MTP Daily, Transcript 6/9/2017

Guests: Al Franken, Danielle Pletka, Eugene Robinson, Neera Tanden, Marsha Blackburn

Show: MTP DAILY Date: June 9, 2017 Guest: Al Franken, Danielle Pletka, Eugene Robinson, Neera Tanden, Marsha Blackburn

NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC: That does it for this hour. I`m Nicole Wallace. "MTP DAILY" starts right now. Hi, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC: Hi, Nicole. Do you have your broom?

WALLACE: Broom? Where am I going on a broom? My team keeps winning. I think you need to go on --

TODD: That`s what I mean. It`s a sweep.

WALLACE: Oh, a sweep. I thought it was a witch. See, women go to witch.

TODD: Oh, gosh, great. All right, you know what? All the Twitter hate goes to you, Nicole, on that one, not me.

WALLACE: I`ll take it. I don`t look.

TODD: All right, happy weekend.

If it`s Friday, the president is ready to testify.

(voice-over): Tonight, no obstruction. No collusion. President Trump denies James Comey`s allegations and say, he`ll swear to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he said those things under oath. Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of these events?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Plus, are there White House tapes? Wait and see, says the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do tapes exist of your conversations with him?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I`ll tell you about that maybe sometime in the very near future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: And what T.V. show, "The Wire," tells us about those Comey-Trump meetings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, man, I`ll do what I can do to help you all. But the game is out there. And it`s either play or get played.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: This is MTP DAILY and it starts right now.

(on camera): Good evening, I`m Chuck Todd here in Washington. Happy Friday. Welcome to MTP DAILY.

After ousted FBI Director James Comey`s bombshell testimony yesterday, President Trump dropped his own bombshell this afternoon. While taking questions from reporters at the White House, following a bilateral event with the Romania president, Mr. Trump denied Comey`s allegations and said he`d be willing to put his presidency on the line over it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did say under oath that you told him to let the Flynn -- you said you hoped the Flynn investigation you could let -- he could go.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn`t say that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he lied about that.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I didn`t say that. I mean, I will tell you I didn`t say that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did he ask you to pledge his loyalty --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And there`s be nothing wrong if I did say it, according to everybody that I`ve read today. But I did not say that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did he ask for a pledge of loyalty from you? That`s another thing he said.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, he did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he said those things under oath. Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 100 percent. And I didn`t say --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under oath?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hardly know the man. I`m not going to say, I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath?

I mean, think of it. I hardly know the man. It doesn`t make sense. No, I didn`t say that and I didn`t say the other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: The president also said he`d be willing to tell special counsel exactly what he just said and that wasn`t all. The president defiantly insisted there was no collusion and no obstruction.

He also seemed to toy with the press on the question of whether or not he has any recorded conversations with Comey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem to be hinting that there are recordings of those conversations.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m not hinting anything. I`ll tell you about it over a short period of time.

OK. Do you have a question here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will you tell us about the recordings?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over a fairly short period of time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tomorrow, now? Are there tapes, sir?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, you`re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don`t worry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: I guess we got the answer and there`s a reason why, apparently, he said, you`ll know in a very short time.

The House Intelligence Committee has given the White House a June 23rd deadline to either hand over the tapes or admit that they do not exist.

Folks, the president`s defiance today, you might call it a big cavalier, is an indication that he is reverting back to campaign Trump. The blustery, aggressive and sometime reckless instinct that his most loyal campaign staff often fed.

It`s also worth remembering the campaign Trump helped to make him President Trump. This was President Trump today signaling that he wants a war with special counsel, the Senate or anyone who wants to get in his way on Russia.

Going into this afternoon, things were not good for the president but they could have been worse. His allies can take comfort in the fact that Republicans are sticking by him for now.

I say for now because GOP leadership, they`re not exactly defending Trump. Instead, it seems they`re trying to find ways to rationalize and explain his mistakes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president`s new at this. He`s new to government. And so, he probably wasn`t steeped in the long-running protocols that established the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses. He`s just new to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Although not all Republicans seem to be buying that excuse. You`re also not seeing many top Republicans willing to resort to calling Comey a liar while also alleging a deep-stake conspiracy. Even though the president`s old guard, his lawyer and his closest campaign advisors are doing just that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARC KASOWITZ, ATTORNEY, PRESIDENT TRUMP: It is overwhelmingly clear that there have been and continue to be those in government who are actively attempting to undermine this administration.

COREY LEWANDOWSKY, FORM CAMPAIGN MANAGER, DONALD TRUMP: What we saw about Jim Comey last night, he`s a leaker. He`s a Washington leaker. He`s the deep state. He`s everything that`s wrong with Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This president is under siege by the deep state, by this bureaucracy that is permanent here in Washington, by the intelligence communities, including the FBI, that are undermining his presidency and try to de-legitimatize him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: But, folks, the big news this afternoon is President Trump insisting that he would, 100 percent, testify under oath about his meetings with James Comey. We`ll see when or if that happens.

I`m joined now by Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. She served as vice chair to President Trump`s transition. She joins me now from Tennessee. Good to see you.

