Show: MTP Daily Date: April 14, 2017 Guest: Jim Galloway, Eliana Johnson, Jennifer Palmieri, Jennifer Rubin, Jack Jacobs, Mandy Patinkin, T.D. Jakes, Joann Hummel, David Saperstein,
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: And that does it for us. "MTP DAILY" starts right now.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: If it`s Friday, will town hall anger at Republicans today be translating the votes next week and next year?
Tonight, rhapsody in blue. Why the discord on the right is music to Democrats` ears as both sides look to next week to find out what next year`s midterms may look like.
Plus, warning shot. What do we really know about that mother of all bombs? It was dropped on Afghanistan. But was it more of a message for North Korea or was there actual tactical importance?
And life imitates art. How Showtime`s "Homeland" predicted President Trump`s struggles with the intelligence services.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As he escalated war with the intelligence community, we were, sort of, drop jawed. That`s what we`d been shooting.
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TODD: That`s right, it`s Saul Berenson, aka Mandy Patinkin on the show.
This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.
Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington and welcome to MTP DAILY.
Much of the focus this week has been overseas and with Congress on recess, lawmakers seem to have a reprieve from the fire of Washington. But plenty are feeling the political heat at home this week and it is not a great time to be a Republican.
Remember this moment from 2009?
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reforms I`m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
REP. JOE WILSON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You lie.
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TODD: Well, that was South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson. Well, he got a bit of his own medicine this week. Constituents chanted his infamous insult back at him at a town hall Monday for an answer he gave on violence against women.
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CROWD: You lie. You lie. You lie. You lie.
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TODD: But it`s not just conservative Republicans like Wilson feeling the heat at home. Moderate Republicans, Mike Coffman from Colorado, Jeff Flake from Arizona were booed while answering questions at town halls this week and taking positions in line with President Trump.
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REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), COLORADO: Environmental policy ought to be integrated with trade policy. That they ought to be subject to the same status that --
REP. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I think Mayor Garland was a great man and a good judge. But to what -- but what happened in the Senate last year, you may not have liked it, but it was not without precedence. In fact --
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TODD: Look, town halls are just people talking. But we got changeable electoral results and a special election for a seat held by a Republican Tuesday in Kansas` fourth district which could be the start of some momentum for the Democrats. Their candidate, Jason Thompson, performed better than expected, falling just seven points short of Republican Ron Estes in a district President Trump had carried by 27 points in November.
Look, plenty of possibilities why the Democrat did so well, including the unpopularity of Republican Governor Sam Brownback and motivated anti-Trump voters.
But it could be the first signs of socioeconomic demographics catching up to the Trump coalition. Thompson did his best in areas that had a higher percentage of educated -- of high -- college educated voters relative to the rest of the district.
Of course, the real test to see if elections will realign on social economic grounds is next week`s special election in Georgia`s sixth district where 58 percent of voters have a bachelor`s degree or higher.
In fact, of the top 10 most educated districts in the country by degree, we`re not saying by just educated but by degree, it is actually the only one of the top 10 that was occupied by a Republican to start this year.
And Democrat John Ossoff is flirting with the 50 percent threshold needed for the first-round victory in the polls. It doesn`t look like he`s going to get there but, obviously, will be the top vote getter.
Failure to make things close in the Georgia six could be an indicator that the Trump coalition is immune to this realignment.
Well, we`ve all got Georgia on my our right now so let`s turn to somebody on the ground. Joining me now is Jim Galloway, who covers Georgia politics for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" and has done this rodeo for us before.
Jim, good to see you, sir.
JIM GALLOWAY, BLOG WRITER, "ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION": Good to see you again, Chuck.
TODD: All right. So, first, let`s talk about whether Ossoff could get to 50 percent. I`ve looked at all the early voting stats. It certainly doesn`t look likely. Anything on the ground tell you differently?
GALLOWAY: It`s still possible but, actually, the signs on the ground are saying no. We`ve got a couple of local T.V. stations that are going to be coming out with polls this evening, that one shows him at 42 percent.
The better one, conducted by Mark Roundtree of Landmark Communications, puts Ossoff at 45 percent. And that`s the -- that`s the highest we`ve seen him beat.
So, it`s -- seeing him get 50 percent plus is a little bit of a reach. But you know as well as do --
GALLOWAY: -- that special elections are hard to pull. Congressional elections are hard to pull. So, it could happen.
TODD: And just to confirm, Jim. This is top two regardless of party me (ph). The libertarians don`t --
TODD: -- this isn`t a case where the leading libertarian gets a third place on the ballot in a June round, correct?
GALLOWAY: No, no. These the top two vote getters.
GALLOWAY: And, right now -- right now, it looks like Karen Handel could be that -- have the second birth (ph). But it also could be Dan Moody or Bob Gray.
