can lead him with successes. And right now because of the trust factor with Jared Kushner, he probably knows how to best manipulate Donald Trump in thinking he had to win.
TUR: And Jared Kushner has what the others don`t have, which is that he is married to Ivanka so Donald Trump can`t so easily get rid of him. I say that.
HAROLD FORD JR., FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Gary Cohn and him seem to be developing.
TUR: That`s a big problem as well. I mean -- but also, Trump is loyal until he is not loyal. Steve Bannon, you could argue, got him to this point by getting him on message at the end of the campaign and disciplining him a little bit more in terms of Trump. But now according to people that I speak with, Steve Bannon is in a precarious position because Donald Trump`s poll numbers are not good.
He hasn`t gotten any quote, unquote, wins like Susan is saying. And Jared is out to get him and the family is out to get him. It took the family months to get rid of Corey Lewandowski and Corey Lewandowski was arrested for assault. So, that is true. So ultimately, even if Bannon is dangerous on the outside as Susan alludes to, is there a way for him to survive? CAROLYN RYAN, ASSISTANT EDITOR AT THE NEW YORK TIMES: I just think that you`re right, that you do not want as a chief strategist, no matter how powerful your connections to the right wing, to be picking fights or in public fights with the spouse of your boss`s favorite child. I just think it is a loser. There`s got to be a way for him to somehow mitigate and get back into -- he`s not going to win by sort of throwing things into.
DEL PERCIO: This also goes to the fundamental problem in the White House right now, which is that there are three or four to five, depending on who you talk to, ways to the president. You`re supposed to have a chief of staff, all roads go through the chief of staff to the president. You have multiple ways of entry, if you will, and that`s also very different because they come from different points of view.
TUR: I find it interesting that Reince Priebus is the one that`s holding this meeting between the two when Reince Priebus was the one that was allegedly fighting with Steve Bannon. So I mean it is all.
DEL PERCIO: He`s not going anywhere. TUR: Here`s the thing. Don`t go up against the president`s children, you will lose, and we have seen that in the past.
FORD: Unless you are winning before then. TUR: Unless you are winning before then. RYAN: Right.
TUR: Carolyn, Harold, Susan, stay with us. Still ahead though, as Neil Gorsuch takes his seat on the Supreme Court, we will take a look at the cases on the docket and where Justice Gorsuch could make his mark. Stay tuned.
TUR: Welcome back. Japanese car maker Toyota announced the major investment in America manufacturing today. The company is committing over $1.33 billion overall its Georgetown, Kentucky plant, Toyota`s largest U.S. facility. President Trump praised the move as further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under his administration.
A spokesman for the company told "The New York Times" that the president`s policies did not play a role in the decision but the company shares his goal of growing the economy and jobs in the U.S. After the break, how Justice Gorsuch could make a difference on the court. But first, for the rest of the day`s financial headlines, here`s Julia Boorstin. Hey there.
JULIA BOORSTIN, MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER FOR CNBC: Thanks, Katy. Stocks closing slightly higher. The Dow up about a point, the S&P 500 also up by 1.5 point, and the Nasdaq rising 3 points. Wells Fargo clawed back $75 million dollars in pay from two former executives over aggressive sales practices that led to millions of fake accounts.
More than 5,000 bank employees lost their jobs in the scandal. The head of the FCC wants to block a plan allowing passengers to make in-flight phone calls. Two FCC commissioners would have to back the move. That`s it first from CNBC, first in business worldwide.
TUR: Welcome back. Today for the first time in over a year, all of the seats in the Supreme Court are filled. Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch is now Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch after being sworn in today, succeeding the late Antonin Scalia after a long confirmation battle. He was given the judicial oath by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy in the Rose Garden.
Gorsuch clerked for Justice Kennedy in the early 90s and becomes the first justice to sit on the high court with a former boss. President Donald Trump spoke before the swearing in and took a curtain call of sorts for getting Gorsuch on the high court within his first 100 days in office.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ve always heard that the most important thing that a president of the United States does is appoint people, hopefully great people like this appointment to the United States Supreme Court. And I can say this is a great honor.
TRUMP: And I got it done in the first 100 days. That`s even nice. You think that`s easy.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TUR: Gorsuch becomes the youngest member of the court by more than a decade. And as the most junior justice, he will take over clerical functions like holding the door to the conference room from Justice Elena Kagan. There are 13 cases left to be heard this term. Justice Gorsuch will hear his first oral argument next week.
Joining me from Washington D.C. on what to expect from Gorsuch and the future of the Supreme Court is NBC justice correspondent, Pete Williams. So just as I said, Pete, 13 cases left to be heard. Where could Gorsuch make his mark?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, of those 13, the biggest one is a test of religious freedom. It is a challenge to about half the state`s laws, that say that no state money can go directly or indirectly to a church. This case comes from Columbia, Missouri. There`s a Lutheran church there that wanted state money to put a rubber surface down on the playground for its preschool.