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: Good to see you. Go Preds (ph).

TODD: OK. Let me ask you this. Former FBI Director James Comey, in his testimony yesterday, was emotional two times. One in defending his tenure at the FBI and in members of the FBI. And then, at the end, when he said, a foreign power essentially invaded our country. You know, it came after America`s democracy. Not the Republican Party. Not the Democratic Party. America.

What do you -- do you believe that Congress -- do you believe this president has done enough to punish Russia for this -- call it what you will, but this act of aggression against the United States of America?

BLACKBURN: Well, a couple of things there, Chuck. First of all, I think it is so interesting that so many in Washington are just now figuring out that, for decades, the Russians have not wished us well. And that they have been trying to diminish us, to do away with our economy our form of government. They have been after us for a very long time, for decades. Go in, look at some of the things that Reagan had to say and I think you can get a very clear picture of how long this has run.

So, we all know that. We know that Putin is a bad actor. And we know this, they do not wish us well.

So, I think that the interesting thing to me that some people are just now beginning to figure that out. I would have thought they knew this long ago. The punishment for Russia, that is something that the House and the Senate probably should look at, once again. Look at sanctions, look at ways to deal with them.

And then, it -- we need to beware. We need to (INAUDIBLE) --

TODD: I`m sorry. OK. Where is the sense of urgency?

BLACKBURN: No, let me finish on this.

TODD: Where is the sense of urgency on this? If a foreign power -- and, look, you just gave a history of the United States` relationship back --

BLACKBURN: (INAUDIBLE.)

TODD: -- and that`s fine. And you`re try -- I think you`re trying to make the point, hey, you know, Democrats or others didn`t care about Russia before. They do now. OK. Then, where are you -- why aren`t you saying, better late than never? And you`re right. There is urgent -- there`s no urgency here. That`s what I`m confused about.

BLACKBURN: Oh, but for, some of us, there is urgency and has been urgency. When look at the virtual space, there are some of us who have been trying to put data security protections in place. Next week, I`m going to have a cyber security hearing with the subcommittee that I chair.

TODD: It`s not -- what are you doing to Russia? What are we doing to their -- this is not about whether we have the right software.

BLACKBURN: We bolster -- we bolster ourselves.

TODD: Yes.

BLACKBURN: And then, yes, indeed, we punish Russia. And you will see the House Intel Committee, the House Senate Committee, the Oversight Government Reform and Oversight Committee, yes, indeed, there will be things that are going to -- going to be done.

Now, on the matter of Jim Comey and his being emotional. I think it is fair to say that Mr. Comey had, what we in Tennessee would call a good old fashioned come apart in front of the Senate Intel Committee yesterday. It seemed as if he wanted to throw lots of people under the bus. It seemed as if he did get a little bit emotional. I think that he has a very interesting relationship with the truth. And much of that came out yesterday during that hearing.

TODD: So, you believe that Director Comey committed perjury?

BLACKBURN: I don`t know. That`s actually not for me to say. I think you have a committee that`s --

TODD: You just said it.

BLACKBURN: -- in charge yesterday.

TODD: You just said that he has a problem with the truth.

BLACKBURN: I had -- I said he has an interesting relationship with the truth.

TODD: Well, then, what does that mean?

BLACKBURN: And I think that it will be for others --

TODD: Is he truthful or not?

BLACKBURN: -- to decide what his -- what -- how truthful they think that his testimony was, his comments about Loretta Lynch, his comments about the president, his comments about others that he works with. His diminishment of himself and stating his lack of strengths, I think that that was something that caused me concern.

I would hope that the FBI director feels they have the ability to challenge the attorney general if they think something is --

TODD: Do you think --

BLACKBURN: -- that they`re being given an action to take and they feel it`s incorrect.

TODD: Do you think it is inappropriate for the president of the United States to ask an FBI director to let an investigation go?

BLACKBURN: I will reserve a comment until we hear from the president as to what he said.

Right now, we have Mr. Comey`s recollection of what he heard and said the word that was used was that he hoped that there is never a directive -- he admitted in the testimony. There was never a directive or a command to do something different with letting the investigation go, if you will, or terminating some type of investigation.

There, again, I think the Intel Committee will probably come back and will look at what transpired with the interaction with A.G. Lynch and Mr. Comey, as it related to the Clinton investigation.

But, you know, the good thing, Chuck, we`ve got a --

TODD: Let me -- OK.

BLACKBURN: -- special counsel on Russia.

TODD: Right.

BLACKBURN: I think that`s a very good thing because we all want answers and we --

TODD: And you --

BLACKBURN: -- want to get past this.

TODD: You heard the president say --

BLACKBURN: The House has aggressive agenda.

TODD: I know. It`s hard on satellite here.

BLACKBURN: We want to find out what happened with uranium one and we want to know what happened with the Clinton Foundation.

TODD: OK. Let me ask you about -- I understand you want to get some of those -- some of those talking points in on other Clinton-related matters.

But let me ask you to the question that pertains today and this administration. The president, today, said he would testify under oath to the special counsel. Do you look forward to that?