TODD: Well, it`s funny you bring this up. I want to play this New Club for Growth ad because it`s a back and forth between two Republicans, at this point. Nobody is touching the Democrat. Here it is.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dan Moody, Karen Handel, that`s two of a kind. Career politicians with tax and spend records. Like when Handel pushed a massive sales tax hike and spent tax payer money giving contracts to (INAUDIBLE.) Moody did it too. Voting for $2 billion in higher taxes and fees to benefit a utility company. Now, they`re running for Congress.
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TODD: That`s Club for Growth. We also know that there`s a Trump aligned super Pac that`s actually hitting Handel on this. So, where -- who`s benefiting the most from this outside spending?
GALLOWAY: Right now, probably Ossoff. But what you`ve got is you`ve got two elections here. You`ve got -- you`ve got groups like the congressional leadership fund which is Paul Ryan`s outfit, attacking Ossoff and trying to keep him under 50 percent.
But then, you`ve got -- then, you`ve got three Republicans, really, four if you count Judson Hill, scrambling for that one -- that single spot in the run-off.
And, right now, Club for Growth has kind of -- has settled on Bob Gray as the most, I guess, Trump-like of the -- of the candidates. But you`ve got David Purdue, the U.S. Senator, who is -- who is also aligned with Trump, backing Dan Moody.
And both are gunning for Karen Handel who`s -- who, in my mind, if you`re a Republican, that`s who you would want to see Ossoff matched against in an anti-Trump campaign just because she will hold onto Republican women.
TODD: In a way that you don`t think the other candidates -- so, if you`re the Democrats here, the candidate you least want to face, you believe, is Karen Handel.
GALLOWAY: I think so. I think so. If it`s Bob Gray, who was an unknown local city councilman just until a few weeks ago, he`s hard core Trump, hard core on immigration. And you could run a flat out anti-Trump campaign that might -- that might work in the middle of June if you`re -- we`ve got a situation here with Dan Moody.
He`s backed -- yes, he will probably be the Republican establishment candidate. But he also cast a vote several years ago that allow -- that allowed Georgia power here to charge great fairs in advance for two nuclear plants that are in really serious trouble right now.
TODD: I`ve to ask you. We`re showing some clips from one of the debates. And I know that I believe there have been two televised 18-person debates. I`m sorry, it seems ridiculous. Is it as ridiculous as it seems on paper? How did they -- how did those debates -- did you learn anything?
GALLOWAY: It was a very long one. It was -- the one I participated in could have been a train wreck. It wasn`t. People behaved themselves.
But, you know, take 18 and divide it by 120 minutes. You don`t get much time to ask a question there.
TODD: I`ll tell you, it makes me long for the intimate settings of those 10-person presidential debates a year ago.
Anyway, Jim Galloway, congrats on having the best political story of the next couple of weeks sitting in your lap, buddy. Enjoy.
GALLOWAY: Talk to you soon.
TODD: You got it.
Let me bring in the panel. Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Eliana Johnson, National Political Reporter at "Politico." And "Washington Post" opinion writer, Jennifer Rubin.
All right, Eliana, it seems like there`s renewed concern among Republicans here in Washington watching what happened in Kansas. They got there in time to salvage that disaster. It seems like George six there, they can`t figure out, other than keeping Ossoff from winning outright, they can`t figure out what to do next and who to back.
ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": You know, that`s absolutely true. But, in a weird way, I think Ossoff, the Democratic candidate, has been far more high profile than the Democratic candidate was in Kansas. And I think that`s actually hurt him because --
TODD: I`m with you.
JOHNSON: -- Republicans -- you know, he`s young. He`s garnered a lot of attention. And I think that has alarmed Republicans and they have gone into Georgia now. And it`s hurt them, of course, that there are 11 candidates but I think it will prevent him from getting to that 50 percent threshold.
And it`s a case in which his talent and his prominence and the grassroots enthusiasm behind this young guy who`s challenging Trump has undercut the probability that he is going to get to that 50 percent and went outright, you know, in the race.
TODD: We have two Jennifers here so I`m going with last names. All right, Palmieri.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER OBAMA AND CLINTON COMMUNIVCATIONS DIRECTOR: (INAUDIBLE.)
TODD: Yes, there you go. Better for the Democrats nationally if Ossoff could win outright in the runoff -- now or winning in the runoff actually - - does that actually show more strength if he pulls that off?
PALMIERI: It would be harder to win the second time if there`s a run-off so I guess that show more strength. But it`ll be difficult to win on Tuesday and it will be difficult to win in a run-off.
But the fact that it is -- I mean, the fact that it`s high profile, I think it speaks to the amount of enthusiasm that there is on our side to --
TODD: It`s a double-edged sword. Look, eight --
PALMIERI: Yes, but --
TODD: -- $8 million in a cooler for House service (ph).
PALMIERI: -- obviously --
TODD: Because they got national attention.
