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MTP Daily, Transcript 6/26/2017

Guests: Jeremy Bash, Glenn Thrush, Amy Holmes, Bob Shrum

Show: MTP DAILY Date: June 26, 2017 Guest: Jeremy Bash, Glenn Thrush, Amy Holmes, Bob Shrum

LANHEE CHEN, AMERICAN POLICY EXPERT: The more this can be a Senate-driven process, the more likelihood it is that this bill gets across the finish line.

NICOLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Policy. You guys always take it back to policy.

CHEN: Right.

WALLACE: Thank you to my panel. Lanhee Chen, Jess McIntosh, Joel Benenson, and Alex (INAUDIBLE.)

That does it for this hour. I'm Nicole Wallace. "MTP DAILY" starts right now with Katy Tur, in for Chuck. Hi, Katy.

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Hi there, Nicole.

And if it is Monday, the score is out on the Senate health care bill.

Good evening and welcome to MTP DAILY. I'm Katy Tur in for Chuck Todd, live from Los Angeles.

We're preparing to hear from President Trump live in the rose garden with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We'll take their joint remarks as they happen.

But for now, it's make or break for Republicans on health care. The entire political world, including the Trump White House, is watching the Senate try to pass a bill this week before the July 4th recess.

We're told the first procedural vote could come as soon as tomorrow afternoon. Just in the last hour, we got the nonpartisan analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. A crucial test that could determine which Republicans go from a yes to a no vote or to a no from a no to a yes.

The CBO says the bill would reduce the federal deficit over the next 10 years by $321 billion, more than $200 billion more than what they estimated for the House bill.

The bill would increase the number of uninsured people by 22 million by the year 2026, slightly fewer than the increase in the House bill. The total number of insured then would be an estimated 49 million.

But, right now, we don't though if this bill is going to get GOP support to pass regardless of the score. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin told Chuck yesterday on "MEET THE PRESS" that he was concerned about the speed with which his party leadership is trying to ram this bill through the Senate.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: We don't have enough information. I don't have the feedback from constituencies who will not have had enough time to review the Senate bill. We should not be voting on this next week.


TUR: There are still five Senate Republicans who oppose the health care bill, and we're expecting that number to shift as members digest the CBO's analysis. And just remember, for this thing to pass, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only afford to lose two of his GOP colleagues.

And the White House is getting involved in whipping the votes. Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, in an off-camera briefing today, that the president has made multiple calls to senators about the bill, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ron Johnson, Plus Republicans made a small change to the bill trying to compel people not to go without insurance coverage which could cause the most conservative members of the conference to cry foul.

So, we're keeping an eye on the politics, the policy and the process and seeing if Republicans can make their self-imposed and rapidly approaching dead line.

Joining me now from Capitol Hill is NBC's Garrett Haake. Garrett, thanks for joining us.

Break down the CBO score and what it could possibly mean for the Senate conference.

GARRETT HAAKE, CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Well, Katy, there's a couple things in here that I think Republicans are going to like, starting with the deficit reduction number on this. They say that after 10 years, they can cut $321 billion from the deficit. That's not necessarily where all that money is going to go. That $321 billion is now money that they can throw at this problem.

If Rob Portman wants more money for opioids, they can find a couple of billion dollars. If Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins wants more money for their rural parts of their states, they can find money that addresses that problem.

But they've got a big problem with the top line number, the 22 million people who will be uninsured compared to current law with this bill. That means they're going to have to face the same argument with Donald Trump's words at the forefront that this bill is mean. That it doesn't do enough to make sure people get covered.

And the biggest chunk of that comes from Medicaid. 15 million fewer people will be insured by Medicaid in 10 years than compared to current law under this bill.

And so, in the CBO breakdown, there's actually a chart that shows the, sort of, cut off, the flattening out of the line on Medicaid spending. This is something Republicans have wanted to get done for a long time, sort of slow the growth of Medicaid spending.

But that gap, that space between those two lines on current Medicaid spending and what this bill would project is going to affect a lot of real people. And I expect to hear Democrats hammer that point. A lot of vulnerable people who would otherwise potentially be on Medicaid and not getting that care -- Katy.

TUR: And, Garrett, the president campaigned on not touching Medicaid. Is there concern, within the Republican Senate right now, to go against something that the president, himself, campaigned on?

HAAKE: Well, the president campaigned on that, but that's not something he's been talking about since then.

[17:05:00] And, frankly, it's not something that these Republican senators campaigned on. So, there's a difference between the president's rhetoric and the senator's rhetoric.

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: And, frankly, the president's rhetoric from day-to-day.

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: He has said that he doesn't want this bill to be --

TUR: Or from hour to hour.

HAAKE: Or from hour to hour.

So, we know the president has been reaching out to some of these senators trying to get them on board on this.

But I can tell you, Katy, I talked to Rand Paul, just in the hallway a little while ago, and he said that while he has spoken to the president, he hasn't spoken to Senate leadership about this bill. So, they're not having those negotiations yet.