BLACKBURN: I think that if the president feels that it is appropriate for him and he would like to testify under oath, I think that that would be something that he would do. And we should all look forward to setting this aside.

TODD: So, you would like him --

BLACKBURN: My constituents in Tennessee --

TODD: -- I don`t -- you only want him to do it if he wants to do it. You don`t think he should be compelled to do it?

BLACKBURN: I think that if the president would like to do that --

TODD: All right.

BLACKBURN: -- and he feels that it is appropriate. He is willing to do that. The special counsel wants him --

TODD: All right.

BLACKBURN: -- to do it. Then, you know, those are decisions that they are going to make if they think --

TODD: Fair enough.

BLACKBURN: -- that that is appropriate. It`s the special counsel (INAUDIBLE.)

TODD: Congresswoman Blackburn, I am jammed up today and I`m going to let it go there.

BLACKBURN: I bet you are. Thanks for having me on.

TODD: Thanks for -- I appreciate you coming on and sharing your views. Always a pleasure.

BLACKBURN: Always a pleasure.

TODD: I`m joined now by our super-charged Friday panel. Charlie Sykes, MSNBC Contributor and host of WNYC`s "Indivisible." Danielle Pletka is Senior Vice President at the American Enterprise Institute and a long-time advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Eugene Robinson is an NBC and MSNBC Political Analyst and a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for "The Washington Post." And Neera Tanden is President and CEO for the American -- Center for American Progress and was a policy director for the Obama White House and Clinton`s first presidential campaign.

Did I get everybody`s resumes in there?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

TODD: This is why I am out of time with the Congresswomen, OK? I got to get everybody`s title in here.

ROBINSON: You bet.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: We`re done for the day.

TODD: Charlie Sykes, --

CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: The president seems to have a different demeanor today, the I want to fight --

SYKES: Right.

TODD: -- demeanor, not the I want to compartmentalize demeanor.

SYKES: No. And when you think about who he`s taking on. You know, there`s a category shift, when you`re talking about a special prosecutor. There`s a category shift, when you`re talking about raising the possibility of testifying under oath.

You know, his legal jeopardy will rise exponentially if and when this ever happens. By the way, mark me down as how he`s skeptical that this will ever take place.

But there cannot be a criminal defense lawyer in America that would have recommended that their client make that kind of a pledge right there.

ROBINSON: What could go wrong? Donald Trump under oath in front of a special counsel. That could be -- you know, he could get the death penalty if you add to that session, you know, because of the way he talks, because of who he is.

But you`re right, he definitely was leaning forward today. He was, like, you know, bring it on. And so, I assume Robert Mueller will.

TANDEN: I think the one thing that`s odd is you have Republicans, for 24 hours, say things like he is a novice. You know, trying to explain away ideas like obstruction of justice because he doesn`t really know what he`s doing.

And then, he goes in the Rose Garden and throws all of that away, shreds it all by saying, I never said it. I`m telling the truth. I`m absolutely telling the truth.

And I think the challenge for him is that a strong -- you know, it`s not just a majority. A strong majority of the country doubts his voracity across the board so he has no leeway on this because a lot of people don`t believe him.

TODD: Danny, it`s interesting to me, Republicans on Capitol Hill, it feels as if -- like I said before. They`re not ready to defend his actions or try and explain them. (INAUDIBLE.)

Let me show you what Susan Collins said this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The first interaction that the president had with Mr. Comey in early January at Trump Tower, it was the FBI director who cleared the room so that he could have a one-on-one discussion with the president about that salacious dossier.

And I wonder if perhaps that made the president think that whenever there`s some sensitive conversation to be had with the FBI director that it should be one on one.

Ironically, perhaps the FBI`s actions in that first meeting sends a signal to the president that that is how their interactions should take place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Danny, do you buy it?

DANIELLE PLETKA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Oh, my god, I feel so sorry for whoever is out there having to think up of all these excuses for all these people. It`s been a nice week in Washington. They could`ve (INAUDIBE.)

You know, look, I mean, the problem is that I think that all of these Republican members of Congress think of the president as a head of the party. But the president does not think of himself as the head of the party. He thinks of himself as Donald Trump. I`m the president. And he`s totally comfortable.

And I think that the reason for his demeanor today was that he now knows what the cards are on the table. He knows what Comey has to say and he feels good about it. He`s not -- he`s not going to be able to be contradicted because we all figured out, there are no tapes, even though he said there might be tapes.

So, you know, I think he`s feeling good. This is a fight and he`s good with it.

SYKES: There have got to be more cards. We know these cards but there are going to be more -- there will be more cards.

You know, and Robert Mueller is -- you know, I mean, he`s staffing up with some pretty heavy weights here.

And also, keep in mind that the whole issue of -- and I`m not a lawyer so I don`t know where there`s obstruction of justice. But, you know, this has been --

TODD: It doesn`t stop anybody on Twitter from being a lawyer.