PALMIERI: Yes, I mean, I obviously would love to win this race but even if the Democrats don`t win the race, I think it has shown that the enthusiasm continues on our side, the energy continues. It`s national and it`s in the south. And I think that is what -- if I were a Republican, that`s what would concern me and not whether or not, in this one particular race, you know, somebody gets 50 percent on Tuesday.
TODD: I was going to say, Jennifer Rubin. I`ll then call you Rubin because everyone will think that`s a first name. It is. It`s a fine first name and a fine sandwich.
Can the Republicans breathe a sigh of relief and say, you know what? We can weather this storm if they narrowly eke out a seat that they held for more than -- for basically two decades? Or should they already -- like, is the result -- is the fact is, like, oh, my God, they`re having to fight for Kansas for Georgia six. It doesn`t matter win or lose. They`ve already -- the message has been received.
JENNIFER RUBIN, OPINION WRITER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think it is the latter and you`ve seen the sense of desperation. They ran a comical ad. It wasn`t meant to be comical but it was.
And then comparing him, tying him in some convoluted fashion to al Jazeera. So, there is an element of desperation here. I think Republicans are beginning to wake up to the possibility the House is at risk in 2018.
It`s not that many seats. Traditionally, first mid-term after a president, you lose a lot of seats. Trump has not delivered in a lot of ways that he promised. And, as you said, for, sort of, a main street Republican who, kind of, held their nose, they voted for Trump because they couldn`t bring themselves to vote for Hillary. That person may say, wait, this was a bad idea. This guy really is as bad as they say.
JOHNSON: I see it, I think, a little differently in that this district is suburban, affluent. It went for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney both by about 25 points. Trump carried it only by one and a half points. It is an anti-Trump district, in terms of Republican districts. If Democrats are going to win back the House, they have to pick up districts like this.
TODD: It`s more of a must-win erma (ph) --
TODD: -- to win the House (INAUDIBLE.) I agree with you.
JOHNSON: Or it has that (ph) to winning back the House.
JOHNSON: So, if they don`t win on Tuesday, I don`t think it`s a good sign for a Democratic wave in 2018.
RUBIN: Well, I would take a little bit of exception to that. I think that people are at risk of those 23 Republicans who are sitting in districts that Hillary Clinton won. Those are really the (INAUDIBLE) people. And, unlike in past elections, Democrats have figured out who those people are early on. They were targeting them, frankly, during the Obamacare race. And a couple of them made the horrendous mistake of actually voting for it in committee.
TODD: And, look, there`s some parts of this Georgia six that -- the question is, is this Trump related or is this just part of realignment that`s catching up in the sub -- remember, northern suburbs realigned toward the Democrats.
TODD: And it`s just -- it`s been later. Nashville, if you -- if you talk to people, Nashville is getting this way around the suburbs. Dallas around the suburbs. In the southern sunbelt cities, we`re starting to see this.
PALMIERI: Even like -- yes. Even like Birmingham and Montgomery.
PALMIERI: And I think that it, in some ways, where you saw in the presidential election is less of the question about left and right and open versus close. People who think we should engage in the world and the people who want to shut the world out.
And I think it`s both but I would still --
TODD: And, by the way, it splits in both parties on that. Yes.
PALMIERI: Yes, there are splits -- it splits in both parties on that and so that is how. But it does seem that the people who are -- have been (INAUDIBLE) are aligning with the Democrats. And both of those things are at play.
TODD: Before I let you guys go and before we get off of this topic, I`ve got to play this. Markwayne Mullen who, before this week, I had known for is basically the fittest guy in the House. And he`s, like, P90X times 100.
But listen to this exchange and I wonder how much of a problem this is for Republican messaging overall. Here it is from his town hall.
REP. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R), OKLAHOMA: For one, you said you`d pay for me to do this. Bull crap. I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I ever got there and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go. I do it as an honor and a (INAUDIBLE.)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it doesn`t sound like it.
MULLIN: I`m just saying -- I`m just saying --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE.)
MULLIN: -- this is a service for me not a career. And I thank God this isn`t how I make a living.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us the (INAUDIBLE) thousand dollars then.
MULLIN: I have before. I`ve actually paid it back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every year would be great.
MULLIN: Well, here`s the deal on this one, guys. I`m going 42 weeks out of year and I do my best to serve you guys. But there`s also some facts that you guys either want to hear or you don`t.
TODD: There`s part of me, Eliana, I get his frustration, perhaps. Perhaps you had a -- you can`t -- some things belong in the thought bubble. Like, I -- you know, I, sort of -- I understand the argument he`s making. But you`re, like, buddy, --
PALMIERI: Yes, these are your neighbors. That is a town hall.
TODD: Yes. And it gives a -- it has this arrogance aspect of things that`s --
RUBIN: This is exactly what the Republicans used when they took back the House. And when they were campaigning against Obamacare, the arrogance of people.
The other thing that they`re setting their sights are these Republicans who refuse to do town halls now. And they stake out their offices. They stake their homes. They accuse them of hiding from the voters, having contempt for the voters. That`s a problem.