TUR: What about this -- the way they're trying to compel people to not go without coverage. The six-month period in which you can't get coverage if you stop having coverage for any reason.

HAAKE: So, this is really important and also potentially problematic. So, in the Affordable Health Care Act, you had a monetary mandate to make people get coverage or else they had to pay this penalty. That's afama (ph) to the Senate Republicans. They don't want to have a monetary mandate.

But to keep premiums down for everybody, they need to find a way to get young, healthy people to buy health insurance that they might not otherwise want. Their solution to this was the, sort of, penalty box approach. Wherein if you lose your health insurance or you're not -- or you choose, rather I should say, to not be covered for more than 60 days under this plan, you would then, essentially, be locked out of buying insurance on the individual market for their six months.

So, the idea is you can't bet on your own health here. You've got to buy a plan now so you don't risk getting locked out. That's also a CBO problem. It makes this look a little bit better on paper. But if you get somebody who gets pregnant unexpectedly or diagnosed with cancer unexpectedly --

TUR: Yes.

HAAKE: -- and they're locked out in this penalty box and can't buy insurance for six months, that's a huge problem for those individuals and for Republicans politically.

So, with every problem they try to solve, with every tweak they try to make in this bill, they potentially introduce another problem along the way.

TUR: Yes, what happens to that person who gets diagnosed with cancer who told, you can't get treatment right now? You're going to have to wait six months. What happens to that person then, and how well will they be doing six months from that period?

Garrett Haake, thank you so much for joining us.

Joining us now is Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Senator, thank you very much.

Is there anything that the Democrats can do to stop this from passing?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: We're going to do everything we can because the Republicans have gone from total secrecy now to increasing chaos. And these CBO numbers I think give us a real opportunity to rally the groups, all of the medical groups, the citizen advocates, because there are real people who are affected.

I've seen many of them in the emergency field hearings that I held Monday and Friday of last week. People with stories that are really heartbreaking and gut-wrenching behind those numbers, 22 million. And even more alarming, the 49 million Americans who will be uninsured in 2026.

And the effect on the private markets. The private insurance markets of diluting the standards for essential health benefits, eliminating the caps and the annual limits, as well as the other kinds of consumer protections here.

TUR: No doubt Mitch McConnell is going to be trying to strong arm the members -- strong arm his GOP colleagues who may not support this.

Are the Democrats trying to influence anyone, in particular, behind the scenes? Any moderates to say no to this bill? Potentially any conservatives to say no to this bill?

BLUMENTHAL: They can do a lot of deal making. But as Ronald Reagan said, facts are stubborn things. And the facts here on the ground are what are powerfully persuasive.

We're talking to our Republican colleagues but they are as aware as we are because they're hearing from the folks in their states whose lives will be transformed.

You mentioned earlier, the person who learns of cancer and is unable to get insurance because of that penalty box, six-month waiting period, before the application to insure -- for insurance can be made.

These real-life stories about the elderly, two-thirds of them depending on Medicaid for nursing homes, children with preexisting conditions because they have muscular dystrophy at birth, the young people who have other kinds of stories that are really just powerfully heart wrenching, I think, are the most important facts.

TUR: Senator, in the House, there was a lot of hand wringing among Republicans about their bill. Ultimately, though, they did vote to pass it. There's a lot of hand wringing right now among a number of Senate Republicans.

But there is something of a feeling that, ultimately, they will be able to pass it. If they're able to do so before the July 4th recess, before they go home and potentially hear from their constituents, is there anything the Democrats can do then, other than just cry foul?

BLUMENTHAL: Isn't that a pretty powerful observation, that hearing from their constituents may actually persuade them to vote against this bill? What does it presume about the merits of the bill to say that?

[17:10:05] And I think it is right. What we can do is offer the amendments, make the arguments and bring home the realities here. And the CBO score is pretty powerful evidence that Republicans are going to regret, they're truly going to regret voting for this bill and it will weigh on their conscious.

They're going to have to look at themselves in the mirror. They're going to have to look at their constituents in the eye, not just this July 4th week but for years to come.

TUR: Sir, Senator Ron Johnson was on the "MEET THE PRESS" yesterday. And he said he would welcome bipartisan support on a bill. Given that and say that this bill does not get passed, would you be willing to work with him on a bill that does change Obamacare, repeal Obamacare and put forth a different plan that may be more palatable to Democrats?

BLUMENTHAL: Profoundly important question, Katy. And the answer is, unequivocally, yes. We have been ready, willing and we hope to be able to sit down with our Republican colleagues after they abandon this effort to completely repeal and decimate and destroy the Affordable Care Act. Mend it, not end it, for example, to (INAUDIBLE) some of the regulatory barriers to more competition and choice for consumers. Lower medical care costs.

Where has the conversation been about lowering pharmaceutical drug prices which can be done and must be done. And other measures that will build on the Affordable Care Act without taking insurance away from 22 million Americans and eliminating the protections against preexisting conditions and arbitrary caps on coverage. And all kinds of other abuses that I saw all too well, as a state official, a state attorney general in Connecticut.