SYKES: In plain sight, keep in mind how often this president has tried to impede this investigation, quash this investigation, the things he said publicly about General Kelly -- I mean, about General Flynn, you know, what he has done.

You know, his lack urgency, going back to your interview -- your unfortunate interview with Marsha Blackburn who decided to go with the spin, as opposed to answer the question.

You know, look, I`m old enough to remember when Republicans really would have cared of about being invaded by a hostile power.

TODD: Right.

SYKES: The lack of urgency on the part of the president, his lack of interest in it, the lack of urgency on the part of Republicans. This is a big deal. And if the president is leaning in, he`s leaning in on an investigation that we, as Americans, all care about.

TANDEN: If he`s comfortable, there is no reason for that. Because he had the FBI director basically say -- you know, I mean, there`s a lot of argument there for an obstruction of justice charge and he has a special prosecutor on him.

So, you know, I think he does think it`s like the campaign. But, you know, the central difference with the campaign and a special prosecutor is that there is a judge and jury at the end of the process about --

TODD: Not voters.

TANDEN: -- whether you`re telling the truth. Not voters. You can`t just spin that stuff.

PLETKA: Let`s talk about reality, for a second. Because we`ve gotten in the habit of talking about what Donald Trump talks about, when Donald Trump talks about, how Donald Trump sees everything. And this has become the topic of conversation.

If anyone wants to assert -- and I know much less about politics than I do about foreign policy. If anyone wants to assert that the Russians actually had an effect on the election, they will find themselves on very shaky ground.

The problem here -- the problem here -- I know you don`t want it that way.

TANDEN: No, that`s not the allegation.

PLETKA: But the problem here is the way he has handled it. It`s not that the Russians or the Chinese or anybody else seeked (ph) to interfere. They did it in Russia. They -- I`m sorry, they did it in France.

TODD: But he doesn`t seem upset about it.

PLETKA: He doesn`t seem upset about it because he`s just -- because he cannot stop being distracted by himself.

TANDEN: Well, let`s just be clear what the intelligence community said though.

TODD: No, no, I hear you.

TANDEN: The intelligence community did say that they sought to help Trump win. They didn`t have an effect on the voting machines of the election, themselves.

ROBINSON: Right, exactly.

TANDEN: That they didn`t (INAUDIBLE.)

ROBINSON: It`s still not a good thing.

TODD: All right, I`m going to pause here. You guys got a lot of time here, I promise. I promise. So, you guys are sticking around.

Coming up, though, I`m going to talk with Senator Al Franken about Comey`s testimony and his advice for his colleagues on what he`s telling them to do on resisting the Trump agenda.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TODD: If it`s Friday, in the summertime, and this is June, President Trump -- I know it`s still spring, President Trump is heading to the summer White House. Air Force One just landed at Newark Liberty International in New Jersey about 40 minutes from Trump`s golf club in Bedminster.

It`s the president`s second visit to his New Jersey estate since his inauguration. He`s expected to be a special guest at a fundraiser for New Jersey Congressman Tom McArthur, a major supporter of the House GOP`s health care bill. The McArthur Amendment, you may know that.

We`ll be back in 60 seconds with more MTP DAILY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TODD: Welcome back to MTP DAILY.

Democrats can seemingly have an embarrassment of riches with the Russia cloud hanging over President Trump and casting a shadow on the rest of his party.

But yesterday wasn`t a great day for the Democrats either with series questions raised about Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch`s oversight of the Clinton e-mail investigation.

Folks, a lack of faith in institutions is clearly damaging our democracy right now as a while, whether you hail from a red or a blue state. And that could impact on Democrats use of the Russia investigation if they want to for their political advantage.

Joining me now is Minnesota Senator Al Franken. He`s also out with a new book. You may have seen him on a T.V. station near you. It`s "Al Franken, Giant of the Senate." And he is -- you just gigantified (ph) yourself.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Well, that cover is meant to do that.

TODD: There you go.

Welcome. Let me start with this. You saw the Comey testimony. I probably have an idea of who you would believe a truth contest between President Trump and the former FBI director.

FRANKEN: Yes.

TODD: But what should be the next step now? What should the United States Senate be doing right now? What should Congress be doing right now in reaction to what you heard yesterday?

FRANKEN: Well, we have a process in order. We have both intelligence committees moving forward. I think that`s -- they should continue their investigations aggressively.

And we have a special counsel. The right guy is there. I think Rob Mueller, everyone trusts him.

And we should take this one step at a time and find out where the facts lead us. I think the Comey testimony does suggest the president was trying to undermine the investigation.

TODD: Is there a -- I know that Lindsey Graham`s got more Russian sanctions that he want so do and he wants to put them in. I know you guys are debating an Iranian -- a new Iranian sanction.

FRANKEN: Yes, we want to actually tie them.

TODD: To tie the two of them together.

FRANKEN: Yes.

TODD: Is -- how strong will these be and what more do you think should be done to punish Russia?

FRANKEN: What they did is very, very serious. And this isn`t something that -- well, they`ve done this all along. This was an incredibly serious interference in our -- the basics, fundamentals of our democracy.