JOHNSON: Look, of all people, people who know me, know I`m very sympathetic to things falling out of people`s mouth that they don`t -- that they don`t mean. But, you know, if you`re a representative of a congressman, a senator, a president, you should probably know that taxpayers pay your salary.
And I think the White House is confronting this now. They announced, today, that they are not going to make public the visitor logs to the White House. And I think the taxpayers have a right to know who the president is meeting with.
TODD: That`s true. And it`s too bad. I wish the Obama administration had done all of the transparency on this and there would be higher ground to be on here.
PALMIERI: What -- how could there be -- how can the Obama administration not be on the high ground here?
TODD: With all the redactions --
PALMIERI: It was the first one that the first White House --
TODD: -- of who didn`t belong. I understand that.
PALMIERI: This is why people don`t do it, Chuck, because it`s never enough for you people. There`s never enough. I cannot believe that when the (INAUDIBLE) comes up, what is happening to me?
TODD: You can`t use the word fully transparent, if there are exceptions to people that would be interesting in the logs. Oh, no. Don`t tell us, they`re controversial (INAUDIBLE.)
PALMIERI: So, don`t do it at all? I mean, this is --
TODD: We`ll only tell you the people that we know aren`t controversial.
PALMIERI: That is -- I, myself, spent plenty of times arbitrating, you know, a lot of discussions about the people with the White House press core answering questions about people.
PALMIERI: They were only on the side of the ankles (ph).
TODD: That`s right, on the side of the ankles (ph).
All right, you guys, I`m apparently two and a half minutes heavy. I`m in trouble. And Saul Berenson doesn`t want to be late.
Coming up, Afghanistan aftershocks of what we know and what we still don`t know about this week`s strike in Afghanistan.
And later this hour, life imitating art imitating life. Award winning actor, Mandy Patinkin joins me on the parallels between his show, "Homeland," and the current state of affairs here in Washington.
TODD: Tonight, we are learning the financial costs of the 2016 election. According to calculations from OpenSecrets.org. The presidential and congressional races tallied up to, ready for this? Show me those numbers, Ed. A whopping $6.5 billion. That`s with a B, of course.
The presidential primaries, in general, were $2.4 billion of that number. Adjusted for inflation, it`s actually a bit lower than 2012 and 2008. That shouldn`t surprise you. Donald Trump didn`t spend the type of money that previous nominees spent.
But, of course, this was a norm-breaking presidential cycle because Hillary Clinton outspent the Trump campaign two to one. Candidate Trump changed the rules of this game, giving plenty of free publicity on T.V. and online.
So, you really ought to translate these numbers into what spending will look like in 2020. But we can tell you, on the congressional level, you probably will see more money than ever before.
More MTP DAILY in 60 seconds.
TODD: Welcome back.
We are still piecing together information coming out this week about the strike on ISIS targets in Afghanistan. U.S. forces dropped what was the largest nonnuclear bomb ever used on a battle field. The target was an ISIS compound in the Nangarhar Province.
But serious questions remain about the decision behind the strike. When asked about the mission, what did Donald Trump mean when he told reporters that he gave the military, quote, "total authorization"? Those permissions already existed from the Obama era.
Officials estimate up to 1,500 ISIS fighters are concentrated in that region, although others say it`s closer to 800. Compare that to the 25,000 Taliban fighters estimated in that area.
And was the massive 21,000-pound bomb needed for a mission of this nature or was it more of a symbolic decision?
Meanwhile, tensions seem to be boiling over in Pyongyang. Preparations are underway for what they claim to be a big event to celebrate the birthday anniversary of North Korea`s founder. U.S. officials expect a provocative show of weaponry.
The White House is sending Vice President Pence to South Korea to show support for our ally there.
And both North Korea and the U.S. say they are prepared to show force, if necessary.
Well, joining me now is medal of honor recipient, MSNBC Military Analyst Colonel Jack Jacobs.
So, Colonel, first, let me start with the decision in Afghanistan. Why that weapon? If this was to get tunnels, and I asked this as -- sort of, as the devil`s advocate here. Was this the best weapon to get to get at those tunnels? Or were there other weapons that could`ve been used and they decided they wanted -- they wanted to show us -- show symbolism here?
COL. JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST, MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: Well, I`m not a factor of single-factor analysis so it could be both of them. I think Trump is very lucky in his timing. They tried, with other weapons, to knock out that tunnel complex. It`s been under construction and been occupied on and off for a long, long time.
They`ve tried ground attacks in support of other weapons and that didn`t work either. This is, really, a very efficient way of knocking out that complex. It just so happens that it came at a time --
JACOBS: -- when Xi has just gone back to China. And it`s now Kim Il- Sung`s birthday and it couldn`t have come at a better time.
But, yes, militarily, it was a good weapon to use for that.