The state said you`re qualified in every way except you`re a church so we can`t give you the money because we have one of those provisions. The challengers are saying that is religious discrimination. The state says we`re not interfering with your religious practices, we`re just not going to subsidize them.
So he will have a vote on that case. He could provide a decisive vote because it`s possible that the court could have split 4-4 before he came here. But now it is back to its old balance ideologically more or less of 5-4 leaning conservatively.
TUR: How is this justice going to fit on the Supreme Court? Will he just in effect be a replacement for Scalia? WILLIAMS: Well, when he came here 23 years ago to be a clerk for Justice Kennedy, actually came to clerk for Byron White who was just retiring from the Supreme Court, a fellow Coloradoan. He used to say, whenever there is a new justice, there is a new court. So the personality is realigned, alliances form and break down, new ones come up.
So we`ll have to see how Justice Gorsuch fits in here. He`ll in many ways be as conservative, in some cases more, some cases less than Antonin Scalia. But toward the end of his time on the court, Scalia tended to be a polarizing figure with some pretty vigorous dissent that is not Neil Gorsuch`s style. Could that be more persuasive? We`ll have to wait and see.
TUR: So Merrick Garland is not in the Supreme Court. Obviously, he wasn`t even given a confirmation hearing by Republicans last year. But are we gonna be hearing from him in the future? Will he have a major role to play in the D.C. circuit?
WILLIAMS: Well, yes. Absolutely. He is just a couple of blocks away from here on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit. It is often referred to as sort of the most important appeals court in the country because many challenges of acts of congress, federal regulations come through that court, so some big deal issues come here. So his stamp will be on a lot of cases that come up here for review.
So we won`t hear the end of him. Whether a future Democratic president would nominate him for the Supreme Court, hard to say. He was sort of on the edge of being what is now considered too old to be nominated to the Supreme Court, but he will still be a very active appeals court judge and he is extremely well regarded.
TUR: Pete Williams in front of the Supreme Court. Appreciate it. WILLIAMS: You bet.
TUR: Still ahead on "The Lid." Still head, excuse me, there is "The Lid." There is also election day stakes in Kansas. Stay tuned.
TUR: Welcome back to "MTP Daily." We`re following reports Alabama`s governor, Robert Bentley, plans to resign today. Alabama`s lieutenant governor, Kay Ivey, is set to take the oath this evening at 6:45 p.m. eastern. Bentley is expected to make a statement shortly. Here, looking at a booking photo, the embattled governor was booked in the Montgomery County jail a short time ago.
Impeachment hearings for the government kicked off this morning following power, abuse, and cover-up allegations. It all stems from a scandal that broke last year. Recordings emerged of the governor making suggested remarks to a female aide. A blistering report from the Alabama House Judiciary Committee claimed Bentley tried to use law enforcement and intimidation to keep it all a secret.
Both the governor and that aide have denied a physical affair. The governor maintains that he has done nothing illegal and did not misuse state resources. The Alabama Republican Party has called for Governor Bentley`s resignation but for now, Governor Bentley could also face a pending criminal investigation. The Alabama Ethics Commission has finding that Bentley may have violated campaign finance and ethics laws. We`ll be right back with "The Lid."
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TED CRUZ, JUNIOR U.S. SENATOR FROM TEXAS: Today, the eyes of the whole country are on Kansas. This election, special election tomorrow, makes a difference not just for Kansas but for the whole country.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TUR: It`s time for "The Lid." That was Texas Senator Ted Cruz just moments ago in Kansas campaigning for Republican candidate Ron Estes, ahead of tomorrow`s special congressional election there. Our panel is back. Carolyn Ryan, Harold Ford Jr., Susan Del Percio. Not only is the country watching Kansas but they are also watching Georgia.
Moments ago, "The Cook Report" upgraded its ratings. Right now, Georgia six, where we have the Democrat Ossoff, who are campaigning to try and get Tom Price`s seat, went from leaned Republican to toss up, Kansas where Ted Cruz is at is likely Republican, now lean Republican. That is a big deal. RYAN: Worrisome for the Republicans at least in terms of where the momentum, energy, and money seem to be. We don`t know the outcome of these races at this point, but in politics, power is the perception of power. And just to echo a bit what Harold was saying, if the Democrats were to make gains unexpectedly in these areas, it undermines Trump, it undermines the administration and his poll numbers, and it sort of suggests that something is going on that he will be further diminished.
TUR: Are Republicans worried? FORD: He ran in a non-ideological way, Trump. If he doesn`t get back or just say govern -- I was not for him, but he appealed to Democrats in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania, but he`s run a bannon play. Now, the Bannon play may be appealing to some people, but it`s not appealing to the majority of people who wanted to see him elected, Trump, that is. So a win for Democrats in these areas would be a wake-up call to say you got to change or we`re gonna help change you. TUR: Is that wake-up call gonna be heard, seen? DEL PERCIO: I don`t know if we`ll gonna hear or see it, but I think.