There is a kremlin playbook. They`ve done this in the Eastern Europe before. But this was something they need to be punished for. They need to be -- need to be sanctioned.

TODD: And when is that -- what else? I mean, we have all these sanctions but, you now, sanctions can only go so far. Is there anything else? Is it -- is it trying to do a diplomatic hit in the U.N. Is it something else or do you see how they respond?

FRANKEN: I think we should just hurt them in their pocketbook and target those who seem to be involved in this. If it`s oligarchs and if it`s people who were tied to the thousand trolls that they had sending disinformation to the United States, fake news if you will.

That was -- evidently, people preferred to real news on Facebook. And I think that did have, in my opinion, an effect of the outcome of the election.

TODD: It was your questioning of Jeff Sessions --

FRANKEN: Yes.

TODD: -- that, essentially, put him in this position that he would pledge to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, if necessary.

FRANKEN: Fair.

TODD: And that, clearly, may have weighed on his mind or -- and the advice that he got on that. Do you think he`s fit to run the Justice Department under this? What -- forget the politics of him. Just as Jeff Sessions, the individual.

FRANKEN: I think that he did not answer truthfully under oath to the --

TODD: Do you think he lied to Congress?

FRANKEN: Yes, I think he did. I -- you know, I asked him one question --

TODD: So, should he be removed from office?

FRANKEN: Well, you know, that`s -- we -- the chairman of the committee, Chairman Grassley doesn`t feel that we need to bring him back on that. He -- we were very unsatisfied, Democrats on the committee, with his response about why he withheld or why he gave us misinformation.

On his letter respond -- in response was an insult. Then Senator Leahy and I wrote to -- a private letter to then Director Comey to investigate whether there are other meetings, and specifically a third meeting at the May Flower Hotel, and we`ll get to the -- hopefully get to the bottom of that.

TODD: If -- let`s say all of this does force him from office. He feels the need to resign or in some form or another. Is there -- can you imagine supporting another attorney general appointee by President Trump?

FRANKEN: Sometimes he replaces people who are not right for the job. General Flynn is national security advisor was somebody who was very qualified for the job.

TODD: So, you have an open mind on it?

FRANKEN: Yes. It depends who he puts forward.

TODD: What -- where -- what`s -- I guess, I ask what other leeway do you have in the Senate to compel him to come before if Senator Grassley won`t do it?

FRANKEN: Well, he`s going to be testifying next week to the Appropriations Committee. And Senator Lee is ranking on that. And I`m sure he`ll get some questions.

TODD: All right. So, your book here, you`ve been going around the country. The people reading this book, you`ve -- I`ve seen mostly everybody asking about why you hate Ted Cruz so much. But I don`t want to make it about Ted Cruz.

FRANKEN: Well, it`s not that I hate him so much. In fact, I say -- in the book, I say the thing you should know about Ted Cruz is that I probably like Ted Cruz more than most of my colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.

But he is the exception in the Senate that kind of proves the rule which is to get anything done in the Senate, you`ve got to -- your word has to be good. You have to be somewhat collegial at least. And he`s -- Ted`s got nothing done in the Senate other than one time closing the government down. That`s his (INAUDIBLE.)

TODD: But is his word good?

FRANKEN: Is it worth it.

TODD: Is his word good? What you`re saying.

FRANKEN: No, no, no, no. Is his word good? No. And I tell a story in there. I --

TODD: Why do you choose to focus on him so much?

FRANKEN: Well, I think he`s the --

TODD: Is he symbolic to (INAUDIBLE)?

FRANKEN: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) rule. We have -- we live in a town of a hundred people. And if you live in a town of a hundred people and want to get something done, it`s good to have your word mean something.

And it is good to be a good -- it`s like in a workplace, to not to be a toxic co-worker. Not to be the guy that microwaves fish, you know, in the lunchroom which you`ve used that line quite a bit.

TODD: I know, I`m not trying. Come on.

FRANKEN: I like that. I like that.

TODD: What, you like it a lot that --

FRANKEN: No, I like that you`ve been reviewing --

TODD: I try to. Well, you know, this is MEET THE PRESS and it`s, like, you know, Senator Franken, you say fish. Now, only here, you said tuna fish. No, I`m going to make sure you`re consistent with how many fishes you

FRANKEN: Yes. Well, some fish are smellier than others. And I use the generic fish. OK?

TODD: Let me as you --

FRANKEN: OK? Are you happy?

TODD: A lot of people are putting you on a 2020 presidential list.

FRANKEN: Yes.

TODD: Obviously, it probably is flattering. But let me asked you this. Have you -- has it crossed your mind at all, in all seriousness?

FRANKEN: First of all, it`s definitely flattering.

TODD: OK.

FRANKEN: And it`s crossed my mind just to the extent of it`s crossed it, and then I`d say, no, I don`t want to do that.

TODD: Anything about Donald Trump`s election say that -- you know, that the voters aren`t going to, like, judge you because you used to be on "Saturday Night Live." They`re going to take you -- look at you in a different way.