TODD: You know, it`s interesting, Col. Jacobs, you know, we know that North Korea -- and, sort of, in the old tradition of the Soviet Union, they love to use these anniversaries to puff out their chest a little bit. Try to show off their weaponry. Obviously, try to do a test.
Was this the Americans` way of saying, yes, you want to show off but let us show you what we are capable of. Remember what our arsenal looks like.
JACOBS: Well, I would say yes if it was President Trump who made the decision. But he`s delegated the authority to make decisions like that to battlefield commanders. I mean, there`s a four-star general who decided to use that. And that really didn`t have as big a political component as it would had Trump, himself, made the decision.
So, it just so happened it came at exactly the right time. And we`ll see whether or not it has a positive effect. I think it`s going to have a positive -- it already has had a positive effect on the way in which China and the United States --
JACOBS: -- work or may work together with respect to North Korea.
TODD: You know, I am curious on the other aspect of this which is the delegation to the military commanders.
And you`re -- you talk to a lot of these guys. Look, obviously, they have more leeway than they had under President Obama. But he started to give them more leeway. Is it -- do they feel as if that leeway is there and they`re acting that way or do they -- are there still some constraints that they feel on them?
JACOBS: Well, they do have constraints. Certain weapons can`t be used, under certain circumstances can`t be used and so on. And for those, they have to go to higher headquarters, all the way to the Pentagon and, perhaps, ultimately, the president of the United States to make those decisions.
But, yes, they do feel less constrained and, therefore, more able to react to battlefield conditions than they have before, Chuck.
TODD: Is there -- is there a point at this that you think that they have too much leeway? When do -- when do they have too much leeway?
JACOBS: When you -- when you let them do whatever the heck they want is when they have too much leeway.
TODD: I know.
JACOBS: But that -- no, but there have been situations in which that was the case. When I fought in Vietnam, the -- except for certain circumstances when they were conducting B-52 strikes on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other targets, the local commander had complete and total authority. And in those circumstances, had far too much authority with no supervision or little supervision from the Pentagon as to how the war was conducted and that was a mistake.
TODD: But do you think now, are we striking the right balance? Or it`s too soon to tell?
JACOBS: Yes, I`m glad you -- that was exactly the word I would use, I think balance. If you talk to these guys, most of them would tell you, we have struck the right balance between supervision and the freedom to use to operate in the theater. They would all like to have more people and more weapons --
JACOBS: -- and more authority. But on balance, they would say they have the right balance.
TODD: All right. Col. Jack Jacobs, as always, sir, thanks for coming on and sharing your views. Good to talk to you.
JACOBS: Delighted to be with you.
TODD: All right, up next, Saul Berenson, or if you prefer, Inigo Montoya. All right, his real name, Mandy Patinkin. He joins me to talk about his work on "Homeland" and how it led him to become an advocate for refugees. Stay with us or Dora doll is going to get you.
TODD: Well, tomorrow is April 15th. While last minute tax filers have until Tuesday to get their returns into the IRS, thousands are expected to mark the traditional tax day apparently by protesting and demanding President Trump releases his tax returns. Marches are planned in 44 states in the nation`s capital and abroad in Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the U.K.
It is expected to be the biggest political mass mobilization since the January women`s march. We`ll see if they meet the hype. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated this week that the president is under audit and apparently when he files this new return, he will be immediately be under audit again, so says the White House. More "MTP Daily" and my interview with Homeland`s Mandy Pitinkin right after this.
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MANDY PATINKIN, ACTOR: We have a disinformation campaign designed to discredit the president-elect. As of today we have boots on the ground. Like the protesters, I had to wade through to get here. Does that seem familiar to any of you? Because it does to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: Over six seasons without fail, the show "Homeland" has found a way to stay on the news. This season was not just not any different. It was even more uncanny. The impact of fake news was a prominent story line, as a new president prepares to take office. And actor Mandy Patinkin doesn`t merely play CIA veteran Saul Berenson on the show, he seems to inhabit him.
But the Tony and Emmy award winners work goes far beyond the screen and stage. Since 2015, he also become a vocal advocate on behalf of refugees of the Syrian civil war through his work with the International Rescue Committee and it is work that he sort of came to by studying for his role on "Homeland." I sat down with Patinkin this week on the topic.
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And joining me now is actor Mandy Patinkin, who for so many people, you`re Saul Berenson. Thanks for keeping the beer.
PATINKIN: You bet. No problem.
TODD: I used the show "Homeland" actually a couple times in the last few weeks because of the explanation of fake news happened almost simultaneously with the testimony in front of congress about how the Russians create fake news. Did you realize at the time how on the news -- you`re supposed to be on the news, but did you realize during the taping how on the news you were? PATINKIN: We didn`t. We were in the middle of shooting Episode 5 when the election took place. Obviously, we thought there would be a female president. So we had to change narrative. The writers went back to the writer`s room and started making adjustments, inserting some scenes. But in terms of the fake news and the sock puppets in the box, that story line was already in, but it wasn`t going to be shown and introduced until Episode 8.