TUR: The strategy right now among Democrats is to -- seems to be what the Republicans did when President Obama was in office which was just not necessarily obstruct, but stop the Republicans from getting anything done. That's what they are doing.

So, if it comes to a point where they are asking for some bipartisan support for a bill, do you believe anybody else among the Democrats will be willing to work with them? Do you believe it's politically problematic for the Democrats to be seen working with Republicans right now?

BLUMENTHAL: Far from politically problematic, Katy. I think it is what the country wants. When I go home to Connecticut, as I do every weekend, what people say to me is, why can't you guys work together?

The country is hungry for bipartisanship, not for destroying the Affordable Care Act and adopting a measure that is approved by 10 percent or 20 percent of the population. They want us to do what has been done with other major social reforms, like Social Security. Change it, to improve it, not destroy it.

And the kinds of reforms that are practically possible and deemed necessary, I think are achievable through bipartisan compromise. And, yes, many, many of my Democratic colleagues and most of the country want us to work together.

TUR: Senator Blumenthal, I appreciate your time, sir.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

TUR: Let's bring in tonight's panel. Glenn Thrush, "The New York Times" White House Correspondent and an MSNBC Political Analyst. Amy Holmes was a speech writer for former Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, who's now a political analyst at Rasmussen. And Bob Shrum, he's a Democratic Strategist and a professor of politics at USC.

Bob, so good to see you in person. Nice to have you here in Los Angeles.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Nice to have you on the west coast.

TUR: Absolutely. Can't complain about it.

Let's talk about this CBO score. It's a pretty dramatic number. 2026 22 million more people uninsured. That would bring the total number of people to 49 million uninsured. Are the Republicans going to have a problem with this if they pass this?

SHRUM: Well, let me not talk about the morality of it, because I think it's a pretty immoral step to take.

Let me talk about the politics of it. There'll be -- under this plan, 15 million people will lose their health insurance in 2018. So, the Republicans will go into the mid-term election having done that.

Premiums will also be going up in those first several years. They come down later because fewer people are covered, more costs are transferred to people at the upper in -- at the upper income scale who are older.

But the truth of the matter is, you don't want to go into a mid-term election like this. If I were -- you know, Bill Cassidy, the Senator from Louisiana said today, these numbers give me more pause.

I can't see Dean Heller, the Senator from Nevada, committing political seppuku (ph) by voting for this and then going into an election he's starting to lose.

I'm not sure Susan Collins will vote for it. You're probably right. In the end, they probably somehow hold a hammer to 50 people's heads they get to vote for this.

But I've talked to a number of Republican strategists who is say the best thing that could happen to us would be for this bill to go away. For us to move on to tax reform, move on to infrastructure and emphasize the economy.

[17:15:05] TUR: Amy, why would you not wait for this bill -- for members of the Senate to go back and talk about their constituents before passing a bill like this? Why would you rush it?

AMY HOLMES, POLITICAL ANALYST, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: Well, I don't know that I would do that, but I think that the reason why Mitch McConnell is doing that is because they don't want to go into those town halls and have all of those angry constituents yelling at them, as what happened to Democrats, if you remember, before the passage of Obamacare.

And the Democratic Party lost, you know, their majority in the House in 2010, in large part because of that. So, I don't think the Republicans want to run into that buzz saw.

And we know that there are five senators who have already expressed their opposition to this bill. And with the CBO, it's going to make it even harder for other Republicans.

Susan Collins, she said that she was seriously concerned. That's a Republican from Maine. I'm not sure that these CBO numbers are going to give her, you know, a lot of political room for this.

So, I think an answer to your question is to avoid some of the bad politics that could be coming down the pike.

TUR: Well, what does that say about the bill that they don't want to hear from their constituents, Amy?

HOLMES: Well, what it says about the health care reform is that it's a difficult effort that, you know, there are winners and losers whenever there is this reform effort.

Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, he said that this was largely a Medicaid reform bill. And at Rasmussen Reports, we found that the appetite for some big overhaul of health care law was actually going down since the election.

And I think that if senators, Republicans had focused on Medicaid reform, you might not have quite as much, how shall we say, strong opposition to this.

TUR: And, Glenn, the president, himself, ran -- as you know, ran on not touching entitlements, ran on not touching Medicaid, ran on making sure no people were dying on the streets.

How does he square this argument or how does he square his new argument that they need to do something, period, even if it doesn't benefit everyone?

GLENN THRUSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, he doesn't. There's no way to square anything. I mean, --

TUR: I guess the question is, does it have -- does anything he says -- does anything he says matter?

THRUSH: As Colin --

TUR: And I think the answer is no -- I mean, I guess.

THRUSH: -- well, as Colin Powell said about Iraq, you break it, you buy it. Right?

TUR: Yes.

THRUSH: And what the Republicans are doing right now is they're about to own this thing in the way that Obama and the Democrats have owned this thing.

They're about to discover that the problems that the Affordable Care Act was attempting to attack, imperfectly, were fairly intractable societal problems that governors, Republicans and Democrats alike have to deal with every single day.