FRANKEN: One thing that`s annoying is, well, you know you were both in entertainment. He was in a reality show. I mean, a cannon ball is an entertainment. I mean, and by the way, I`ve only used that, I haven`t used that...

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: All right.

FRANKEN: ... on another show.

TODD: I appreciate that.

FRANKEN: Yes.

TODD: I want some original material.

FRANKEN: OK. I will just underscore everything that`s new. Look, I think he`s devalued the presidency. I think that people go like gee, anyone now could be president.

TODD: Is that a problem? And do you think that`s negative. I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKEN: Well, I think it is the sad state of affairs that we have a president who -- look, this whole idea of I am going to testify under oath 100 percent.

TODD: Right.

FRANKEN: Well, you can really take it to the bank, can you?

TODD: What does it say to our culture that there`s no account -- that people don`t care anymore if he doesn`t...

(CROSSTALK)

FRANKEN: Well, you know, I used to write books like lies and lying liars who tell them a fair and balance look at the right. It`s almost adorable that you can write a book pointing out to people lie a lot and the people, you know, what interested in that. This guy it`s very, you know, right now we have to take his words versus Comey`s words.

You know even his supporters said well, don`t take him literally, take him seriously.

TODD: Right.

FRANKEN: This guy can`t say anything with almost anything without lying. And that is a very sad state of affairs whether it`s hundreds of my friends died on 9/11, we saw thousands of Muslims cheering. You know, you know the whole litany.

TODD: Right.

FRANKEN: And it`s sad. It`s just sad.

TODD: All right. Senator Al Franken, I have to go. Coming up, the producer is mad at me.

FRANKEN: Yes, I understand. I understand.

TODD: I appreciate it. We`ll be following you when your first book stop in Iowa, we`ll be keeping track of that as well. Thank you very much.

Still ahead, Theresa May will keep calm and carry on after losing her majority in parliament. But will she keep her job and what does yesterday`s election mean for Brexit.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TODD: Up next, as Britain head snap voting yesterday another sign that the anti-elite fever is breaking in Europe. And could it break here as well? But first, Susan Lee has the CNBC market wrap.

SUSAN LEE, HOST, CNBC: Thanks, Chuck. Stocks ended mix. The Dow rising 89, the S&P losing 2. The NASDAQ down 113 points. The worst weekly sell-off of the year. Small business owners are optimistic about their prospects in the next year according to a new CNBC survey, monkey survey.

However, only 27 percent say they plan to add full-time staffs in the coming year.

And Taylor Swift has shaken off her feud with streaming music services to celebrate her sales of 10 million copies of her album 1989. The senior`s entire catalog is now available on services like Spotify for the first time since 2014.

That`s it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I have just been to see her Majesty the Queen. And I will now form a government. A government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Well, Britain snapped election launch their parliament into upheaval. And not even Lord Buckethead, God, I love that guy, could save their nation from this turbulence.

Prime Minister Theresa May plans to boost her Conservative Party majority backfired. And now the vote that didn`t need to happen until 2020 has now caused the conservatives their majority and has left the U.K. with a hung parliament.

And whilst labour`s Jeremy Corbyn over performed. No one holds an actual majority. The prime minister visited Queen Elizabeth earlier this morning to seek permission to form a coalition government.

By the way, Brexit negotiations was supposed to start in less on the fourth night, in this election, mind you may not be their last. There is a possibility that another general election can be held in August.

Let`s get the hit runs in airs from Bill Neely, our chief global correspondent joining us from London. Bill, run me through here. Number one, how long has Theresa May have to get this government formed before the Conservative Party decides to choose a new leader?

BILL NEELY, CORRESPONDENT, MSNBC: Well, not long, Chuck. You would have loved this election, not quite Brexit, not quite Donald Trump. But what a shock and tonight you can almost hear the sound of knives sharpening at conservative headquarters. M.P.`s from her own party are absolutely furious.

One said to me this evening, I would be surprised if she last until the autumn when the party holds its party conference. Basically as she said, she didn`t have to hold this election at all. She had a slim majority. She did have a 20-point lead in the polls. She got tempted, she gambled and she lost and her parties are furious.

TODD: Is there a change that they make that change sooner? I mean, there`s been, you know, depending on who you talk to, you know, there`s a Boris Johnson rumor here, another rumor there, is there a chance this happens before August?

NEELY: Well, yes, even last night Boris Johnson was chased on the street by someone, they said, we need to support Theresa May and he said, it`s just too early, it`s just too early. Boris Johnson, he`s now a bookmaker. Yes, he is now the bookmaker`s favorite to succeed her.

TODD: yes.

NEELY: It`s quite possible, Chuck that she won`t last until December. She now relies on this minor party from Northern Ireland, the Democratic Unionist Party.

TODD: Right.

NEELY: And someone said today, what is it about the anti-homosexuals, anti-abortion, climate denying ultra-extremists that first attracted you to the Democratic Unionist Party, Mrs. May.

TODD: Wow.

NEELY: You know, she relies on a very, very hardline party.

TODD: Right.

NEELY: And she may struggle to keep them loyal.