We were shooting 5. And everything was changed and we introduced it immediately. What I thought was for me, a fascinating season, but all the characters and you know, I don`t mean to disparage any of our incredible company, but the two most fascinating characters that came to the top of the surface for me were the two characters of fake news and truth. That became the lives we are all living then and now. TODD: No, I mean, you even modeled info wars.
TODD: You even sort of found a character. The only missing ingredient was a foreign power.
PATINKIN: Yeah. Well, I think the intrusion of the election is right in the "Homeland" wheel house in terms of Russia`s interference with the election process. And I think it is my guess, I don`t know yet, but I can`t imagine that that`s gonna die overnight and I have a good strong feeling that we`ll be revisiting that in future seasons. TODD: You said the writers did, that you had the election, did do some impact, you had a female president. Was the plot line, the general plot line still gonna be the same? That you basically had a part of national security, the military industrial complex just was not gonna tolerate an anti-war president? PATINKIN: That was there from day one. The first episode we shot was the fact that the president-elect was meeting Dar Adal and Saul Berenson and essentially wanted to make war with the intelligence community. And then we turned on the evening news and there was a president making war with the intelligence community. Actually, the president-elect and then the president escalated that war. And after the election, we thought we were irrelevant initially.
PATINKIN: Until all of a sudden the world just started, you know, continuing. And then as he escalated the war with the intelligence community, we were sort of drop jawed. We`ve been -- that`s what we`ve been shooting. TODD: Do you -- what kind of advice do you get playing a CIA from real intelligence people? What kind of advise does the show get? Do you participate in getting that advice? PATINKIN: I do participate. I`ll be coming back to Washington on April 24th for five days where we meet with virtually everyone that you can imagine in the intelligence community, including people in the media, Pulitzer prize winning reporters, et cetera. But I met extensively with David Shed (ph), Michael Hayden, Cooper Black (ph) and the list goes on and on and on.
And I initially just want real-time data, you know. When you were, you know, when Michael Hayden and David Shed (ph) were doing the intelligence briefings for president-elect Bush at the time, what were the discussions? Yeah. I think they did Obama. I can`t remember.
TODD: Did initial Obama as president-elect. PATINKIN: Yes.
TODD: Yes, he did.
PATINKIN: He did the president-elect Obama, yeah. And they walked me through.
TODD: I remember he was asking about bin Laden.
TODD: And Michael Hayden admitted, we haven`t been working on that one for a while.
PATINKIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so they give me the real-time information. And then I have dinners with them and I call them all the time. Recently I wanted to have conversations with Michael Hayden and other people he hooked me up with who are chiefs of the Middle East, intel chiefs of the Middle East, people from the International Rescue Committee, et cetera. Because I really wanted to understand the vetting process.
I was going back to Serbia and back to Lesbos, Greece where the refugee crisis is at its peak. And I did that after I finished Season 5. and I particularly wanted to understand the vetting process because the bans that president-elect Trump was putting in place and how he and many other people chose to get elected were by telling you to be afraid. Vilifying people, the Muslim community.
TODD: So this got you into this issue itself, the refugee issue.
PATINKIN: What (inaudible).
TODD: You, you yourself. The more you learned about this. PATINKIN: Well, the beginning of Season 5 began with the Syrian refugee crisis. And then the story took off. And then 125,000 refugees were making their way across the Balkan route trying get into Europe. And I was, you know, living in this fictional hell but the real world hell was far more frightening and terrifying outside and I wanted to connect with reality.
So the moment I finished shooting Season 5, I was on the first plane to Lesbos, Greece and I connected with the International Rescue Committee, the people who do this extraordinary work, trying to resettle these people, get them on, you know, to freedom and sanctuary in the third country. And meeting families, women, children that are just like our families.
Just like you and me. Our ancestors. And they deeply touched me. And then I went back the first day after I finished Season 6. I was on the first plane to Lesbos. I took my wife with me this time. And I met the most beautiful extraordinary children, a little boy named Farhad Nouri who is a 10-year- old artist, who has an extraordinary gift, whose words where I said to him -- I did all this interview and content.
And I went on social media for the first time because my kids said, dad, if you are trying to reach people to get this information, you got to get on the game here. And I did. And I said to Farhad, this little beautiful 10- year-old boy, what do you want people to know, Farhad? What can you tell them about the -- about what do you want them to know about refugees? He said I want them to be kind, not just to me, he said, but to refugees everywhere.