So, they are now going to inherit -- and Bob was totally right. The big number on this are not the out year (ph) deficit numbers. It's not the 22 million by 2026. It's next year, 15 million people are getting whacked off the roles. It's going to give the Democrats the wind behind their back.

And now, Trump, who has said everything under the sun you could potentially say about health care reform, and is clearly not a details guy on this stuff, is going to have to deal with real Human fallout from his -- from his actions.

And apart from the original travel ban, where people were bogged (ph) up in airports, American citizens green card holders, you are now going to see a very large pool of Americans of all demographic categories suffering from this. And Trump is going to have to own that problem.

TUR: Unsurprisingly, I've got a statement right here from Budget Committee Chair Mike Enzi, and Majority Whip John Conran, that only talks about the deficit reduction. It doesn't mention anywhere the number of -- and it's right here, the number of people who would go uninsured. Not surprising whatsoever.

Glenn Thrush, Amy, Bob, stay with us. We're going to come back to you a little bit later in the hour.

Coming up, part of President Trump's travel ban is back on the books, as the Supreme Court says it will weigh the issue this fall. We'll look at the political and national security implications of today's decision.



TUR: You are taking a live look at the White House rose garden, where President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to make joint statements, following their meeting to discuss U.S.-India relations. We're going to bring you those comments live just ahead.

And we're back in 60 seconds with more MTP DAILY.


TUR: Welcome back.

It was a blockbuster day at the Supreme Court with huge news on issues pertaining to gay rights, the separation of church and state, the Second Amendment, and more.

But the biggest bombshell came when the court partially reinstated the president's travel ban. Lower courts had basically blocked the entire order, but the Supreme Court today said that the administration can enforce the ban on visas from six Middle Eastern countries, but it can only apply to foreigners who don't have a, quote, "credible" connection to the United States.

The president says the decision means that the travel ban can now largely be enforced as we wait for the Supreme Court to hear the case this fall. The court's final ruling on the travel ban will come after that.

The president hailed today's news saying, in part, today's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security.

Today's action by the court also gave the administration a potential roadmap to argue its case. But still, a lot of questions remain about what this decision means, legally, politically, and perhaps most importantly, what it means for our national security.

I'm joined now by NBC justice correspondent, Pet Williams. Pets, in practical terms, what does today's ruling mean?

PETE WILLIAMS, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: The court unanimously gives President Trump a victory on one thing he wanted. He wanted the court to take the appeal of these lower court rulings against him. The court unanimously said, yes. So, that is a clear victory and a -- and a pathway for him, possibly, to prevail.

Secondly, the court said, we're going to lift partially the lower court stays that have blocked enforcement of this so far. So, it'll still be in effect, this 90-day pause on issuing visas. It can now go into effect that the president's executive order, this 90-day pause on issuing visas from six Muslim countries. Unless the people who apply for visas have a close relative here in the U.S. that they're coming to visit or stay with are a student or a teacher or are coming here to accept a job.

Anyone who has a connection to the U.S., in other words, the travel ban is still in place. The ban on enforcement is still this place. So, it's a partial victory for the president. But it was a six to three vote to allow people still to come here if it they have a connection to the U.S.

TUR: So, part of their justification from the Supreme Court was the interest in preserving national security what they say is an urgent objective of the highest order to prevent the government pursuing that -- from pursuing that objective would appreciably injure its interests.

Pete, is that essentially a roadmap for Trump's lawyers to argue this case?

WILLIAMS: No, that's basically what Trump lawyers said in asking the Supreme Court to take the case. That's been their argument all along. That was their argument in the Fourth Circuit, in the Ninth Circuit and every trial court that has heard this case.

[17:25:12] We need to put a pause on issuing visas because we need to check the reliability of the background information on visa applicants that we get from these countries that are either too connected with terrorism or, in essence, falling apart. And they don't have the kind of infrastructure that can give you reliable background information on people.

So, that's basically the Supreme Court picking up on a line that the Trump administration has long argued and which they will argue again in the fall.

TUR: So, this ban was only supposed to last 90 to 120 days, Pete. By the time the Supreme Court does start hearing it, essentially, I mean, it could be mute. Is that a good thing or a bad thing for this administration?

WILLIAMS: Well, look, if -- it could be a very good thing for the administration. Ninety days, they can start enforcing it now, for the most part. If -- and if they say by October, you know what? We got enough of what we wanted. We're out of here. I mean, that could be one possible outcome.

But because the administration doesn't get everything, it can't entirely enforce the executive order, then there'll still be something to chew over again in the fall.

But you're right, it does raise the prospect of that by the time we get to October, things may have changed --

TUR: yes.

WILLIAMS: -- enough that everybody says, you know what? No point in going on with this.

TUR: Pete Williams, appreciate it.

I'm joined now by NBC national security analyst, Jeremy Bash, who is chief of staff at the CIA and at the Pentagon. Jeremy, just a warning. We're waiting for the president to come out to the rose garden with Prime Minister Modi, so we might have to cut you off mid-thought.