TODD: Don`t take -- I guess she`s now going to refer to them as the freedom caucus. One last question. Jeremy Corbyn has he been strengthen as the leader of labour going forward? Is he going to be, I mean, there were all sorts of talks that this was a disaster for labour this was their way of changing leaders.

NEELY: Extraordinary. The accidental leader he didn`t want to be leader. You know, he makes Bernie Sanders looked good. There are comparisons between the two. This was a guy who absolutely galvanized young people who defied all the odds and all the pundits. And he`s not, you know, people said he was unelectable and that he would be out as leader this week.

In fact, he will probably fight the next election on behalf of the labour Party. He is the big winner. Yes, he didn`t win the election. An extraordinary performance and for May, Theresa May, what an embarrassment. Chuck?

TODD: Bill Neely, you didn`t pull any pull any punches there, sir. Always a pleasure, always a fun to talk British politics with you. I appreciate it.

NEELY: Thanks a lot.

TODD: Up next, why I`m obsessed with the Comey/Trump observation that`s straight out of a television drama.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TODD: Welcome back. Tonight I`m obsessed with a fascinating observation about the Trump/Comey skirmish from the creator of The Wire, David Simon.

In a series of tweets, Simon says that an interrogation as he has witnessed innocent people asked a lot of questions about what the detective know, but guilty people, he says, forget to ask. Why? Because they already know what happens.

And Simon makes this point, that in his meetings with James Comey, President Trump apparently made no efforts to discern whether Russia did interfere with our election or what the FBI has learned.

Simon then tells this story of a murder case in which a man charge for killing his wife but the body has not yet been found.

Here`s how Simon tells it. Defense attorney tells the jury in final argument, there`s been to crime. And the supposed victim will walk through the courtroom door in 10 seconds. Thirty seconds later, the door remains shut.

OK, she isn`t coming today. But the point is all of you on the jury looked and that my friend is reasonable doubt, you must acquit. But the jury comes back in 20 minutes, guilty. The attorney goed to the foreman, "I thought I had you." Foreman, "you had me and 10 others."

But jury number eight didn`t look at the door. He looked at the client and he didn`t eye the door. The client was examining his nails.

Even when he was completely alone with Comey Trump didn`t look at the door. He eyed his nails. That would be an absolutely tell. Is that proof of a misdeed? Absolutely not. This certainly is a fascinating observation from a man who`s spend a lot of time reporting and writing about true crime stories.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TODD: Time for the lead. Let`s turn to the all pro panel on Friday. Charlie Sykes, Danielle Pletka, Eugene Robinson, and Neera Tanden.

All right, let`s take a break from Trump/Comey. We just said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

TODD: Bill Neely just gave us quite the run now. All right. Danny, to you first, following your Twitter account. You were following this more than Comey. Well, maybe the same.

DANIELLE PLETKA, VICE-PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: No more.

TODD: OK.

PLETKA: No, this was more enjoyable than Comey and this wasn`t at home so it was more cheering. But my God, what an unbelievable miscalculations on Theresa May party. You know, she came in as a novice. She came in as somebody who ended up prime minister by virtue of Cameron`s stepping down on the whole Brexit debacle. And boy, did she not know her business, completely miscalculated her country and ran a terrible campaign.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think we should recognize that what has happened in Europe and happened in the U.K. as if it was not a full year ago that you have the Brexit vote.

You have the Brexit vote, you have Donald Trump become president, you see a counteraction in Europe with Macron`s victory and with this election, in that you have, you know, you have people who are against political institutions, but not the far-right moving up or the right conservative moving up. You see labour moving up and people who were basically anti- incumbent taking power.

CHARLIE SYKES, CONTRIBUTOR, MSNBC: Again, a kind of polarization in Britain that we have here in this country. And I have to say from the conservative point of view, you know, long term, the way that young voters in this country and in Great Britain are voting against free markets and capitalism, this is a long-term problem because you`re losing an entire generation.

I`m not sure where this coalition government with some of the social issues you`re going to get young people back any time. This is a big problem...

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: This Brexit (Ph) they are going to stay.

SYKES: They are.

EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: I think there is something of a realignment. You know, I don`t know if these votes go quite that far. One thing we saw in Britain is that some people are really good at politics and some are not. Jeremy Corbyn is a lot better at politics than people thought.

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: I`m a ...

ROBINSON: He was a very good campaigner.

SYKES: Now they`re stuck with him. Now the labour party is stuck with it. I`m sure they were planning on picking up the pieces...

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: I think he`s better than anyone.

ROBINSON: Yes.

SYKES: ... afterwards and now you have the Labour Party that is going to be hard left and is going to stay hard left.

PLETKA: And they cannot win.

ROBINSON: right.

PLETKA: And they cannot win with him at the helm. But he`s, by the way, as populist as a Brexit voter and supported Brexit, by the way.

TODD: Al right. Is this, though, you know, to borrow a phrase from somebody that will be on the air in about three hours, is this the twilight of the elite? Is that ended? Is the attack on elite ended, or are the elites just anti-this nationalism?