We need kindness. And I think that now more than ever, given the vulnerability, some of the most vulnerable people in the world. The fact that the Trump administration, the United States has put their hand in militarily, I think it is the moment that we up the anti (ph), up the game in terms of diplomacy. TODD: What role do you think you could play in helping to deescalate the fear? This idea that you bring in pockets. It just takes one infiltrator to ruin the entire program. PATINKIN: Yes. This is where "Homeland" and the real world are one for me. Because I started to say earlier, it is false information. It is not the truth in terms of how you get elected and the tools you use. It`s the oldest trick in the book. I find someone to vilify. In movies, there were cowboys and Indians, and the Nazis communist, you know. Now, they`ve chosen the most of (ph) community. A community who has made contributions to the world of a monumental nature.
TODD: "Homeland" has been criticized for how Muslims are portrayed.
PATINKIN: Yes it is. And we have taken responsibility, particularly in Season 6. We`ve tried to be part of the cure, not part of the problem. TODD: A different story line.
PATINKIN: A different story line where we`re helping these people and a story line that shows in this case, in this year, in this season, that maybe, that it is the white men in government and the military establishment that are the bad guys, not the Muslim community. And so back to the issue of how do you get elected, you tell the population, you need to be afraid of, you need to be afraid of these people overhearing.
You vote for me, I`ll keep you safe. Let`s just put some facts on the table, please God. And the facts are that since I`ve learned these and I studied them with Michael Hayden and other people. I want people to know. It is the gift I have to give to my fellow countrymen and people around the world. The facts are that the Muslim community are gift. They are the fabric of what makes America great.
In terms of the election, since 1975, over 3 million refugees have been resettled in the United States. Since 9/11, over 900,000. Not a single terrorist incident has taken place by a refugee who has been resettled in the United States. These are the safest citizens we have. The vetting process is an 18-month to two-year process.
You do not even get in the door until the UNHCR and nine different countries feel that you as an individual or a family can make it through this very long lengthy process and the process never stops the rest of the your life. So refugees in the United States of America are the safest possible citizens you can say hello to or invite into your community. And I encourage everyone to please invite them into their community.
TODD: I don`t see why we should go any further than letting you (inaudible). I had somebody seeking (inaudible) to me that when you get it, it feels like winning the lottery. That`s how hard it is to get (inaudible).
TODD: Anyway, Mandy Patinkin, thanks for coming in and sharing your passion on this issue. Appreciate it.
PATINKIN: Thank you.
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TODD: I had a deeper conversation, a longer conversation with Mandy Patinkin. That`s gonna be available on next week`s edition of 1947, the "Meet the Press" podcast. We get into all sorts of angles of his acting career as well as more on his work with refugees. We`ll wrap up the rest of this week`s headlines just ahead on "The Lid." Stay tuned.
TODD: Welcome back. Ahead of this Easter weekend, I spoke with three religious leaders in America. We started off looking at the idea that I was raised with. That you don`t mix religion and politics. Because these days, that seems like the least true thing when it comes to American culture. So I started by asking them whether that`s a misnomer that we should get rid of. Here`s a small piece of our conversation, which you can watch at length this Sunday on "Meet the Press."
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T.D. JAKES, PASTOR, AUTHOR, AND FILMMAKER: It is a misnomer because it suggests that religion and politics are individuals with their ideologies and the etiologies are (inaudible) people. So wherever there are people, you`re gonna have the intermixing of religiosity and your values, your cultures and your systems, and you`re concerned about politics. So inadvertently, they`re gonna connect whether you want them to or not.
TODD: Should we stop fighting it? JOANN HUMMEL, PASTOR AT BENT TREE: I actually think they`re connected in the sense that religion is an internal kind thing that really gets at the heart and the mind. And politics is the outworking of your values and the things that are inside you. So I see them very connected actually.
TODD: Sometimes I wonder if we over fought the phrase a little bit rather. DAVID SAPERSTEIN, RABBI, REFORM JEWISH COMMUNITY LEADER: You can separate two kinds of politics. Partisan politics, electoral politics, one category. What we normally refer to as politics as you just heard really is interwoven with religion.
In other words, when we talk about the poor, when we talk about the vulnerable, we talk about the biblical command to welcome the stranger in our midst and love the stranger as ourselves, to protect God`s creation. We are talking about global warming, refugee policy and migrant policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: Tune in this Sunday to "Meet the Press" and NBC. We have a power packed line of more of that panel, but also on the news, Homeland Security Secretary General Kelly for Sunday show interview. Plus senators McCain and Reid, both Senate Armed Services. By the way, in that religion panel, wait until you hear which one of them says the bible is their constitution. We`ll be right back.
TODD: Time for "The Lid." Our panel is back. Jennifer Palmieri, Jennifer Rubin, Eliana Johnson. All right. Andrew Sullivan has been writing again. And I think anybody who enjoys good writing and politics, whether you agree with Andrew or not, probably enjoys having him back. His latest is trying to decipher Donald Trump, he writes this.
You can try to argue that Trump has simply pivoted to the center, like so many other presidents before him. But the statements he has made in the last six months and the policies he has pursued for the last three have gyrated so wildly, have so little consistency, and makes so little sense that there is no assurance that in another three months, he won`t be back to where he started.