TUR: But to get started, the rationale for the ban was that they needed to do this for national security immediately. But it was only supposed to, at least in the beginning, happen for 90 days. It's been 150 days. The rational, does it still make any sense?

BASH: It does not. And that's exactly right. The president's prediction was that unless we banned all Muslims from the six countries, the terrorists would be streaming over our borders over the next 90 days. As you noted that was 150 days ago.

So, the original rational for the ban has gone out the window. That's why, I think, this was a narrow victory for the president today. But it was ultimately a hallow victory because this, as a counterterrorism measure, was never put in place. It never, quote, unquote, "protected the country."

And now, what the Supreme Court has done is they've lifted the lower court injunction. I mean, not only can the ban go into place, to some extent, but also -- and I'm just watching the screen here to see if the president comes out, Katy. Not only will the ban go into place, but also the vetting can go forward. And the vetting will happen over the course of several weeks.

And as you said with Pete, you know, by the time the Supreme Court touches this again in October, this whole issue may be over and the president will not have gotten any safety or security for the American people.

TUR: And we can see the president's wife, Melania, and a number of his top cabinet officials are already taking to their seats. They are standing, at the moment. We are still awaiting the president and Prime Minister Modi.

Jeremy, what's the hard evidence that foreigners or refugees who have a connection to the U.S. are less of a terror risk than those who do not have a connection?

BASH: There's no evidence at all. In fact, all somebody needs to do, in order to get into the country under this paradigm as set forth by the Supreme Court, is go up to the visa office at the embassy and say, I've got a familial tie. And they just have to provide some basic evidence.

I think it's going to be very easy for anybody who wants to get into the country to get into the country under this program. And I think it's going to be hard to keep people out.

TUR: Well, they have to provide documentation. Are you saying that the vetting process for these visas is not strong as it is?

BASH: Well, there is a strong vetting program already. But what the Supreme Court has said is if you -- all you have to do, in addition, is provide some credible claim that you've a familial tie. And oi think that's going to be fairly easy, for most people, to show who are determined to get into the country.

Of course, if someone is truly a terrorist, do we think they are somehow above lying to the visa officer? That, kind of, makes no sense.

TUR: And we see the president's son in law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner. Also, his daughter, Ivanka, and Gary Cohen as well in that frame right now. Jared Kushner right there.

Jeremy, I was under the impression that it was actually the second- generation immigrants that end up posing more of a risk. The attackers in Orlando, San Bernardino, Garland, Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon were all children of immigrants, those who did have a connection to family members, obviously, in the U.S.

BASH: It's a fair point. Many had of those domestic attackers have been bored -- born inside the United States. In the U.K., they have faced some of the same challenges where a lot of those terrorists there have been U.K.-born. It's the domestic radicalization issue that, I think, confronts our societies most acutely.

But, again, but back to the overall structure of counterterrorism policy. Counterterrorism requires focus, Katy. You need to actually have specific information that leads you to specific plots that can be disrupted.

If you put entire populations of individuals because of their nationality, because of their national origin, because of their religion, because of the way they look or they operate, if it's broad suspicion, that is going to take away resources, that is going to take away focus from those individuals who need to be focusing on specific plots. Every counter- terrorism official I have spoken to believes that focus is the number one key to counter-terrorism.

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing members of the Indian delegation go to their seats as well. Again, we are awaiting President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to come out and take the podiums. No doubt we're going to get Donald Trump's reaction on camera to the travel ban. We're going to see if they take any questions as well. Jeremy, does lifting part of this injunction, maybe it's a little bit too early to ask this, but does lifting part of this injunction set a precedent that the president's decisions when it comes to national security, will it set a precedent cannot be impeded? That they go through no matter what?

BASH: I thought it was interesting the way the court wrote this this in this interesting opinion. It was an unsigned opinion, so-called per curiam opinion. Presidents that win per curiam opinions like to call them 9-0 unanimous decisions. But they are a little bit different. They are an unsigned opinion from the court. What they said was in balancing the president's national security powers versus other equities here. We have to defer to the president in his national security powers. But this was not a constitutional claim. Let's see the president and the Indian leader come to the podiums.

TUR: Yeah, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi going to the podium right now. Let's take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much. Prime Minister Modi, thank you for being here with us today. It's a great honor to welcome the leader of world's largest democracy to the White House. I have always had a deep admiration for your country and for its people. And a profound appreciation for your rich culture, heritage, and traditions.

This summer, India will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its independence and on behalf of the United States, I want to congratulate the Indian people on this magnificent milestone in the life of your very, very incredible nation. During my campaign, I pledged that if elected, India would have a true friend in the White House. And that is now exactly what you have, a true friend.

A friendship between the United States and India is built on shared values including our shared commitment to democracy. Not many people know it, but both American and the Indian constitutions begin with the same three very beautiful words, we the people. The prime minister and I both understand the crucial importance of those words, which helps to form the foundation of cooperation between our two countries.

Relations between countries are strongest when they are devoted to the interests of the people we serve. After our meetings today, I will say that the relationship between India and the United States has never been stronger, has never been better. I'm proud to announce to the media, to the American people, and to the Indian people that Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media. We're believers.

Giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials and for us to hear directly from them. I guess it's worked very well in both cases. I am thrilled to salute you, Prime Minister Modi and the Indian people for all that you are accomplishing together. Your accomplishments have been vast. India has the fastest growing economy in the world.

We hope we're going to be catching you very soon in terms of percentage increase. I have to tell you that. We're working on it. In just two weeks, you will begin to implement the largest tax overhaul in your country's history. We're doing that also, by the way, creating great new opportunities for your citizens. You have a big vision for improving infrastructure and you are fighting government corruption, which is always a grave threat to democracy.

Together our countries can help chart an optimistic path into the future, one that unleashes the power of new technology, new infrastructure, and the enthusiasm and the excitement of very hardworking and very dynamic people. I look forward to working with you, Mr. Prime Minister, to create jobs in our countries, to grow our economies, and to create a trading relationship that is fair and reciprocal.

It is important that barriers be removed to the export of U.S. goods into your markets and we reduce our trade deficit with your country. I was pleased to learn about an Indian airline's recent order of 100 new American planes, one of the largest orders of its kind, which will support thousands and thousands of American jobs.

We're also looking forward to exporting more American energy to India as your economy grows including major long-term contracts to purchase American natural gas, which you're right now being negotiated and we will sign them, trying to get the price up a little bit. To further our economic partnership, I'm excited to report that the prime minister has invited my daughter, Ivanka, to lead the U.S. delegation to the global entrepreneurship summit in India this fall, and I believe she has accepted.

Finally, the security partnership between the United States and India is incredibly important. Both our nations have been struck by the evils of terrorism and we are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them. We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism. Our militaries are working every day to enhance cooperation between our military forces and next month, they will join together with the Japanese navy to take part in the largest maritime exercise ever conducted in the vast Indian ocean.

I also thank the Indian people for their contributions to the effort in Afghanistan and for joining us in applying new sanctions against the North Korean regime. The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with and probably dealt with rapidly. Working together, I truly believe our two countries can set an example for many other nations make great strides in defeating common threats and make great progress in unleashing amazing prosperity and growth.

Prime Minister Modi, thank you again for joining me today and for visiting our country and our wonderful White House and oval office. I enjoyed our very productive conversation this afternoon and look forward to its continuation tonight at dinner. The future of our partnership has never looked brighter. India and the United States will always be tied together in friendship and respect. Prime Minister Modi, thank you very much.


NARENDA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): President Donald Trump and first lady, vice president, ladies and gentlemen of the media, right from the opening tweet to the end of.


TUR: That was President Trump and India's Prime Minister Modi, who is still speaking right now, the two men giving each other a hug. Donald Trump saying that India will have a true friend in America. We're going to have more "MTP Daily" right after the break.


TUR: Welcome back. The opioid crisis is a big flash point in Ohio, potentially affecting Republican Rob Portman's vote on the health care bill, which critics say slashes the money for treatment. Republicans can only afford two no votes in the senate. They may not be able to spare Portman. Joining me now on set is MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff. Jacob, so good to see you in person. Tell us more.

JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, good to see you, Katy. Now, opioids are central to this health care debate with Medicaid on the chopping block and the health care bill so is addiction treatment. This as overdoses are now killing more Americans than ever before. Ohio is the epicenter of this crisis on track for a staggering 10,000 deaths this year alone according to local officials as politicians back in Washington debate the health care bill on the ground. The death toll continues to skyrocket daily because of the drug so powerful it could kill you simply by touching it.


SOBOROFF: In what local officials say is the overdose capital of America, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer finds an unprecedented crisis on his hands brought on by the synthetic opioid fentanyl up to thousand of times stronger than heroin. It's used legally in chronic pain management but now manufactured, trafficked, and sold illegally as a street drug.

PHIL PLUMMER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY SHERIFF: We're on a pace to have 800 people die this year due to overdose in our county. Per capita, we're number one on the nation in overdose deaths. Our job market (inaudible) people. You know, I think they are depressed, they are self-medicating.

SOBOROFF: In May, the county almost passed last year's total number of deaths. Officials estimate this year's total will be double that.

The deputy said that there was a car accident here and they took one person out of vehicle who they say had a thousand yards there and was out of it. And so now, he's in the back of the ambulance here.

He literally just walked in to cash a check and by the time he came back, your brother had gone and come back, and got an accident, and told the paramedic that he was on fentanyl?


SOBOROFF: What did he look like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His eyes were glossy. He could barely open them.

SOBOROFF: What did he say to you?


SOBOROFF: He said I love you. What did you say to him?


SOBOROFF: What's it like to go through this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hell. Hell. Every day is just hell.

SOBOROFF: So, this is what you call the cooler.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our cooler, our main cooler.

SOBOROFF: When did the bodies that are all around us come in here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the last 24 to 48 hours.

SOBOROFF: And every day bodies are cycling through here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. These are mostly be full by tonight.