TUR: Is Donald Trump going to hear it if it happens? DEL PERCIO: Yes, because I think Harold made a very good point earlier. This is a type of thing that.
FORD: I rarely have women agreeing with me. This is great. DEL PERCIO: This is the type of thing that could get into Donald Trump`s head. How is he losing Republicans? He was elected president. I think that could really bother him. It could also have an effect on the messaging out there right now that Republicans are, you know, losing ground. This is not the president and the leader that they had thought they had hoped for. TUR: A win for Jared Kushner? Ultimately? FORD: I think it`s a win for those who are not aligned with that right wing of the Republican Party. And I don`t think Jared is aligned with it. DEL PERCIO: He`s aligned with the president.
RYAN: I still think that.
TUR: Let`s play devil`s advocate here when we`re talking about at least Georgia and Ossof who is running for Tom Price`s seat, the Democrat. $8 million.
DEL PERCIO: But most of that is coming from outside groups.
RYAN: Outside groups.
TUR: Is that -- is that -- do they run the risk of raising a bunch of money, making a big splash, but then having voters say, I`m not going to vote for a Democrat. RYAN: This happens a lot in special elections. As you know, they get elevated beyond their immediate impact and sometimes they become sort of national rooting contests for political junkies and for people who donate money because they don`t have another game in town. So that`s -- there`s a possibility that locally that would be seen as intervention. TUR: Where do things stand with the Republicans in congress at the moment? I know we`re on recess. Everyone had been talking about health care, but that didn`t make forward progress in the final days before recess. Is there a concern that more town halls are going to pop up during this recess and they`re going to hear more from angry constituents, either angry it wasn`t appealed or angry it might get repealed? RYAN: I think there`s confusion out there. I don`t think you have the kind of urgent protests that you saw weeks ago when people really felt threatened and vulnerable. I think there`s confusion about what`s happening next, whether there will be another attempt, and kind of what the -- basically where the administration is going. I don`t know if that turns out people in the numbers that it did previously, but I think there is that confusion. DEL PERCIO: Plus, we see a shift right now going to foreign policy.
DEL PERCIO: And that`s a big difference right now, what`s leading in the headlines, and the fact you saw Democrats and Republicans really coming together on that this was a smart, wise reaction by Donald Trump. TUR: So what is a win for Donald Trump? We were talking about that earlier. What would a win be going forward? What should he focus on?
DEL PERCIO: Not getting a story about his team being disorganized. RYAN: I think taxes and showing like a valid and legitimate attempt to reach out to constituents beyond those who brought him into office in a serious tax plan might suggests that the administration is moving and making progress in getting serious. FORD: Two things will be talked about, just talking to former colleagues. One, the special election is tomorrow in Kansas, so we will get some, there will be a lot of talk around that in the next few days whatever happens. Two, there is doubt when there`s a shift of foreign policy, members of congress take that opportunity to try to educate during town hall meetings.
If you look at the polling data, I think from newspapers and others, suggests that perhaps a majority of Americans are in support of the strike. We`re all talking, I think, rightly and correctly, about whether or not there`s a philosophy, whether or not this a strategy, whether or not there is a long-term goal here, trying to be achieved.
But everyday, Americans are watching this and they support what their president did, which is what you would expect. So congress would be focused there. To Carolyn`s point, there`s nothing urgent happening domestically right now. DEL PERCIO: Right but if the White House would take this time to really look inside and figure out what they want to do during these two weeks and use this as kind of a little reset when they come back, that`s what they should do. TUR: We will see. I dare not use the "P" word.
FORD: Happy passover.
TUR: Pivot. And happy passover. Good job, Harold Ford. Carolyn, Harold, Susan, appreciate your time. After the break, New York State gives it the old college try. Stay tuned.
TUR: In case you missed it, New York will be the first state with free public college tuition for most students. Starting in September, the state will subsidize public college tuition for students of families who make less than $100,000, average 30 credits a year, and maintain a benchmark GPA. An estimated 80 percent of New York families with college aged children could qualify for the program. Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the program today.
(START VIDEO CLIP) ANDREW CUOMO, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: It`s a life changer. Long overdue. First in the nation. You now watch the other states start to copy what we do because it`s smart. It`s common sense.
CUOMO: And we`re in New York, and we lead the way. (APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUR: As with anything, there may be politics at play here. Cuomo is one of many Democrats trying to establish their liberal (inaudible) ahead of the 2020 presidential election. He first announced the college program in January with progressive icon Bernie Sanders, who you`ll remember made free college a big part of his 2016 campaign. That will do it for us tonight. "For the Record" with Greta starts right now. Hey there, Greta.
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