And it seems to be what everybody is trying to figure out this week. Andrew Sullivan said, stop trying, don`t decipher, just know this is Trump being Trump. JENNIFER RUBIN, JOURNALIST FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: I think there is a lot to that. Trump is about one thing and it`s about Trump. He`s a narcissist, a textbook narcissist. So whatever will bring him love, whatever will bring him acclamation, that`s what he`s for at that moment.
He doesn`t have any sense that politics is the clip you just played showed, is about values, is about beliefs. It is simply a stage for him to perform and to gain attention. And because of that, I think it is going to be extremely difficult to predict where he is going and what he`s going to do.
TODD: Jennifer is articulating that was the real fear among many conservatives who were never on the Trump train, the never Trumpers that are still never Trumpers is exactly how Jennifer articulated that. Careful what he`s telling you today, he`ll change his mind tomorrow. ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER AT POLITICO: I think that`s true. That said, there is a style and an attitude and a range of options that one can do, you know, within a realm of things that would be broadly popular. And I think, yes, Trump talked like an isolationist on the campaign trail.
I wasn`t among the people who actually thought he would behave, really, as an isolationist because his attitude and his posture is more one of strength that aligns I think more closely with the hawkish attitudes -- I actually think it`s one that attracted Republican voters to him.
TODD: You know, it`s interesting, Jennifer Palmieri, there is that line, it`s like, look, the most effective two-term presidents if you just look at their popularity are the ones that found ways to pivot to the center, or to move away from their bases at interesting times. Bill Clinton was clever at it at interesting times. JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I never forgot how he was elected. TODD: No, but that maybe also why he had a ceiling. Both Bush and Obama had more ceilings, maybe that was it. PALMIERI: Obama had a two-term presidency and a high approval rating. TODD: But still they`re both with more ceilings without moving as much.
PALMIERI: I mean, Trump didn`t get elected by appeasing the Republican establishment.
PALMIERI: And you know, he seems to be about the last person we talked to and now he tends to surround himself with a lot of Goldman Sachs and a lot of Manhattan people that, you know, look like Democrats when it comes to some issues. TODD: Right. PALMIERI: But, you know, he didn`t get elected by saying I`m flexible. He got elected by saying I`m going to do what I say -- I do what I say what I`m going to do. And the first part of the 100 days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he did that.
PALMIERI: But that`s not.
TODD: Don`t you think some people heard that, though? PALMIERI: I think some people heard that, but what was different, what separated him from Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and everybody else in the Republican field, and what I actually think brought him to the White House is the hardcore supporters who said, who heard -- who heard the, you know, the Muslim ban, the building the wall, repeal and replace Obamacare, that`s what they heard and that`s what made him different. He is behaving like, you know, H.W. Bush right now. Meanwhile.
TODD: I was just gonna say. He`s behaving like a conventional Washington politics. PALMIERI: Conventional. Meanwhile, he`s on the left. Planned parenthood, you know, Sessions, very aggressive again on the border. He`s really -- he`s done a lot to energize our base this week, too. Threatening health care. TODD: Well, apparently I`m running out of time. I know you wanted one more word but I have the 10-second word.
TODD: We can do it in the break. Thank you all. We`ll be right back with something you missed.
TODD: Finally tonight in case you missed it, and tongue firmly planted in cheek here. For anybody watching in Trenton, if you really, really don`t like Chris Christie and you`re looking to blame him for anything that goes wrong anywhere even if he had absolutely nothing to do with it, here`s your chance. Ready? You can blame Chris Christie for the brutal way in which United Airlines forced a paying passenger off one of its planes this week.
Well, not really. And Chris Christie is most definitely not responsible for the incident. But here`s the six degrees of separation of Chris Christie on this incident. The CEO of United is Oscar Munoz. Munoz is replacement to Jeffrey Smisek, a man "Fortune" magazine once called the industry`s king of the skies. Well, Smisek had to resign because he had approved an arrangement to resurrect a money-losing flight from Newark to Columbia, South Carolina.
Why did they resurrect that flight? Because it was part of a deal with this man, David Samson, head of the port of authority in New York and New Jersey. Samson had to resign over his role in the closing of the George Washington Bridge. Bridgegate scandal. Didn`t take us six moves, right? Samson demanded the flight near his weekend South Carolina home in exchange for money to upgrade Newark Airport which Smisek wanted.
So who hired David Samson? Chris Christie, of course. If you completely, totally and utterly unfairly want to blame Chris Christie, apparently you can for United`s latest public relations crisis because guess what, United wouldn`t have the current CEO it has if it wasn`t for Bridgegate. Pretty much of a reach, right? But, hey, it`s Friday. That`s all for tonight. Remember, tongue firmly planted in cheek. "For the Record" with Greta starts right now. Chris Jansing is in for Greta. Chris.
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