SOBOROFF: What's the percentage of the bodies in here right now that are overdose deaths from heroin or fentanyl?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are averaging 60 to 70 percent of our cases now are overdoses.

SOBOROFF: Fentanyl is made in China and smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican cartels who pass it to local gangs to sell. If law enforcement can't get to them first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the door! Open the door!

SOBOROFF: You see any narcotics yet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is narcotics.

SOBOROFF: You guys mind explaining to me why we put these masks on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you breathe it in, you could die.

SOBOROFF: It was a big load. Nearly a pound of fentanyl. Enough for thousands of deadly doses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good day. Basically, you're seeing a lot of lives saved right there.

SOBOROFF: Another way of saving addicts lives temporarily is to lock them up. In the county jail, there's an entire wing of women in withdrawal.

What were you using?


SOBOROFF: Fentanyl. Are you going through withdrawal right now?


SOBOROFF: Can you describe for me how you feel right now?



SOBOROFF: Like crap.


SOBOROFF: Do you know anybody that's died?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. My boyfriend and my mom just died in January.

SOBOROFF: I'm sorry. If any of your family or your friends catch this on TV, what do you want them to know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That I love them. And I'm sorry.


SOBOROFF: Local officials there in Ohio say they need more help from the federal government, not less. In Ohio, the Medicaid expansion has provided coverage for thousands of addicts who didn't have it previously. The bottom line is while politicians debate slashing the way many get their treatment, this crisis, Katy, is getting worse every single day.

TUR: When you look at a woman like that who was going through withdrawal in jail, I find it hard to believe that anybody can make the argument that she wants to be there, that she's willingly doing this. I mean, an addiction is something that is overpowering.

SOBOROFF: And that's part of this crisis. That it's touching more people than ever before. I think oftentimes you hear people point a finger at sufferers of addiction particularly.

TUR: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: . opioid addiction, heroin, and now fentanyl. Those are the worst of the worst. Those are people that are down on skid row. If you go to Ohio, like you have, like I did.

TUR: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: I spend so much time there during the campaign. If you go across Rustbelt, frankly if you across this county and ask people, do you know somebody that's suffered from opioid addiction, even heroin, the majority of people that you meet especially in place like Ohio will say yes.

TUR: So, what is the senator from Ohio going to be doing about this? How could this affect his vote on health care?

SOBOROFF: So when you look at the CBOs where they came out today, one of the things that was highlighted there is that there's 2 billion in 2018 for opioid addiction treatment. Senator Portman from Ohio, Republican.

TUR: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: . which I remind everybody, asked for $45 billion for substance abuse addiction treatment over 10 years. That is far less than he asked for than West Virginia Senator Capito asked for. And ultimately, at the end of the day, this is about Medicaid. Medicaid expansion provided treatment for so many people that are on opioids and are addicted. If the Medicaid expansion goes away, it's going to affect the people that we talked about today.

TUR: What's the biggest thing that you have learned covering this? All the stories last week, they were all compelling, each one of them tear-jerking in a lot of ways. What is your take away been?

SOBOROFF: That it's bigger than any one person and any one solution can provide. I mean, this is a multinational problem that stretches from laboratories in China to cartels in Mexico. But at the end of the day, it's a supply and demand problem. There are people across America who cannot get off this stuff. They say that it feels like an indescribable feeling. Some people say it's like seeking the heat, chasing the heat. These drugs are getting more and more powerful than ever before. Unless it's a multipronged approach to tackle them, this problem is not going to go away any time soon.

TUR: Are the families of these addicts struggling with this? Are they generally supportive of one politician or political party over another?

SOBOROFF: No, certainly not. I think this is a bipartisan problem. Again, you saw in New Hampshire during the campaign.

TUR: Yeah.

SOBOROFF: It affects everybody in every state from whatever political party might be. No socioeconomic barriers, no racial barriers. This is a problem that is in epidemic proportion right now in our country.

TUR: Is building a wall going to stop it from happening?

SOBOROFF: You know, I've been down to the borders and port of entry. It is the busiest land border crossing in the world and the border patrol will tell you there in customs and border protection that the number one way that cartels try to get drugs through is through legal ports of entry, not through some hole in the border wall.

TUR: Jacob Soboroff, wonderful work, great to see you in person.

SOBOROFF: Thanks, Katy.

TUR: Thanks for coming on and sharing that with us. Just ahead, dissecting President Trump's latest comment on Russia's election interference and the Obama administration's handling of the issue.


TUR: Welcome back. If Twitter feed is any measure, the Russia investigation is on President Trump's mind today. He sent several tweets this morning on what he says was the Obama administration's failure to deal with interference in the 2016 election. With that, it is time for "The Lid." Our nationwide panel is back. Glenn Thrush in Washington, Amy Holmes in New York, Bob Shrum here with me in Los Angeles.

Glenn, let me start with you this time. In one of those tweets that Donald Trump sent out this morning, he said that Obama colluded or obstructed. What does that mean? Is he saying that Obama colluded with Putin in order to help Trump win the election and then covered it up?