ROBINSON: I think the elites...

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: I think that, you know, I do think throughout Europe you are seeing a -- the reaction to the nationalism. I mean, I do think Merkel is likely to stay in power. The alt-right all throughout Europe is collapsing. UKIP collapsed, that is another important thing...

TODD: The Nigel Farage.

TANDEN: Just fully collapsed i Britain a year after Brexit, think about that. So, I do think -- I do think people in Europe are seeing a little bit what happened in the United States and it`s not that there are a lot of domestic factors, but I think that the surge of nationalism has crested.

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: I guess what -- what`s fascinating to me though....

TANDEN: In Europe and -- and maybe here.

ROBINSON: But they lost.

TANDEN: Yes, they are.

TODD: But the real -- but the story is, you know, we keep saying the fragmentation, it`s the hollowing out of the center.

ROBINSON: There`s no right.

TODD: OK. There`s no center here. However, a center showed back up in France.

PLETKA: Yes. It ruined France.

TODD: But it was a center by -- they didn`t go to the center, it was sort of refuge. It wasn`t...

(CROSSTALK)

PLETKA: This has happened before in France as well when marine Le Pen`s father was the candidate, they went overwhelmingly away. If Macron had been not against Fillon not as a -- not as an apparent criminal or alleged criminal, then Fillon may well have won...

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: That`s in France allege is not.

PLETKA: I`ll say it with an accent, it will sound better. But you know, I think you`re right. The center is the problem and that`s what`s missing.

TODD: We don`t have a center here. No. I mean, both parties are in some ways fragmenting themselves too and moving...

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: That`s true. But if you look at Georgia 6, I mean, this is a big question about whether more...

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: Should the democrats, how do the democrats campaign on this? Did they hand him to the middle. Ossof is trying to be as quietly as centrist without annihilating Bernie.

TANDEN: Yes. And he`s pretty eccentric. Fillon is pretty eccentric.

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: No, he isn`t. Bernie is endorsing that person because of that.

SYKES: There is a center in American politics. However, the loudest voices in both political parties are pushing to the extreme. So, the question is, you know, is there some future for center right, center left.

I sense there are people who would like to kind of message, they`ll do it. I think if the democrats move hard left, if they go, you know, if they go to the direction of labour, that I think is going to be very problematic for them in 2020.

ROBINSON: There is going to be a center in American politics, but maybe not for a while. I think frankly -- I mean, I think because I think the sort of polarization is still in the active phase. And then it will inevitably come together. There will be a center.

TANDEN: And I say about this though. I mean, one of the challenges is that Donald Trump, you know, in his attacks on the Democratic Party, his attacks on different groups, is pushing people to be very -- stronger and stronger against him. So, he is polarizing politics, too.

SYKES: He could have been a centrist too. He could have been a centrist.

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: But he`s not just to be. He said the Affordable Care Act first instead of infrastructure, he decided to go hard right.

(CROSSTALK)

SYKES: This was -- by the way, happy infrastructure week. But I mean, you think about that, that`s that would have been his biggest success.

(CROSSTALK)

TANDEN: He chose not to start on that.

SYKES: He chose not to start; he also chose not to reach out to the democrats.

TANDEN: Absolutely.

TODD: Last question and you have to keep it really tight. Does Al Franken participate in the Iowa caucus in 2020?

TANDEN: I hope so.

ROBINSON: I don`t think so.

TODD: Hope so? No?

PLETKA: Totally.

TODD: You say yes? I know. I think...

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: Why not? He`s a next door neighbor.

TANDEN: Everyone run.

TODD: That`s what I think, there`s going to be thousands of candidates. All right. Hopefully Lord Buckethead. Let`s bring Lord Buckethead.

It`s totally been a new different era. Thank you. After the break, has luck run out for the comeback kids?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TODD: Well, in case you missed it, 2016 was the year of the dramatic sports come back and actually the dramatic political come backs, too, Brexit and Trump. But it looks like the empire may be striking back in 2017.

Tonight is game for the NBA finals. And the Golden State Warriors are on the verge of sweeping the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors won all 15 play-offs games. They played so far this year. The first time that`s ever happened in the NBA, four-four, four-four, Warriors dominating ride through the NBA finals could signal a distinct contrast to 2016 which of course we labeled the year of the comeback.

If you remember the same Cavaliers came back from a 3-1 hole against the pre-Kevin Durant Warriors. The Chicago Cubs broke their curse and also came back from a 3 to 1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians. And a bit of spill over, in early 2017, Clemson came back from behind to shocked the unbeatable Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship games.

And of course that blown 28-point -- 23 to 3 lead in the Super Bowl that gave Tom Brady his fifth Super Bowl ring, 2016 season, right, bleeding over.

So unless the Cavs can kick off the first four in a row comeback in NBA history tonight it looks as if the sports world upset streak of stunning victory is now over.

Don`t count out LeBron and the Cavs as president -- Hillary Clinton will attest to. Nothing is over until it`s really over.

That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back Monday with more MTP Daily. For the record with Greta starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END