GLENN THRUSH, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think he is referring to collusion with the DNC or the Democrats, but who knows? You know, the goal here is not to assert any new fact. We grilled Sean Spicer in his -- during the unknown comic press briefing today. The thing about it is, what he's attempting to do is very simple. We saw him do this during the campaign.

Whenever the president is on the defensive and he sort of has an indefensible position, he wants to drag someone else into the line of fire with him, and President Obama seems to be as good a human shield as he can come up with. So, I don't think this is about sort of a rational argument so much. If you actually track the logic of the tweets, you will get a blinding headache. The issue here is, he just wants Obama in the same frame with him on this.

TUR: So, Amy, speaking of which, the president himself has had a hard time saying definitively that Russia interfered in our election despite the conclusions of 17 intelligence agencies. Even today, Sean Spicer equivocated a little bit on that. Does the fact that President Obama and his administration, could have "choked" according to one former official, does that mean that now it's politically safe for him to come out and say that Russia was involved, because he could essentially, as Glenn said, drag President Obama into it and blame him?

AMY HOLMES, RASMUSSEN REPORTS POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know if it's because he can drag President Obama into it but I do take his point.

TUR: Then why would he decide.

HOLMES: Well, hold on. Former administration officials are saying that the former administration choked, if Adam Schiff who has been ranking Democrat on house intel committee said the president should have done more, just in political terms, of course that gives President Trump cover to criticize the actions of the previous administration for not being tougher on Russia. Of course, the question moving forward is, what is this administration going to do to try to strengthen our international community against interference from Russia? You know, that's the job of the commander in chief.

TUR: Absolutely. Do you think they're doing enough? What are they doing right now?

HOLMES: Well, we do know that we're at loggerheads with Russia when it comes to Syria and Russia's proxy is there, that President Trump hasn't necessarily gone easy on Russia. But, you know, to be honest, I'm not sure and I think the American people want to know.

TUR: So today in that off-camera briefing, Glenn Thrush, you were there, Sean Spicer said that the president himself was joking when he asked Russia to release the e-mails that he couldn't find from Hillary Clinton, the missing or deleted e-mails. I was at that press conference back in July and maybe you could argue that President Trump was joking initially. But I pressed him on it quite a few times, and it didn't sound to me like he was joking. Take a listen.


TUR: You said, I welcome them to find those 30,000 e-mails.

TRUMP: Well, they probably have them. I would like to have them released.

TUR: Does that not give you pause?

TRUMP: They have them. We might as well -- hey, you know what gives me more pause? That a person in our government, crooked Hillary Clinton -- here's what gives me pause. Be quiet, I know you want to save her. That a person in our government, Katy, would delete or get rid of 33,000 e-mails. That gives me a big problem. After she gets a subpoena, she gets subpoenaed, and she gets rid of 33,000 e-mails? That gives me a problem. Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those e-mails, to be honest with you, I'd love to see them.


TUR: Bob, it doesn't sound like he was joking. It certainly sounds like he was welcoming anything that they could find. Is that the -- I think I know your answer -- is that the posture of somebody who is the president of the United States now should have been taking while he was running?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, but look, you had one of the toughest, the most interesting jobs a reporter has ever had following around the country. He ran a most unusual campaign.

TUR: Unbelievable.

SHRUM: If you were his lawyer right now, and I suspect they've said it, you would say, please stop tweeting.

TUR: Yeah.

SHRUM: Please stop having Spicer comment on what went on during the campaign. You're only making things worse. It is true, by the way, that President Obama did less than he might have done on the Russian interference for two reasons. One, I think Trump complaining all the time about the election being rigged, led people in the administration to fear that it looked like they were interfering with the democracy and democratic process.

Secondly, I think they thought Hillary was going to win. But they have to wait for the special counsel. That's what matters here. The outcome of the special counsel. I think the only thing he may do in the end if he thinks he is in trouble is fire him.

TUR: Bob, Glenn, Amy, appreciate your time. After the break, a big honor for a colleague and a friend. Stay with us.


TUR: In case you missed it, our NBC News colleague, Andrea Mitchell, was honored last night for her decade of reporting by the Los Angeles Press Club, which is why I am here in Los Angeles today. Andrea was awarded the Joseph M. Quinn Award for lifetime achievement. I had the honor of introducing her. They gave me three minutes to do so, and I thought, oh, great, I'll go through her highlights.

And then I realize that going through Andrea Mitchell's highlights in three minutes would only get me to about the Reagan administration before they cut me off. So instead I talked about some other things. Andrea Mitchell by the way has super powers. I don't know if you know this. She can literally teleport whether it's through a campaign (inaudible) top of the rope line or in one occasion at the least the hedges of an international embassy. That's a good story. She also has the super power to shake the earth - literally. She's anchored twice during earthquakes.

But most importantly , what Andrea Mitchell has done, and her biggest super power of all is that she is kind, she is caring, she is giving, and she has always had our backs here at NBC/

Andrea, if you're listening, and I hope you are, just know, we at NBC - me especially - will always have your back as well.

That is all for tonight. FOR THE RECORD with Greta starts right now.